Now you all probably know by now that I love to get lost in a good book. I read every day, and it simultaneously relaxes and centers me, and lets my imagination run wild. Here is a follow-up to my summer reading list – a new round-up of some of my favorite recent reads, along with my picks for the upcoming season. Read along with me and feel free to leave any comments as you go!
Team of Rivals – This deep-dive into Abraham Lincoln’s ascent to the presidency will make any history buff foam at the mouth. The real magic here is how Honest Abe created a campaign team that would ultimately grow into an incredibly diverse cabinet, comprised of many former adversaries, which the author deems a “team of rivals.” Slow at times but incredibly detailed, this brilliant work of nonfiction felt surprisingly relevant given the upcoming election.
And One More Thing – This enchantingly quirky little book of short stories was an incredible divergence from my usual selections. My favorite was a story about what one man finds heaven to be like once he actually arrives there (hint: it’s not what he dreamed it would be, and Frank Sinatra is involved). It’s a quick read, but it really pushed the bounds of my imagination, and made me want to amp up my short story-reading game.
The Lonely City – Dark, haunting, but ultimately revelatory, this incredible nonfiction work speaks to the New Yorker and the human in all of us. Told through the lens of infamous artists who lived and worked in New York City (Edward Hopper and Andy Warhol are just two of them), this story explores what it is like to be lonely and dealing with adversity in the city that never sleeps.
Americanah – One of my favorite fiction works this year, I absolutely devoured this tale of a Nigerian immigrant who is trying to build a life for herself in America while confronting the issues of race and gender in a profound and often heartbreaking way. The immigrant experience becomes a human experience in the author’s hands, and I found myself connecting with and rooting for the main character, Ifemelu, in a beautifully tangible way.
In Other Words – I have read every novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, one of my all-time favorite authors, and when I heard that she was trying her hand at nonfiction, I knew that this book needed to be on my shelf. What it turned out to be was a surprisingly thoughtful reflection on the power of language and the written word, coming from someone who abandoned her native tongue (Indian) to build a career writing in English, and then move to Italy to immerse herself in the Italian language. Each page is written in English on one side and Italian on the adjacent side, so brushing up on your Italian is a sneaky bonus.
E.E. Cummings: A Life – Learning about the life and work of one of my favorite American poets made reading this biography an absolute treat. Cummings is most famous for his inversion of traditional punctuation and capitalization and sentence structure, and his poetry creates meaning in a wholly playful way. You may know him for famed poems such as i carry your heart with me, but my hands-down favorite is anyone lived in a pretty how town.
UP NEXT, My Winter Reading List:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Jazz by Toni Morrison
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
All The Wild That Remains by David Gessner
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle