Books
7

Books You Might Like Because Some People on Twitter Thought I'd Like Them

Yesterday, Haley had sent me to the library since I've never read any Zadie Smith (I know!! I know!!!!!!!!). I asked Twitter for some additional recommendations, and they gave me more stuff than I could read in a lifetime, so I wanted to share it with you: These Are the Books that My Twitter Followers Think You Should Read. You'll Never Guess What Comes Next. (Books.)

Consider it your holiday homework assignment (after The Pillow Book, obviously). I ended up checking out Changing My Mind, by Zadie Smith, Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, and, of course, the crown jewel— Simon and Garfunkel: The Biography, by [...]

4

Book Titles, Answered

A: My natural habitat being systematically destroyed in the name of advancing civilization.

A: Technically, they count electric sheep while they're still awake, trying to drift off to sleep. Then they generally dream of naked lady androids, or of writing midterms at the local electric school they're unprepared for, while wearing electric underwear with a Batman motif.

11

"Did Something Happen?": On Elena Ferrante's 'Abandonment' and Jenny Offill's 'Speculation'

I went on a trip back home to Texas last weekend with Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation in my backpack. I had no idea what either novel was about when I bought them; it surprised me to find that both were narrated by women whose husbands are having affairs.

We live in a world that is alarmingly full of options, which is why people have affairs and why I like plane rides in the company of books good enough to keep you off the expensive wifi: I read Offill’s book in one sitting and Ferrante’s in two. The authors’ [...]

17

Fifty Shades of Brontë

She describes him as “full of an interest, an influence that quite mastered me,—that took my feelings from my own power and fettered them in his.”

He tells her, “[Y]ou please me, and you master me—you seem to submit, and I like the sense of pliancy you impart; and while I am twining the soft, silken skein round my finger, it sends a thrill up my arm to my heart. I am influenced—conquered; and the influence is sweeter than I can express; and the conquest I undergo has a witchery beyond any triumph I can win.”

So speak the characters of an 1847 novel about a teenage girl’s liaison of [...]

7

Black Girls Don't Read Sylvia Plath

It was another muggy summer, the summer I discovered Plath. If I had discovered her legacy later in life, it may have served as a calming revelation, the meat of hindsight. Wonderment not as thorny and beloved.

I discovered Plath through the typical girlhood grapevine: a slumber party. A friend who looked like Stevie Nicks circa Rumors but had suited up in detail-heavy riot girrl gear mentioned Sylvia Plath. She had just finished The Bell Jar. She wanted to know if I had read it. She casually said, like a cowboy flicking a cigarette stub to the side, I think you’d like it.

7

"Has Your Husband Read It?"

Over the weekend I read Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce, mostly because several of my friends had e-mailed me this review by Pooja Bhatia with the following line highlighted:

People compare Tierce to Joan Didion, maybe the doyenne of literary realism, and Mary Gaitskill, whose intense short stories have explored sex and debasement.

I mean, sold.

8

A Six-Month Reading List

Courtesy The Millions, here is every new book you will want to read in the next six months. I just finished The Flamethrowers, so I'll catch up with you all 'round 2016. [The Millions]

4

Writers Writing About Writers (and Musicians, and Artists, and and)

I was in New York a few weeks ago and I did something truly outrageous—I walked into my favorite bookstore, turned to Anna, and was like, "I'm only allowed to buy one book, ok?", and then actually bought only one book. I hope you can appreciate the magnitude of this event because it has, quite literally, never happened before and will probably never happen again.

2

Hail Satan, Tonight: John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van

When you punish a person for dreaming his dream
 Don't expect him to thank or forgive you
 The best ever death metal band out of Denton
 Will in time both outpace and outlive you
 Hail Satan!
 Hail Satan tonight!
 Hail Satan! Hail hail! -The Mountain Goats, Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton

Wolf in White Van is the first novel from the man who might've been the Poet Laureate of the United States of America, despite having only really written songs about lonely people and monsters. As the sole founder of the beloved indie folk band The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle is no stranger to touching people [...]

9

Hillary Clinton, Do Not Feel Guilty About Your Pleasures

Hillary Clinton talked to the Times about her favorite books: some of the many names mentioned include Laura Hillenbrand, Toni Morrison, John Grisham, Pablo Neruda, George W. Bush and the Bible, which she says "was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking." In the interest of resisting the game of How Much Is This Q&A a Fake-Casual 'Hey' Text For America's Smart Conservative Moms, let me just draw your attention to this one part:

What are your literary guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre?

Cooking, decorating, diet/self-help and gardening books are guilty pleasures and useful time fillers.

[...]