One of the great privileges of having grown up in a middle-class literary English household, but having gone to school in the front lines in Southeast London, was that I became half-street-urchin and half-good-boy at home. I knew that dichotomy was possible.
October began as new months are wont to do - their beginnings are perfectly modest and hushed, with no outward signs, no birthmarks. Indeed they steal in silently and quite unnoticed, unless you are paying very strict attention. Real time knows no turning points, there are no thunderstorms or trumpet fanfares at the start of a new month or year, and even when a new century commences only we human beings fire cannon and ring bells.
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
No. It's all smoke and mirrors! The days get longer during the winter, and when we get to the longest one, the twenty-first of June, the beginning of summer, they start getting shorter again and it all heads right back downhill toward winter. You call it obvious, but once you disregard the obvious part, it can momentarily set you in a panic, make you want to grab something to hold on to. It's really like some great practical joke, so that the beginning of winter is actually spring, and the beginning of summer is actually autumn. It's as if we're being led around by the nose, in a circle, always lured on by the promise of something that is just another turning point in a circle. For a circle consists of nothing but elastic turning points, and so its curvature is immeasurable, with no steady definite direction, and so eternity is not 'straight ahead', but rather 'merry-go-round.'
I have a weakness for memoirs, especially the sassy, candid kind, so it was a given that this one would cross my path and I would be compelled to pick it up. When reading something so personal, though, I try to leave my judgement at the door and just read for the pleasure of being inside someone else's experience and thoughts for a while. But I did eventually find her frankness grating. As much as I appreciate candid discourse, hers approached TMI territory. The older I get, I guess, the less tolerant I am for such overt transperancy. Some things are just better left to the imagination. Part autobiography, part social commentary, it was for the most part an enjoyable and funny read.
(back cover) There's never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven't been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain... Why are we supposed to get Brazillians? Should we use Botox? Do men hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you're going to have a baby? Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman - following her from her 13th birthday (I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, being fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond.
And every book, you find, has its own social group - friends of its own it wants to introduce you to, like a party in the library that need never, ever end.
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman
[After wading through some Kundera and Didion lately, I am enjoying Caitlin Moran's humerous and refreshingly candid take on life]