Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend a reading of the letter’s of Sylvia Plath; having been emailing Peter.K.Stienberg, I spotted the events listing on his blog, Sylvia Plath Info. (Click here to open.) Needless to say, I was VERY excited.
The event was held in Charleston, Lewes, East Sussex-which was just a short drive away. The reading was due to start at eight o’clock that evening; the thing is, the earlier it is, the darker it’s now getting in the evenings. (Winter is coming!!) Coupled with this was rain and wind. I was grateful that I was wearing a wooly jumper.
The event was held in a temporary structure that I could only describe as a large marquee-fully enclosed, of course-which made for an interesting combination; with the wind and rain, the metal beams that held the tent up seemed to rattle loudly at points. (It was loud to me, probably not to the rest of the audience.)
Prior to going to the room where the reading was held, I just had to look at the book sale; as you can see, there was a beautiful display of ‘Letters’. (Boy, is this book hefty! And I don’t mean the price tag-I could probably afford to tone up a muscle or two with it; it’s a great scholarly work, I think.)
There was also this:
I like the look of the poetry book Milk and Honey; anyway, I digress.
Sarah Churchwell, who I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember her full title, gave a brief talk to put into perspective the letters. She recounted Plath’s life, and ‘turning points’, if you could call them that; interning at Mademoiselle, the science course…
Eve Best, actress, read extracts from the letters; she was very effective at personalising Plath! This part of the evening I enjoyed most, as it made Plath seem that little bit more human; she isn’t just the mythologised Poetess, she was an academic, wife, mother, friend, daughter, etc. I think this is sometimes what people seem to forget; on mentioning Sylvia Plath to people, I get the incredulous reaction of “Poetry? POETRY?!”
Plath’s attitude was also noted; in one, for instance, she wrote to her mother, Aurelia, sort of marvelling at her ‘shopping spend up’, listing the garments bought, the amount, what occasion, material… And then, in a ‘P.S’, she asked not to be admonished for the amount spent-as the clothing was versatile, and could be used for basically every occasion. She also seemed very much like your typical teen at points-not to be condescending-such as when writing to her mother about the dreaded science course.
As a piece of feedback: I think that both editors should have been mentioned more, on a more of an equal basis.

Prior to this day back in August, I’d never been to Oxford; I knew of it from books like The Golden Compass (being set there.) but not much else. Therefore, I thought I’d share a photo diary of what I saw, ate, and did back in August..
First up… Waterstones! They had far more fancier displays than they do in my local town. I really liked this display in particular, as the book was about women being the more dominant in terms of gender balance.. (I also really wasn’t a fan on the lower floor of this shop; there were way too many people, and very limited staff. I wish desperately I had my headphones; the sensory overload was horrible..)
One of my favourite shops here was called Pylones; it was sort of bizarre in a way, as it had incredibly quirky stuff-on a street with very high end shops! But it was very quiet in this shop, had a lot to look at, and the manager at the time was charming. (A simple “Hello” goes a long way!)
Throughout the shop there was quite the cat theme going on… But look at these Kitchen tongs! (Do they remind anyone else of a Roald Dahl book?)
I also had a lot of fun in Tiger… look, it’s a bearded notebook!
I was so tempted to buy this..
And last of all to finish; “coffee” in Waterstones cafe! It was a very ‘writerly’ environment; incredibly quiet, people tapping at MacBooks or pouring over notes, people giggling over their beverages or scribbling away frantically in margins..
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This post is from when I visited London a little while ago. I visited the V&A where I looked at two exhibits-Pink Floyd amongst them-looked in several galleries, and had a snack in the members room. I also got to look at a very cool Bookshop..
Part of the reason as to why I was in London was to attend the Book Launch for The Summer Of Impossible Things; I had been silly enough not to bring my proof copy, so ended up buying a hardback. (Just to get it signed!) Rowan knew me from Twitter as “the Queen fan”, which we just had to chat about.. I also got to meet her husband, made a new Italian friend, and chatted to Rowan’s publicist.
This is the three of us… Yes, I know I look a little bit strange (I captioned this as *Sees cake, thinks to self: Come here!) but that was because there was a lot of people, and by backpack meant I kept loosing my balance with people moving around.
The place that the bookshop was based in was just a street of largely Bookshops, or the occasional Vintage shop. The week I went was the same week as the twentieth anniversary of the first Harry Potter book being published; what a pretty window!
This was one of the Jewellery shops; it caught my eye largely because of the sheer amount of stuff that was in the window. Some of it wasn’t exactly to my taste-and besides, I haven’t exactly got anywhere I could wear any of it. I particularly loved the hat that you can see at the top of this photo.
I managed to get a close up shot of this (I think it’s a) Brooch; a curled up Tiger! I’d put that on a lapel of my coat.
London has a lot of history I think; to me it’s almost like New York, in the respect that as one of my favourite cities, it’ll always be one of those places I think “Yes, I can achieve whatever I wish here.” I could not resist taking a photo of this blue plaque.
Where the book launch took place. This bookshop may be small, but it has first editions, signed editions, and more. I spotted this…
Anyone who knows me will know just how much I adore Sylvia Plath and her poetry! To be rich for the day..
I saw this book, which was promptly added to the ‘To be read’ list.
At the V&A I got to go around the Balenciaga exhibit; I preferred it more to the Pink Floyd exhibit, to be honest. It was more interesting to me, meaning that I could go round looking at the dresses, the designs, old copies of Vogue, etc.
Just how tedious must it have been to hand paint the silk on this dress?
At times I will admit that I was a little bit overwhelmed, such as on the Tube with the amount of people, the heat, and the noise. (A way to cope with my Aspergers is that I find having headphones can be a big help, as it blocks all this sensory overload.) There was also quite a lot of people at the V&A, so I was sort of swimming at times.

What do you think about London?

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