This novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).
I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.
Full steam ahead right? We’re entering the last two months of the year and those are never busy. That last sentence is dripping with sarcasm. Mostly I’m impressed I’m reading anything at all, let alone keeping up with blogging, podcasting and another project that’s in the works. (Not to mention work and friendships and stuff.)
Outside of work it was a busy month full of culture and reading. I’ll talk more about La Bohème and our trip to Wellfleet and Provincetown, MA in the culture corner section. To end the month we went to my friend Caitrin’s house party for Halloween where I dressed as an old fashioned ghost and Tim dressed as Frida Kahlo. Needless to say I’m ready for the cooler weather to stick and to curl up with a book and read, but I don’t know if I’ll have any time to do that this year.
For episode eight of Come Read With Me my friend Peter joined me to discuss Sylvia Path’s only novel The Bell Jar. Although his reasons for wanting to read it were questionable, it was an interesting read. Peter does tweet @peteantonellis, but be forewarned it is all politics and The Simpsons.
Aside from Peter’s ridiculous knowledge when it comes to British Naval Fiction, we discuss the reading list of Daria Morgendorffer; blurring the lines between fiction, memoir and autobiography; mental health and institutionalization; New York City and Boston; WTF are bell jars and diving bells?; modern adaptations of classics; manga vs. anime; and a plethora of other random subjects. You know how it works with these podcasts tangents pretty much are the podcast. I’m embarrassed I couldn’t remember the name Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I mistakenly called it Dr Strange and Mr. Norrell.
This is one of those books that has so much umph in the cultural milieu that it’s a wonder I’ve never read it before. I squeezed it in just in time this month to get a podcast recorded to be released at the end of the month. If you’re in the Boston area and you want to record one let me know! :-D But, more importantly than podcasting, this book counts as the 43 book of my Classics Club journey. (See, I told you I was still chipping away). I’m so far off target it’s not even funny, but I’m glad that I’m still occasionally reading from my list.
Let’s start with the big to-do about this novel. Maybe it’s not that much of a to-do, but it felt like one. I still don’t know how much of this novel to believe is fiction. It’s very clearly labeled as fiction and yet it is very clearly Plath’s own personal story. I mean her mom wrote a letter to the American publishers saying these are real people and real stories thinly veiled as characters! There is one point where I couldn’t help but laugh because Plath writes Esther, the main character, writing a novel about a character doing the same thing. HOW META CAN YOU GET?! This is the same story being told by three different people all of whom are telling/experiencing the same story.
How in the world is it October? I still feel like I’ve just gotten back from Spain, it’s hot and the entire summer is before me, but that was three months ago! In reality, this is the busiest time of the year, it’s getting really cold in New England, we’re facing a potential hurricane in the next week and I’ve already done so many fall things it’s not even funny!
Thankfully, built into this really busy month I had some time to relax. A few of us went out to visit my sister who lives in the middle of a national forest and it was a much-needed break from the business that is Boston. The above left photo shows the offices (far right), pavilion and kitchen (center) and the bunk house (left). It was beautiful and we went for two walks and I took a nap by the pond. The right photo is from like 6AM where we were on the office porch just relaxing because we can’t sleep in anymore! (For more pictures check out my Instagram: geowhaley.
My final foray, at least for the time being, into professional development was Badowski’s Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship with Those Above You, and if I’m completely honest it’s the only one I should have read.
I enjoyed the “theory” and the “professional opinions” in the Harvard Business Review compilations I read, Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series) and HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across, but neither of them had the wit, the humor or the charm of this book. Seriously, there is something to be said about reading a book that could be an incredibly boring (or pedantic) subject that makes you laugh out loud or giggle to yourself on public transportation. They all provide great advice, but this book offered the advice through the art of storytelling and not the other way around.
I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but fall is definitely starting to arrive in New England. I’ve already seen Pumpkin Spice Lattes on people’s social media and Tim just bought Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate. It is a little weird though, last week was beautiful and temperate and then this week we’re back into the 90s (mid 30C’s) and it’s hella humid.
In case I wasn’t stressed enough with everything else I moved over the past few weeks. If you follow me on other social media this isn’t a surprise. I didn’t move far, less than eight miles driving, but I’d been living in the same place for FIVE YEARS. I was amazed at how much I managed to accumulate.