1. Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders I've owned this book for over a year, always telling myself I'll start it after my next book. I finally moved it to the top of the stack and finished most of it on a rainy Sunday. The format took some getting used to for me. Historical fiction doesn't feel apt to describe it, but neither does "ghost story." It's an unbelievable book, one that I'm happy to be able to talk about after reading as it comes up lots in conversations. The audiobook cast is all-star, featuring Susan Sarandon, Mary Karr, and Lena Dunham, just to name a few. It feels like the perfect audiobook to road trip to, captivating, punctuated, and timely.
2. The Glass Eye: A Memoir by Jeannie Vanasco This book was one Ruby had been telling me to read for months. I bought it while visiting her at work and started it on my train ride home. The Glass Eye is an examination of a woman through the eyes of her grief, her father, and her fixation on unearthing her deceased father's life before her own. Balancing between memoir and poetry, Vanasco writes grippingly on her life-leaving no details unspoken to. The book reads quickly, like a sort of fever dream, and stays long after finishing. If you like Maggie Nelson or Chloe Caldwell, this is a great add to your to be read list.
3. Brunch is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party by Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newman For my birthday, Lydia shipped me this book along with an unidentifiable note. I wondered who knew me well enough to understand my urgent need for this book and her sly laughter when I told her the story of the mystery mail proved her guilty. Sadly, the popular podcast, The Dinner Party Download, has ended, but there is plenty of backlog to keep new listeners busy for a while. I read the book before listening to any of the episodes, anyway. Parts of it were a bit kitschy, a little goofy, but the principles were really convisting. Having people over is important and also, so much better than the hour long brunch lines that New Yorkers have to deal with. This book would make a good hostess gift.
4. My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman An essential read, the sort of book that I turned corners on, marked up, and keep next to my bed, this book changed my life. Christian Wiman's episode of OnBeing was the first I heard of the acclaimed poet. The way he spoke about faith, beauty, life in the face of death, all stopped me in my tracks. Literally, in the fact I was listening to it on a walk and had to pause and restart when I was home, with a space to take notes. I can't recommend this book enough, for those who would call themselves believers or even those who feel that sometimes life is overflowing in ways that feel sacred.
5. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home by Thelma Meyer A gift from my beloved friend, Danielle, this book is proof that loving somewell transfers to understanding their literary tendencies. It's no secret that I'm a Mrs. Meyer's super fan. The products are my favorite item to pick up grocery shopping. Every scent is associated with someone I love-an aunt, my mom, even friends. The founder, Mrs. Meyers, raised nine kids in Iowa, which she talks more about in the book. I love bringing a bit of Iowa into my Brooklyn apartment almost as much as I love the products themselves. The book is a sort of guide to cleaning. It was surprisingly helpful and well timed as I am feeling the effects of Spring Cleaning in full force here in Park Slope.