What have I read this week?
The Uncanny Express by Kara LaReau
This is a fiction book aimed at children, and illustrated by Jen Hill. It’s part of a series called The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. This particular book is a parody of or homage to Murder on the Orient Express. It’s pretty short, quite fun, and a quick read.
I did find it (presumably) unintentionally horrifying, though, because the premise is that the sisters are living alone at home because their parents went on an errand and never returned (although they do write to them). They survive by getting paid to darn other people’s socks. I guess you’re not meant to dwell on that part…
I reread a few books by Edward Gorey: The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest, The Object Lesson, and The Curious Sofa (written under his pseudonym of Ogdred Weary). These are all illustrated books, with a macabre sense of humour. I remember liking them all initially, but now I only really like The Gashlycrumb Tinies and The Doubtful Guest.
Ariel by Sylvia Plath
This is a book of poetry.
Love; death; illness.
People or stars
Regard me sadly, I disappoint them.
(Sheep in Fog)
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Obscene bikinis hide in the dunes
For a minute the sky pours into the hole like plasma.
There is no hope, it is given up.
I do not stir.
The frost makes a flower,
The dew makes a star,
The dead bell,
The dead bell.
Somebody’s done for.
(Death & Co.)
The moon, too, abases her subjects,
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.
The beads of hot metal fly, and I, love, I
Am a pure acetylene
Attended by roses,
By kisses, by cherubim,
By whatever these pink things mean.
The Couriers; The Applicant; Lady Lazarus; Tulips; The Rival; Daddy.
Overall I love this book. I like the imagery, the way she structures her poems, and the sheer intensity of feeling that shines through.