august required reading
For Alohas & Love Affairs & Politics
Democracy by Joan Didion is the Hawaiian-tinged prose romp you've been looking for all summer long. It's got everything you want out of a beach read—scandal, maritime law, boats, volcanoes, tropic lies, getaway helicopters, and all wrapped up in Didion's air-tight, overwhelming words. It's also an excellent study on the limits of memory and how that determines our course in life. Save The Year of Magical Thinking for the fall. Put on a lei and hula on over to this sweaty-good read.
For A Home Away From Home
About the House by sister-dad team Jenny and Ron Slate really made me smile. You probably know Jenny from her work on Parks and Rec or the arresting and hilarious film Obvious Child or from her perfect Instagram. But she's also a heartwarming writer, as is her poet father. Their exploration into the rooms and mysteries of the house Jenny grew up in will remind you of the smell after summer rain, of long, humid afternoons on porches and under shade, and of every detail of your own childhood home that makes you feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. It's also available free from Concord Free Press. All they ask is that you make a donation to any charity, and then pass the book on to someone else (and have them make a donation too).
For of-Age Soon-To-Be Wine Enthusiasts
Wine. All the Time. by Marissa A. Ross will teach you more about wine than you know or that you perhaps wanted to know but now can't stop thinking about (looking at you, stuff that is gross that somehow gets in commercial wine, ew). It's a breezy, picnic-perfect read and yeah, will make you thirsty. Don't worry about over-your-head musings or anything that rings of anxiety, this is your zero-bar-entry into getting more out of what's on the shelf. Drink responsibly!
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For A Return To Hogwarts
Many of us have long graduated from our respective schools of witchcraft and wizardry, but most have not forgotten the magic we encountered alongside Harry and friends in ye good ole days at Hogwarts. I put off reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for an entire year because I heard mixed things about the play / book and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to rejoin a story that I thought had already ended so perfectly. I’m glad I finally read it but I’m also glad that I waited so long and went in with few expectations. It’s a very different, much less in-depth experience in comparison to the original novels. But when you accept that no story will ever be exactly as perfect as the original seven, it’s a fun, fast read and happy reminder of all the years you spent with Harry, Ron, Hermy and Ginny.
For Hamilton Fans & General Historical Romance Junkies
When writer Melissa de la Cruz and her family went to see Hamilton, both she and her daughter became fascinated by the role that Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza Schuyler, played in her husband’s life, her own love story, and the American Revolution. De la Cruz did so much research to answer her daughter’s questions about Eliza that she thought, "What the hell," and wrote a whole book about it. Alex and Eliza: A Love Story is probably mostly made up but it’s still super cute and right up my alley seeing as I’m obsessed with Downton Abbey + any and all British period pieces, rom coms, young adult novels and other generally mushy-gushy things. Also a super-fast read, perfect for those last days of summer break and/or beach weekends.
For Pondering The Meaning Of “America” As Well As The Global Female Experience
I don’t know why I’m recommending Americanah to you because it’s four years old and everyone else in the world has already reviewed it and Instagrammed it. But this one has taken me a bit longer to get through, not because it’s bad or even hard to read, just because I normally only read tween fantasy novels that are fast-paced and full of magic and other ridiculously fun things. So it’s a slightly slower and more introspective feeling than I’m used to, but I like it. It’s sometimes important to remember that there aren’t dragons in the real world, you know? You also already know that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie became most famous for her TED talk that Beyoncé sampled in her self-titled album. But you might not know that this scholar and ICON was busy studying, speaking about, and writing amazing things before Bey catapulted her to main-stream fame. I intend to read anything and everything she writes, and to be honest, I also intend to look to her as a feminist mentor before looking to Beyoncé.
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