All posts filed under: Kathryn H.

What You Say Can Never Be Exact

I am right on board with Katherine C. – I think this is one of my, possibly my absolute, favorite of the books we’ve read so far. I think my favorite part of the book was the way the narrative unfolded. It was like reading the way we actually think – the story opening up a little at a time, swaying from past to present to fact to feeling. Once I read the Historical Notes, I understood the perspective of the story more clearly, and I thought back to something I read earlier in the book. It’s impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many. It’s interesting to then think back on the story and think of all the …

I Want to High Five Sylvia

I am going to admit this up front: when I started reading The Vacationers by Emma Straub, I was a bit unsure. It’s not a book I would gravitate toward, but I knew it was a book I would enjoy. There was something about it that reminded me of Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan, a book that I basically anger-read because I was so irritated that I wasn’t reading another completely delicious book like Commencement (though in hindsight I should’ve seen it coming, and I have a lot of thoughts on Sullivan’s writing in general – specifically that she’s very good at what she does, but I digress – that’s fodder for another post). I was prepared to force myself to read The Vacationers. Before you read any further, know that I did change my tune! I enjoyed it, it was the perfect book to read while lounging poolside during my break between summer camp and back to school. It lacked a bit of the urgency I usually crave in my beach reads (the kind where you find yourself …

Yes, We SHOULD All Be Feminists.

As I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk and then Katherine C.’s review, one word just kept repeating in my head: “yes.” Yes to being unapologetic in our femininity – you can enjoy being feminine and still be a feminist. Yes to raising our daughters and our sons differently so they may enjoy a world where men and women are equal. Yes to equal pay and all the other benefits that go along with women having the same rights as men. Yes to embracing feminism and recognizing that being a feminist simply means supporting the basic principle that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men have. Yes to all of it. All that being said, I do feel lucky that in the United States we have at least come far enough that some of the issues Adichie describes in Nigeria do not exist. But what kind of praise is that? “Well, at least when I tip someone the tipped thanks me and not my husband” is not quite a glowing recommendation for …

A Girl I Can Relate to…

I’ve been reading Allie’s blog since June 2010. A friend sent her post, “This Is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult” to me and I think I snorted water out of my nose and exclaimed, “THIS IS SO TRUE!” I followed her blog regularly after that and was disappointed when it seemed to stop. When she returned with the post on depression, I was so taken with how honest and how self-aware she was. Needless to say, I was excited to read Hyperbole and a Half and wasn’t entirely sure why I didn’t already own it. It was great to revisit some of my favorite stories and wonderful to read some of the new ones. I continue to be impressed with how self-aware Allie is and how well she can describe her life, feelings, and situations. These stories are all so relatable. Even if you haven’t lived through what she’s describing, you understand where she’s coming from. She makes her life accessible and that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. Of course, her illustrations are …

Crying on the Beach

I read Still Alice over the course of two days while on vacation during my spring break from teaching. I know – not quite the beach read you’d expect. It felt a little awkward crying on the beach while everyone around me was enjoying the sun and sand, but it was worth it. I appreciated the pacing – it was such a fast read, and I loved the perspective of the novel as well as some of the storytelling devices that Genova used to really show Alice’s view. Specifically, the repetition of chunks of texts, sometimes whole paragraphs – it really places the reader in Alice’s shoes. For example, at the lunch lecture, you feel through Alice the awareness that something is off, but experience the lack of awareness of what that is. Don’t get me wrong – it can be uncomfortable to have an understanding as the reader that the narrator does not have, but it was a very interesting, eye-opening, and in many ways necessary approach to telling the story of Alice. It’s interesting that Genova …