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

Current Reads: August 19, 2018

Right now, I’m on an eight-hour train ride to New York, where I’ll be for the next week.  Monday-Thursday I’ll be finishing up my publishing internship, meeting with editors, agents, and other industry professionals, and wandering around the city to get a feel for that NYC lifestyle I crave so much.  Then, Friday-Sunday I’ll be spending time with my family for my cousin’s christening and sightseeing at all the popular tourist destinations.  (I’m beyond grateful the planning worked out so perfectly, though I would have loved to make two trips to the city.)

I shared my first Current Reads a month ago, when I felt I was juggling a handful of books for many different projects.  I’m sharing this one, now, with the same reasons, though this time I have the added pressure of required reading for class.  I thought I’d share my current reads with you, since, let’s be honest, I have a lot of time on my hands at the moment.

As a mood reader, it’s always difficult to try to decide which books to bring on a trip, but I decided pretty easily on packing these titles.  First up, Tonight I’m Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson, which I bought for the sole purpose of reading on the train.  I thought it’d be nice to travel with an essay collection, something that’s easy to dip in and out of among the hustle and bustle.

I’m also bringing along Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, which has been on my nightstand since April, so it’s about time I’ve gotten around to it!  I’m always hesitant to read books that are over-hyped or popular because I’m afraid I won’t like it as much as everyone else, which is why I put Pachinko off for so long.

Last but not least, I have the latest edition of Tin House, because who doesn’t love a good literary magazine?  The Paris Review and Granta are my favorites, and I’ve never read a physical copy of Tin House, but their online content never fails to disappoint (plus, I could spend the entire ride admiring the cover art).

After this week’s meetings, my internship is officially over!  The whole experience felt so surreal, knowing that my dream of working in publishing is actually attainable.  When it comes to working in the book industry, it’s all about who you know and what internships you’ve done, so having one internship under my belt gives me some confidence that I could actually end up having my dream job someday.  During my time at the literary agency, I read two fiction manuscripts and a handful of queries, while also working on an awards database.

For the first time ever, I’m falling behind on ARCs.  I just finished Three Things About Elsie and Crudo by Olivia Laing (September 11), which were both sent to me fairly recently, and I’ve started A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua (August 14), but I have yet to read Ohio by Stephen Markley (August 21).  I’m ecstatic for all of these, but the last few weeks have been jam-packed with other responsibilities, and I’ve had to set ARCs on the back burner.  Hopefully I can finish these up in September before midterm week hits.

Classes start up again the day after I get back from the city, and while I’m sure I’ll be exhausted from my trip, I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.  I’m taking an online music/film class, a Management class for my minor, and three English classes: Criticism, Writing About Literature, and Young Adult Literature.  The first two are pretty basic requirements, but YA Lit seems like a pretty fun elective course.  I just got the reading list a few days ago, and it contains classics like The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye, but also more contemporary titles like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and The Hate U Give.  Either way, I’m thrilled to get back into the semester’s routine.

What are you currently reading?

xx,
Hannah

On My Nightstand: August 2018

As a full-time student, I rarely have time for reading during the fall and spring semesters, so I always try to read as much as possible during the summer.  My unread pile is endlessly growing so I’m really trying to hold back when it comes to buying books, but I was lucky enough to come across hardcovers of The Sport of Kings, Moonglow, and Commonwealth for just five bucks each, and I just couldn’t refuse!  Here are all the books I got in July that I’m hoping to get to this month before classes start up again.

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

This one is absolutely massive, but with its hefty size comes even more praise.  It was shortlisted for the 2017 Women’s Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer the same year, but I hadn’t really heard of it until a few months ago when I was caught up in all the Women’s Prize talk.  It’s an American epic seemingly about horse-racing, but really about racism, power, and justice, and it’s my favorite type of book: a chunker that follows multiple perspectives over a period of time.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

I haven’t read any Chabon (yet!), but I’ve been dying to read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay since I got it back in January.  It’s categorized as literary fiction but it’s based on stories Chabon’s grandfather told him while on his deathbed, so I’ve heard it reads like a memoir, which I love.  This seems like the kind of book you’d want to lose yourself in on a snuggly December morning, so I think I might hold off for a while, or at least until I get around to Kavalier and Clay.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

I’ve been meaning to read Patchett’s latest since it came out two years ago, when I read the first chapter and was immediately sucked in.  The opening sentence hooked me: “The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin.”  How could you not want to read further?

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I have to be honest, I wasn’t planning on reading The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock.  As I followed along with the 2018 Women’s Prize, for which this book was shortlisted, I read a lot of reviews but was never intrigued enough to want to pick it up myself, especially since I’m not crazy about historical fiction.  Then I came across an ARC at work and I couldn’t walk away without it!  It reminds me of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which I checked out of the library ages ago and didn’t end up finishing, so hopefully I’ll have better luck with The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock.

Tonight I’m Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson

Every time I read an excerpt from Tonight I’m Someone Else, I’m absolutely blown away.  I’ve watched so many livestreams of her readings on Instagram (thanks @belletrist!), and heard enough praise from Emma Roberts that I finally caved and bought myself a copy.  Also, I’m interning for Hodson’s agent this summer, which means this was basically a work expense (or, at least that’s what I told myself).  I’m planning on losing myself in Tonight I’m Someone Else while traveling to New York later this month, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Have you read any of these titles?  What reads are you planning on getting to this month?  Let me know!

xx,
Hannah

Current Reads: July 19, 2018

I used to be a one-book-at-a-time gal, but the times are a changin’!  I’m currently switching between five different books: two novels, two manuscripts, and a poetry collection.

I dove into The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon on Sunday morning.  It’s my most anticipated release of the year, and I already know it won’t disappoint.  I’m only around eighty pages in so far, but I’m really trying to take my time with it; it’s one of those books you want to read slowly in order to absorb every word.  Massive thanks to the lovely people at Riverhead Books for sending this one my way!

I also picked up Philip Larkin’s Collected Poems on Tuesday.  I read a few of his poems for my English Literature survey class last semester and I fell in love, especially with “Aubade” and “This Be The Verse.”  I was in the mood for something really different, and I don’t normally read poetry outside of coursework, so I thought I’d pick this one up.  Reading a poetry collection feels very non-committal, something I’m in desperate need of right now while juggling jobs and responsibilities.

Speaking of jobs and responsibilities, my internship is sucking up the majority of my reading time, but I absolutely adore feeling a part of the publishing process!  I’m interning at a literary agency; so far I’ve read two queries, and I’m currently working my way through two manuscripts, one acquired and one for evaluation.  I honestly wish I could talk more about them, because they’re both fantastic and I can’t wait to see them published.  One’s an apocalyptic thriller, Station Eleven meets Gone Girl, and the other’s a searing, honest tale of motherhood.  Both have me mesmerized.

Lastly, I’m reading a few books for review.  I finished The Bucket List by Georgia Clark over the weekend, and my review will be up later this week.  Spoiler alert: I loved it!  It was a sweet, smart, sexy read that I devoured over one sleepless night.  Up next is A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua, which I plan on picking up tomorrow.  I’ve heard nothing but great things so I’m eager to start reading it.  I’ve talked about both of these titles briefly in my Summer 2018 ARC List, so check that out for more!

What are you currently reading?

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

On My Nightstand: April 2018

March was pretty overwhelming in terms of coursework (thus the mini hiatus here on the blog), and getting back into the swing of things after spring break was tough, so I decided to boost my spirits by purchasing some new books!  I’m pretty excited about all of these, especially The Heart’s Invisible Furies and Pachinko, because it seems like everyone has been gushing nonstop about how amazing they are.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, and, not only that, but it’s been hard to find time for pleasure-reading.  As an English major, I do so much required reading for class that it’s difficult to want to continue reading, even if it’s for fun, in my free time.  A gal can only read so much, right?  Hopefully these books will help me get back into the reading mood.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

I’ve been meaning to read Sweetbitter since it came out, and watching the trailer for the brand new series adaptation rekindled my interest.  I’ve been dreaming about moving to New York lately, so it seems like Sweetbitter was reintroduced to me at a perfect time; not only that, but I just re-watched No Reservations and I forgot how much I love narratives from the restaurant world.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies was pretty much everyone’s favorite book last year!  I’m a wait-for-the-paperback kind of gal, so when the softcover edition was finally released at the beginning of March, I snatched it up immediately.  I’ll admit I don’t know much about the plot, but I’d like to keep it that way.  I can’t wait to see what all the hype is about.

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

I’ve been craving a vivid campus novel, and I’ve had my eye on The Idiot for a while.  (Could the simplistic millennial pink cover be any more gorgeous?)  When Batuman’s book made the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018 longlist, it moved up a few slots on my TBR.  I’ve heard mixed reviews: some say it’s odd and poorly developed while others say it’s an incredible bildungsroman with a distinctive writing style.  Either way, I’m looking forward to finding out for myself.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

It seems like Pachinko has been all over my Instagram feed these past few months.  Ever since it was nominated for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction, I’ve heard nothing but good things.  I’ve read some of Lee’s shorter pieces, essays and whatnot, and I was absolutely captivated by her voice.  Plus, family sagas are my jam, so I’m pretty hopeful that Pachinko will be a new favorite.

Any ideas which book I should pick up first?  What books have you been excited about lately?  Let’s chat!

xx,
Hannah