I am a freelance journalist and a postpartum doula in the D.C. area.
“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin
I am among the 44 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions. I tend to think of my goals in more seasonal terms: each spring, summer, fall, and winter I rethink areas of my life that could use improvement. But Gretchen Rubin takes this idea much, much further. And her goal, although multifaceted, is simple: In one year, she wanted to find ways to make herself happier.
“Habana Libre” by Tim Wendel
Pilar has everything a young Cuban woman could want: she’s the most beautiful and talented performer at a luxe resort; she’s newly married to Omar Silva, Cuba’s star baseball player; and her uncle is one of the most prominent businessmen in the country. But she wants more. She dreams of a life outside of Cuba, in “El Norte,” and she will do anything to get there.
“The Bermudez Triangle” by Maureen Johnson
Nina Bermudez has been best friends with Mel and Avery since… well, it’s not really clear. But a long time. Together, they make up the incredibly corny and age-inappropriate “Bermudez Triangle.”
“Goodwill Tour”: An Interview with Keith Maginn
In July 2011, Keith Maginn and his close friend, Emily, left Cincinnati, Ohio, for a 3,000-mile road-trip through the southeastern United States. Along the way, Keith and Emily had a simple goal: give away their own money to strangers, who then had to pay the money forward to someone else. Because of my abiding interest in travel, and because of the unique angle of this memoir, I asked Keith a few questions about his book, Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
When she was out in the world, the world as it had been Before, she hadn’t known how free she was. She was free to marry her lover, Luke, and they were free to have a daughter together. She was free to hold down a job, to have money of her own, to wear whatever she liked and go wherever she wanted whenever she pleased.
“Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” by Alexandra Fuller
Title: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood Author: Alexandra Fuller ISBN: 9780375758997 Pages: 336 Release date: March 11, […]
“Quiet” by Susan Cain
I was what you might call a high-reactive baby. The slightest disturbance would leave me wailing. I was picky about sound, about food, about the way fabric touched my skin. When I was a year or so old and still cried like it was my full-time job, my mom took me to the doctor and said, “There has to be something wrong with her.” My mother herself cried when she found out she was pregnant with the brother who arrived after me, and her best friend comforted her by saying, “Don’t worry. When God made Melody, he broke the mold.”
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Set in fictional Maycomb County in 1930s Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird is narrated by young Scout Finch, who is generally more interested in finding treasures and scrapping with her brother, Jem, than in the Great Depression or Jim Crow. But tension in the Deep South is unavoidable, especially when your dad is Mr. Renaissance Man himself. Atticus Finch is representing Tom Robinson, a black man accused of sexual assault by an impoverished white girl. Scout is young, but already she struggles with biases inherited from members of this insular community. As she observes the tumult caused by the trial, and as she deals with her own demons, Scout learns that people aren’t always as they appear.
“I Am Forbidden” by Anouk Markovits
There are some books that are so good, as soon as you finish reading you’re ready to tell the world exactly what you loved about it; the words have been forming in your mind the whole time.
I Am Forbidden may not be one of those books.
It’s a book that you read obsessively—it takes over your thoughts—and quickly—because you have to know what happens, you have to stay with these characters. Yet when you put it down, you don’t know how to explain the book, much less why you loved it.
“The Pharmacist’s Mate” by Amy Fusselman
This is what I believe:
When someone dies, they don’t go to some pearlescent afterlife or some sulfurous hellhole.
Instead, they live on in the memories of those who loved them.
“A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan
Much is said about plot in writing. Without plot, you don’t have a book… right?
That’s why, at first glance, A Visit from the Goon Squad appears to be a series of interconnected short stories. There is no overarching plot, no event or circumstances that drive the characters through the narrative, which switches back on itself, going into the past and then the future over the course of four decades. In books like The Train of Small Mercies, the characters never meet. But the same event—the death of RFK—draws them together in theme and event if not in circumstance, and so their arcs mirror each other.