Quick Lit June 2020

The story begins with a shooting: it's 1969, in the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn; a beloved drunk deacon named Sportcoat wanders into the courtyard and shoots the drug dealer he'd once treated like a son point-blank, in front of everyone. After this jolting beginning, McBride zooms out to show the reader how this violent act came to take place, exploring the lives of the shooter and the victim, the victim's bumbling friends, the residents who witnessed it, the neighbors who heard about it, the cops assigned to investigate, the members of the church where Sportcoat was a deacon, the neighborhood's mobsters (and their families). All these people's lives overlap in ways that few understand in the beginning, and McBride's gentle teasing out of these unlikely but deeply meaningful connections—and the humor and warmth with which he does it—is what captured me.
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From the publisher: "From the author of American Wife and Eligible . . . He proposed. She said no. And it changed her life forever. In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she's attending Yale Law School, and she's on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced. But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life. Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times."
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A National Book Award finalist and Winner of the 2019 Albertine Prize and Lambda Literary Award, and countless other literary awards (this checks a lot of boxes for the <a href="https://modernmrsdarcy.com/reading-challenge-2020/">2020 MMD Reading Challenge</a>). At the age of ten, Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran with her mother and sisters to join their father in France. Now 25, Kimiâ sits in the waiting room of a Paris fertility clinic while generations of Sadr ancestors visit her, flooding her with memories, history, and stories. Merging a sweeping family story with factual Iranian history, this semi-biographical novel explores cultural and sexual identity, family tradition, and storytelling as a means of finding oneself.
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In his new memoir, foodie, food writer, and former New Yorker fiction editor Buford shares another first-hand account of his time in the kitchen. In a quest to deepen his culinary training, Buford and his wife, wine expert Jessica Green, move to France with their twin three-year-old boys. They intended to stay for six months so Buford could cook, but after settling in Lyon they extended their visit—and stayed for five years. A lush, detailed, and vividly drawn account of esteemed French kitchens, and the culture that makes their grand food possible.
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On sale right now and happens to be my current read. From the publisher: "This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves so that you can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey, complete with journal prompts, to do the necessary and vital work that can ultimately lead to improving race relations. Awareness leads to action, and action leads to change."
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From the publisher: "If we ask just one question, does everything fall apart? In All Things Reconsidered, popular podcaster Knox McCoy uses a unique blend of humor, pop culture references, and personal stories to show how a willingness to reconsider ideas can actually help us grow ourselves, our lives, and our beliefs. In this laugh-out-loud defense of reconsideration, Knox dives into topics like: Are participation trophies truly the worst? Is it really worth it to be a ride-or-die sports fan? Do we believe in God because of the promise of heaven—or the threat of hell? Does prayer work? Is anyone even there? This book is the catalyst we need to courageously ask the questions that will lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves—and God. It’s time to start reconsidering."
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