Book lists for your long weekend

Plus a lovely work of magical realism and a short reflection on emerging from the pandemic as an introvert

Happy Memorial Day, readers!

This holiday weekend is my last weekend with family in D.C. so today’s newsletter will be a little shorter (next week’s will be abbreviated too because we’re spending the week driving back to Denver). I feel so lucky that I’ve gotten a change of scenery and quality time with our family here for the first time since September. I’ve also realized that my introversion has intensified over the course of the pandemic. Typically, I describe my self as right on the border of the extrovert/introvert divide. But now that vaccines have made it possible to be with people again, it’s going to take me a while to flex that extrovert muscle and get it back into working order. All of this is to say, I’ve been really tired this week and have not been getting quite the amount of reading time I want and need! Don’t worry, I still have some great reads to pass along to you, and I’ve been buying more books than I’ve been reading so I’ll have even more to share with you soon.

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia. I really loved this sweeping family saga. The book starts when Nana Reja finds an abandoned baby covered in a blanket of bees. Thus begins the story of Simonopio and the swarm of bees that protect and follow him through the Spanish Flu, the Mexican Revolution, and frequent family turmoil. There are characters to root for, gorgeous settings, and a touch of magic. Mostly, the writing (and translation) in this novel are just outstanding. I recommend going into this book without much prior knowledge and letting yourself get caught up in the epic story. Amazon | Bookshop

Now I’m reading…

  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Barduga. I’m in the mood for a fast read and this YA fantasy escape seemed like it would fit the bill. It didn’t grab me immediately, but a few chapters in, I’m much more invested. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong. I slowed down a bit with reading this collection, but I picked it back up this weekend so I can keep discussing it with the FictionMatters Patreon crew. Amazon | Bookshop

Links I love.

My favorite summer reading list every year comes from The New York Times. It always includes so much variety and lots of unexpected picks. Check it out to make sure your beach bag well-stocked!

Anne Bogel also released her beloved summer guide. It’s her 10th annual guide, and it’s a good one!

10 YA books to add to your summer reading list

Traci Thomas of The Stacks Podcast was on NPR’s It’s Been a Minute to talk about summer books.

Eugene and Dan Levy are creating a Schitt’s Creek coffee table book, which sounds so fun.

35 books to watch for this summer

44 must-read June releases

I loved this article about the value in new experiences and open-mindedness.

Anne Helen Petersen wrote about the discourse around bodies that saturated the media millennials grew up with. It’s a great read.

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre—a horrific event left out of most of the history books we grew up with. NPR has suggestions for documentaries to watch and this article has important information on the ongoing impact of the massacre

End notes.

Watching: I can’t wait to watch the Mare of Easttown finale tonight!!!!

Listening: We haven’t really been listening to podcasts while we’ve been staying with family. It’s made me realized how much of my news I get from my daily listens. I typically start the day with Up First, What A Day, and then The Daily depending on the topic and how much time I have. Weekly I listen to Pod Save America and I frequently add Pantsuit Politics into the mix as well. Luckily we’re driving back to Colorado rather than flying so we’ll have a lot of time to catch up on what’s going on in the world.

Making: Our baby registry and it’s super overwhelming. Please, send help.

Loving: Visiting indie bookstores in D.C. I stopped by Kramers, a favorite of mine when I lived here for grad school, and also got a chance to swing by Old Town Books in Alexandria. Old Town is absolutely adorable and the staff is incredibly kind and knowledgeable. I highly recommend making a visit if you’re in the area!

I’m also currently living in these overalls from Mother Bee. It’s maternity, but only because it’s suuuuper stretchy, and honestly I’ll be wearing it long after my bump is gone.


Readers, I hope you’re enjoying your long weekend with a big stack of books. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!

Sara