The Musings of a Boho Girl

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

Tag: Zadie Smith

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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Women’s History Month Reads

 

This month we celebrate the achievements of women. There are so many accomplished women that we could explore such as Ruth First, a South African anti-apartheid activist and journalist, who spent her life seeking equality for all South Africans. First was living in exile when she was assassinated in 1982, but before her death, Ruth First wrote several books including 117 Days, which chronicles her arrest and imprisonment during the apartheid system. First was detained in solitary confinement for 90 days under South African law. 117 Days shaped how I saw anti-apartheid activists and gave me insight into their experience so I wrote a brief Women’s History Month Reading List.

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July: My Five Obsessions

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Reading Zadie Smith

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag

I did not know Willesden, not the Willesden that exists in Zadie Smith’s novel, White Teeth. Her North West London seemed far from my little corner in Hoxton. London as a whole still felt foreign to me, so I read White Teeth as an outsider, not really understanding the multicultural setting that Smith described. Silence followed, at least, in class discussions. Multiculturalism in London felt more authentic than the American version, which seemed forced in some ways. Racial tensions never seemed apparent in London or perhaps, I wasn’t looking for them. White Teeth was published five years before I moved to the UK. Time changes us so it wasn’t strange to think a country may have evolved. While my classmates were looking at their culture, I was examining a culture that I did not really know yet. Smith made the plot accessible and slowly I understood the London in her novel.

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