Reads of Shame, Round 1: The Hours, by Michael Cunningham

Hello readers, and welcome to the first salvo in our Reads of Shame series. I decided to live-blog my reading of The Hours, with comments marked by pages rather than a time-stamp. Below are my thoughts on the book as I was reading it, and after.


Cover: Why is this even a Read of Shame? I don’t feel particularly bad about not having read it yet.

Title page: Hey, cool, it’s signed to the Library by the author!

3: I know that “potato-colored” is supposed to be clearly descriptive, but all I can think of is how many colors potatoes can be. I’m going to imagine it’s purple.

8: I don’t know about this. Sometimes the prose is lovely, and sometimes it’s way too much. Yes, I know I’m only on page 8.

12: Huh. From silliness to social commentary in one sentence. All right, Cunningham, go on.

14: But you’re losing me with these sudden perspective shifts.

23: Was not expecting discourse about queer identity and stereotyping.

26: Irises are  not outdated they are wonderful what is wrong with you, book?

27: Oh Clarissa. If only you knew that Meryl Streep plays you in the movie adaptation.

29: Here we go with Mrs. Dalloway again. Okay, Wikipedia, give me a summa – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

37: Oh look, it’s our third point-of-view character. Hello, Laura. Go ahead and read, your husband can make his own breakfast. Yes, I know that you’re a post-WWII housewife and there were (are) gender roles.

40: Well, that explains that weird perspective shift earlier.

43: Sinister roses? When did this become Poe?

49: Yay! I missed you, Clarissa.

50: ….And then you’re super depressing. Thanks.

64: Richard, you are dearly maddening.

73: “The brackets around his mouth are so deep you could slip a penny in.” I don’t know why that sentence amuses me so, but it does. I like the imagery.

82: “Yes, she can practically hear her own muttered words, scandalize the aunts, still streaming like a scarf behind her.” Scandalize is such a fun word.

94: Obviously I need to read Mrs. Dalloway. This is all your fault, Barrows.

95: And see the movie. I wonder who they had as the movie star? Did Meryl Streep see herself?

114: Oh look, more parallels. Just how interconnected is this book?

117: <stops and does research about Vanessa Bell’s children>

159: I realize I haven’t made a note in a while, but I don’t care.

193: Small children are creepy.

218: I’m dumb.

Well, that was a book. I definitely enjoyed it (you can see where I got caught up in it). And it reminded me of how much I enjoy reading Virginia Woolf. So Mrs. Dalloway, at least, will be going on my to-read shelf. An encouraging start.

Thanks to Ms. Barrows for badgering me into reading it. I will see you all for the next round of Reads of Shame!

-Signing off, Kit Gette (who is still mad about the irises)

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