Please bear with Book Squad Goals while they switch web hosts- for now, read my blog post for them here:
Day-to-day life with someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s is made up of a thousand tiny stories. Sometimes, they are hilarious. This humour is both real and a coping mechanism.
I just finished Leslie Jamison’s collection of confessional essays, The Empathy Exams. It took me a while to get through the dense, informed, and emotionally exhausting essays but once I did I was glad i took the time to go through them slowly. I have a few clear favourites, and some I skipped because they didn’t grab me, but on the whole I thought The Empathy Exams was a well written and thoughtful collection that every girl and woman should read. One of the things I loved most about Jamison’s writing is its present tense narration. That definitely grabs you – it’s something that many a creative writing professor has discouraged my M.A. peers and I from using, but I found it brought the reader very close to the moments Jamison was recounting. It is this closeness she both evokes and writes about. In her final essay, undoubtedly the strongest and most meaningful, she discusses feminine pain at great length, but never once (in my recollection) talks about catharsis. I see catharsis as a mirror of empathy, a selfish …
While meandering through Spitalfields market one afternoon, I saw a copy of David Nicholls’One Day sat on a table full of £3 novels. Its cover caught my eye, but instead I purchased a copy of Dorian Grey. All the way home my boyfriend insisted I read One Day, and reminded me that he had in fact leant me the book several weeks ago. A week later I cracked open the cover; in two days I had devoured the whole thing. And I had fallen in love with Emma Morley. Read more… Originally published at Black Heart Magazine
There is something undeniably enticing about the narrator (“call him Samuel Bennet”) of Dylan Thomas’ unfinished novel Adventures in the Skin Trade. Published as part of a collection in 1953, the eponymous piece of prose details Bennet’s migration from his home in Wales (Thomas’ own home) to London. What the young Samuel Bennet encounters, however, is far from his expectations. It is the shattering of this dream, and Bennet’s own strangely artistic nihilism, that makes him so enthralling.