Books, On the Telly
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I’ve read four of the books Audrey Hope from the Gossip Girl reboot read…

..and here’s what I think so far.

Who doesn’t like messy teen drama? I’m guilty of liking it. But I’m also guilty of liking characters from messy teen dramas who stand out. And how does this character stand out? By being a bookworm with tough, dismissive exterior, hiding a loving, caring heart underneath. I could go on why I love her, but this isn’t what this blog post is about.

Audrey reads books that have very diverse themes–from affairs, women’s lives, essays about music, culture, literature, art, and even poetry. Her reading list (yes, she has one!) is pretty extensive, but I have read four so far. I will be sharing my (short) takeaways/reviews, and I hope it’ll encourage you to read them, too!

  1. Ornament and Silence: Essays on Women’s Lives, from Virginia Woolf to Germaine Greer
    Kennedy Fraser, 1996, Knopf

    From writers, artists’ wives, feminists, and even naturalists, Kennedy Fraser wrote about various women. My favourite essay is the one on Miriam Rothschild Lane. She was so passionate about nature and butterflies. Not only she was a passionate naturalist, but she was also a lively hostess as well. My takeaway from Fraser’s book is that these women may have had different experiences, but it is the experiences they’ve had, the lives they have led, that made them strong and interesting women  (I applaud Penny Scott for choosing herself after putting up with her husband for so long–but don’t do this until you have carefully thought things through and have a backup plan–remember Penny lived in a different time; different mores, different standards, so there.).

  2. The Days of Abandonment
    Elena Ferrante; Ann Goldstein, 2005, Europa Editions

    Boy, did Olga unravel. This book narrates Olga’s struggle, epiphany, and change after her husband left her for a much younger woman. Denial, anger, acceptance and transformation was the entire theme of this short novel. I loved how human Olga was during the novel. She was not afraid to feel anger, she even acted on it (I do not, however, recommend doing what she did, you’ll be basically committing a crime).My takeaway? Don’t be ashamed about how you feel. However, acting based on your feelings isn’t always the best course to take–assaulting your ex-husband’s lover, no matter how tempting it is is not going to do you any favours.

  3. Her Body and Other Parties
    Carmen Maria Machado, Graywolf Press, 2017

    I have to be honest, I have had mixed feelings about this book. The short stories were a mixture of science fiction, horror and fantasy, and other genres I couldn’t name. For me, it felt cold and clinical; a disjointed mess of thoughts, words, and phrases. The story that struck me most was The Husband Stitch. It fascinated yet exasperated me. The heroine kept saying no, and while I wanted to shake her by the shoulders, tell her to get over herself and let her husband untie the green ribbon, I also understood why she kept saying no. My takeaway: Her husband has the patience of a saint. Yet I also respect her for saying no. Is the book worth your money? No, but that’s just me.

  4. The White Album
    Joan Didion; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; 1979

    Yes, I cheated a bit here, as I’m not yet done reading the book. I’ve heard of Didion long before I read the show; a friend has recommended her books, but as I was pretty much overwhelmed with choices, I didn’t know where to start. Also, I started reading this book long before Didion’s death made headlines.

    Didion’s essays were like steady streams of thought–if Machado’s short stories were a disjointed mess, Didion still had a way of drifting from one subtopic to another yet managing to marry that topic to the main point, if that makes sense. I don’t have a takeaway from this book yet. but all I can say is that this won’t be the last Didion book I’ll ever read. Mark my words, there will be more.

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Let me know what you think. :)

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