4-30-curlupandread-001-framed-book-beginnings2friday 56











Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I just started reading a book on Sparky, my Kindle…a book that has been languishing there since last year, so reading it will accomplish another check on the list for my Mt. TBR Challenge.  Already I’m enjoying it.  Pain, Parties, Work:  Sylvia Plath in New York – Summer 1953, by Elizabeth Winder, spotlights a time that I recognize from my own younger days.





Beginning:  (The First Week:  Euphoria)


Her room was the size of a decent closet—beige walls trimmed in maroon paint.  A dark green carpet, ferny bedspread with rose-patterned ruffles like Snow White’s muted forest.  There was green upholstery on the low parlor chair.  A desk for typing wedged neatly at the bed’s foot.  Above the bed there was a speaker box that piped in music if you turned a knob.


56:  (Looking back at Sylvia’s Childhood)

And there was something of Saint Therese de Lisieux about her—collecting cockles and seaweed and talking to mermaids.  A sensitive little pagan with a blond braid down her back.


Amazon Description: “I dreamed of New York, I am going there.”

On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint at “the intellectual fashion magazine” Mademoiselle to be a guest editor for its prestigious annual college issue. Over the next twenty-six days, the bright, blond New England collegian lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended Balanchine ballets, watched a game at Yankee Stadium, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She typed rejection letters to writers from The New Yorker and ate an entire bowl of caviar at an advertising luncheon. She stalked Dylan Thomas and fought off an aggressive diamond-wielding delegate from the United Nations. She took hot baths, had her hair done, and discovered her signature drink (vodka, no ice). Young, beautiful, and on the cusp of an advantageous career, she was supposed to be having the time of her life.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with fellow guest editors whose memories infuse these pages, Elizabeth Winder reveals how these twenty-six days indelibly altered how Plath saw herself, her mother, her friendships, and her romantic relationships, and how this period shaped her emerging identity as a woman and as a writer. Pain, Parties, Work—the three words Plath used to describe that time—shows how Manhattan’s alien atmosphere unleashed an anxiety that would stay with her for the rest of her all-too-short life.

Thoughtful and illuminating, this captivating portrait invites us to see Sylvia Plath before The Bell Jar, before she became an icon—a young woman with everything to live for.


I am loving this portrait of Sylvia before the dark days that would come later and define her for all time.  Once upon a time, she was happily engaged…and this story spotlights that time.

What are you sharing?  I hope you’ll come by and leave your comments and links.



  1. I’m growing to like Sylvia Plath more and more, although a few years ago her poem ‘Ariel’ wouldn’t stop flabbergasting me! I hope you enjoy this one and I’m thinking about adding it to my own TBR mountain! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words


    1. I am enjoying it, Juli…I haven’t really read her poetry, just the novel The Bell Jar. But even reading about the lighter side of her, I feel a sadness, knowing how everything turned out.


  2. I just realized I haven’t read The Bell Jar! Sounds like it would be a good idea to read Pain, Parties, Work first to understand where the author is coming from. I think both books would be fascinating.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.


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