Things to Read - Four Great (and Totally Different) Books


Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that in 2016 I read some duds? Well, so far 2017 has been way way better - there are so many books that I can't say enough good things about. So even if the country is falling apart, at least the diversions listed below will keep you entertained during America's demise.

1. Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramovic (memoir)

I've been intrigued by Abramovic ever since watching The Artist is Present - a documentary about her retrospective at MOMA - and her memoir doesn't disappoint. I loved Abramovic's vivid descriptions of growing up in Communist Yugoslavia, as well as how she became a performance artist and the inspirations behind many of her key works.

Though I find some of Abramovic's work bizarre - such as "[s]omeone stuck pins into me. Someone else slowly poured a glass of water over my head. Someone cut my neck with the knife and sucked the blood. I still have the scar." - I admire her dedication and creativity. Plus, whenever I walk in a museum, I always wonder about each artist's path to fame, so I enjoyed how Abramovic takes you through her years as a starving artist performing in galleries to an icon.

2. Patience by Daniel Clowes (graphic novel)

As you've probably realized, lately I'm a little obsessed with graphic novels. Patience is odd and quirky and over-the-top - time-travel, murder, true love, weird blue people from the future, etc. But I couldn't put it down. Literally, I read it straight through in one (long) sitting.

3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (fiction)

This novel begins in late-1700s Africa with the separation of two half-sisters - one who leaves for America on a slave ship and one who becomes the wife of a white slave trader. Each chapter of Homegoing continues the family tree by telling the story of a new generation (the novel spans seven generations in total). While some chapters are stronger than others, most of the characters are so real that I felt sad when their stories ended and a new generation was introduced. All in all a fantastic book.

4. The Bitch is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier (essays)

My friend Carolyn compared this book to "sitting down for long lovely chats with friends over coffee or wine and chocolate, and listening to their stories." I was a little nervous the essays would be negative or spiteful, but instead they are so varied and diverse (and, for the most part, positive) that reading them makes me feel like part of a community - one that I didn't even know I needed, but that I'm so glad I found.

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