Tag: women

Five Books for Women Who Want to Skip Parenthood

It’s tough being a woman who doesn’t want kids and it shouldn’t have to be. We compiled a list of books for women who are proud of their decision, or for those who are thinking about not wanting kids, try these reads before making your decision, or you can see these books to help you with your choice. Book Riot, and Hello Giggles influenced some of these book choices. Happy Women’s History Month, to every woman and her choices!

 

 

#1. Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children by Jeanne Safer

 

 

image via amazon

 

After years of soul-searching, Jeanne Safer made the conscious decision not to have children. In this book, Safer and women across the country share insights that dispel the myth of childless women as emotionally barren or incomplete, and encourage all women to honestly confront their needs–whether they choose motherhood or not.

 

 

#2. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From A Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman

 

 

image via amazon

 

In this instant New York Times bestseller that’s “boldly funny without being anti-mom” (In Touch), comedian and Chelsea Lately regular Jen Kirkman champions every woman’s right to follow her own path—even if that means being “childfree by choice.”

In her debut memoir, actress and comedian Jen Kirkman delves into her off-camera life with the same snarky sensitivity and oddball humor she brings to her sold-out standup shows and the Chelsea Lately round-table, where she is a writer and regular performer. As a woman of a certain age who has no desire to start a family, Jen often finds herself confronted (by friends, family, and total strangers) about her decision to be “childfree by choice.” I Can Barely Take Care of Myself offers honest and hilarious responses to questions like “Who will take care of you when you get old?” (Servants!) and a peek into the psyche—and weird and wonderful life—of a woman who has always marched to the beat of a different drummer and is pretty sure she’s not gonna change her mind, but thanks for your concern.

 

 

#3. Motherhood by Sheila Heti

 

 

image via amazon

 

In Motherhood, Sheila Heti asks what is gained and what is lost when a woman becomes a mother, treating the most consequential decision of early adulthood with the candor, originality, and humor that have won Heti international acclaim and made How Should A Person Be? required reading for a generation.

In her late thirties, when her friends are asking when they will become mothers, the narrator of Heti’s intimate and urgent novel considers whether she will do so at all. In a narrative spanning several years, casting among the influence of her peers, partner, and her duties to her forbearers, she struggles to make a wise and moral choice. After seeking guidance from philosophy, her body, mysticism, and chance, she discovers her answer much closer to home.

Motherhood is a courageous, keenly felt, and starkly original novel that will surely spark lively conversations about womanhood, parenthood, and about how―and for whom―to live.

 

 

#4. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids by Meghan Daum

 

 

image via amazon

 

One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed “fertility crisis,” and whether modern women could figure out a way to have it all-a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children-before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it’s necessary to have it all (see Anne-Marie Slaughter) or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.

In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, sixteen acclaimed writers explain why they have chosen to eschew parenthood. Contributors include Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christiensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, who will give a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.

 

 

#5. Nobody’s Mother: Life Without Kids by Lynne Van Luven

 

 

image via amazon

 

Statistics say that one in 10 women has no intention of taking the plunge into motherhood. Nobody’s Mother is a collection of stories by women who have already made this choice. From introspective to humorous to rabble-rousing, these are personal stories that are well and honestly told. The writers range in age from early 30s to mid-70s and come from diverse backgrounds. All have thought long and hard about the role of motherhood, their own destinies, what mothering means in our society and what their choice means to them as individuals and as members of their ethnic communities or social groups. Contributors include: Nancy Baron, a zoologist and science writer who works in the United States for eaWeb/COMPASS and has won two Science in Society awards, a National Magazine Award and a Western Magazine Award for Science. Lorna Crozier, well-known poet and the author of a dozen books, as well as the recipient of a Governor General’s award and numerous other writing prizes.

 

 

featured image via girltalkhq.com

Women, Small Presses Dominate Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Founded in 2016, The Man Booker International Prize exists to spread fiction in translation to worldwide audience. The Man Booker Prize itself, established several decades earlier in 1969, “guarantees a worldwide readership” and an enormous spike in book sales; the international version aims to offer the same visibility to an international author whose work may otherwise remain lodged behind the language barrier—tragically inaccessible to the general populace. The Man Booker International Prize aims to change that.

 

In 2019, translated fiction sales jumped 5.5%

 

Given the nature of the award, its winners are inherently diverse: drawn from throughout the world and writing in languages that may be less accessible to a Western audience. While some nominees are from Western Europe and South America, many are also from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, regions whose languages are not taught as frequently in Western schools. The publicity surrounding this prestigious award typically grants its winner an international readership whose value cannot be understated—for instance, a novel written in Polish, a less widely-spoken language, may have an incredibly limited audience regardless of the quality of writing. Poland also has a lower population density than a larger country like China, further limiting the market of possible buyers.

This year in particular, the award’s diversity is more than a matter of geography. Women comprise eight of thirteen longlisted nominees, and all but two books are small press publications. In the age of self-publishing and indie bookstores—an age of increasing ability to shirk the confines of tradition—these nominations are deeply reflective of the increasingly diverse (and increasingly individualized!) nature of publishing. Of course, it’s a matter of geography as well—translated languages include Polish, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Swedish, and Dutch.

 

"More translated fiction is read now than ever in this millennium."

 

This year, the group of five judges is comprised entirely of women and people of color (though no women of color), each a respected academic or writer. The full list of nominees is now available; the shortlist is anticipated for April 9th. In the award’s tradition of respecting translation as an art form, both the author and translator will receive an even half of the £50,000 prize.

One author to watch out for is Olga Tokarczuk, whose Polish-language novel Flights won the prize in 2018. She’s up for a second consecutive nomination: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has made the list for 2019.

 

All In-text Images Via Man Booker Prize Twitter.
Featured Image Via Penguin Books.

16 Books Make Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

One UK’s most coveted book awards today announced its 2019 longlist.

According to Evening Standard, the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 this year features some of the biggest titles from the last year including Circe by Madeline Miller and Sally Rooney’s Normal People. And, excitingly, for the first time, a non-binary writer has been long listed for the prize—Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater (check out #6 below).

The descriptions below sourced with descriptions from Amazon, and Goodreads, in case you are considering any of these wonderful picks.

 

Image via standard.co.uk (Judges, from left to right, dolly alderton, arifa akbar, professor kate williams and sarah wood, women’s prize for fiction/sam holden agency)

 

Author Dolly Alderton, campaigner Leyla Hussein, and Professor Kate Williams of the University of Reading are one of the five judges who will determine who will be announced on the shortlist prize on April 29th, and on June 5th, at an awards ceremony in London and receiving a cheque for €30,000 (Damn, that’s a lot!).

 

Image via standard.co.uk (Women’s prize for fiction/sam holden agency)

 

 

 

1. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

 

 

                                                      Image Via Amazon                                                    

 

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stolen woman–Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.
When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis’s people, but also of the ancient world at large.
Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war–the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead–all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives–and it is nothing short of magnificent.

 

2. Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton

 

Image Via Amazon

 

It is 1910 and Philadelphia is burning. For Spring, there is nothing worse than sitting up half the night with her dead sister and her dying son, reliving a past she would rather not remember in order to prepare for a future she cannot face. Edward, Spring’s son, lies in a hospital bed. He has been charged with committing a crime on the streets of Philadelphia. But is he guilty? The evidence — a black man driving a streetcar into a store window – could lead to his death. Surrounded by ghosts and the wounded, Spring, an emancipated slave, is forced to rewrite her story in order to face the prospect of a future without her child. With the help of her dead sister, newspaper clippings and reconstructed memories, she shatters the silences that have governed her life in order to lead Edward home.

 

3. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

 

 

 

4. The Pisces by Melissa Broder

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection.

Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

 

 

 

5. Milkman by Anna Burns

 

Image Via Amazon

 

In an unnamed city, middle sister stands out for the wrong reasons. She reads while walking, for one. And she has been taking French night classes downtown. So when a local paramilitary known as the milkman begins pursuing her, she suddenly becomes “interesting,” the last thing she ever wanted to be. Despite middle sister’s attempts to avoid him—and to keep her mother from finding out about her maybe-boyfriend—rumors spread and the threat of violence lingers. Milkman is a story of the way inaction can have enormous repercussions, in a time when the wrong flag, wrong religion, or even a sunset can be subversive. Told with ferocious energy and sly, wicked humor, Milkman establishes Anna Burns as one of the most consequential voices of our day.

 

 

 

6. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

 

Image Via Amazon

 

An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born “with one foot on the other side.” Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwateris a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.

Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves―now protective, now hedonistic―move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.

Narrated from the perspective of the various selves within Ada, and based in the author’s realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and mental health, plunging the reader into the mystery of being and self. Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.

 

 

 

7. Ordinary People by Diana Evans

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Hailed as “one of the most thrilling writers at work today” (Huffington Post), Diana Evans reaches new heights with her searing depiction of two couples struggling through a year of marital crisis. In a crooked house in South London, Melissa feels increasingly that she’s defined solely by motherhood, while Michael mourns the former thrill of their romance. In the suburbs, Stephanie’s aspirations for bliss on the commuter belt, coupled with her white middle-class upbringing, compound Damian’s itch for a bigger life catalyzed by the death of his activist father. Longtime friends from the years when passion seemed permanent, the couples have stayed in touch, gathering for births and anniversaries, bonding over discussions of politics, race, and art. But as bonds fray, the lines once clearly marked by wedding bands aren’t so simply defined. Ordinary People is a moving examination of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, and the fragile architecture of love.

 

 

 

8. Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Book Description by Google Books: A dazzling debut about gossip, slander and the public humiliation of New York socialites in the 1970s. Based on real events, Swan Song is the tragic story of the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women whom Truman Capote called his Swans, and who deserted him after he betrayed them. On exclusive yachts and private jets, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears with the famous writer. Then in 1975, Capote committed an act of professional and social suicide when he turned his words against the most influential women in Manhattan and silenced his muses. After two decades of cultivating intimate friendships and a high-end lifestyle, Capote detonated a literary grenade, forever rupturing the elite circle he’d worked so hard to infiltrate.

 

 

 

9. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

 

 

 

10. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lilian Li

 

Image Via Amazon

 

The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.

Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their thirty-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children.

Generous in spirit, unaffected in its intelligence, multi-voiced, poignant, and darkly funny, Number One Chinese Restaurant looks beyond red tablecloths and silkscreen murals to share an unforgettable story about youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive.

 

 

11. Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Goodreads: When Alina’s brother-in-law defects to the West, she and her husband become persons of interest to the secret services, causing both of their careers to come grinding to a halt.

As the strain takes its toll on their marriage, Alina turns to her aunt for help – the wife of a communist leader and a secret practitioner of the old folk ways.

Set in 1970s communist Romania, this novella-in-flash draws upon magic realism to weave a tale of everyday troubles, that can’t be put down.

 

 

 

12. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

 

Image Via Amazon

 

A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home.

Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father.

In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an “immigration crisis”: thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained–or lost in the desert along the way.

As the family drives–through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas–we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure–both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations.

Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.

 

 

 

13. Praise Songs for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Abeo Kata lives a comfortable, happy life in West Africa as the privileged nine-year-old daughter of a government employee and stay-at-home mother. But when the Katas’ idyllic lifestyle takes a turn for the worse, Abeo’s father, following his mother’s advice, places the girl in a religious shrine, hoping that the sacrifice of his daughter will serve as atonement for the crimes of his ancestors. Unspeakable acts befall Abeo for the fifteen years she is held in the shrine. When she is finally rescued, broken and battered, she must struggle to overcome her past, endure the revelation of family secrets, and learn to trust and love again.

In the tradition of Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, this novel is a contemporary story that offers an eye-opening account of the practice of ritual servitude in West Africa. Spanning decades and two continents, Praise Song for the Butterflies will break your heart and then heal it.

 

 

 

14. Circe by Madeline Miller

 

Image Via Amazon

 

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

 

 

 

15. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

 

Image via amazon

 

In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.

For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit. The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs―particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.

The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?

A story at once mythic and strikingly timely, Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall urges us to wonder how far we have come from the “primitive minds” of our ancestors.

 

16. Normal People by Sally Rooney

 

 

Image VIA AMAZON

 

Goodreads: Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years.

 

Start your woman’s history month right! Enjoy these tasteful reads!

 

Featured Image Via Stylist.co.uk
Bookstr's Three to Read: 'The Border' by Don Winslow, 'The Last Romantics' by Tara Conklin, 'Women' by Mihail Sebastian

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 3/1/19

3toRead

February may be over, but winter definitely isn’t. Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy: book, fireplace, blanket, hot beverage of your choice. We’d advise you to kick back and relax… but some of these books are certain to get your heart racing. This week, we’ve got a timely and incisive look at the war on drugs, an exploration into the enduring value of art, and a classic rediscovered after nearly eighty years.

Here are Bookstr’s Three to Read: the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

Our Hot Pick

 

'The Border' Don Winslow

 

Synopsis:

What do you do when there are no borders?  When the lines you thought existed simply vanish?  How do you plant your feet to make a stand when you no longer know what side you’re on?

For over forty years, Art Keller has been on the front lines of America’s longest conflict: The War On Drugs. His obsession to defeat the world’s most powerful, wealthy, and lethal kingpin—the godfather of the Sinaloa Cartel, Adán Barrera—has left him bloody and scarred, cost him people he loves, even taken a piece of his soul.

Now Keller is elevated to the highest ranks of the DEA, only to find that in destroying one monster he has created thirty more that are wreaking even more chaos and suffering in his beloved Mexico. But not just there.

Barrera’s final legacy is the heroin epidemic scourging America. Throwing himself into the gap to stem the deadly flow, Keller finds himself surrounded by enemies—men that want to kill him, politicians that want to destroy him, and worse, the unimaginable—an incoming administration that’s in bed with the very drug traffickers that Keller is trying to bring down.

Art Keller is at war with not only the cartels, but with his own government. And the long fight has taught him more than he ever imagined. Now, he learns the final lesson—there are no borders.

In a story that moves from deserts south of the border to Wall Street, from the slums of Guatemala to the marbled corridors of Washington, D.C., Winslow follows a new generation of narcos, the cops that fight them, the street traffickers, the addicts, the politicians, money-launderers, real-estate moguls and mere children fleeing the violence for the chance of a life in a new country.

Why?

Don Winslow‘s The Border is much more than your average crime novel—in terms of accolades and subject matter. Stephen King called Winslow’s writing “balls-to-the-wall,” which means you’re pretty much guaranteed to put your nose to the book. A former investigator and antiterrorist trainer himself, Winslow is familiar with the darkness he portrays. But darkness isn’t all Winslow uncovers: throughout the novel, he explores how to live “decently in an indecent world,” searching for humanity amidst the violence and desperation of the drug trade and addictions that come with it. Winslow’s complex portrait of the drug trade and those involved on both sides of the border.

As interested as the novel is in the intricacies of human nature, it’s also a thorough examination of phenomena and institutions: the opioid epidemic, the war on drugs, the U.S. border. Politically incisive and deeply human, this astounding conclusion to Winslow’s best-selling trilogy is as relevant as it is intoxicating.

 

Our Coffee Shop Read

 

'The Last Romantics' by Tara Conklin

 

Synopsis:

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

Why?

Here’s what the back jacket doesn’t mention: poet Fiona Skinner is 102 years old, writing in a world ravaged by climate change. Set in 2079, Tara Conklin‘s expansive and devastating The Last Romantics explores our modern times from a unique nostalgic viewpoint. The Female Persuasion author Meg Wolitzer called this novel “richly observed… welcoming,” and it’s been welcomed onto quite the series of best books lists: literary trendsetters Bustle, Goodreads, and Lithub are calling this one of the hot picks of the year. Despite the broad scope and tremendous ambition of the novel, it never ceases to be deeply personal.

Although family is a well-trafficked theme, Conklin takes a more original path, examining both the pain and strength inherent in the bond of siblings. Conklin’s protagonist is a writer, and it shows: the novel explores the power of storytelling as a means to endure hardship—and this book is an excellent example of stories profound enough to do just that. Readers will appreciate the novel’s deep human intimacy and timely, ambitious exploration of all the decades ahead of us.

 

 Our Dark Horse

 

'Women' by Mihail Sebastian

 

Synopsis:

Stefan Valeriu, a young man from Romania who has just completed his medical studies in Paris, spends his vacation in the Alps, where he quickly becomes entangled with three different women. We follow Stefan after his return to Paris as he reflects on the women in his life, at times playing the lover, and at others observing shrewdly from the periphery.

Women‘s four interlinked stories offer moving, strikingly modern portraits of romantic relationships in all their complexity, from unrequited loves and passionate affairs to tepid marriages of convenience.

Why?

Mihail Sebastian (1907 – 1945) is a classic Romanian writer whose work was censored under an anti-Semitic establishment. He believed in “intelligent revenge,” and, in 1934, he actually got it. His novel, For Two Thousand Yearsdepicts life as a Jewish man in Romania and the existential questions that arise when one’s identity is in conflict with one’s nationality. Although the western world didn’t discover his world until after his death, it’s not too late to celebrate his life and achievements. It wasn’t until 2016 that the novel was available in English—now, we have the chance to discover yet another classic. Women is a masterful portrayal of love and relationships from one of history’s great lost writers.

 

If one of these sound like a match to you, let us know! But hey, it is called Three to Read—maybe that’s the number of books you want to try.

 

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Badass Female Librarians Delivered Books on Horseback in 1930s

If you are someone who is excited about female empowerment as I am, then you’re going to love this! According to History Daily, during the Great Depression, unemployment rates soared, and in turn people endured extreme poverty, so many had little access to books.

At the time, Franklin Roosevelt was trying to resolve the Great Depression, and his Works Progress Administration created The Pack Horse Library Initiative to improve American literacy and therefore chances of employment. The librarians were mostly women who lived in the counties they served. Public schools in the local areas contributed books, magazines, newspapers and any other reading materials available.

The ‘bookwomen’ were paid $28 a month and were responsible for their own food and supplies, and horse. These librarians travelled over mountains to isolated homes—through blizzards and mud to make sure everyone had a book in their hands. The women would ride as far as 120 miles, and at times if the locations were close by, they would walk with their horses, holding on to their reins. In 1943, the program ended because employment increased massively during World War II, and nearly one thousand pack horse librarians had served 1.5 million people in forty-eight Kentucky counties!

 

Check out the photos below!

 

image via historydaily.org

 

image via historydaily.org

 

Image via historydaily.org

 

Image via historydaily.org

 

Image via historydaily.org

 

Image via historydaily.org

 

See more amazing photos of these heroic librarians on History Daily!

 

Featured image via atlasobscura.com