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What are you Reading?

This is a great reading list from the Silent Book Club for the politically minded. To that end, I’m making my way through an epic piece in the New Yorker. And for fun, the second part of Elena Ferrante’s quartet. How about you?


10 comments for “What are you Reading?”

  1. Paulette says:

    FYI, every American who cares about their country needs to read that piece you’re reading in The New Yorker. Right now I am reading Sinclair Lewis’ satire IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE–very frighteningly real and spooky given what IS happening in our country today. I am also reading GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson and THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery. By the way, I highly recommend to those who love historical biographies Julie Baird’s VICTORIA THE QUEEN–excellent and well-written and reveals what Victoria was REALLY like–you will be surprised.

    • Petra says:

      Paulette–The Elegance of the Hedgehog is one of my desert island books! It took me two tries to get through it (I stumbled for the first 50-60 pages, but once I got past those–WOW)! Read it a couple of years ago.

      And Marilyn Robinson’s prose is so elegant and her characters–with their beautiful flaws–are so complex and intricate. I haven’t read Gilead (though I bought if for my mother for her birthday). I have read Housekeeping and Home (believe that Home is the successor novel to Gilead, if I’m not mistaken).

    • wendy says:

      That’s an impressive reading list, Paulette. I admire it.

  2. Petra says:

    I am about 50 pages from finishing Hillbilly Elegy (subtitled A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis). Beautifully written by J.D. Vance, it’s his family’s story, a family with its recent roots in Appalachian Kentucky (“hillbilly country”), before a migration placed them in southwestern Ohio (basically, the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor, a place I’ve become familiar with in the past 18 months).

    The book is well reviewed by The American Conservative and the National Review, so this is really an anomalous literary selection for me. However, I was first introduced to it by a glowing review in the New York Times. Vance is a conservative, but not of the kneejerk variety. He tells of growing up in a white, working class environment, in a demographic group that is all too often maligned as “white trash”. He’s not making excuses and he questions the poor choices his “people” make all too frequently. Vance notes how he was lucky to escape (he’s a graduate of Yale Law School, but many of his peers dropped out of school and wound up parenting too young, becoming addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, etc.) He asks questions, ones without solid answers.

    I was drawn to this book to understand a demographic group about which I know little. Vance’s writing is smooth, but not brilliant in the way that Marilynne Robinson or Jonathan Franzen or Cormac McCarthy are (writers who’ve made me stop and reread a sentence just for the beauty and/or gymnastics of the language). The book is supremely heartfelt, though, and I am coming away with a better understanding–and greater compassion–for this group. And that, in light of the past election, is exactly why I wanted to read this book.

    • wendy says:

      My very progressive synagogue chose Hillbilly Elegy for its book group this past month. I’ve read excerpts and seen him interviewed, and appreciate his window into a world very different than my own.

  3. Kathleen O'Neil says:

    I finished all four Elena Ferrante’s books and it is great til the last page of the last book. It’s a great study a female relationships and social class. I actually got her other books as well. BTW they are much shorter but just as good. My most recent book is the age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents by Ellen Schreckner and Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing our postcard project with your readers! I just finished Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime (excellent) and Frederick Backman’s brief but beautiful And Every Morning the Way Home gets Longer and Longer. Heartbreaking. Next up: Exit West, by Moshin Hamid. Cheers, Guinevere

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