Excellent essays, propulsive pastiche, and a book to add to your preorder list
Plus bookish TV to watch this month and books about every type of motherhood
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading this! I hope you’re being sufficiently doted upon and/or taking a much deserved break. I know this holiday can be tender for many reasons—if you’re missing your mom, wanting to be a mom, filling in as a mom, or just not feeling warm and fuzzy today, I hope you’re being gentle with yourself. I’m looking forward to spending time with Louise on my first Mother’s Day as a mom. At the same time, I’m thinking about my grandmothers, both of whom passed away in the last year, and how both of my parents will be spending their first Mother’s Day without being able to call their moms. It’s a complicated and emotional day, and I hope it’s filled with whatever it is you need ❤️
This week in books.
This week I read…
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett. Like with many collections, some of these essays hit me more powerfully than others. I wouldn’t call it hit or miss—Ann Patchett is a beautiful writer with an interesting point-of-view, so I enjoyed the book in its entirety. There are a few standouts that I’ll think of often, including Patchett’s reflection on the choice not to have children (and other people’s commentary on that choice) and her stories about grad school and decision to ultimately open a bookstore (which really made me want to open a bookstore!). If you love Patchett’s fiction, I think you would really enjoy this collection as Patchett shares some behind the scenes stories, thoughts on her artistic process, and family anecdotes that definitely connect to some of her novels. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor. Now that The Great Gatsby is in the public domain, we’re in an age of Gatsby retellings and this one has gotten quite a bit of attention. In Cantor’s version, the events of the classic American novel are told from the perspective of Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson, and Myrtle’s sister Catherine. Like most books with alternating points of view, I found the story very propulsive, and I thought Cantor did a great job of filling out the backstories and perspectives of Fitzgerald’s female characters. As someone who’s pretty familiar with The Great Gatsby after teaching it for seven years, I had a few quibbles. Most of them were minor, but I also thought making the book a Big Little Lies-style mystery (Cantor’s term) made some of her choices somewhat sensational, and I didn’t love that. Still, I think this is a fun piece of historical fiction, particularly if you’re familiar with the source material! Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Now I’m reading…
Oh, William! by Elizabeth Strout. I adore Elizabeth Strout but never seem to prioritize her work. So far I am really loving this on audio* and I’m so happy to be back in Lucy Barton’s world. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Links I love.
Check out this list of some of the most influential Asian American literature of all-time for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
I love this new Nashville library card.
The best mysteries and thrillers out this month.
I finally finished the second season of Bridgerton. I thought it was a little boring, but I’m going to blame my divided attention rather than the season itself.
I’ve been in a self-created news vacuum, and I’m trying to be better so I’ve started listening to NPR’s Up First again every morning. It’s such a small thing, but I like being slightly better informed.
My May TBR…I have so many books I want to read!!
Readers, I hope you’re taking care of yourself this weekend. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!
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