Weekend Reading

Jon Foro on March 02, 2018
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The Return of the King! A gang of no-good anarchists! Acerbic ruminations on failed relationships! The Amazon editors battle the creeping tentacles of cabin fever. Happy reading!


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I will be reading Stephen Kings’s upcoming novel The Outsider, which is described on the back of the galley this way: An unspeakable crime. An abundance of evidence. A confounding investigation. When I require a break from the unspeakable and confounding, I’ll return to Lauren Groff’s short story collection Florida. I read the first story in the collection last week, and I can’t stop thinking about it. From a sentence/image/metaphor/pacing perspective, it was fantastic. And I was immersed right from the start. I really enjoy Groff’s voice as a writer. All of the stories are set in Florida, from what I understand, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of scope they have. —Chris Schluep


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A while ago, I got a couple of advance review copies of Rachel Cusk’s forthcoming novel, Kudos, the third book in Cusk’s Outline trilogy. Though Cusk has been a big-deal writer for years, Outline and the second book in the series, Transit, ratcheted her reputation up a notch. There was the New Yorker profile last year – “Rachel Cusk Gut-Renovates the Novel,” by Judith Thurman -- and a long review in The Atlantic, where Ruth Franklin concluded: “In her effort to expose the illusions of both fiction and life, she may have discovered the most genuine way to write a novel today.”

Somehow word that I had advance copies of Kudos a good three months before its June pub date got around. Soon friends were asking to borrow them, “Just for a week or two.” One reported back: “It’s seriously good.” Another said – this is true —“Rachel Cusk is the writer I want to be reading all the time.” I have my copies back now, and this weekend, my treat will be a long morning in bed reading Kudos for myself. I’ve got a feeling this novel is going to live up to the advance buzz. —Sarah Harrison Smith

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It's March, and that means that I've been going out of my mind for a few weeks, waiting for Old Man Winter to collapse face-first into his oatmeal. Until that happens, I'll make do with books. At the risk of fattening my NSA dossier, I'll reconnect with The Monkey Wrench Gang by self-proclaimed anarchist Ed Abbey, an anarchic tale about a group of anarchists who, as one Amazon reviewer put it, "get carried away" in their quest to beat back industrial encroachment into the wild canyon country of the desert Southwest. Along the same lines, I've also picked up a copy a copy of Downriver by Will Hobbs for my son, who is a fan of the Hatchet books. We read those concurrently, and this story of a somewhat illicit adventure on the Colorado seems like a good opportunity to do that again, and maybe start a dossier of his own. —Jon Foro


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I was at the vet earlier, and, unlike doctor’s office waiting rooms, there was nary a 5-year-old People magazine to be found. Fortunately someone had left a copy of Augusten Burroughs’s Lust and Wonder behind. It’s a tale many of us can relate to: In our search for true love, we have kissed a few (or maybe a dozen) frogs, and dated utterly inappropriate people because they were simply too cute to resist, or really good in… social situations. While it can be painful to ruminate on our own struggles in this regard, reading about Burroughs’s relationship failures (and successes!) is anything but, and his signature acerbic wit tempers what could otherwise be cynical subject matter. I read Lust and Wonder when it first came out, but it’s going to be a fun one to revisit this weekend. —Erin Kodicek

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