This post is about a month late, but better now than never! It’s intimidating, attempting to write a post that looks something like a book review. The immediate expectation created when expressing opinions on literature kept me hemming and hawing on giving 4 out of 5 stars to this or that, or on extending furrowed brows of critique to the internets. But I’ve decided to soften the blow by combining my thoughts with a small vignette of where I was when reading the book, so hopefully creating a more experiential review of sorts. Also, working at a book publisher definitely helps in making my love for all things bookish extra public and wordy.
I should also mention that everything I seem to be reading these days is by female authors! Not too surprising, but still delightful. I’m enjoying the dive and subsequent swimming into the voices of these fabulous women and learning more about my own voice in the meantime.
The where: 2014 had just begun, everyone and everywhere was telling me that this was the book to read. Because of how hefty it is (784 pages!), I only read it in the comfort of home and as this picture connotes, had tons of distractions keeping me from finishing it more quickly.
The what: continuing from that last thought – I was surprised that I wasn’t more drawn to the main character or even the story. Perhaps the expectations were too high? The sheer length was daunting, considering I wasn’t loving it from the start. But gripping at parts it was, as were the masterful character portraits. Overall, I am glad to have read it but won’t be putting it on my favorites of the year list.
My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead
The where: after feasting my eyes upon the gorgeous cover for too long, I finally had the chance to crack this book open whilst home sick and stuffing myself with rice porridge. (Put a coddled quail egg in that porridge and I guarantee an expedited recovery!) I did wish my surroundings were a bit more provincial or pastoral, however comfy my futon + sweatpant combo may be.
The what: I’m actually still in the middle of Middlemarch, though it’s past March–sorry, terrible pun–and am seriously contemplating bookmarking my page until I actually read George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I know, it’s embarrassing and shocking. I haven’t read one of the greatest novels written for grown-ups, as touted by Mrs. Woolf, and I call myself an English major. But books on how books change you are so compelling! And Rebecca Mead’s lovely writing! I couldn’t help but start reading. Anyway, what I’ve read so far is excellent and I can’t wait to resume.
Mr. Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi
The where: now here was a book I easily brought along to wherever! The airport, the train, the cafe–I loved finishing each chapter in a different surrounding.
The what: ooh, I really enjoyed this one. Helen Oyeyemi is an author to watch/read! Her clever and violently vivid prose successfully paints a range of inter-connected stories all depicting the complexity, danger, and beauty of love. So satisfying, that feeling of being pulled in many small directions to ultimately be led to one big destination. I’m also surprised at how much I ended up liking Daphne Fox!
If you are looking for a new book to read, I hope this small roundup proves somewhat helpful! I’d also love to hear your thoughts if you’ve already read any of these books.
Next up, books by more powerhouse ladies: Maira Kalman, Flannery O’Connor, and either Margaret Atwood or Zadie Smith. Let’s see how long I can keep this homage to women authors going.