If you’ve already binge-watched everything on Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, it may be time to support your favorite local bookstores (some of which are still delivering) and get back into reading. Books are the OG of TV shows and offer the same binge-consumption escape that you may be looking for. Here are some of the books we’ve been reading.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Parts 1 through 4)
The Neapolitan Novels are a four-part series by the Italian author Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein and published by Europa Editions (New York). They include: My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014), and The Story of the Lost Child (2015). This series is a coming-of-age story and follows the lives of two perceptive and intelligent girls, Elena (sometimes called “Lenù”) Greco and Raffaella (“Lila”) Cerullo. We journey with them from childhood to adulthood and old age, as they try to create lives for themselves amidst the violent and stultifying culture of their home – a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Italy.
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis
This book compiles the essays, interviews, and speeches, by world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis. The main theme is centered on the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis inspires us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that “Freedom is a constant struggle.”
Notes Of A Native Son by James Baldwin
Notes of a Native Son is a collection of non-fiction essays by the legendary James Baldwin centering around race, literature and a complex father and son relationship. This differs from author autobiographical novels in that Baldwin begins by highlighting his own desires to be a writer and his lack of confidence around it. It is high time we have some Baldwin on our shelves and in our minds.
Calypso by David SedarisA collection of 21 semi-autobiographical essays by David Sedaris, this book was published in 2018 and is a page turner. Calypso centers on family affairs. Through anecdotes of family gatherings in a beach house in North Carolina, we get a glimpse at family quarrels, relationships between David and his sibling Lisa, and the ever complex navigating of murky waters when it comes to family affairs.