In 2010 Alethea received her Master’s Degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University. During her time at SFSU she held two Graduate Teaching Assistant positions; contributed to the Graduate Literature Association’s peer reviewed journal of literary criticism and theory, Interpretations; and completed a Master’s Thesis that focused on the afterlife of the subgenre of nineteenth-century romance she terms, “working-girl romance.” Alethea is a self-proclaimed romantic, reader, want-to-be writer, Grateful Dead fan, and sun worshiper. Currently, she is also an Instructor at The Mission Preparatory School in San Francisco’s Excelsior District. She looks forward to opening her own after school program, having a family, and writing a book one day.
I’m a daytime on-the-road kind of reader. Maybe it’s because I work with kids, but once I settle into bed for the night, I get derailed: literally, I read 3 pages and zonk out. Books collect by my bed, but they mostly get read at the coffee table, on BART rides, while waiting for the always unreliable Muni, and on those rare but glorious days I visit a local coffee shop and sit down for a cappuccino. As of now, the books I’m making headway on, include:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: I’m a big sucker for any novel that invokes the gothic excesses of the Brontës and fixes a highly imaginative and adventurous book-loving heroine at the center of its plot. Luckily for me, The Thirteenth Tale contains all of the above. As a spookier, less romantic (romantic as in boy-gets-girl and they all live happily-ever-after) version of Jane Eyre, The Thirteenth Tale pays homage to all the conventional gothic thrills this reading-girl could want: a haunted house, ghosts, a topiary garden, and a governess, of course! It’s been the perfect winter read for those dark and gloomy days when I’m feeling brooding and craving the comfort of a good old fashioned page-turner.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: In a recent trip to our local independent bookstore, Green Apple Books, my fiancé and I were admiring a copy of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Like Kesey himself, the novel is an American classic. I embarrassingly confessed that I had never read it. My fiancé immediately picked up the book and it’s now sitting at the top of my “must-read-because-I-have-an-MA-in-English-Literature-and-am-a-self-proclaimed-Deadhead” pile. I’ve only read 10 pages so far, but I’m gearing up for one big fat head trip.
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin: I’ll admit it. I just finished watching the television mini-series and now I really want to read the book. Yes, I watched “the movie” before reading “the book.” I know. I know. I cheated. I should have read the book first because now I have unraveled the mystery of Anna Madrigal’s identity. To everyone who says I should have read the book first I say: the pleasure of reading Tales of the City is less about solving the plots and counterplots at 28 Barbary Lane than about experiencing the antic quests of Mary Ann Singleton against the backdrop of our beloved city pre-internet startups and $2400 rent bills. For those of us living in San Francisco, Tales of the City is as necessary a rite of passage as visiting City Lights or riding a cable car.
Any important settings in your stacks?