Litstack rec | Vanity Fair & The Stars Are Legion

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Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray The early nineteenth century didn’t have reality television, but it did have William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair—and if you’re in need of a novel to escape into, this is the one. Vanity Fair is a classic of social-climbing, backbiting, profligate behavior, and true love. Subtitled A Novel Without a [….]

Litstack Recs | Little Failure & Chosen Ones

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” Voice, more than anything, can [….]

Litstack Recs |The Clothing of Books & The Sisters Grimm

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The Clothing of Books, by Jhumpa Lahiri “How do you clothe a book?” is the how this small, but powerful volume begins. For a writer whose stories are as personal and complex as Jhumpa Lahiri’s, a cover’s design presents a different set of questions. The Clothing of Books began as an essay, translated from Italian [….]

LitStack Recs|The Priory of the Orange Tree & The Death of the Heart

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The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree has been getting quite a bit of buzz from the sci-fi/fantasy crowd of late, but for the longest time I wasn’t able to free up enough time to sink my teeth into it – until recently! I understand [….]

Litstack recs | The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides

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The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides “Heartbreak is funny to everyone but the heartbroken.” That ironic reflection comes early in Jeffrey Eugenides’ lively 2011 novel. The observation is made by Madeleine Hanna, one of three central characters, all of whom are students at Brown University. We meet them on the morning of graduation in 1982: [….]

Litstack Recs: The Vexations & Pet

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The Vexations: a novel, by Caitlin Horrocks The lives of artists must portray artmaking for what it is: work—anything else is a romanticized view—and Caitlin Horrock’s debut novel, The Vexations, occupies just that; it’s an intricate portrayal of the life of modernist composer Erik Satie—and his artmaking—that mines his most nuanced sensibilities: the way a [….]

Litstack Recs: There There & Emily Eternal

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There There: A novel, by Tommy Orange Brilliant, innovative, lyric. Tommy Orange’s stunning fiction debut is all those things, but trying to describe this eclectic, very personal, and contemporary novel in adjectives doesn’t do it justice. Called “groundbreaking, extraordinary” by The New York Times, and garnering praise from People Magazine to Entertainment Weekly, and awarded [….]

Litstack Recs: The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries & LaRose

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The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson Emma Thompson’s diary tracks the making of the award-winning Sense and Sensibility with Thompson’s trademark dry wit and in fascinating detail. The 1995 film, directed by Ang Lee, garnered seven Oscar nominations, with Thompson winning the Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her companion (published in [….]

Litstack Rec: Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend & The Wanderers

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Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges Don’t be misled by the tabloid nature of the title. Hodges’ biography is a meticulously researched and carefully constructed account of one of early cinema’s most notable icons. You could be forgiven for not knowing the work of Anna May Wong, [….]

Litstack Recs: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays & Wintering

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir are at their heart about writing—but they are also about striving to succeed as a writer, reconciling the pain and [….]