At Louisville Literary Arts, we all love to read. But our interests in literature are as varied as hats on Derby Day. Some of us gravitate toward poetry, while others prefer an epic novel. A few of us love reading creative nonfiction. In this space, we recommend recent books we've read, and hope that you'll find something just right for your reading list.
Kim recommends: STUDY IN PERFECT by Sarah Gorham (UGA Press, 2014)
Genre: Essay Collection
"This essay collection is lyrical, smart, intuitive, philosophical and deeply personal. It’s a perfect pleasure to page through this book. Essays vary in length and structure, bound by the common theme of perfection and its doppelganger, imperfection. The imagery and storytelling are ever present. Gorham’s use of the segmented form allows her to alternate between ideas that don’t initially appear related, but become symbiotic. One example is in an essay alternating scenes from Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, with the story of family alcoholism. By the end of the essay, the digressions make perfect sense. "
Alice recommends: AN UNTAMED STATE by Roxane Gay (Grove Press, 2014)
Genre: Literary Fiction
"Roxane Gay’s AN UNTAMED STATE is the story of an American woman who’s kidnapped while visiting her parents in Haiti. The brutal reality of her kidnapping is contrasted against her memories of how she and her husband fell in love, memories that keep her going, until she begins to struggle with reconciling the woman she’s become with the wife, mother, and daughter she was before. This brilliantly woven story explores class conflict, abuse, and how the mind survives once the body is broken. "
John recommends: THE ALBERTINE WORKOUT by Anne Carson (New Directions, 2014)
"Anne Carson's most recent project, THE ALBERTINE WORKOUT, consists of two parts: first, a series of 59 prose stanzas exploring the notion of "transposition" in Marcel Proust's IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME; and second, a series of 16 slightly lengthier appendices further addressing topics glossed over in the original 59 stanzas. The Workout affectively “works out,” in both a literary and scholarly sense, the biographical parallels between Proust’s chauffeur, Alfred, and Albertine, the young, ostensible lesbian whom the narrator attempts to romantically "imprison" throughout volume five of Lost Time. Suffice it to say, the parallels are many. As is characteristic of Carson, who is known for such titles as THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED; RED DOC>; and NOX, the book is sharp, funny, and unrelentingly intellectual—a quick read for those pressed for time, but also well worth multiple examinations."