Autumn is here. It’s getting cold outside, the sun is sinking below the horizon earlier and earlier. The sand on the beach is easier to walk across barefoot, yes, but the water is freezing. All the pools are closing, all the water parks are closed. It’s depressing, but think about the bright side: all the leaves are changing, giving us a rainbow of colors.
And just as the leaves fall, we’d like to fall into a great book.
Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!
OUR HOT PICK
Movies (And Other Things) is a book about, quite frankly, movies (and other things).
One of the chapters, for example, answers which race Kevin Costner was able to white savior the best, because did you know that he white saviors Mexicans in McFarland, USA, and white saviors Native Americans in Dances with Wolves, and white saviors Black people in Black or White, and white saviors the Cleveland Browns in Draft Day?
Another of the chapters, for a second example, answers what other high school movie characters would be in Regina George’s circle of friends if we opened up the Mean Girls universe to include other movies (Johnny Lawrence is temporarily in, Claire from The Breakfast Club is in, Ferris Bueller is out, Isis from Bring It On is out…). Another of the chapters, for a third example, creates a special version of the Academy Awards specifically for rom-coms, the most underrated movie genre of all. And another of the chapters, for a final example, is actually a triple chapter that serves as an NBA-style draft of the very best and most memorable moments in gangster movies.
We hyped this book up and boy did it not disappoint. Following Serrano’s Basketball (and Other Things), which notably made Barack Obama’s 2017 year-end list, Shea Serrano’s Movies (and Other Things) is a must-have for any movie lover, pop culture aficionado, or someone who just wants to read a great book instead of a good book. This book puts each piece of media in its proper place in the pop culture sphere. I can’t in the right mind tell you this book is a page-turner, because it either had me laughing so hard I could barely finish a page or I had to stop and take in something truly poignant. As Serrano himself jokingly said, “Please buy a copy of it or go to hell.”
Our COFFEE SHOP Read
With echoes of Rules of Civility and The Boston Girl, a compelling and thought-provoking novel set in postwar New York City, about two women—one Jewish, one a WASP—and the wholly unexpected consequences of their meeting.
One rainy morning in June, two years after the end of World War II, a minor traffic accident brings together Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy. Their encounter seems fated: Eleanor, a teacher and recent Vassar graduate, needs a job. Patricia’s difficult thirteen-year-old daughter Margaux, recovering from polio, needs a private tutor.
Though she feels out of place in the Bellamys’ rarefied and elegant Park Avenue milieu, Eleanor forms an instant bond with Margaux. Soon the idealistic young woman is filling the bright young girl’s mind with Shakespeare and Latin. Though her mother, a hat maker with a little shop on Second Avenue, disapproves, Eleanor takes pride in her work, even if she must use the name “Moss” to enter the Bellamys’ restricted doorman building each morning, and feels that Patricia’s husband, Wynn, may have a problem with her being Jewish.
Invited to keep Margaux company at the Bellamys’ country home in a small town in Connecticut, Eleanor meets Patricia’s unreliable, bohemian brother, Tom, recently returned from Europe. The spark between Eleanor and Tom is instant and intense. Flushed with new romance and increasingly attached to her young pupil, Eleanor begins to feel more comfortable with Patricia and much of the world she inhabits. As the summer wears on, the two women’s friendship grows—until one hot summer evening, a line is crossed, and both Eleanor and Patricia will have to make important decisions—choices that will reverberate through their lives.
Gripping and wonderfully compelling, this tale weaves together themes of friendship, class, prejudice, and love expertly with the care and skill of a seamstress. The period piece details engross you—from the clothes, the glamour, the excitement, the feeling of 1947 New York. The characters live and breath 1947 New York and have a rich history, yet at the same time, Zeldis manages to effortlessly craft a story that not only fits the decade it’s set in, but transcend it.
Our DARK HORSE
After the sudden death of her husband, Annie Devereaux flees to England, site of the nostalgic fantasies her father spun for her before he deserted the family. A chance encounter in London leads Annie to cancel her return to New York and move in with Julian, the disaffected, moody son of Helena Denby, a famous British geneticist. As their relationship progresses, Annie meets Julian’s sisters Isabel and Sasha, each of them fragile in her own way, and becomes infatuated with visions of their idyllic childhood in England’s West Country. But the more she uncovers about Julian’s past, the more he explodes into rage and violence. Finally tearing herself away, Annie winds up adrift in London, rescued from her loneliness only when she and Isabel form an unexpected bond.
Slowly, with Isabel as her reluctant guide, Annie learns of the emotional devastation that Helena’s warped arrogance, her monstrous will to dominate, inflicted on her children. The family who once embodied Annie’s idealized conception of England is actually caught in a nightmare of betrayal and guilt that spirals inexorably into tragedy.
When you take away all the romance and all the illusions, what’s left of love? Is there any love? Or can love only survive on us not truly understanding our partner? Toynton’s third novel asks these questions and follows through to the answers and what it means for this disintegrating aristocratic family. A small story, the real drama comes from the family and how you could cut the tension with a knife in every scene, but are afraid to, because of how everything can shatter at a moment’s notice. Frighteningly intense, it explores class and the way we react, and don’t react, to tragedy when it hits us in the face.
All In-text Images Via Amazon.