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  • What I'm Reading, Part 2

    Janis Joplin doing the one thing she and I had in common: reading!

    Here is the second half of the books I've read this year! 

    Missoula by Jon Krakauer- Here, inspired in part by this article, Krakauer investigates a string of sexual assaults at the University of Montana in Missoula, a city recently given the moniker of “Rape Capital of America.” He focuses on several trials, two of which involve the prosecution of UM football players, and through this exploration, Krakauer uncovers disturbing trends in the way sexual assault cases in our country are handled—and mishandled. However, if you are a survivor of sexual assault, proceed with caution: there are lots of graphic descriptions and testimonies of rape.

    Night Film by Marisha Pessl- Stanislas Cordova is an enigmatic, reclusive filmmaker whose work—the scarring, scary stuff of nightmares—inspires a rabid cult of followers who meet in abandoned buildings to screen his films. But when his daughter Ashley turns up at dead, Scott McGrath, an investigative journalist who has delved into Cordova’s past before, attempts to lift the dark veil  behind which Cordova dwells and find out what really happened to Ashley.

    We Were Liars by E. Lockhart- Just keeping my hand in the YA game here! Cadence is a member of the wealthy, perfect Sinclair family, who gather every summer on their private island off Cape Cod. One summer everything changes: Cadence suffers a mysterious accident, waking up with severe pain but no memory of the incident, and she decides to fight to uncover the truth about what happened to her.

    Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer- Another YA book! More secrets that must be uncovered! After a serious meltdown following the death of her boyfriend, Jam winds up at a school for sensitive, brilliant teens, where she’s chosen for an exclusive class called Special Topics in English. There, Jam and her classmates will spend the entire semester studying just one text, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and keeping a journal. But the practice of journaling offers them transport to and refuge in another world, one that is massively more tempting than our world and all the pain that comes with it.

    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick- Here, Demick writes about, well, ordinary lives in North Korea in the 1990s, following the stories of several defectors. It’s a completely horrifying and surreal peek into a totalitarian regime.

    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins- AND MORE SECRETS! Actually, now that I’m looking at these last three books, I could pretty much sum them up with SECRETS. Rachel is a sad woman with a drinking problem, mourning her old self and lusting for the life that could have been hers. Everyday she commutes into London, and from the train, everyday, she sees a beautiful, happy couple she calls Jess and Jason and imagines what their beautiful, happy life must be like. But one day she spies Jess kissing another man; the next day, Jess goes missing, and Rachel, believing Jason to be the culprit, begins a dangerous quest for answers.

    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng- Here, Ng explores issues of race and gender and identity and family dynamics through the mystery of the death of Lydia Lee, a Chinese-American girl in the 1970s Midwest, and her family’s struggle to reconcile their understanding of their daughter and sister and the reality of who she was in her short life. As the new mom to a baby girl, it was a beautiful, painful read, imagining my own little one growing up and having a life completely separate from my own, full of loneliness and desires I may never know.

    Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll- TifAni FaNelli is a cold bitch, but she has it all: killer body, hot fiancée, glamorous job at a glossy magazine. But guess what else she has. Yep, SECRETS. And those secrets, which Knoll reveals slowly but never with the sense of withholding, are devastating. Again, there are some pretty graphic scenes, and if you are someone who does not handle that well, pick up another one of the books on the list instead. :)

    I’m currently reading—and loving—Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche! What other great books am I missing? Or even better: what great books have I missed recently while I've been living under the baby rock?