'Tis the season for reading lists. The New Yorker and the New York Times have theirs. Bill Gates has his. Ryan Holiday, whose reading list I am somehow subscribed to, has also recently e-recommended me a few life-changing reads.
I have not, however, scrolled through any Sylvia Plath curated lists. This is most likely because she is dead. What a shame. No one can make corncob rape or the name Ursula sound as scintillating as SP. So let's get to it: here is your 2015 Sylvia Plath Reading List.
The Lord of the Rings (trilogy) - J.R.R. Tolkien
Finished the Tolkien trilogy. A triumph. A battle of the pans and kevas. I don’t know when I have been so moved. (475)
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Have been reading Faulkner. At last. Sanctuary and beginning the collected stories and excerpts. Will go on a jag. Absolutely flawless descriptive style: and much description: dogs, their smells, fuckings and terrors. Scenes. Whorehouse interiors. Colors, humor and above all a fast plot: rape with corn cobs, sexual deviation, humans shot and burned alive, he gets it in. (468)
The Years by Virginia Woolf
Reading V. Woolf’s The Years. With rain, she can unite a family, here in London, there in the country, in Oxford... the descriptions, the observations, the feelings caught and let slip, are fine, a luminous web catching it all in, this is life, this is time. (485)
Ulysses by James Joyce
i am reading 'ulysses.' god, it is unbelievably semantically big, great, mind cracking, and even webster’s is a sterile impotent enuch as far as conceiving words goes... (168)
The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne
‘The Marble Faun’, tedious, a Roman guidebook, & yet with a sylvan and gothic charm - moonlit coliseum, skull-mortared crypts, statues & paintings, masques & carnivals, & Donatello with his leaf-shaped furry ears - I love having read it because of my Roman time & walked again through St. Peter's & felt the mass of stone and gold and weighted jewels rise up in one massive fist to strike me. (336)
The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence
I opened the Rainbow which I have never read & was sucked into the concluding Ursula & Skrebensky episode & sank back, breath knocked out of me, as I read of their London hotel, their Paris trip, their riverside loving while Ursula studied at college. This is the stuff of my life - my life, different, but no less brilliant & splendid, and the flow of my story will take me beyond this in my way - arrogant? (337)
All quotes taken from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath