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rowena

Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Orientalism
Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934 - Anaïs Nin, Gunther Stuhlmann What a diary! Definitely nothing like any diary I’ve ever read or written. Anais Nin is truly engaging. Each diary entry is so candid and shows her deeply introspective and artistic nature.

For the most part I’d say nothing truly remarkable happens in the diary; yet Nin is the kind of person who could turn a normal, everyday event into something magical and profound. This is a woman who really lived, who really experienced life, who aimed to fully understand human relationships, both edifying and destructive ones. This is a flawed woman who recognizes her imperfections but does not apologize for them.

In Nin’s world we enter the world of the Bohemian artist in Paris, where everyone and everything can be a subject. We enter the circles she moved about in, including lots of famous literary people and doctors.It was also interesting to find out how D.H. Lawrence inspired her.

Nin’s writing style, as always, is very elegant, lyrical and articulate. Her adeptness at describing relationships and personality is wonderful. Reading her diary definitely caused me to be reflective.

The most interesting part of the book for me was Nin’s fascinatingly-weird relationship with Henry and June Miller. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the intensity of this unconventional relationship.

A couple of parts were not very pleasant to read but I do respect her frankness and willingness to share all parts of her life, pleasant or not.

To end with one of my favourite quotes from this volume:
“Introspection does not need to be a still life. It can be an active alchemy.”