We’re nearing the end of a decade, looking back at we’ve gained and lost as well as our favorite moments is only fitting. I haven’t had as much time to write as usual but I wanted to look back at some lovely moments over the last decade.
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!
I was listening to Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s classic Christmas song, Peace on Earth/ Little Drummer Boy. It was the first time I had heard the beautiful song and I immediately fell in love with it. The idea of good will and peace on earth is a noble one, I was thinking about the one organization that embraces those values. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, works tirelessly to save the lives of refugees and place them in safe countries. Their support has saved countless lives and demonstrates the importance of supporting refugees. Spend a little time on their website, you’ll see stories of hope. Refugees who risked everything to seek safety, are now learning the language of their new country, they’re opening businesses, and building lives. Everyone deserves to live in a stable country and UNHCR recognizes that fact with action.
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.
Spring is nearly here. Right now I’m pouring over the letters of W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne. How many times is she going to break his heart? Why did Yeats continue to propose? Also why did Yeats propose to Gonne’s daughter, Iseult? This is one fascinating love story. Gonne inspired Yeats’ love poems and I’ve always wanted to learn about her. I plan to be finished with these letters in time for my spring reading list.
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:
I wasn’t planning on writing a post this early. In fact I’m still overjoyed that I met Ali Smith. She’s brilliant and really lovely too. I almost didn’t make it to the event. At 17:00 I was stuck in a cab on Jamaica Road telling my driver that I rearranged my entire trip just to come to this event. He becomes quite determined and begins backing up and turns left then the driver takes an alternate route that leads us off Jamaica Road. I’m not familiar with South East London, but we traveled down a number of different streets just to go around the traffic jam.
When we finally reach the venue, my fare is £59 and he tells me to just forget it, to go inside and get my book signed. He’s the kindest cab driver in the world. So I went in late, but it was a fantastic evening. I would do it all over again even if there were only ten minutes of discussion, although it was much longer. Smith discussed her new collection of stories and who influenced them. There were readings from her book. If you’re local, try to get to King’s College London: Inventing the modern novel on November 9, 2015 (18:30-20:00). Ali Smith is thoughtful and engaging with her audience. I’d love to be able to hear how modernist literature has influenced her work, such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. She’s truly remarkable. I can’t wait to start reading Public Library and other stories.
Happy July, it’s the month of barbecues, strawberries & cream, and summer cocktails (that was June too). There are so many things that I love right now, it was hard to narrow it down to just five. I couldn’t resist the urge to list the two Smiths that I adore. If I had one ounce of Kanye West’s confidence and Ali or Zadie Smith’s talent, I’d be sorted for life.
1. Hotel World by Ali Smith. This 2002 book is being released with a new cover of David Hockney’s ‘Views of Hotel Well II’. Like everything Ali Smith writes, Hotel World is brilliant. I read it nearly a decade ago and can still remember Smith’s vivid prose. Hotel World was shortlisted for The Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction, it’s well worth a read. Check out the synopsis here. It’s as imaginative as How to be Both, which everyone should be reading, by the way. Keep an eye out for this Hamish Hamilton title.
2. BBC Proms. There’s one thing I love about summer…the Proms. Going to The Proms is one of the things I miss most. This summer classical music concerts was one of my favourite events. So if you’re based in England or planning a trip to London, do try to make a trip to the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms. I lived near Royal Albert Hall and managed to go several times a week. Yes, I was addicted. The last night of the Proms is particularly special, the crowd sings Rule Britannia.
3. Zadie Smith. Several friends are just discovering how talented she is. They’re becoming addicts and I don’t blame them, she’s an extraordinary writer. Smith’s recent short story, ‘Escape From New York’, is in the New Yorker Fiction Issue (2015). It’s quite good, Zadie Smith re-imagines Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor leaving New York City during 9/11. I love how Smith plays with this urban myth. You can find the story here.
4. Wimbledon. I’ve been waking up insanely early to watch the matches. It’s always great fun as long as my favourite players are winning. Things are looking good for Team Andy Murray and Serena Williams.
5. Lush Cosmetics. I fell in love with this store and I’m glad they have stores throughout the United States, although the Regent Street store will always have my heart. I can’t imagine life without their bath bombs and melts. Go here and prepare to fall in love.
Spring is upon us. In college, it meant one final break before exams. My springtime rituals haven’t changed much, trips to the ballet and finding a good book to read at the park. American Ballet Theatre’s Spring Season at the Met holds special memories, I saw David Hallberg perform for the first time and it was breathtaking. Seeing him dance became a tradition, but there are plenty of other traditions to continue while Mr. Hallberg heals from surgery.
1. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane. I’m midway through this remarkable book. The glossary filled with landscape terms in Old English, Gaelic, and Welsh is astounding. Macfarlane explores Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, what influenced her, and how living in the Cairngorms shaped her writing. Macfarlane describes his own experience in the Cairngorms with such beauty it leaves the reader in awe. You can find a copy here.
So right now I wanted to share the 5 things that I can’t stop thinking about.
1. Penguin Little Black Classics. The launch of classics celebrates the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books. 80 titles at .80 pence each. There are a range of titles, from The Yellow Wallpaper to Anthem of a Doomed Youth; and those are just two of the eleven that I pre-ordered. The publication date is 26 February 2015 so there’s time to check them out. I want them all, which is completely impractical (my bookcase is crumbling and I’m fairly unsettled).