Monday, February 12, 2007

This week's reading

This past week was a busy week at work, so I didn't get to do as much reading as usual. Here it is:

Kate Moses, Wintering -- The descriptions on the back cover annoyed the heck out of me. One reviewer says she's "never read a more womanly book." WTF does that even mean? Stupid reviews notwithstanding, I found this book to be quite lovely. It reminds me a bit of The Hours, basically doing for Plath's final days what Michael Cunningham did for Virginia Woolf's. I have never much liked Sylvia Plath's poetry, but I think that Moses does a really fabulous job of capturing the sadness and madness of Plath's final days, without over-sentimentalizing or hero-worshipping. Moses' imagery is really gorgeous, and I like the form of the book, which jumps back and forth in time (mimicking the lack of groundedness Plath herself must, like any seriously mentally ill person (or anyone, for that matter, whose marriage has just disintegrated), have felt in her final months. In fact, this book has piqued my curiousity about Sylvia Plath and led me to re-read The Bell Jar (which I like much more now than the first time I read it) and to dig into some Plath biographies.

Elisabeth Hyde The Abortionist's Daughter I'd heard some buzz here and there about this novel, so I picked it up and read the whole thing yesterday afternoon. It was a decent read, though a less substantial than I'd expected frome the buzz. Hyde's writing reminds me a bit of a less adept Jodi Picoult, and I wasn't all that surprised by the ending of the book (which is a mystery of sorts, in the same way Picoult's books are).

Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar The first time I read this book, I didn't much like it. Looking back, I think I was just too young for it (perhaps in 8th or 9th grade). I hadn't experienced enough sadness and strife in my own life to really connect with the characters' experiences in any personal way. Much the same thing happened with me with Catcher in the Rye, which is now one of my all-time favorite books, and I'm glad to be giving this book a second try as well. I'm only about halfway through, so we'll see what I think when I finish it.

Paul Alexander Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath I'm about halfway through this biography, which just happened to be the first one that came in through interlibrary loan. I don't know if it's the "best" one out there, but I'm enjoying it so far. I have to say, though, I think Alexander is a bit too obsessed with Plath's dating life for his own good. I swear, he lists out every single date Plath ever went on in the book, by name, to no good end that I can see. It's totally ridiculous. Anyway, I'll update on the book when I finish.

That's it for reading this week. On a completely unrelated note, there is a lavender convertible parked outside my office today. LAVENDER. And sort of metallic. It looks like something Prince would drive.

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