Litstack Recs | The Clothing of Books & Remote Control

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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 […]

Litstack Recs | The Places In-Between & Borne

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The Places In-Between, by Rory Stewart In 2002, Rory Stewart made a walk across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul. A scholar of Afghan history and language, he aimed in those grave first years after 9/11, to learn “what [Afghanistan] was like now.”  Part memoir, part political and cultural history, Stewart […]

Litstack Recs |Out of Place: A Memoir & Unless

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Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist,  and music critic, rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of Orientalism, a seminal critique of the appropriations and misrepresentations that founded the Western study of the East. Said, who died in […]

Litstack Recs | These Charming People: Stories & The Stargazer’s Sister

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These Charming People, stories by Michael Arlen In the period just after World War One, what was known as the fast set became a fascination for some English writers. The Bright Young Things of the 1920s—decadent young people whose disillusionment with the Great War caused old ideas about society and […]

Litstack Recs | Blue Nights & Ormeshadow

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Blue Nights, by Joan Didion Blue Nights is a counterpart to Didion’s 2005 memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which tracks the aftermath of her husband John Gregory Dunne’s unexpected death in 2003. At the time of Dunne’s death, their daughter, Quintana Roo, was hospitalized, in a coma from a […]

Litstack Rec | The Empty Family & The Snow Child

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The Empty Family: Stories by Colm Tóibín  Colm Tóibín’s 2011 collection, The Empty Family is a book I always keep close at hand, dipping into the pages to take in the voices. Tóibín’s stories mine the loneliness of living outside your home country, and his characters confront the pull of […]

Litstack Recs | The Films in My Life & The Space Between Worlds

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The Films in My Life, by Francois Truffaut We are lucky that Francois Truffaut was in his short life a prolific filmmaker and a prolific critic as well. One of the founders of the French new wave, Truffaut broke cinematic ground with personal films like The 400 Blows, Jules and […]

Litstack Recs |Paris Stories & Slow River

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Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant When the great story writer Mavis Gallant died, I thought of a story from her 2002 collection, Paris Stories, “Mlle. Dias de Corta.” Mademoiselle is the boarder of a financially strapped Parisian widow, a distant yet fascinating immigrant actress who withholds secrets but whose actions […]

Litstack Rec |Desperate Characters & Luster

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Desperate Characters by Paula Fox This classic of literary fiction, written in 1970, is also a classic example of a book that was lost to readers, then found. In 1999, when this novel—and all Paula Fox’s adult novels—fell out of print, interest in the author and her work was almost […]

Litstack Recs | The 400 Blows & Hamnet

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The 400 Blows, by Francois Truffaut 2019 marked the 60th anniversary of the release of Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, a film that changed cinema, and on its debut, brought immediate recognition to the then-unknown director. In May, 1959, The 400 Blows won the Grand Prize for Direction at the […]