Monday, September 1, 2014

How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blumenstilleben mit Buch
by Kruchen Medard (Germany, 1877-1957)

Monday, August 25, 2014

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]

Saturday, August 23, 2014

If it could only be like this always - always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius always in a good temper.
~ Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014 read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise. That seems increasingly elusive in our overnetworked society, where every buzz and rumor is instantly blogged and tweeted, and it is not contemplation we desire but an odd sort of distraction, distraction masquerading as being in the know. In such a landscape, knowledge can't help but fall prey to illusion, albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to more illumintaion, that it is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position, that we immerse, slow down. 
David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sneezing was just as much fun - the way you felt it swelling up with a vengeance inside you, until it became irresistable and you breathed in and out in one great frenzy, gave yourself over to the bliss of it, your face drunk with pleasure - you could forget the whole world in one blessed eruption. But sometimes they came in twos or threes, one right after the other. Those were the pleasures in life that didn't cost a cent.
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain pg170

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

But now it seemed to him that present circumstances demanded his full attention and that it was inappropriate to shrug them off. Being lifted like this into regions whose air he had never breathed before and whose sparse and meager conditions were, as well he knew, both unfamiliar and peculiar - it all began to excite him, to fill him with a certain anxiety. Home and a settled life not only lay far behind, but also, and more importantly, they lay fathoms below him, and he was still climbing. Hovering between home and the unknown ahead, he asked himself how he would do up there. 
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain pg 4

[The protagonist Hans Castorp's musings as he sits on the train heading up to the mountain retreat in the Swiss Alps where he will visit his cousin and ultimately spend the next seven years. I loved this book not only for the philosophy but also for the superb writing]

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When you read a book, the neurons in your brain fire overtime, deciding what the characters are wearing, how they're standing, and what it feels like the first time they kiss. No one shows you. The words make suggestions. Your brain paints the pictures.
~Meg Rosoff