December: Introduction

February 28, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

Hi, everyone:

Amandaarmstrong_2 My name is Amanda Armstrong, and I am an associate editor at Real Simple. I am thrilled to be sharing Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop’s December with you all.

Now, before we get started, I have a confession to make: In the spirit of sharing, a prerequisite for our endeavor together, I have to admit that this is my very first book club. While this admission might not seem very startling to some, I find it quite embarrassing, considering I have been a bookworm my entire life.

For example:

At the innocent age of 10, I found myself floating on a raft on a hot summer day absolutely absorbed by a soggy copy of Madame Bovary. Perhaps my mother wanted to start me early on feminist literature or she may have just found it a good read, but what the heck was I doing reading something so challenging when I should have been invested in a Judy Blume book? That same summer, I read 31—yes, 31—books for summer reading. We were asked to read five.

Moving to age 13: I am found on the sidelines of my sister’s soccer game, lying on the grass, grinning ear to ear, and reading. While my only memory of this is a picture framed in my parents’ house, it’s quite the reminder of my bookworminess. Did I mention how thrilled I looked to be reading?

Fast forward to age 21. With my English-major requirements completed ahead of schedule, I embarked on seminar after seminar—the golden years of my studies, since that just meant lots of reading and discussion. While reading Gertrude Stein’s accounts of Paris, I decided it would be fun to dress up as her (Google a picture of Stein after reading this). If this weren’t embarrassing enough, I made my friend Lindsay dress up as Alice B. Toklas, a writer and Stein’s companion. While we spoke to the class about Stein’s (or my) experiences with Picasso and the cultural icons of her (my) time, I definitely got some weird looks.

So as you can tell from my very literary—and very nerdy—past, you are in good hands. While I don’t promise I’ll be posting pictures of myself dressed as December’s characters, I do promise to give you the very best that a bookworm can: complete devotion to the book in her hands.

Expect my first posting early next week. I plan to cover chapters one and two, pages 1 through 67. After reading several rave reviews on Winthrop’s work (this is her second novel at an intimidatingly young age), something tells me we are in for a treat. I am so looking forward to taking this adventure with you.

—Amanda Armstrong