After the long and arduous, albeit enjoyable, task of choosing a book from my collection, I’ve settled on Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. While I’ve owned this book for quite awhile, now is the first time that I’ve felt drawn to it, which is why I decided there’s no more appropriate time to start reading it. Reading hasn’t ever been a field where I’ve felt trepidation. Reading is personal. In reading it’s hard to be wrong. So I don’t find that this book will be particularly challenging in terms of content or otherwise.
When choosing The Bell Jar, I had to forage through my mile-long reading list. I guess that is a bit of a fib. Instead of being a list of to-read titles it’s more of a stack of books that comes up almost to my knee. Maybe the immediate aversion I had to the this book in particular didn’t lie in the story, the author, or the title, but in the fact that it is a hard cover book. I’m more of a soft cover girl myself. Nothing against this beautiful hardcover, a green leather specimen with The Bell Jar carefully embossed in a curly, light-hearted silver script.
Aside from the cover and title, I don’t know much about this book. I don’t really like to read about books before diving into them because I don’t want to taint my opinion of the piece with outsider info before I get the chance to develop my own perspective. After reading, however, I’m much more apt to do research. I have read some of Plath’s poetry and for the most part enjoyed it. I was first attracted to Plath not because of a thought-provoking title or some deep-seeded love of poetry but because of a quote that was penned into a copy of Sylvia Plath Collected Poems.
My reading habits could be described as both chronic and obsessive. I read more often than I probably should. I think that the sheer volume of books that I’ve read has influenced my writing. Reading helps to build vocabulary and has introduced me to a variety of sentence structures that I would never conceive on my own. In this regard my writing skills has benefited. In terms of voice, reading, in my experience, has little effect; that’s something you have to find on your own.
I hope that Plath will soon make her way into the gilded halls of my favorite authors, taking her place among J.R.R Tolkien, O’Henry, and countless others.