We Are Water | Wally Lamb
I came away from “She’s Come Undone” in awe that Lamb, a male writer, could capture so many feelings and deeply troubling thoughts of a young woman and grow with her as she ages.
The same author wrote another thought-provoking but also disturbing book here about child molestation and its lasting effects. But the main character was too detached and unbelievable. Something was missing.
Is that what love is all about? Needing them to come back to you when they’re away? To come home and keep you safe?
The Outcasts | Kathleen Kent
Get lost in the tough, gun-slinging 19th century world of the South and Gulf Coast and root for a not-so wholesome protagonist.
How many women and girls had trodden these stairs, each thinking to stay for a short while, to make some quick riches selling the only asset left to her, the garden between her legs, only to find that quick and plentiful were too different things entirely.
Nate had initially thought the marshal looked like a man whose greatest battle in recent years had been finding a way to fasten his belt.It was the smell of long unattended decay, of people living too near one another; the effluvia of extravagant wastefulness.
The Lowland | By Jhumpa Lahiri
The story of brothers Subhash and Udayan is a long and winding tale, spanning different countries and a long chunk of time. Although it could have been trimmed, I savored most of this book. Lahiri captures what I can only assume is an authentic representation of the Indian-American experience.
Read this and then read everything else she’s ever written (start with “The Interpreter of Maladies” then move onto the “Namesake.” Then go watch the movie).
But even as she was going through with it she knew that it was useless, just as it was useless to save a single earring when the other half of the pair was lost…
Graduates in Wonderland | Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale
I found this book insufferable, but couldn’t stop reading the email letters between two recent college grads. It was recommended as a summer book, and it had its moments. Plus the epistolary style is a fun, new way to follow the narrative of the two women as they travel, study and live in NYC, Paris, Beijing, Australia and more.
Plus Jess is a journalist like me, so I could relate to a lot of her career struggles and choices. Here’s a great quote from her:
I think it’s depressing that most people our age want exactly what I want: to be journalists. They really need to stop making TV shows and movies about the thrills of being a reporter — it’s setting up entire generations for extreme disappointment.
Changing My Mind | Zadie Smith
This wasn’t my favorite thing to read, but it has a wide collection of her writings and speeches — and even movie reviews. See below for some of Smith’s witty advice on how to judge a film from her review of “Munich:”
I think Spielberg is one of the greatest popular artists of our time, and I base this upon the stupidity/pleasure axis I apply to popular artists: how much pleasure they give versus how stupid one has to become to receive said pleasure.
SUMMER READING | It’s here, time to open a book or three (or more!) this summer. The LA Times has a great list of new fiction, mysteries, memoirs and even something written by Ja Rule…Get reading (and earn some prizes at the SFPL while you’re at it)!