“She could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself.”
I just finished re-reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham. The novel (and movie) were so important to me as a teenager. I remember watching the giddy delight of watching the movie on VHS at my friend Stephanie’s house. Even now, I can almost feel the carpet under our thighs as we sat cross-legged in her den, leaning toward the television set, crying together.
It was so rare, back then, that I felt comfortable—safe, really—sharing a piece of art I cared about with a peer.
I picked up a used copy of the novel last week at Under the Volcano Books in Mexico City. And wow, what a delight to return to a book that first gripped me nearly two decades ago and to discover that Young, Sad, Closeted, DRAMATIC Saeed had excellent literary instincts. And, of course, now that I’m in mid-thirties, I have a whole new appreciation for a story about facing the many, many hours ahead of us.
What’s a book you’ve re-read lately? How did it feel this time?
Just finished re-reading World War Z, which I'd read twice before the pandemic started. (I love a good re-read.) A lot of my "well, that would never happen in a real outbreak" skepticism from before 2020 has since been replaced with "welp, humans are both predictable and terrible."
I recently re-read Morgan Parker's Magical Negro. I crave black woman voices. Currently, I've been in really normal, friendly but entirely white spaces. I miss the kind of electric rhythms of conversations with black women --- the musicality of their wit and charm and also the softness black women can exude when they are comfortable and safe to be themselves in their circle of friends. I miss black women voices so much, and Parker's poetry speaks to the shared experiences of race and class and gender and belonging, and so I turn to Magical Negro when I feel lonely.
I’m in the process of rereading “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. I heard him on a podcast talking about his new book and want to look into this other one again before listening to it (yeah Libro.fm!). When I read TUS years ago I knew it was something that would change me, but I also knew it wasn’t the right time. Now is the perfect time. Thank you to the universe!
I re-read The Bell Jar recently. I hadn't read it since college. To read it again as a 41-year old hit so much harder emotionally for me. Especially as someone who goes to therapy. How far we have come in understanding mental health and what works and what doesn't. Also, the added pressure on women to have the choice for being college educated and smart, but also the expectations of setting all of that all aside to get married and be a house wife. After finishing The Bell Jar, I immediately picked up Heather Clark's biography on Sylvia Plath, Red Comet, which really helped to color the novel even more for me.
I've been looking for my next book--unwilling to commit. How have I not read this (or seen it)? I'm in.
I recently re-read 1984. You can probably guess how that went. It definitely hits home more now than it did when i read it in high school (in the 90s). Also, wherever you are in that picture looks lovely. I really miss reading in public spaces, specifically places with iced coffee and scones. ❤️
Blind Spot by Teju Cole. I couldn’t focus on it the first time. Now, my postCOVID self finds it unbelievably rich and apt.
I've had a really hard time reading fiction, lately. I've been in a vigilant mode, so it hasn't been easy to let myself be transported into someone else's world... but Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang has been balm for my nerves. His work makes me feel optimistic ❤️