Recommended Reading

I'm not going to hit my mark this year of tackling 50 books, but 40+ isn't bad... I've still been drawn to short stories and am finally getting to read a few popular hits from the year, including Lena Dunham's book and The Vacationers. Did you have any favorite reads this year?

Recommended Reading

1. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" (Lena Dunham)
'Is This Even Real?' 
Gran didn't marry until she was thirty-four, which in 1947, was the equivalent of being Liza Minnelli on her fifth gay husband. My grandfather, also named Carroll, was massively obese and came from great wealth, which he had squandered on a series of misguided investments including a chicken farm and a business that sold "all-in-one sporting cages." But Gram saw something in him, and within two weeks they were engaged. From this union came my father and his brother, Edward, aka Jack. (P. 225)
2. The Vacationers: A Novel (Emma Straub)
She was on Villette, working her way through the Brontës. She’d read all of Jane Austen that year—Austen was good, but when you told people you liked Pride and Prejudice, they expected you to be all sunshine and wedding veils, and Sylvia preferred the rainy moors. The Brontës weren’t afraid to let someone die of consumption, which Sylvia respected. (P. 60)
3. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (Joan Didion)
'7000 Romaine, Los Angeles'Why do we like those stories so? Why do we tell them over and over? Why have we made a folk hero of a man [Howard Hughes] who is the antithesis of all our official heroes, a haunted millionaire out of the West, trailing a legend of desperation and power and white sneakers? But then we have always done that. Our favorite people and our favorite stories become so not by any inherent virtue, but because they illustrate something deep in the grain, something unadmitted. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Warren Gamaliel Harding, the Titanic: how the mighty are fallen. Charles Lindbergh, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe: the beautiful and the damned. And Howard Hughes. That we have made a hero of Howard Hughes tells us something only dimly remembered, tells us that the secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake (Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power), but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. It is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one's own rules. (P. 71)
4. Fever Pitch (Nick Hornby)
I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it. (P. 7)

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