Posts Tagged ‘reading’

I’m reading a new book — a fairy tale, of sorts — and even though I’m not finished, I feel compelled to write about it: Mr. Fox by the enchantingly-named Helen Oyeyemi.


The story is about a writer, Mr. Fox, and his muse, Mary Foxe.  Miss Foxe is upset that Mr. Fox keeps killing off his heroines and challenges him to join her in stories of her own making.  Each chapter tells a different story — “real” or imagined, it’s sometimes difficult to tell.  But the individual stories are as fascinating as the frame story.  About a third of the way into the book Mr. Fox’s wife Daphne becomes involved.  Will he have to choose between the mortal woman he married and the muse who has saved his life?  I can’t wait to find out … and yet I keep lingering over each page so that I don’t finish this book too quickly.

Another, older set of fairy tales I greatly admire is (more…)


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I’m still in Plath-y state of mind — Sylvia Plath, that is (see Plath Attack for how this started).  Not because I’m having a breakdown or eying gas ovens — it’s because I’m still reading her biographies and poems and now Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes.

I wasn’t interested in Plath when Birthday Letters first came out in the late 90’s.  It didn’t much register that Hughes died only a few months after it was published.  But now — having read the biographies Bitter Fame and parts of Rough Magic and a little of Sylvia Plath: A Biography by Linda Wagner-Martin — Birthday Letters has a painfully poignant impact. (more…)

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I’ve been reading Bitter Fame, a biography of Sylvia Plath.

This is not a very smart thing to do — read anything about or by Sylvia Plath — when you are feeling a bit imbalanced yourself.  I remember reading The Bell Jar while staying with my then-boyfriend’s parents in Phoenix, a city I had never been to before, which I found ordered in its geography but almost anarchic due to the heat: big mistake.  Reading the story of Esther Greenwood’s encroaching madness made me almost as anti-social and rude as Plath was said to be in her last few years.

Reading Bitter Fame now is a very different experience.  (more…)

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So this is a very basic truth that all of you know, but many of you (like me, a year or so ago) may have forgotten: You can read books from the nearest library … FOR FREE!

I say this because in the spirit of clutter-clearing, I’ve stopped buying a lot of books and started reading them through my local library.  Then I buy the ones I truly love and will want read again.  (I’m against clutter, but I’m definitely for the book industry.)

Click here to search for a public library near you — just enter your zipcode!

It may not be as fancy as the Library of Congress …

(L.o.C. Reading Room)

… but (more…)

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I’m still new to being a “writing mother.”  So new that I feel like I have to put the term in quotes.

When the twins and I first came home from the hospital I had a surprising amount of time to write — in my journal, at least.  I was recovering from a C-section and had an enormous amount of help.  (What was unhelpful was doctors telling me not to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup — right after they’ve delivered me of seven-plus-pound twins.  Yes — seven-plus pounds.  Each.)  (Rather more than a coffee cup, no?)

I spent long stretches of time lying in bed, propped up with pillows and balancing my laptop on my knees.  I was encouraged to do this.  And it was wonderful.  Who knew I’d look back on those weeks of recovery (which had its not-so-pleasant side, believe me) with envy?

After six weeks I was deemed fit — and the real project of motherhood began.  (more…)

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I’m supposed to be packing for our upcoming move … but instead I’ve been reading Wolf Hall.  When I was in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (a lovely place to go if you are a writer, artist or composer), writer Pam Durban recommended it to me.  It’s taken me years to finally read it, but I’m so glad I did.

What a terrific book!  It tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, who rose from obscurity (he was a blacksmith’s son — his enemies at court never let him forget it) to be Henry VIII’s chief minister during the king’s turbulent divorce from Catherine of Aragon, his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, the execution of Thomas More and various misadventures after that.  (more…)

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In the middle of spring cleaning, packing for our upcoming move and my husband having two wisdom teeth pulled (surprise!), I snatched a couple of hours to have tea with a friend.  She’s recently moved from Brooklyn to a little cabin in the Virginia woods and was thinking about starting a blog about it.  But she’s a very thoughtful writer and wanted her blog to be, well, honest.

She had read a lot of “life-envy” blogs (I think that was her term for them) and didn’t want to fall into the trap of posting beautifully crafted images of her cabin life while, say, spiraling off into unhappiness or sneaking off to a wireless hotspot in the nearest town so she could watch Game of Thrones on her iPhone because she can’t freaking stand the silence of the woods.  (All these examples are my own invention, by the way — she’s not unhappy or — as far as I know — addicted to Sean Bean.)

(Just a little reminder that before there was Ned Stark there was Richard Sharpe to take you over the hills and far away …)

The next day the Sunday New York Times landed with a thump outside our door and provided my husband some distraction as he was eating pudding and lounging on pain-killers.  When I finally got my hands on the magazine, I discovered this article: (more…)

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