The book I’m reading this Shabbos and the articles I enjoyed this past week.
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
I’ve literally read two more contemporary books (Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor [meh] and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw [highly recommend]) and decided not to finish two others in the time I’ve had Cloud Atlas out of the library and now I’ve renewed this one book so many times (THAT CLEARLY NO ONE ELSE IS READING RIGHT NOW) that the Skokie Public Library is sending me messages like Dude, it’s time to give it back. They probably think I lost it and am avoiding them when the truth is I’M GETTING THROUGH IT, OKAY?
The shtick is changing genres with time periods and points of view, and it’s working for me. Obviously some of the genres are more enjoyable than the others (no, muzh, the seafaring adventure is NOT that exciting), but also, like, I feel like I’m an expert on Polynesian peoples? It’s pretty well done.
Hello Nice To Meet You (I'm A Mess), by Kristofer Thomas on Substack
A Substack entry that reads like a madcap Bildungsroman with the energy of a standup comedian (because he is one) that doesn’t become diluted through the medium. His being trans is the Aha Moment of the piece, not the focus, and even though it feels a bit like stream of consciousness, it’s so elegant. It’s an ADHD ride through a new adult’s formative period in NYC. Seriously, I want a movie of this.
Women Corinne Does Not Actually Know, by Rebecca Makkai in Harper’s
This short story is doing a lot. It’s examining internalized misogyny, internet stalking, the anxiety that keeps us returning to certain moments of our lives – with many cases of unassociated sexual assaults on the side. It’s also a list story – which can go either way, but I enjoyed that here.
I haven’t read Makkai’s The Great Believers because the subject matter doesn’t attract me at all, but it’s starting to feel weird that I keep reading around what’s supposed to be an author’s greatest work.
Shabbat Shalom, y’all!