What To Read on the Subway This Week: 8/29
Hurricane or no hurricane, we’re back with reading suggestions for your Monday-morning commute. This week, read a work of staggering genius, ponder your penchant for annotated tomes, listen to an author’s interview, and pay homage to nature with a classic favorite.
On Your Kindle
Even once my obsessive stint reading the Hunger Games trilogy came to a close last week, I couldn’t quite dissociate from the pervasive sadness that permeates that text. Pondering the books’ message about the tragedy and wastefulness of life lost, I thought about other authors who've elicited tears by penning their post-mortem grief.
And that brought me to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a hefty, heady, mostly real but somewhat embellished memoir by Dave Eggers. The book, which draws laughter as frequently as it does tears, is the story of young Eggers, who grew up too fast after he lost both parents to cancer and found himself playing brother, mother, and father to his little brother. Pick this up for a long (and maybe tear-filled) commute.
On Your Smartphone
For a long time, I resisted e-readers. Convenience and pragmatism aside, every fiber of my English-major body cringed at the thought of a book I could not dog-ear, words I could not highlight, pages I could not smell. Last Christmas, when multiple flights rendered carrying all the volumes I wanted impossible, I gave in. Though I do love my Kindle and the ease with which I can download novels, I still often crave the tactile pleasure of a fat old book.
This article, published in the Reading Life section of the New York Times, is a perfect read for a book lover (book, as in the physical medium) with a short subway trip. In it, Dyer shares his feelings on annotated, used, and slightly abused books—and why he loves them.
On a Podcast
In this six-and-a-half minute interview, Scott Simon of NPR News’ Weekend Edition interviews author Vanessa Diffenbaugh about her new novel, The Language of Flowers. The pair discusses the book, which centers around the complex character of a scarred foster child who finds solace in her love of flowers. This brief, touching interview will leave you eager to locate a copy of the novel, the first for Diffenbaugh.
As Hurricane Irene shook up trees and imaginations on the East Coast, I thought of an old-school favorite that highlights nature’s indomitable power. The book, chock-full of Hemingway’s brilliant, slow-cooked prose and uncluttered by too many characters or too much dialogue, centers on Santiago, an aging and unlucky fisherman, who voyages out to sea in solitude. There, he battles with waves and sea life, never losing his respect for these natural adversaries. Empathize with Santiago and congratulate yourself for escaping Irene’s clutches this Monday morning.
Photo courtesy of Mo Riza.
Molly is The Daily Muse’s resident bookworm. She currently works in communications and is begrudgingly learning to be a grownup. She likes coffee shops and (the bakery aisle of) grocery stores, reading about other places but not necessarily traveling to them, keeping things clean, and stalking the Harvard Opportunes, her beloved college a cappella group.More from this Author