If January was the most anxious month of my life so far, February has been the most depressing. Oddly this does not seem to have affected my reading habits; however, I feel as if I have predominantly ignored reading this month, I have had the time to consume a lot more books.
Instead, I have been distracting my mind with visual media, mainly The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Set as a series of video blogs, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries follows the modern day Bennets through various social media platforms. I am surprised I have not heard more about it, it really is revolutionary in terms of the way viewers consume the story. Characters can be viewed in real time on twitter and tumblr, viewers can submit questions to Lizzie which she answers via video and there are bi-weekly videos from Lizzie updating us, or explaining the interaction happening in-between her vlog posts. In fact this series appears more akin to reality than the ‘reality’ shows plastered all over our television screens. It is as if Lizzie and her sisters really do exist, like modern day celebrities; fascinating.
But back to literary life.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
“I spent the majority of this book looking for God, not knowing where to find him. Once I had finished I could not help but wonder if this was Mantel’s point, to at least have us looking. While reading I felt Richard Parker represented death, Pi needed to learn that survival is overcoming fear, knowing that with life comes death; you cannot have one without the other.”
The Little Prince & Letter to a Hostage by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I had been meaning to buy this for a while; a novella that will only take an hour to read at most. Inspired by the authors actually plane crash in the Sahara (where he and his partner reach levels of severe dehydration) The Little Prince depicts many aspects of his personal and public life; ranging from his wife to the rise of the Nazi’s. I wish I had stuck with French, reading this novella in its native language would possibly give the text more resonance.
Twelve by Nick McDonell
Short and pithy, McDonell’s novella Twelve is a two day read at most. Introspective and serious it leaves you pondering the value of money and the damage of parental detachment. The protagonist is White Mike, a teenage upper class drug dealer who has never had a sip of alcohol, let alone tried drugs. Spanning only a few days the story follows White Mike and a number of characters affected by drugs or his dealing of them. The ending is a surprisingly fast and immediate compared with the rest of the novel, which travels along as if dulled by weed.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
“Our unnamed protagonist meets the mysterious Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo; he is escaping his first wife’s death and she is a companion to an elderly snob. He forms an attachment to her, but never allows his stoic mask slip as she falls in love with him. The protagonists anxiety, the intensity of her love for Maxim and the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy felt in comparison to Maxim’s first wife Rebecca is consuming. It was as if I were the protagonist, feeling her anxieties. Any insecure woman in a relationship with a man incapable of letting anyone in will find the emotions she expressed applicable, even beyond the time and setting of the novel. Maxim constantly implies, but never confirms his love for her; thus she is left to assume that everything she does lacks Rebecca’s flair.”
Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington
As with many people unfamiliar with fashion, I came to know who Grace was from The September Issue, a 2007 documentary on the production of Vogue’s September issue – the biggest of the year. Before then I had no idea she existed, I knew vaguely of a few models who style I enjoyed, and an editor here and there, but fashion has never been something I passionately pursued. While I still cannot say I am a converted fashionista, it was fascinating reading about Coddington’s life. She is old school and her values in fashion are very easy to connect to; where Anna Wintour brings fashion forward Grace helps retain the old school style with a modern twist. It was also very nice to know they have a very genuine respect for each other, one that came across only briefly in the documentary.