27 November 2010

The best thing I read this week...

...this line from The Best of Everything:

"[She] had never been poor enough to feel the fright of poverty but only its small annoyances."

Most perfect phrasing ever of my quasi-adult lifestyle. For instance, this morning I handwashed a thrift-store cashmere sweater in the bathroom sink with shampoo because I can't afford dry-cleaning. Not exactly rent-or-food stuff...I mean, I'm unemployed, but I won't be for long. I have savings. Frugality for me is a virtue and not yet a necessity--I let people buy me drinks at bars. I don't go to movies. I haven't gotten that Nancy Drew tattoo.

And the whole novel was marvelous--the stories of young women in publishing in New York in the early fifties. One way to judge the success of a novel is whether I talk aloud to the characters, and here I kept shaking my head and muttering "He's never going to marry you, honey." And I was right, of course. If only one could be so clear-headed about one's own relationships.

I also finished The Outward Room: going to drag out the old adjective "lyrical" for the writing. It turned out much better for the protagonist than I'd feared. And it's always fascinating to read a novel from a time when Italians weren't yet white.

This morning I started reading Suzanne Rivecca's short story collection Death is Not an Option; I'm not even through the title story and I've already added it to my work-in-progress best of 2010 list. I'm such a sucker for effortlessness of voice!!


  1. I'd never heard of The Best of Everything but it sounds great. Thanks for the tip. (I found you because you won the Graywolf prize. Isn't Twitter fab?)

  2. Merci beaucoup!! Credit should also go to the lovely @bookavore, whose glowing staff pick of BoE interested me in the first place. It is really a forgotten classic of women's fiction.


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