Fall 2018 Semester Reading List

Welcome to my semester reading list, also known as the reason why posts may be lacking throughout the next three months.  I’m actually reading some relatively interesting books for class this semester, thanks to my Young Adult Lit class, which keeps things a bit easier when I’m jumping around 3-4 books at a time.

Course: Young Adult Literature

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillion

Picking these novels apart and learning how the young adult genre has changed over the years is fascinating.  I was a huge YA reader in middle school and early high school, but gradually grew out of it around my senior year, while I applied for colleges and suffered from a serious identity crisis.  Revisiting the genre in an academic setting has been enlightening and has rekindled my love for YA, especially the older, “classic” coming-of-age stories like The Outsiders.

Course: Writing About Literature

Lying by Lauren Slater
The Marquise of O by Heinrich von Kleist
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Lover by Marguerite Duras
Textbook: Critical Theory Today by Lois Tyson

I just finished reading Lauren Slater’s Lying, and it’s absolutely phenomenal; it proposes a lot of questions and really makes you think about the blurred lines between fact and fiction, specifically regarding memoir.  No spoiler alerts, but the ending blew my mind.  We’re also reading a lot of short stories, recently Raymond Carver’s “Gazebo,” which I loved even after reading about twenty different times.  Hopefully, the rest of these reads and our class discussions will be just as interesting.

Course: Literary Criticism

Billy Budd and Other Stories by Herman Melville
Textbook: Literary Theory: An Anthology

This class will be the death of me.  How many times can one read “Billy Budd” before spontaneously combusting?

Have you read any of these?  Any interesting books on your college reading list, past or present?  Let me know!

xx,
Hannah

New York City Book Haul

I spent a total of eight days in New York, but somehow managed to acquire nine books, which may or may not be a new record for me…  I will say that four of these were given to me by publishers, and the three I purchased at the Strand were all $7-8 each, so my bank account is happy even though my bedroom has been taken over by books.  What else is new?  As you can see, this was quite the stack to fly home with!

From Harper Business

90s Bitch by Allison Yarrow
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

From Strand Book Store

Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

From Catapult

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

From McNally Jackson

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

From Books Are Magic

New People by Danzy Senna

A little bit more about my adventures: On Monday, I visited the Harper Business imprint at HarperCollins and the Henry Holt & Co. imprint at Macmillan before making a trip to The Strand to get lost in the stacks.  Tuesday I met with some amazing people from St. Martin’s Press and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, both imprints at Macmillan, as well as the team at Catapult/Soft Skull Press, and attended a dinner the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.  I began Wednesday with a trip to Three Lives & Company, which was just three blocks away from my West Village apartment, and went to a work lunch at an amazing Thai restaurant.  Afterwards, I walked to SoHo’s McNally Jackson for some quality browsing time.  Thursday was very much a non-bookish day, in which I saw the Statue of Liberty and went shopping, but Friday I went down to Brooklyn for Emma Straub’s Books Are Magic, which ended up being my favorite bookshop of the trip.  The weekend was spent bopping around the city with my family before flying home Sunday night (only to begin classes the next day… yikes!).

I’ve already picked up My Year of Rest and Relaxation, because I just couldn’t wait, but what do you think I should read next?  I’d love to hear from you!

xx,
Hannah

Summer 2018 ARC List

I’ve been a slow reader lately, but I’m pretty excited about the ARCs I received to read this summer, so I thought I’d share them with you!  I’ve been trying to exhibit self control when it comes to requesting ARCs so, thankfully, I only have six to read.  I’m hoping to crank them out this month before my literary agency internship starts in July and reading becomes my actual job!

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

June 19, 2018 from Henry Holt & Co

I generally adore everything Henry Holt publishes, and Number One Chinese Restaurant sounds like it will not disappoint.  It takes place at the Beijing Duck Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland and follows a family of waiters and kitchen staff after “disaster strikes” at the restaurant.  I love multi-generational, multi-voiced stories, so I’m looking forward to this ensemble story, the debut novel from author Lillian Li.

A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen

July 10, 2018 from Penguin Viking

A Terrible Country is Gessen’s first novel in ten years, and it’s been praised by George Saunders and Elif Batuman, which I’ll admit swayed me into requesting it.  Russia has been popping up everywhere in literature lately, and this novel is no exception: it follows Andrei Kaplan, whose older brother Dima convinces him to leave New York and go to Moscow to take care of his elderly grandmother.

The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas

July 17, 2018 from Flatiron Books

Wolas is the author of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, which I haven’t read but heard great things about.  Her sophomore effort is about the Tabor family: Harry, Roma, and their three children, as the patriarch, Harry, is about to be named “Man of the Decade,” but is suddenly haunted by a secret from his past that will change everything.  My favorite kind of book explores a unique family dynamic, and The Family Tabor sounds like exactly that.

The Bucket List by Georgia Clark

August 7, 2018 from Atria Books

I love the idea of bucket lists (and I’ve even tried to make a few of my own through the years), and this novel by Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars, sounds like such a cute read!  It follows twenty-five year-old Lacey Whitman, a small-town girl juggling two careers in New York, who learns she has a high risk for developing breast cancer.  Before a possible double mastectomy, Lacey wants to fulfill what she calls her “boob bucket list.”  Despite the cancer background story, The Bucket List seems silly and fun, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and the like.

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

August 14, 2018 from Ballantine Books

A River of Stars has been generating steady buzz since it made a few book lists back in January, and I’ve had my eye on it for a while.  Once I saw that Celeste Ng praised it (and Emma Cline too), I knew I needed to request it!  It’s a road-trip story about immigration and motherhood, following two expectant mothers from a secret maternity home in Los Angeles: Scarlet, fresh from China, where she got pregnant with her married boss’s child, and Daisy, an unwed American teenager.  Scarlet hijacks a van and flees to San Francisco’s Chinatown with Daisy as her unexpected passenger, each with their own competing motives.  Asian women have been slaying the lit game lately, so I’m excited to dive into this one by Vanessa Hua!

Ohio by Stephen Markley

August 21. 2018 from Simon and Schuster

Ohio is another majorly-buzzed-about debut, so much so that I was shocked to receive it.  I don’t know too much about it, just that it’s about four former high school classmates, now in their 30’s, who return to their hometown one night, each on their own mission.  It’s been called “a murder mystery and a social critique,” which in itself sounds entirely intriguing.  Though I don’t read many dark books, I’m curious about Ohio, which is already getting an overwhelming amount of rave reviews!

What books are you looking forward to this summer?  Are you excited about any of these?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

xx,
Hannah

My Favorite Books of 2017

I didn’t read as much as I would’ve liked to this year, between adjusting to college and starting my first part-time job, but the books I did manage to read were some that will definitely stay with me.  Below are four of the best books I read in 2017.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life is hands down the best book I read this year, and one of my all-time favorites.  It’s been nearly a year since I first picked it up, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m dying for a reread.

The Nix by Nathan Hill

The Nix is brilliant and unputdownable, an outstanding, well-crafted debut novel from a talented new writer.  It absolutely blew me away!  More thoughts here.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Interestings is my most recent read, and one that surprised me in the best way possible.  A compelling story complete with memorable characters, The Interestings kept me reading well into the morning hours.  More thoughts here.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History is the ultimate campus novel, an engrossing and eerie tale.  I read it during an eight-hour train ride through upstate New York, perhaps the best setting to engage in Tartt’s work.  The Secret History will suck you in and keep you hooked until the end.

Cheers to a great reading year!

xx,
Hannah