Rachel Marie Stone – Writers on the Classics #12

March 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

 

Page 3: Rachel Marie Stone on the Classics

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath
(1963)

I first read The Bell Jar when I was a student in college and I’ve returned to it many times since. Though times have changed since Esther Greenwood was tripping aimlessly through her coveted internship at a “smart” fashion magazine in New York City in the 1950s, struggling against depression and hopelessness and the feeling that all her successes came to nothing, Plath’s description of the isolating nature of depression–a feeling of sitting under a bell jar, stewing in one’s own “sour air”–remain as potent and ever. And especially in the US, the difficult choices between family and career–and the attendant judgment with which such choices are met–remain pretty much current.


The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
By Robert Farrar Capon
(1967)

No one writes like Robert Farrar Capon; he sounds like no one but himself. He’s opinionated, funny, and deeply profound, and this book is a celebration of creativity and the goodness of this world. I return to it again and again, as much for spiritual nourishment as for culinary inspiration.

More-With-Less Cookbook

(1976)

While some of the recipes in More-With-Less are dated, the introductory material to each chapter set forth a vision of food as being pleasurable and community-forming as well as a site for using resources responsibly and being mindful of those who don’t have enough to eat. Green and socially conscious before it was trendy, this book belongs on the shelf of any person who loves good, simple food, appreciates thrift, and longs for more connection and pleasure around the table.

Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

By Adrienne Rich
(1977)

At least twice a month, I see an article or blog post insisting that “feminism” turns women into mannish creatures who hate children. And each time, I think, “which feminists?” Of Woman Born is a classic of feminist literature, but unlike famous feminists who insisted upon the possibility of a radical equality (Simone de Beauvoir, Shulamith Firestone), Adrienne Rich explores the power and potential of woman’s ways of knowing and being in the world; of the need to take maternal love–and anger–seriously. The best thing about this book is her continual awareness of the difference in women’s experiences depending on whether they’re rich or poor, as much of what we idolize as ‘true womanhood,’ or true motherhood, is little more than relative economic privilege.

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