Staff Picks

Summer Reads for Sticky Days

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

This week, I’ve been on a reading binge. I’m taking the subway when I could walk, just for the added reading time. I’m as thirsty for books as I am for iced tea. Here are a few books I’ve gulped down in the last few days, books that will stay with me for ages, but especially through the steamy months ahead.

Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow
Talk about a timely book! Jones’ novel about inside and outside families feels particularly necessary in the wake of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s indiscretions. The book is told in the voices of the two daughters, the public and the private, and I was riveted throughout. Jones writes gracefully and honestly about her characters’ situation, and doesn’t offer any pat resolutions.

Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest: Book Cover

Emma Forrest, Your Voice in My Head
Forrest’s memoir is about a double dose of heartbreak-the death of her beloved shrink and the death of a romance. The two relationships are so well-drawn that I too mourned their loss, and cried in public places.  Despite the subject matter, which includes suicide attempts and several scenes of self-mutilation, the book is often funny, and Forrest and her family are intensely likable.  (Note: Emma Forrest will be at BookCourt on 6/ 29)

Hayley Tanner, Vaclav & Lena
Tanner’s first novel begins with a pair of best friends in Coney Island: Vaclav, who wants to be a magician, and Lena, who is roped into becoming his glamorous assistant. They are both children of Russian immigrants, and there is much humor and warmth to be found in the borscht-flavored setting. Lena’s story threatens to become tragic, but this book is more about the permanence of love than a single sad event. When Vaclav and Lena were grown, and the book was over, I was sorry to be out of their company.

-Emma Straub


Tuesday, March 1st, 2011


Last Night of the Earth Poems, by Charles Bukowski

Molloy, by Samuel Beckett


Perfecting Sound Forever, by Greg Milner

Perfecting Sound Forever by Greg Milner: NOOK Book Cover

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown


Reservation Road, by John Burnham Schwartz

Life is Meals, by James Salter

Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days by James Salter: Book Cover


Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell

Down and out in Paris and London by George Orwell: Book Cover


Other People We Married, by Emma Straub

I wrote this book. Please buy it. I love you.

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Book Cover


Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter Series) by J. K. Rowling: Book Cover

You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe


Stuart: A Life Backwards, by Alexander Masters

Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters: Book Cover


Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding: Book Cover

Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis


Carrie, by Stephen King

Carrie by Stephen King: Book Cover


The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall

Round Trip, by Ann Jonas

Round Trip by Ann Jonas: Book Cover


Culture of One, by Alice Notely

Culture of One by Alice Notley: Book Cover

The Immoralist, by Andre Gide


CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders

CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders: Book Cover

Ballad of the Sad Cafe, by Carson McCullers


Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Book Cover

Nomad, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Book Cover


The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know, by Tracie Hotchner

This is the one book no home should be without… mainly if you are a cat lover or have a cat for a pet. This book can be very helpful when you need help. It also can give you tips about how to raise your cat in a good way without having any problems. It lets you know how and when to feed him as well.


The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: Book Cover

Concrete Is land, by J.G. Ballard