As we retreat inside and help the greater good of our families, communities and country, there is a lot of uncertainty.
I, for one, am feeling a lot of anxiety and worry, but one of the things that is providing a sense of calm and escape from a world that all of a sudden feels much smaller, is books.
Now, my reading list is one that grows every day but I have set myself a challenge to read six books in four weeks starting with some that have been on my to-read list for quite some time along with some newbies by authors that I adored their first novels.
As we collectively embark on a month housebound and try to adjust to a new (temporary) normal, why not pick up one those paperbacks you’ve had on the bedside table since Christmas?
Scroll down to see what books I will be escaping into over the coming weeks.
The New Me by Halle Butler
Usually I’m not a big fan of a dark satire, I find them tiring and uninspiring. But I wanted to give The New Me a chance as I have had so many friends talk about it and wanted to see what the buzz was about. Set against the bleak backdrop of a temp-office job, the main character’s inner monologue is simultaneously self-concious and vicious. So far, it is cold but bleakly funny. I will report back once I am finished, but if you liked Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest & Relaxation then this is of the same sort of vibe… I couldn’t get through that one so I’m hoping that’s not the case for The New Me.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
As far as iconic female authors go, Zadie Smith has solidified herself as one of the most thought-provoking, critically respected and popular writers of her generation. Approaching the human experience with depth and grit, I figured she was a must-have on my at-home reading list. I decided to go right back to the beginning and start with the author’s debut novel, White Teeth. This book has won countless awards and had its praises sung for over a decade, a story that deals with friendship, love, war and the complexity of culture, family and the past. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney has been on pretty much everyone’s literary radars since this book came out in 2017. The young author has an absolute knack for writing about the intimacy of friendship and navigating young relationships. I read her second book Normal People pretty much as soon as it came out in 2018 and loved it. I’m excited to explore the self-destructive nature of her debut novel that explores love and relationships and the complex nature of human connection.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Being surrounded by witty, clever and super dynamic women in both my personal and work life, the female experience is something that I am always going to want to read about and this timeless classic seems like a great place to start while in social isolation. The author’s 11th novel was released at the same time the Harvey Weinstein scandal had just broke, and luckily he is now in prison but this book is an ode to the state of feminism as we know it right now, all the while creating a timeless look through the lens of being young and discovering a political awakening all the while existing in a patriarchal society.
In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
I first heard about this engrossing memoir on a podcast and immediately I was all ears. The debut memoir is an innovative trace of a harrowing, queer relationship with volatile and charismatic women. The book unpacks the stereotypical narrative around lesbianism as safe and utopian and explores the stigma of openly discussing abuse in queer relationships.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Much like Sally Rooney, I discovered Celeste Ng through her second book Little Fires Everywhere. So I figured while I am undergoing this challenge why not add Ng’s debut novel to the list? Everything I Never Told You is an acute portrait of family relationships, grief and race set in American suburbia in the 70s.
Stay tuned to see how I get through my stack of books and which ones I love most.