Issue 8: August 9, 2019

The other day while waiting to hear Jia Tolentino speak about her debut collection of essays at Books Are Magic, we were thinking about how maybe it would be fun if we all read Trick Mirror together! This is how we are thinking this will work - you’ll attain a copy (here’s a link), read as much as you can by August 23rd, where we will be reviewing it as a bonus in Issue 9 of the newsletter, and follow along at @read_receipts_ where we will host a virtual book club with submitted questions. This makes sense in our heads so we hope this sounds like a fun idea, and you’ll read along with us!

Secondly, our very own Kelsey usually works with numbers on the day-to-day, but she got to do something pretty cool and interview Rebecca Makkai for Teen Vogue. Remember, she wrote The Great Believers, that book that Courtney loved! Go check out the interview, and don’t worry, there are no spoilers if you haven’t read the book yet.

Courtney: I devoured Colson Whitehead’s heartbreaking The Nickel Boys nearly in one sitting and then raced to my local bookstore to buy his Pulitzer Prize winning The Underground Railroad. The Nickel Boys follows two African American teenagers forced to endure a variety of horrors at a crooked reform school in 1960’s Florida. With a tragic twist near the end that took me completely by surprise, Whitehead flips the narrative on its head and makes you re-examine everything you’d just read. The language is incredible and the story is important. I have, in the course of writing this review, looked up on synonyms for horrors, heartbreaking, and evil which I think paints the clearest picture of what you’ll be getting in to. Trust me though, it’s worth the read. 

Read if you want to experience what will undoubtedly become a modern classic 

Best if you liked: The Underground Railroad or There There

Kelsey: Sometimes you read a book that you just aren’t crazy about and that’s okay. Where I usually use this space to tell you about the book I have just read (you can check it out in my Instagram Story highlights if you are really interested), I am going to talk about a beloved book that I recommend to everyone who ever comes asking. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein is a book of 24 confessional essays that cover all the good things, like dating, aging, childbirth, barre classes, Anthropologie, and femininity while managing to be so funny. I mean, objectively, she is a funny person by trade. The book isn’t all jokes though - I think about some of her more poignant essays at least once a month because they are so relatable to being a female who doesn’t always feel particularly “feminine.” She has interesting observations with genuine emotion, and honestly writing this review is making me want to go reread this book. I suggest you do the same or read it for the first time! 

Read after worrying about things you probably don’t need to be worrying about 

Best if you liked: We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, I Was Told There Would Be Cake, The Rules Do Not Apply

Madeline: I am truly in awe of Zadie Smith’s talent as a writer after reading her latest novel, Swing Time. The story follows an unnamed narrator from her childhood marked by a love of dance and jazz music while growing up in London to her work as a personal assistant to a popstar in her adult life. From London to New York to West Africa, this novel is expansive and complicated, but Smith ultimately does an excellent job of discussing race, class, and friendship, often through the lens of dance. Smith’s writing is not only gorgeous, but she also has the ability to hone in on details that so perfectly describe the human condition. For our New York readers, one sentence particularly stood out to me and is impossible not to quote here: “It was foully hot: the rancid sewer air could prompt a smile between two strangers in the street as they passed each other: can you believe we live here?” I mean… 

By the end of the book, I loved the way the narratives of the main character’s childhood and adult life came together, demonstrating the way that familial relationships and friendships evolve over time, for better or worse. 

Read if you took even one ballet or tap class as a child

Best if you liked: The Mothers, Commonwealth

All books can be found at Books Are Magic, McNally Jackson, Greenlight Bookstore, and other independent bookstores, but if you don’t live near one, you can also click the links and we may earn an affiliate commission.

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