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url 2016-09-20 14:56
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm glad I listened to
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath,Maggie Gyllenhaal,HarperAudio
The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness: A Novel - Shin Kyung-sook,Jung Ha-Yun
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People - Nadia Bolz-Weber
The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman,Elaine Hedges
Euphoria: A Novel - Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Lily King,Xe Sands,Simon Vance
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger
Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter - Carmen Aguirre
Rising Strong - Brené Brown
Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok,Grayce Wey,Penguin Audio
Dangerous Women - George R. R. Martin,Gardner Dozois,Scott Brick,Jonathan Frakes,Janis Ian,Stana Katic,Lee Meriwether,Emily Rankin,Harriet Walter,Jake Weber,Random House Audio

These are the top ten books I'm glad I listened to! I'm sure they would have nice to read too, but the narrators all these all added a little something to them. 

 

Check out the rest of the Broke and Bookish's TTT Audio Freebie!

 

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review 2016-07-13 00:00
The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath We begin with Esther Greenwood spending a summer month in New York acting as an editing intern at a fashion magazine along with a number of other young college women. Esther, it seems, is a very good student at one of the exclusive New England institutions for women. Likely, Smith College is the model, although it's not called out. But it's close enough to Yale for weekends mixing with the guys down there. I believe we're sometime in the 1950s: Eisenhower shows up in a magazine spread at one point.

When she gets home, Esther begins a downward spiral of depression and begins thinking about committing suicide, eventually making several attempts. She is sent off to a mental hospital. By the end of the book, she appears to be well enough to be released, but it's never completely clear.

It was kind of fun to be reminded about the social aspects of college life back in the olden days, how men or women had to travel to each other's schools for some social interaction. My older brother had to do that at Princeton. It confirmed for me that I had indeed made the proper decision to go to an co-educational school where all that artificial mingling would not be necessary. Of course, a few years after I graduated, pretty much everyone became co-ed, so such is no longer an issue. Anyway, an interesting trip down memory lane, so to speak.

On the other hand, this wasn't the best choice of a book for me to be reading. Reading about depression, suicide attempts, and "psychiatric treatment" [sic] are not things I want to confront. Psychiatry, even in the 21st century, is still basically a quack endeavor. The kind of psychiatry practiced in the 1950s, before there were decent anti-depression medications (many of which still aren't particularly efficacious), makes me want to punch rather a number of people. Still, the book was very well written. Plath was a well respected poet and her imagery and use of language is spectacular.
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review 2016-04-18 23:00
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath,Maggie Gyllenhaal,HarperAudio

I know, it's disgraceful that I could call myself a feminist and hadn't read this yet. Well, not entirely, but I totally get it. I finally picked it up as part of my Read Harder list, character with a mental illness.  As with most of my fiction, I actually listened to the book rather than read it and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm sure reading through it would have been perfectly wonderful but there is something about hearing it in Maggie Gyllenhaal's voice that was just fantastic. 

It's easy to see why this is the feminist classic that it is. Esther Greenwood, our protagonist, is embarking upon what sounds like a normal life for the time. The beauty of the book is the way Plath relays her feelings about it which was more like she's staring down the barrel of a life she doesn't want. Looking at it that way just makes sense out of her increasingly difficult time handling it. Her progression into illness was written beautifully. It was so easy to follow her thought process and reasoning for so long that it took me by surprise how far into illness she was when I realized it. Now, I knew the book was about mental illness but the slide appears so easy that it gives me a whole new appreciation for the depression questionnaires I have to fill out every time I'm at the doctor's office. 

Perhaps I just identified too well with her plight. Any girl still could because a lot of the issues she had with things had to do with the balancing of social expectations and gender roles that still won't quit. Would she have been more likely to be able to get a job and a little more freedom today? Sure, but she would probably still hate Buddy Willard and loathe the life that he represents for her. 

I loved every minute of this book and thought it ended on a perfect note. I'm also glad that I waited to read it. I feel like the extra years gave me a better appreciation for it. The book looks back on the character's illness as a nineteen year old. I think if I read it as I looked forward to that timeframe, I wouldn't have understood what her problem was. Looking at the world now, I remember those weights and the way they seemed like weights everyone had to carry. 

Of course, not everyone is as blind to the world as I was at 19, and I can see how teenagers falling in and out depression could relate easily to it. Or teenagers that recognize the weights and how ridiculous they really are. Definitely a must read, hopefully by 40. 

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review 2016-04-13 00:00
The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath great book! so sad I didn't start reading female writers sooner.
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review 2016-02-14 20:03
Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Trigger Warning: attempted rape, numerous suicide attempts, and completed suicide

 

I'm kicking myself for not reading this. I had such negative bias against this book, but it was wickedly funny and sharp, unromantic observances of life in 1950 (and a few that is still around in 2016). I am really glad I took the leap and read this book.

 

However, I am confused as to how this book is similar to Catcher in the Rye. I read Catcher a long time ago (I think I was 13 or 14) and it seemed less literary gem and more of non-stop whining. The Bell Jar had a point and a plot, which is more than I got out of Catcher. 4 stars.

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