In this edition, an optimistic look at women and aging (yup, I wrote that right), growing pains for Cuba, Korean crime fiction, and more.
Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia (the 2005 book on helping adolescent girls come of age and resist the social lessons that girls are less important, less smart, less everything good), now tackles a different pivotal moment in women's lives: growing old. Women are at their happiest between their 60s and 80s, according to a number of studies, and Pipher offers convincing reasons why in Women Rowing North (Jan 2019), despite decreases in health and the death of friends. Pipher's book balances between exploring the challenges of aging and celebrating the strength such challenges create. Though I'm not in that age bracket yet, I've greatly enjoyed what I've read so far, and I feel as if I'm gaining a bit of extra wisdom ahead of my time. —Adrian Liang
There was a time, before Fidel died and Cuba was "opened" to tourism in 2014, that Cuba cast a mysterious spell over would-be travelers: A country frozen in time with decrepit colonial architecture looming over resplendent beaches and vintage cars, all forbidden to outsiders by forces on both sides. In 2009, David Ariosto, a young photographer landed a coveted two-year assignment in Havana, where he observed of a country struggling to shift out of a Cold War mindset while the outside world inevitably leaked in. With access to Cuba at least partially reclosed—let's call it "ajar"—This Is Cuba: An American Journalist Under Castro's Shadow examines Cuba at a crossroads, as it faces an uncertain future. —Jon Foro
I will be carting home two books by writers I’ve never read before. The first is a Korean crime novel titled The Plotters. I do not really understand what the book is about, and I have read the blurb on the plot twice. I do know there are assassins. The Plotters comes highly recommended by a reader whose taste I respect, and it has a great cover. This has been a busy week; I bet I’ll get right into the book once the weekend comes along. The other book I’m reading this weekend is Look How Happy I’m Making You. It’s a short story collection by a debut author named Polly Rosenwaike. Each of the stories has some connection to women, children, motherhood, pregnancy. Again, this comes highly recommended. The Plotter publishes at the end of January and Look How Happy I’m Making You publishes in March. --Chris Schluep
I have a bit of an affinity for wine books. Not the, “What should I drink?” variety (I can sort that out for me-self just fine), but books about how wine is made (The Battle for Wine and Love), wine and history (Wine and War), the wine makers themselves (The Widow Clicquot), and wine-world controversy! (The Billionaire's Vinegar). And now, thanks to novelist and wine aficionado Jay McInerney, there is Wine Reads--an ode to the grape in 20 fiction and nonfiction pieces. Can’t wait to settle-in with a nice bottle of something this rainy weekend, and drink it in. --Erin Kodicek
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