What I'm Reading... @MichelleObama @JenniferWeiner & Sylvia Plath Letters


BECOMING by Michelle Obama: Susan Rich gave me the hardcover of this book last week and I started reading it 2 days ago and I'm already on Chapter 8 where she has just met Barack at her law firm and they are starting to have lunches together--I cannot put this book down.

Michelle writes in smart, straightforward way where stories (and images) reconnect in other chapters and topics that usually bore me (such as childhood) do not. 

For example, there is this one scene where Michelle is in kindergarten and has read the names of colors on cards in front of her class and messes up on the word "white" and does not receive a gold star to wear on her shirt. She returns to class the next day and asks her teacher for a redo--her teacher says "No, we're moving on..." but Michelle holds her ground and advocates for herself until she gets the teacher to agree for a redo. (I'll let you read to see if she gets her star or not...)

I feel I am learning so much about *who* Michelle Obama is and also receiving this incredible story of strength as well as the history of Chicago's South Side (something as a Seattle native, I knew little about). As we move through the years, the story keeps getting stronger.

I would also recommend getting this book in both print (for the photos) but there is also an audio version read by Michelle herself--so no matter HOW you read this book, read this book. It's truly inspiring. 

HUNGRY HEART by Jennifer Weiner -- In between my moments with Michelle Obama, I have just started this book Jennifer Weiner book and already finding myself reaching for it when I have down time. Jennifer is a funny, easy-to-read writer who is self-deprecating and authentic in sharing her ups and downs.

What I like about this book is that so far, each chapter acts (while moving along Jennifer's life chronologically as a memoir) felt like an individual essay (something I noticed in Michelle Obama's book too) so you can read one section and get that feeling of completeness (something I love which is why I also read short story collections and other essay collections). 



First, you should know, I actually love reading other poets letters. Many many years ago, I read Elizabeth Bishop & Robert Lowell's and Zelda & F. Scott Fitzgerald's letters (note: there is are many more Zelda letters than F. Scott given that Zelda didn't bother to keep many of his letters--a fact I find rather funny and it worked for me because I have always been a little more interested in Zelda anyway). 

What I love? How Sylvia sometimes signs her letters "Sivvy," and how as I read her letters I get a better since of her voice.  I love her boring details such as "I'd love vitamins! I'm convinced everything the British sell is without nourishment whatsoever" and "The Rice's sent us the strangest Christmas card!...an ominous rhyme with all sorts of mixed metaphors. Well, no doubt they have good intentions."

For me, this is my favorite parts of reading letters--the details of all of it. Plath's words bring me into her world--which was SO Ted focus--(note: this is a LONG book, so I'm still just dabbling through it), but Ted this is and Ted got a poem here and ... it's a reminder how so much of Plath's life was catering to Ted. Even one letter her has her telling her inlaws she made Ted eggs before sending him off.

I see the struggle as well as the joy in her writing and
 I can get lost in this different time very easily. 

  ~ Kells ________________