The Musings of a Boho Girl

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

Category: Reading

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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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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Review: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

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“Falling apart, falling forever, never resuming vitality, becoming locked in perpetuity into the cell of solitary confinement, in which a sense of reality, of boundedness, is rapidly eroded: these are the consequences of separation, its bitter fruit.” — Olivia Laing

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The Brightest of the Bright Young People

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Last year I read D.J. Taylor’s Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age and developed fascination with several of its members. Stephen Tennant, Elizabeth Ponsonby, Nancy Mitford, Cecil Beaton and the others all led extraordinary lives; although Tennant spent much of his time in bed, he did have a love affair with war poet Siegfried Sassoon. By all accounts Tennant’s life was unique, his great aspiration was to be a great beauty. Photographer Cecil Beaton routinely captured Tennant’s striking features. All of the Bright Young People made a name for themselves: Beaton was a photographer for Vogue, Nancy Mitford was a novelist, Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward were arguably the most well known. The least accomplished members have the most compelling stories.

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Remnants of The Yellow Wall-Paper

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Joan Didion, author of “Play It as It Lays”, and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, is pictured here on May 1, 1977.(AP Photo)

“It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It’s odd how dreams are conceived and misplaced. Joan Didion’s first novel, Run River, was published in 1963; it’s the same year Sylvia Plath killed herself. Sometimes I think of how Plath’s dreams must have disappeared the day she decided to end her life and at the same time, somewhere across the Atlantic, Didion might have been reading proofs with notes from her editor; she was looking forward to realising a dream as someone else’s ended. I wonder how dreams die so suddenly, beyond the mental illness, something happens in society that breaks us. How did Didion avoid rejection and self doubt? Maybe she hid it beneath the cool girl aesthetic or she was stronger than the others? Plath didn’t live long enough to create the narrative she would have wanted. Culturally Plath will always be framed as the wronged housewife and poet who struggled to divide her time between writing and caring for her young family. Feminists often cite her as the victim of domesticity. Plath became a martyr for the feminist movement and many view her poetry is a symbol of the domestic struggle.

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The Archives: Cataloging the Dead

The intersection between illness and photography has always fascinated me. Seeing pictures of cancer patients offering the photographer a weak smile while receiving chemotherapy feels voyeuristic, we’re meant to feel something. Sadness? Hope? The point is we’re meant to feel an emotion that evokes us to do something. A visual image that reminds us one day we could be receiving chemotherapy and wouldn’t we want the best drugs possible to save our lives. The intentions vary, but there are always intentions. The photography associated with the AIDS epidemic is different, even the images from professional photographers reflect a desire to be seen. Each picture attempts to capture a vanishing body and those fleeting moments before death. In the last few days, I’ve combed through images only to realise that everyone pictured was dead; each photo became a visual obituary of the young and ailing.

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