Seems that every second person in my Twitter feed is reading (or talking about) Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl. While everyone else has been busy getting stuck into Dunham, I wound the memoir-clock back to what is considered one of the first novels to emerge from the Women’s Liberation Movement (according to the Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing) – Alix Kates Shulman’s Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen.
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, Shulman’s debut, was published in 1972 and tells the story of Sasha Davis, following her ordinary, middle class life from childhood through to marriage and motherhood. The book is set in America during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and although it is fiction, there are notable parallels between Sasha’s life and that of the author. Continue reading
I’ve made a to-do list. To give me strength to get through the next fortnight. Continue reading
Last week, Annabel Smith tweeted a link to a fantastic article, The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State. It got me thinking about an Australian equivalent.
Strictly speaking, an Australian literary map isn’t quite as crowded (not as many states in comparison to the US). It would be nice to do an Australian one that reflected cities and regional areas but that’s a big project (and for that matter, actually put it on a map…). For the time being, here are my favourite books set in different states.
A couple of years ago I made a resolution to occasionally buy books that I knew nothing about. I know, I shouldn’t strain myself, right? Anyway, the point was to seek out books that I hadn’t read reviews of; by an author that was new to me; and that didn’t have any ‘hype’. If you hang around book blogs, it’s harder than it sounds (but it’s okay, I’m coping). This is how I came across The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
The testimonials by S. J. Watson, Hannah Kent and Deborah Moggach (who wrote the very interesting book, Tulip Fever) on the cover of the The Miniaturist were enough to prompt me to pick it up – such an odd mix of authors singing its praises.
The story is set in Amsterdam, in 1686. The city is ruled by the sea and Calvinist burgomasters (both grim and ever-threatening), and its people shun ostentatious displays – meals of cold herrings and bread while their sugar is eaten in secret; plain woolen clothes lined with the finest furs and silks.
“Founded on risk, Amsterdam now craves certainty, a neat passage through life, guarding the comfort of its money with dull obedience.” Continue reading
Not so many Bookish Thoughts (hosted by Christine) this week, just things I’m loving (because I’m hating exam pressure).
I read lots on a recent holiday… It already seems a distant memory. I won’t get the chance to go the full burrito on reviews, so instead, some quick thoughts on two books – Continue reading
I’ve sat on lots of committees. Lots. I’ve seen behaviour (from adults) on committees that is quite astounding. I’ve often come home from committee meetings muttering “I could fill a book with this crap…”. And although I’m having a ‘committee-free year’, I know there will be more committees in my future because as much as they sometimes make me want to bang heads together or wish that I was spending my Monday nights at home on the couch watching Made in Chelsea, I keep going back for more (in the name of getting shit done). I suspect that Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members, is also a committee-lover. Or maybe an academic-bureaucracy lover. Or maybe both*. Continue reading