Marie works in ecommerce order processing at Greenlight, and reads voraciously; her no-holds-barred "What I'm Reading" reports for fellow Greenlight staff members are not to be missed! Here's some of what Marie's been reading lately: a reading diary of sorts.
April 29: I finished The Accusation by Bandi. The stories are all pretty grim but it's an important book in the bearing-witness category and great for people interested in North Korea which I kind of feel like is always worth reading about. The story of its publication was fascinating (the translator was the same person who garnered controversy over The Vegetarian.) But I'm glad I read it.
April 9: Last night I finished LIFE AS A UNICORN, coming out on June 9 by Amrou Al-Khadi, their memoir of growing up queer/genderqueer in a Middle Eastern Muslim family. They talk about struggling with issues as a kid in the middle east, moving to London, at Eton and Cambridge trying to be British, figuring it out with their family and finally reaching young adulthood while working through issues around gender, religion and race. It's good and they recount their adventures and struggles with humor and grace.
April 2: I finished THE GRAMMARIANS by Cathleen Schine, which is a very New Yorky novel about twins with a passion for language. I can see this being a literary beach book for the brownstone set. The characters are well-drawn and their cerebral life will resonate with those who enjoy considering all things.
March 27: I finished THE YELLOW HOUSE by Sarah Broom, which was everything everyone said it was, a moving complex story of a city, a family and a woman's life. Really liked it and she seems like a neat person.
March 25: I finished Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, which was a quickish read and pretty moving and sweet, about a woman who is kind of a screw up and aimless who becomes a "governess" to two 10 year olds who spontaneously combust when they feel strong emotions. It's about finding family where you can and feeling love you never knew you could. Definitely on the light side in terms of the writing but manages to pack an emotional punch.
I finished Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin, which is a solid melodrama about how a young woman's death on a fictional island resonates and changes the lives of those around her. The young woman is Alison, a wealthy teen on vacation wit her parents and sister. Most affected are her little sister Claire and one of the two prime suspects in her death, Clive, who is a worker at the resort. Oyinkan Braithwaite of My Sister the Serial Killer fame gave the book a tight, thoughtful writeup in the Times covering Schaitkin's treatment of class, race and self-delusion; this sold me on the book and I think it would be a great fit for literary melodrama readers. A good chunk of the novel is set in the PLG/Flatbush neighborhood, fwiw.
February 21: I finished the audio of Lindy West's The Witches Are Coming, which is by turns bracing, validating, scary, funny, smart, unyielding, angry, moving, hopeful and energizing. You'll probably like it if you work here or shop here. It's not exactly what I'd call challenging for most of its readers but it's a tough, quick read that may buoy you and keep you going on a tough day.
I finished Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition & Compromise in Putin's Russia, by Joshua Yaff. This is an excellent examination of life under a dictatorship, profiling several people in long chapters about their lives and how they carve out their work and life under the pressure of the state. Yaffa never mentions the current American president but it's hard to not to think about what may be in store for us. He profiles humanitarian aid workers, a media figure, a priest and zookeeper among others and shows the adjustments and compromises and give and take they engage in in order to do what they do and sleep at night. It's fascinating and engaging.
February 16: Also finished Gang of Lovers, by Massimo Carlotto, the first book in which Carlotto combines his two crime series into one page-turning story about an off-the-books investigator and his cronies going after a remorseless killer who's kidnapped and murdered a wealthy woman's lover. The killer, Giorgio Pellegrini, is like an Italian version of Donald Westlake's Parker with better taste in clothes and wine. Fun.