Cover of Making Nice by Matt Summell. Via Summell’s Facebook page.
Yesterday’s announcement of the publication date for Judy Blume’s new novel got me wondering what else was in store for 2015. I did some digging and put together a list of the books I’m most excited to read in 2015. It was only after I put together the list that I noticed some themes.
2) Perspectives other than those offered by white dudes who went to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (not that those aren’t good too sometimes).
I wasn’t sniffing around for an “alternative” books like, I just chose titles, mostly from mainstream publishers, that sounded exciting. Pretty great that what you see below is the list I ended up with.
Here at Red Brick Reads we like to remind our readers that we know better than the big review sites that will purport to tell you what the best books of the year were. Sure, they have access to authors, writing staffs large enough to review all of the significant publications in a given year, the respect of most readers, and money. But we make up for all of that with jokes about Kanye West and the investigative ability to crack one of the biggest book conspiracies of the year.
May this list help guide your holiday shopping, even if you’re just buying books to read during your winter hibernation. If nothing else, maybe it will help you sound well-read at your spouse’s awful company Christmas party.
I’ve resisted reading Where’d you go Bernadette because of its popularity. Everyone knows popular books can’t be good. But I was on a beach holiday this week and the book is available in paperback (rare for literary fiction) so I picked it up, knowing that none of my travel companions was bookish enough to judge me for my choice.
Why didn’t you make me read this book ages ago you jerks?
Here is a list of reasons Red Brick Readers should have told me I was missing out on a good thing and a list of reasons you should read Semple’s best selling book if you are exactly like me.
1. The titular character is constantly making digs against Canadians. As a Canadian, I feel validated when mentioned in American publications.
2. The book is set in Seattle, where I visited earlier this summer. Reading books or watching films where I am familiar with the location makes me feel smug and worldly.
3. The main character is a high strung, slightly crazy, female genius. Sound like anyone you know? [me, obviously]
4. Physical comedy! There’s a bit with a mudslide knocking out a PTAish event. Gold.
5. The novel is (sort of) written in the epistolary style meaning I got to feel like I was creeping someone’s private correspondence which is a feeling I enjoy almost as much as smugness.
6. Humour at the expense of tech firm employees. Microsoft inferiority complex humour.
If I were using my serious voice today I would tell you how refreshed I was by Semple’s style or how much I enjoyed the mother-daughter relationship but I’m still on holiday so I’ll just tell you to get this book for the Canada jokes and stay for the PTA passive-aggression.
I love weddings! Last weekend I attended the wedding of my oldest friend. We laughed, we cried, we ate, we drank, we danced. Perfect. But not all nuptials are created equal. I once attended the wedding of a coworker who, days before the ceremony, hung up on his fiancé and declared to me “I hate that bitch.”
At another wedding, the groom had been caught having a six-month affair with a teenage restaurant hostess the week before his big day. They decided to go through with the marriage and there were a lot of uncomfortable glances across the aisle that day.
I’m leaving today for a destination wedding. Destination weddings are awful enough (they’re never anywhere you actually want to go) but this one in particular is going to be awful. So to gear myself up, I’m listing books with weddings even more awful than the one that lies ahead of me.
There’s a reason that “speak now or forever hold your peace” line has gone out of fashion. Because if we’re being honest, there’s always an impediment, isn’t there?
The Age of Innocence
Loveless marriage? One of the best kinds of bad weddings.
Do we talk about this book too much? The massive marketing campaign for the recent film has kept it top of mind and even if Nick and Amy’s wedding went smoothly, everything that came after did not.
We couldn’t forget fiction’s most famous left at the altar story, could we?
A Song of Fire and Ice
And Miss Havisham thought she had it bad. George R. R. Martin is rarely kind to brides and grooms but the red wedding really takes the (wedding) cake.
Have I mentioned that my work is very loosely related to the procurement of Nobel Prizes? In medicine, not literature, but there is an item on my ongoing To Do list that simply says “Nobel Prize” because in a small way, my job is to figure out how to get one for my employer. So you can imagine it has been an exciting week around here but now that the science prizes have been awarded (we didn’t win) I can focus my attention on the one that makes me excited. Tomorrow is Literature Nobel Day and the odds are on Haruki Murakami. While we wait for the announcement, let’s revisit ten pieces of writing from the current list of Nobel awardees.
Listen. Everyone and their uncle Fred is going to provide you with a list of books you should read this summer. The evil book publishing industry (jk, I love you guys) has conspired to convince you that you have nothing but free time in the summer so they put out lists on lists on lists of stuff you should be reading. Books to take to the beach! Books to take on your Parisian vacation! Books to read in the park on a sunny Saturday! Books to take on the subway but then not actually read because it’s too crowded and you can’t reach into your bag without touching the butt of the guy in front of you!
This summer, your friends at Red Brick Reads are buying into the lie of extra reading time and we’re getting on the reading list train with the best reading list out there. What make our reading list so great? We’ve seasoned our list with a spice that makes every dish better. The musical stylings of Mr. Kanye West. At the beach? A Parisian cafe? A sun-soaked park bench? We have the book for you, and the Kanye album to pipe into your ears as you read it.