The leaves are subtly changing hue. The Halloween costumes are dangling in the aisles of the nearby Target. Pumpkins, spiced or otherwise, are pretty much always in sight. It is fall. And with each new season comes a fresh crop of books. Here are six titles currently cluttering my nightstand…
Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister
Question: Are you mad? Have you been mad at any point over the last few weeks or months or years? If the answer is yes, do yourself a favor and read this. The latest from Rebecca Traister — writer for New York magazine, contributing editor at Elle, author of All the Single Ladies and all around genius — Good and Mad is an exploration of the power of women’s anger and its ability to change history. Traister’s sharp yet effortless prose is a joy, even when the subject matter does, in fact, inspire you to feel even madder. Ultimately, though, this book left me feeling educated, enlightened and inspired. A must-read.
Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey
Unlike anything you’ve read before, this novel is described as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things and Twin Peaks. If that isn’t enough to inspire intrigue, how about this: it’s told through three alternating voices of a girl named Pony, a killer dog and a teenage boy named Supernatural. Hailed by beloved author Lauren Groff as “a dark star of a book, glittering with mordant humor and astonishing, seductive strangeness and grace,” Heartbreaker is the American debut of this celebrated Canadian author. If you’re in the mood for something smart and special, this one’s for you.
Fashion Climbing by Bill Cunningham
During my time in New York, I was lucky enough to witness photographer Bill Cunningham at work: outside a fashion show with a serious disposition, getting a perfect shot with laser focus, riding his bike with a perpetual smile. He was a bright star in an often gray city, and fashion journalism is not the same without him. His posthumous memoir, with its straightforward prose and personal revelations, reads like a long letter left by a friend. Fans will delight in the many black and white photographs of memorable moments scattered throughout the pages. A necessary addition to any fashion lover’s library.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
With the recent runaway success of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (and the subsequent Netflix movie) and The Hate U Give (and its forthcoming film adaptation), it’s safe to say that YA is having a mo-ment. If you’re keen to jump on this bandwagon, check out Sadie, a novel that alternates between the voices of a 19-year-old trying to solve her sister’s murder and the radio personality who documents the clues on his true crime podcast. Despite its young adult package, Sadie is a thriller that any person with a love of Serial can appreciate.
The Reckonings by Lacy Johnson
In 2014, Lacy Johnson was at a reading for her book The Other Side, the haunting and poetic memoir of her kidnapping and rape, when a woman in the audience asked what she’d like to happen to her rapist. The Reckonings is a meditative extension of that answer. Incredibly timely, this essay collection (in the vein of Rebecca Solnit and Maggie Nelson) seamlessly weaves Johnson’s own thoughts and experiences with philosophy, art, literature, film, mythology and anthropology to tackle questions of justice and retribution, truth and fairness, harassment and assault — and most important, how to translate these feelings into action.
Severance by Ling Ma
This comic debut is part zombie apocalypse novel, part office satire (there’s something you don’t type every day). Candace Chen is a millennial living a typical life in NYC — office job, Netflix habit, anonymous Instagram account from which to document her life. Then a mysterious fungal infection known as Shen fever pretty much wipes out the nation. Candace and a small group of survivors begin a cross-country journey to seek solace in a suburb of Chicago. The novel jumps back and forth in time between Candace’s job and her post-apocalyptic life. While it works incredibly well as an inventive horror novel, it’s also a clever satire of consumerism, capitalism and office culture that never loses its sense of humor.
What are you reading right now? Have you read anything great lately? I’d love to hear…