Why does this book speak to me so? Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. The book begins so light, so funny, a young girl in New York living any girl’s dream. She wants to see it all, she wants to experience everything. Plath perfectly captures what it’s like to see the world in that stage of our lives, full of energy and hope and excitement for the future, but also unsure in a way. Brave and scared at once. Right on that line between innocence and loss of innocence: “This dress was cut so queerly I couldn’t wear any sort of bra under it, but that didn’t matter much as I was skinny as a boy and barely rippled, and I liked feeling almost naked on the hot summer nights.” (p. 8). Continue reading
Not all 300+ page books are created equal. Sometimes they feel like a chore. Sometimes they take forever to finish. Sometimes we abandon them. But not Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It felt like a dream. Within pages, I knew I was already sorry it was not longer. That I would never want it to end. I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to read anything else. She had my undivided attention. Continue reading
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is the first Ann Patchett I have read. Without reservation, I loved it. While reading, I think I may have developed just the tiniest bit of a crush on her, as is often the case, I am almost embarrassed to admit, with many of my favorite authors. But most of her stories/essays read like a deep, intelligent conversation you would have with a brilliant friend, perhaps late at night. Over coffee, maybe. How could I not be enchanted?
Speaking of exceptional essay collections, I found myself in desperate need of a good book recommendation here lately and, as I will often do, I turned to Dunce One. I have never been so satisfactorily recommended (probably having a great deal to do with the fact that he has impeccable taste in literature and knows me better than (just about) anyone else; probably also not hurting that he is remarkably well-read and deals extensively with books, both professionally and recreationally). Continue reading
I am trying to come up with a casual way to use the word “associated” in a sentence. So far, no luck. Everything I try ends up coming out stuffy.
But word associations are fun to poke away at, so I’ll keep going.
It reminds me of the word “alliteration.” When I was an English major, this term (alliteration- the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words) seemed to come up pretty regularly. And it is a nice sounding word, and it has relevance in the very specific context of writing, particularly poetry, but there is simply no way to use it casually in a sentence (though I have seen several English majors try): “Hey man, could you slide me some salt. Yo, check out that super smooth use of alliteration there: slide some salt. Awesome!” Yeah, it doesn’t work. Continue reading