Love a holiday that’s a hashtag first!
For #BookLoversDay, here is a short stack of the best things I’ve read of late. As John Waters once said, “Fiction is the truth, fool!” In addition to being the truth, it’s way better than the real world, which is v bad, particularly right now, in case you hadn’t noticed!
• Chanson Douce, for any fellow French-readers looking for a real mf’ing downer. (Yeah, ok, maybe this one isn’t a real escape from the real world.)
• If I haven’t already proselytized to you about Lincoln in the Bardo then we probably haven’t talked in the last six weeks. This book is hilarious and heart-wrenching and ~historical~ (kind of) and a lyrical delight to read.
• The Buried Giant is not a perfect book and it is not my favorite Ishiguro (lol @ what a high-minded dick I sound like in that sentence, genuine apology) but it is worth reading for the emotional gut-punch of the final sentence alone (you have to read the whole thing for the effect, you can’t just skip to the last page, sorry). I audibly sobbed.
• Neil Gaiman made some magic in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which is spooky, sad, and enchanting. It makes you wonder about the windows of imagination that were open to you in childhood and that are closed to you now. Haunting and lovely.
• How had I never read Shirley Jackson before?? We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a peculiar and engrossing little Gothic novella that reminded me of (the weirdly similarly named) I Capture the Castle, except it’s dark af and the little sister is more murderous than lovelorn. Good dose of genre.
• I read the phrase “a riffy playfulness with language” somewhere the other day and I liked it a lot and also it describes Miriam Toews’ writing aptly. All My Puny Sorrows is sweet and tragic and philosophical and funny, and it’s about all the Big Topics (you know, Death) but manages to tackle said Big Topics (Death) in a way that is uplifting and life-affirming and weird. I adored every page of this book.
• I almost always hate reading things that are supposed to be funny, but Samantha Irby made me laugh and cry on repeat in nearly every single one of the perfect essays in We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. I wish I had the guts to write like this, but thank god someone out there does. Even at her most absurd she is infinitely relatable. People who can articulate things that we think and feel but that we haven’t ever been able to put to words are the best writers. Writers who can do that AND do it with that much humor are fresh geniuses.
Also, never forget, friends, the very worst book is The Good Girl. Of all the bad books about Girls, it is the worst.