I love reading like Oprah loves bread.
(I also love bread, but that’s a different topic for a different time.)
For some reason, I’ve been on a huge reading kick lately. Maybe it’s because I finally handed off Beyond the Point to the powers that be at Harper Collins. Maybe its’s because I’m home more with Sam and am hungry for more mental stimulation. Maybe it’s because, when you get down to it, I simply love authors and what they do with the 26 letters of the English language. Who’s to say.
What is clear is that the books I read this month all grapple with the same theme. When life doesn’t go the way you thought it would, what do you do? How do you master the circumstances life throws at you?
These three books all had a profound impact on me, and would make great additions to any book club, reading list, or to-be-read pile.
Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides
This one won the Pulitzer Prize, so I don’t win any points for discovery. But I truly enjoyed it. In the novel Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides explores how Callie, born a hermaphrodite, chooses to live out her life, her identity and sexuality. As strange as that premise sounds… the story is a beautifully written, at times simultaneously hilarious and poignant.
4.5 Stars / 5
All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung
A few weeks back, I went to a writing event at Catapult in New York City, and there was handed an Advance Reader Edition of Nicole Chung’s memoir about her adoption and the journey she took to find her way to her biological family. All I can tell you is that if you’re considering adoption, this book should be required reading. Moving, direct and full of honest reflections about the nature of identity, race and family, Nicole writes with confidence and clarity. It’s a short read — I finished in about 3 days. And this week is Nicole’s PUBLICATION week! Which means if you pre-order now, she will love you.
5 stars / 5
A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
About a year ago, I listened to A Gentleman in Moscow on audiobook (yes, all 21 hours of it). I loved it so much, that I wanted to experience it on the page, and so had my sister mail me the hardcopy that’s been floating in my family for the last few years. Set in 1922 Russia, just as the Bolshevik Revolution ousts the aristocracy, this novel follows Count Alexander Rostov as he’s sentenced to a life of house arrest at the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. If he ever leaves the premises of the hotel, he’ll be shot on sight.
How do you spend 30 years in a hotel and not jump of the roof? As Russia changes rapidly outside of the walls of the hotel, Count Rostov determines to master his circumstances—making the most of the friends he meets, the humiliations he suffers, and the limitations of his new existence. In many ways—we all are dealt a house arrest of sorts. Whether because you’re home-bound with children to raise, or limited by finances, or by circumstances… it’s easy to look at the world as unjust and simply live in a state of victimhood. This is the anti-victim book. This is a book about how to become a “Person of Intent”—someone who finds purpose and joy and life— in the midst of any prison.
Can you tell I love this book?
5 stars / 5
What are you reading lately?