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LLA Reads: Worth Living/Waiting/Fighting For

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.

Adam Recommends: SATIN ISLAND by Tom McCarthy (Knopf, 2015)

Genre: Fiction

"Tom McCarthy’s writing was famously cited by Zadie Smith in her seminal New York Review of Books essay, “Two Paths for the Novel,” as the future of literary fiction. “U., a “corporate anthropologist,” is tasked with writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to coalesce into symbols that can be translated into some kind of account that makes sense.” Satin Island is a text concerned as much about ideas and ways of being as about characters or plot. It looks at reality and pokes it for a laugh, to catalyze engagement, in the hopes of provoking a complex reaction, in order to analyze whether there may be any actual substance behind our ways of perceiving the world, our ways of living in it, &c. This is not an avant-garde novel, but it is not conventional either. It is not the least bit difficult, but it is extremely sophisticated, and very pleasurable.

Click here to read an engaging interview with McCarthy in Bomb Magazine, and here to read McCarthy’s article, “Writing Machines: Tom McCarthy on realism and the real,” in the London Review of Books."

Alice recommends: HURRY UP and WAIT by Maira Kalman & Daniel Handler (MoMA, 2015)

Genre: Illustrated

"The second collaboration between artist, author, and The Museum of Modern Art, Hurry Up and Wait is a thought-provoking picture book of poetry. Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) uses clever word play and simple prose to explore themes of time lapse, aging, and death alongside universal feelings of impatience and nostalgia: “Somewhere in the world, always, somebody is twenty minutes late for something, and I am annoyed at them.” The accompanying photographs of people moving and waiting, from MoMA’s collection, interspersed with Kalman’s lively illustrations, complete the work, and leave you feeling refreshed, much as if you just attended a light philosophy seminar on your way through an art gallery. Beautifully packaged, Hurry Up and Wait is perfect as a gift, but also an ideal coffee-shop read while you’re waiting for someone to arrive."

Amy recommends: RED RISING by Pierce Brown (Random House, 2014)

Genre: Science-Fiction

"A hybrid of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Hunger Games, Red Rising is the propulsive tale of a man, Darrow, who has spent his life as a Red, a miner deep below Mars’ surface. When Darrow’s wife is killed and he discovers the lies that the Reds have been told, Darrow is approached by an underground organization fighting against the Golds, the people who hold all the power on Mars. Darrow decides to infiltrate the Golds, undergoing major body modification, and then applying to the Institute, an elite school that puts its students through war games that are no mere exercises. Pierce Brown has written an absolute pageturner, the story of a man who tries to keep the memory of his lost wife alive, even as he becomes what he is fighting against."



If you would like us to consider recommending your book, please contact LLA Reads editor Alice, who will let you know how to get your book to our readers.

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