What I Happen to Be Reading At the Moment

"A thirteen-year-old is a kaleidoscope of different personalities, if not in most ways a mere figment of her own imagination. At that age, what and who you are depends largely on what book you happen to be reading at the moment.”

 

While not 13 anymore, the desire to read almost anything and everything in order to read for fun and for experience is still around. I'm currently working on my PhD in a physical science, but I love to read and books are one of my non-science hobbies.

Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 - Elizabeth Winder Elizabeth Winder tries to re-imagine the Sylvia Plath narrative in Pain, Parties, Work. We know the side of Plath who is portrayed as an unstable and persecuted woman who is brilliant but cannot handle her own creative impulse. Winder argues that Plath's summer internship as a guest editor at Mademoiselle is a microcosm of her later breakdowns. Plath bought a whole new wardrobe for her internship, but by the end she throws every piece off the hotel building where she and the other guest editors have been working. She cries in the bathroom before her first photo shoot with the magazine, though by the end she has been given what the other guest editors assume is preferential treatment. The tension between Plath's expectations of herself, her understanding of her own talent, and realization of her own limits as a writer and woman in the 1950s, Winder argues, becomes the central frustration of her career and life. Instead of the flake who has a breakdown, Plath is instead painted as a woman who finally sees the reality behind her literary aspirations and becomes unsure of herself. While there is a temptation to give Plath some sort of reductive psychological explanation, Winder justifiably argues for Plath having what could be considered a quarter life crisis that triggers her life long struggle with depression. While Plath is always a topic of interest, what really impressed me by Winder was her interviews with the surviving guest editors from Plath's cohort. I would have liked more of the original interviews with those women, and I really could have done without the detailed descriptions of Plath's wardrobe, though the first hand accounts of Plath and the Mademoiselle workplace kept me interested. Examining the role of internships and young life experiences is a more original take on the well trodden ground of Sylvia Plath's psychology, relying on more primary documents and memories rather than half baked gossip. Taken in along with Plath's diaries, a new take on Plath the artist can be formed.

Currently reading

Native Son
Richard Wright
The Great Glass Sea
Josh Weil
The Elder Edda
Anonymous, Andrew Orchard