Reading is one of my favorite things to do, but I really don't like putting down money on a book, getting 50 pages in and realizing it's no good. So I've developed this slightly ridiculous practice of keeping track of books that are recommended by smart people with similar tastes to me. These recommendations can come from friends, acquaintances, or my earfriends (aka people on podcasts).
I write down almost every book title I hear mentioned and if it gets recommended by more than two people, I'll bite.
So I thought I'd share my list for the Fall with you in the hopes that you'll dive in to a few of these and comment with your thoughts.
So here it is, my Fall 2016 Reading List!
1) The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
Starting off with a real light read :-p. This book keeps popping up on political podcasts as the frame by which we can all understand the current political situation in America. So this is one I'll be trying to squeeze in before November.
2) Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
It's supposed to be a fresh take on the "young woman coming of age in New York" trope. And since I am a woman who came of age in New York, I'm curious to see just how fresh (an accurate it is).
3) Ulysses by James Joyce(with the podcast)
I know, I know! Ulysses. Didn't I read this in college? No, I did not. I did take an Irish Lit and Drama class, but we read The Dubliners and Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man rather than taking on this beast. But I do feel like I'd probably understand the world a bit better if I had Ulysses in my arsenal, so I'm taking it on. But I'm not going in empty handed! There is a podcast, Re: Joyce, that tackled Ulysses one line at a time. I'll be doing the same, since, good God, James Joyce is tough.
4) Terrible Honesty by Ann Douglas
Here's the Amazon description:
"A portrait of a generation describes New York's role in the defining of Western economic and political leadership in the years after the first World War and noting its pivotal part in the shaping of American culture."
I'm fascinated by WWI and the years just after it, so what's not to love?
5) The Feminization of American Culture by Ann Douglas
This is another one that is supposed to help me understand what's happening in my country right now. And quite frankly, I need as much help in the department as possible.
6) We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler
Written by one of the founders of Bitch Media, this book explores the newly coined term, Empowertizing, the commodification of feminism and the departure of the movement from grassroots activism. These are all things I've been thinking about for years and have some very mixed feelings on. I trust Andi Zeisler will help sort me out.
7) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Because Halloween time deserves the best monster story possible!
8) The Goldfinch by Donna Tarte
I remember the period of time when everyone was reading this one. I saw it in the hands of cool kids on the subway, being read by people who looked like they'd never left the house before, and even by the educated dogs of the uber wealthy. That last one is a joke, but damn this book was everywhere. Everywhere, except in my hands. So, as usually, I'll pick it up a few years late and I'm sure I'll rave about it.
9) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
To be fair, I started this book a while ago and just didn't have the headspace for it at the time. But it seems to be extremely well-written and I love any work of art that has a realistic portrayal of female friendships.
10) Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
Like alternate histories? This one is for you! It takes place in a world where The American Civil War never happened (say what?) and slavery is still legal in a few states AND The Fugitive Slave Act is still in effect (dear God what a horrifying thing to imagine). I've heard it's a real page turner and also has a strange way of putting American Racial Politics and American Racism in general into sharp perspective. PS for non-Americans or Americans who didn't pay attention in US History, here's some info on The Fugitive Slave Act.
Ha! Look at that and even 10 books!
If you're interested in enjoying any of these books, the book covers in this post are affiliate links, just click on the image and it will take to Amazon where you can buy it (I'll get a small commission if you do). So come join me on my Autumnal book dive!