The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I listened to this blockbuster teen novel on audio and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is read by Kate Rudd, who does an excellent job of rendering the voice of Hazel, the main character, who is 16 and has had terminal cancer for several years. When she meets Gus, a fellow teen who also has cancer, they quickly form a strong bond and go on a life-affirming trip that changes both their lives. This book has funny, wry, smart teens and a love story that will slowly wrench your heart out. I think it is a truly irresistible read for teen girls, but boys might enjoy the humor.
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran – Caitlin Moran is one of my new heroines. She strongly argues the case for feminism while hysterically telling her life story and recounting many of her own experiences as an opinionated woman. Unlike many feminist tomes I’ve read, How to Be a Woman is warm, funny, positive and full of fun. I would even say Moran’s writing is gleeful, though she is addressing serious issues. I really enjoyed this book and am currently reading her collection of articles, Moranthology. Caitlin Moran is someone I think I would enjoy spending time with, though I will never understand her thing for Lady Gaga.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Does anyone else share my obsession with Sylvia Plath? Like many teen girls, I became fascinated with her while I was in high school. Reading about her inner struggle between wanting to be a great artist and wanting to conform to the 1950’s expectations for women struck a chord with me and is a conflict I still see in evidence today. The Bell Jar describes this conflict through the story of Esther Greenwood, a college junior who has a breakdown during her summer holidays and ends up in a mental institution where electric shock treatments are administered to her. The world-weary tone and dark humor can’t hide Esther’s hope for meaning and the desire to define success in her own way. The Bell Jar is strongly based on Plath’s own experiences after her first suicide attempt in the summer of 1953. There has been a resurgence of interest in the novel and in Plath’s life because on February 11 it will be 50 years since she died. The Bell Jar is a wonderful novel, strong evidence of Plath’s talent and gift for prose – maybe not as strong as her poetry, yet so good it makes me sad we never had more from her.
After a really stressful week at work, I am savoring my three day weekend. I plan on lots of reading, cleaning, snuggling with cats and a visit to a bookstore or two. What do you have planned for the weekend?