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.
Lynnell recommends: IRREPRESSIBLE: THE JAZZ AGE LIFE OF HENRIETTA BINGHAM by Emily Bingham (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)
"Henrietta Bingham may be the most famous jazz age personality you've never heard of. In a life spent on both sides of the pond, her relationships with the most influential artists, actors, and writers of the period made a mark on their lives and their work in unforgettable ways. In this smart and thoroughly researched biography, Henrietta's great niece Emily has given readers an intimate portrait of her life, including her achievements, her loves (both men and women) and the complex and often progressive culture that characterized the first half of the 20th century."
Dean recommends: GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee (HarperCollins, 2015)
"For those who like To Kill a Mockingbird (and really, who doesn’t), the companion piece Go Set a Watchman is less a must-read and more akin to a Where are They Now? documentary. The tale of Scout as a young woman returning home to Maycomb from her life in New York City answers questions the reader probably never pondered about the Finch family’s future. It’s unneeded, but nevertheless satisfying, like spending time with old friends. Much of the novel’s critical commentary raised questions about Harper Lee’s treatment of Atticus Finch, but the more surprising character revelations come when we learn how the years and struggles affected Scout’s old caregiver, Calpurnia. Ms. Lee wants Scout, now called by her proper name Jean Louise, to grow up and realize you can’t keep an idolized view of your heroes forever. It’s a lesson Ms. Lee also teaches us by the very act of publishing this story. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a novel worth the read."
Madeline (intern) recommends: LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson (Reagan Arthur Books, 2013)
"Every time Ursula Todd dies, she is reborn. Imagine having a life filled with second chances, can you make things right or does it take a third, fourth, or fifth try? Ursula is given every chance to go through life the way she was meant to live. Set in the early twentieth century, the book uses the events of the time to create a world where Ursula must overcome not only her battles but must endure the animosity fostered in the World War era. With every mistake Ursula is able to unconsciously correct the wrongs of the past. The story launches the reader back and forth in time from Ursula’s infancy to adulthood to watch the mistakes unfold in a way that makes Ursula seem so painfully real and relatable that the reader has no choice but to keep reading. Life After Life explores how one life can affect others and how it can alter the course of history as we know it. Atkinson has created an enchanting read that will keep you turning the page at 3AM and make you question those moments of déjà vu in your own life. "
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.