you should be reading: the paris wife

i’ve been an avid reader for as long as i can remember, so i thought it might be fun to start a feature about the books i read, just in case you, as my lovely readers, feel like picking up a copy for yourself. it’s no surprise that as a writer, i devour books the way some people devour chocolate (or, okay, the way i devour chocolateā€¦). others drink to get away, i read. since i was little, i’ve been inventing stories in my head, and i think my ability to do so comes mostly from the fact that i was a voracious reader as a child. you can’t write unless you read. a lot.

since i still hold tight to the dream of writing a real book someday, one that people pick up in the bookstore and hold to their noses, taking in the scent of the newly printed pages, i continue to read. a lot.

my ability to fly through books is in part due to the fact that i spend a good deal of time on public transportation each day. i recently invested in a kindle, and it’s the best $79 i ever spent. i’m partial to real books, but i have to say, when you’re lugging your life onto a crowded subway car each day, it makes a huge difference to read from an ultra-light kindle instead of a heavy hardcover. i recently discovered you can get kindle books from the library. this has changed my life. NYPL, i love you. now, for my recco.

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the paris wife by paula mclain

i should start this by telling you i have never been a fan of hemingway. i find his writing too bare, too simple, too stripped of emotion (i know he liked it that way and this writing style was intentional, but that’s never appealed to me). but now that i’ve read this (admittedly fictional, but based on history and his writings) novel about his early days, before he was ernest hemingway, the writer, i’m inclined to pick the sun also rises back up again. anywho, i won’t give any details away, but suffice it to say i loved this book (though the nytimes hated it), and while its (likely accurate) portrayal of women made me furious at times, it’s neat to see the man behind the mask.

Ernest Hemingway with his wife, Hadley

hemingway treated his wife like shit, for the most part, and she sat back and took it. he seems like quite a macho asshole to me – a guy who, deep down, was incredibly insecure and entirely selfish, with a singular focus on his career. little else mattered to him in the end. he thought he was entitled to the best the world had to offer, and took all that came his way, whether it belonged to him or not, whether it was right or wrong. if nothing else,Ā the paris wife is an interesting look at what it used to mean to be a woman. i have to say, i’m not sure i could have lived in the twenties. sure, the glitz and the glam of the flapper era would have dazzled my senses, but quite frankly, it positively stunk to be a woman in that age. i’m oversimplifying, of course – but i just can’t imagine living in an era where women had no voice, no job prospects, and were simply meant to satiate their husband’s every desire. my, how the times have changed.

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