What We’re Reading July/August 2017

What We're Reading

Giana (Bristol St Assistant Site Director): I am currently reading The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante. This is the second book in Neapolitan Novels Series. The first two novels in the series (which is what I have read so far) follow the lives of Lila and Elena, two friends growing up in the area around Naples, Italy. These two protagonists have always been close and shared similar lives with one another. This has consisted of attending the same school and competing for the best grades in class. Now they are in their early twenties and find themselves in two completely different roles. They share a complicated bond that is tested through bouts of jealousy, anger, and resentment toward one another. Their bond pulls them close at times, and at others, drives them apart. These two novels are an amazing portrayal of what true friendship looks like and how these two emotional girls grow and find themselves becoming strong, independent women.

Jailene (Key Bank Summer Intern): I’m reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, a romance novel that tells the story of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. Louisa, an unambitious girl in her 20s, is assigned by her local job center to work as Will’s caretaker after he is paralyzed in a tragic motorcycle accident. The book is about friendship and love and the difficulty of living with disability. It’s definitely worth the read–just make sure to read the book before you watch the movie!

Jocelyn (Outreach Assistant): I’m reading the book Vida by Patricia Engel. I’ve only had time to read the first chapter, titled “Lucho.” So far, the story is about a Colombian girl named Sabina who lives in a largely white, suburban town. She doesn’t have many friends because her uncle was recently accused of murdering his wife so everyone tended to stay away from her. A kid named Lucho then moves into town and automatically befriends Sabina. They develop a close friendship that even begins to resemble love; however, near the end of the first chapter, something terrible happens to Lucho which sets the tone for the rest of the book. The rest of this book, I imagine, will deal with Sabina navigating through a series of unfortunate events while trying to navigate her way through life.

Kirsten (Executive Director): I am currently listening to Dreamland by Sam Quinones.  Its a fascinating book, providing a comprehensive look at the opioid crisis in our country. The author describes the issue from all sides; the buyers, the sellers, the doctors prescribing the pain relievers having been convinced that they are non-addictive, and the pharmaceutical companies advertising and promoting (and often overly promoting) the pain relievers.  Its a complicated and devastating problem, affecting (and killing) young and old all over the country.

I also enjoyed Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, a wonderful story about a young Cameroonian couple who immigrate to the States filled with hopes and dreams and through myriad experiences discover the challenges of life in the US.  Finally, I also really loved The Lilac Girlsthe debut novel by Martha Kelly.  This remarkable story follows three women during WWII, two of whom are based on real people: a woman from Manhattan who worked at the French consulate and supported people in France and in Germany, a young woman from Poland who tries to help the resistance, and an ambitious doctor in Germany who works at a concentration camp.  Great read, especially if you like historical fiction.

Meghana (Yale President’s Public Service Fellow): Currently I’m reading Ta Nehisi-Coates’ Between the World and Me per the suggestion of a friend. It is written as a letter from the author to his son, and details the struggles and visceral reality of being black in the United States. He gives a stirring account of police brutality and the way it deteriorates a black body until it is nothing more than a statistic. This is a very powerful, chilling read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read something impactful and relevant to this political climate.

Victoria (Book Bank & Operations Director): I just finished two books. Falling for the Highlander by Lynsay Sands is a historical romance that I found at a used bookstore I walked past on a beach trip a few weekends ago. I went in right before they closed and walked out with seven books because I have no self-control. Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945, by Beth Tompkins Bates, examines the relationships that developed between the porters union and other black organizations in America, as well as how the union’s focus on “manhood rights” became intertwined with ideas of the “New Negro.” She ultimately argues that the Civil Rights Movement, though normally studied as its own stand-alone moment in time, is rooted in the activism and labor organizing that went on during this time period.

Categories What We're Reading | Tags: | Posted on August 29, 2017

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