Because we always enjoy a good book-related check in, right? I had another week of MUCH READING, and it’s been very satisfying. This week, I personally read:
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi, which is as truly excellent as you’ve heard. I will note that much of it is emotionally harrowing, so if you’re looking for something escapist, I might save this for later. I would also note that it lives in structural world between a linear novel and a series of connected short stories, which is something I wish I’d known when I started it — not that it would have changed my mind about reading it, and it shouldn’t, but just because I found it a little confusing until I figured that out. I would also get the paperback (which I think is out this week!) rather than an e-copy, because it is easier to reference the family tree in a paper copy (I think) and I needed it. That is a lot of caveats for something I thought was brilliant, so please don’t get me wrong: I wholeheartedly recommend it. I cried.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which you’ve all probably read, since it came out in 2015. (I bought it in 2015 and only now got around to it; it came out a few months before The Royal We did, and I was not reading anything right then because of my crushing anxiety about my own book.) Lots of wartime derring-do, and it is also emotionally harrowing. I loved it. I cried.
The Girls by Emma Cline, which you’ve probably also read — you’ve probably read all four of the books I worked through this week. I made a vow not to buy anything new until I’ve read everything on my Kindle and I have a lot to get through. The elevator pitch for this one is “it’s about the girls in the Manson clan, but fictionalized.” I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it this week. A lot of the thoughts have been, “if I’d written that book, I would have…oh, but she couldn’t have done that, because then…hmmmm,” I think because we also wrote a book that fictionalized a true story and I related to the challenge of doing that in a way that other people might not, so it scratched that itch in a specific way that I wasn’t expecting. It was mildly harrowing but not nearly as harrowing as the first two. I did not cry.
FINALLY, I am in the middle of The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson, which everyone EVERYONE told me to read because I would LOVE IT and you were all right. I am only 40% through it, so I haven’t cried yet, and it has not yet gotten harrowing, but WWI just broke out and there are a lot of charming young men in this book and I know some of them are probably gonna die — NO SPOILERS — so you know. Hold that thought.
What are you reading?