The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

Category: Literary

Spring Reading

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Dear Readers, happy April! It’s been months since my last post, I’ve been busy with queries, manuscript requests, job applications and interviews. The good news is we survived winter, which is no small feat. Spring will be fantastic. There’s much to look forward to so I’m writing about my five loves this spring.

Lorna Simpson’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in London began March 1st and ends April 28th. “Unanswerable” features Simpson’s most recent work, which includes themes of identity and gender. She’s a renowned artist, I can’t possibly imagine missing this exhibit if I were in London. I first saw Simpson’s work at the MoMA when I was a student, she’s remarkable. You can read the interview that Simpson did with Bomb Magazine here. Details on the exhibit are here.

For those of us stateside, the Morgan Library has an extensive collection of Peter Hujar’s photographs on display until May 20th. Hujar is well known for capturing significant figures and moments the East Village. He made a subculture that wasn’t visible to mainstream society relevant. Here are the details on Peter Hujar: Speed of Life.

The Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition, David Bowie is. It’s on until July 15th. If you’re planning a trip to NYC this spring or summer make sure to include a trip to the Brooklyn Museum.

Deborah Levy. Her new book, The Cost of Living is out in the UK. If you’re in the USA, I recommend revisiting Things I Don’t Want to Know until her most recent book is released in the US. You could always order The Cost of Living directly from the UK but international shipping fees can be rather pricey. Here is the link to Foyles.

A Public Space. It’s one of my favorite literary magazines. The founder, Brigid Hughes is the former executive editor of The Paris Review. I’m impressed by the art in each issue. It’s published quarterly and definitely worth reading. You can subscribe here.

Happy Reading, everyone!

Fall Reading

Happy fall, lovely readers! This is my first post in awhile. I hope everyone enjoyed the summer and is looking forward to a blissful autumn. Over the last few weeks I’ve been editing my fall reading list, there are so many fantastic books being released that it was difficult to narrow my list down to just six books. I’m including two political books, which is rare for me but these writers produce compelling articles.

 

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We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates releases on 10/03/2017. Coates examines the Obama era and the president’s historic candidacy. He has written insightful essays for The Atlantic and was recently awarded the MacArthur Fellowship. Coates has always written nuanced essays and I’m looking forward to reading this book. You can pre-order We Were Eight Years in Power here at Waterstones  or at Barnes & Noble.

Ali Smith is an international treasure. Usually people are national treasures, but Ali Smith’s star shines brighter than the United Kingdom. She has readers across the pond that adore her. Winter: A Novel releases on November 2, 2017. It is the second novel in her quartet. The synopsis is intriguing, check it out here. The first novel, Autumn, was longlisted for the Man Booker. Do read it if you haven’t already. You can pre-order Winter here or here.

The third book on my list doesn’t have a release date in the US, but it’ll be available in the UK on October 2, 2017. The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris is a beautiful picture book suited for children and adults. Jackie Morris is a talented artist, whose illustrations are the perfect match for Macfarlane’s nature words. If you’ve read Landmarks, then you know how mesmerizing Macfarlane’s books can be. You can find it here at Waterstones.

The Future is History by Masha Gessen. This book is an examination of Russia as a failed democracy and Vladimir Putin’s rise to power created an autocracy. Gessen follows four Russians. The book sounds like a cautionary tale as Gessen offers readers a grim reality of what happens when democracy ends. The Future is History releases on October 3, 2017 and can be ordered here.

David Hallberg is immensely talented and one of the most beautiful dancers I’ve ever seen. I was thrilled to learn he wrote a memoir. Hallberg is known for being the first American dancer to join the Bolshoi Ballet, but a long time ago I went to the ballet one evening and watched him perform. He’s special. This memoir includes how he recovered from a serious injury, one that sidelined his career for more than a year. A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back releases on November 7, 2017. You can pre-order it here.

I’ve become obsessed with Queen Victoria and her little dog, Dash.  Jenna Coleman is superb in this PBS period drama. So while I wait for the second season, I’m reading Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria: A Novel and forming a strong love for Lord Melbourne. Not sure he was the Byronic hero that Rufus Sewell’s portraying, I saw his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery and was immediately fascinated by his tragic marriage. You can find Goodwin’s novel here.

What’s everyone planning to read this fall?

 

Summer Reading List

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Happy Summer, lovely readers! Hopefully you’re all enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, I wanted to share my summer reading list. Some of these books are quite long so I’m not sure I’ll make it through the entire list. There are a few suggestions in case you’ve read the books on my list. Also check out the summer issue of the Paris Review, which features an interview with one of my favorite writers, Ali Smith.

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Review: Autumn by Ali Smith

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“Imagine if time could be kind of suspended, rather than us be suspended in it.”
Ali Smith

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Fall Must Reads

I love autumn: the Starbucks fall themed drinks, the vibrant leaves, and the new books. The best books tend to come out in the fall. This year the literary gods have blessed us and we’ll see books from Jonathan Safran Foer, Ali Smith, and Zadie Smith. I’ve been excited about these releases for months now. I’m not alone, friends from Israel to France to Rhode Island have pre-ordered Foer’s novel. So here are my Fall Must Reads:

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2016 Reading List

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Happy New Year, lovely readers! 2016 is going to be a year of brilliant new books so I’ve put together a reading list that I plan on following this year. My New Year’s Resolution is to read more Javier Marías. We were standing in Plaza Mayor when my friend said Marías lives there. Embarrassed, I finally admitted to him that I didn’t know who Marías was. That was almost ten years ago, since then I’ve seen his work reviewed in the Los Angles Times. Most recently his book, The Infatuations was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award. I haven’t read The Infatuations but I have read A Heart so White, a haunting novel about the past.

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Happy Birthday to Sylvia Plath

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Fever 103

Pure? What does it mean?
The tongues of hell
Are dull, dull as the triple

Tongues of dull, fat Cerberus
Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable
Of licking clean

The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
The tinder cries.
The indelible smell

Of a snuffed candle!
Love, love, the low smokes roll
From me like Isadora’s scarves, I’m in a fright

One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel,
Such yellow sullen smokes
Make their own element. They will not rise,

But trundle round the globe
Choking the aged and the meek,
The weak

Hothouse baby in its crib,
The ghastly orchid
Hanging its hanging garden in the air,

Devilish leopard!
Radiation turned it white
And killed it in an hour.

Greasing the bodies of adulterers
Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.
The sin. The sin.

Darling, all night
I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.
The sheets grow heavy as a lecher’s kiss.

Three days. Three nights.
Lemon water, chicken
Water, water make me retch.

I am too pure for you or anyone.
Your body
Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern—

My head a moon
Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin
Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.

Does not my heat astound you! And my light!
All by myself I am a huge camellia
Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.

I think I am going up,
I think I may rise —
The beads of hot metal fly, and I love, I

Am a pure acetylene
Virgin
Attended by roses,

By kisses, by cherubim,
By whatever these pink things mean!
Not you, nor him

Nor him, nor him
(My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats) —
To Paradise.

Listen to Plath read Fever 103 here.

Five Quotes from Ali Smith’s Hotel World

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‘Remember you must live.
Remember you most love.
Remainder you mist leaf.’

I ended up attending a book club again. Maybe it was the cake or the opportunity to discuss Ali Smith’s Hotel World that led me to the basement of an independent bookshop, but there I was holding my copy of Hotel World and eyeing a Whole Foods cake. This novel is one of my favourites, Hotel World is brilliant: five sections about five women, one of whom is dead, and it’s set at the same global hotel branch. Smith skillfully traces the characters’ paths and where they intersect. The final section is a stream-of-consciousness from Clare (Sara Wilby’s younger sister) which is reminiscent of Woolf or Joyce. Here are five quotes from Hotel World:

‘Else wonders where her head would go, if she could take it off and hold it in her hands and then fling it up and set it flying, leaving her chest and her stomach and her legs and her waving-goodbye arms, her head soaring by itself up past the huddles of freezing starlings. The sky would open. The roof of it would come off. She would be so careful up there. She would avoid aeroplanes.’ 67
‘It is much easier to picture her from the photographs in the papers and TV than to try to remember. The photographs in the papers and on TV seem to have wiped Lise’s memory of the real Sara Wilby even cleaner.’ 110

‘Time is notoriously deceptive. Everybody knows this (though it is one of the easier things to forget).’ 103

‘At the bottom of the shaft, colourless in the dark, there was a shoe and a crumpled uniform, both still warm, both going cold. There were three or four coins, maybe more. There was a broken clock. Its plastic shell was shattered and its face was in bits.’ 154

‘& since I will always know off by heart I will not forget the sound of you breathing in the dark & since there was the night when I was eleven when they played the old song about the long and winding road on the radio & for some reason I don’t know why it made me frightened that the earth was full of dead people even the earth round the flowers outside in the garden though I didn’t say anything I was in bed you were in the other bed you said what’s wrong are you scared you knew I was without me having to say anything’ 219

You can find Hotel World here.

On February 11th

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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Year after year there are articles commemorating the death of Sylvia Plath, it’s hard to read them. How can we commemorate the death of a brilliant mind? I was drawn to Sylvia Plath…her life was beautiful and tragic; her private struggles had become as famous as her poetry. After her suicide people blamed her husband, poet Ted Hughes. Right or wrong, the idea of Sylvia Plath Hughes evoked such anger that her married surname was repeatedly erased from her tombstone. This day is heartbreaking…not just because two children lost their mother but because a woman lost everything: her life, her privacy, and her future. February 11th is the day that happened. It is the day that others began to re-write Sylvia Plath, it’s the day they labeled her a tormented woman, a fragile soul, a vindictive wife, etc. We almost lost her poetry to those labels.

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Looking Forward and Backward: War of the Encyclopaedists, The Hay Festival, Five Dials, and Jonathan Larson

“There is no present or future-only the past, happening over and over again-now.”

—Eugene O’Neill, A Moon for the Misbegotten

It’s really too soon to write about this book, but I can’t contain my excitement. Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite’s War of the Encyclopaedists will be released on the 28th of May 2015 and this intriguing debut novel sounds brilliant, just read the synopsis.

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