Things I Read That I Liked

zadiesmithThe other day, I read On Beauty, which is a book I’ve had for a long time but never really bothered to read. I know I’m exceptionally late to the party here, but I feel the need to say that it was really quite good. It’s exactly the kind of book that makes me simultaneously want to open up my laptop and start writing a novel, and despair that I will never, ever, no matter how much I write or how hard I work, be that good. But also, it’s really lovely and worth reading.

Zadie Smith’s story of academia and infidelity also reminded me of another book I read recently that I loved: Lit, by Mary Karr. Also set in Cambridge and also about the perils of too much thinking, it differed from Beauty in that it was a memoir of Karr’s days as an alcoholic. Though I could probably write a (really awful) book called Alcoholics I Have Known, none of my boozers ever quite entered into Karr-territory (save for one, but I don’t want to think about that too hard). Lit resides in that scary, almost mythical land of delirium tremors and detox, which actually sounds more depressing than it is. Like Smith, Karr is a terrifically gorgeous writer made all the more enviable by the fact that she’s funny, too.

So those are my Massachusetts-themed book recommendations. I will need to find another one to read soon, since I’m going to be spending the weekend out in the Berkshires looking at treehouses. Yes!

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