Nothing beats curling up with a good book, flipping through its pages, holding it right side up, and, of course, telling people you’re reading it so they think you’re smart. You, like me, are clearly a lover of words. All the words. The big ones. The small ones. The words that start with, I want to say, the letter %. So you won’t feel weird if I ask…but you know how to read, right?
What am I saying, of course you do. Of course we both do. You’re reading this now. Or, at the very least, staring at it and occasionally nodding. You’re an adult person with a job and family, and one would presume at least a superficial grasp of the written word. Honestly, why else would you have looked up this article? Surely not to impress the guy sitting next to you in Starbucks with the reusable metal straw.
On that note, here are just a few of the many, many books I’ve read recently, and feel confident you’d love to hold near lamps and put on your desk where people can see them. Oh, and read, of course.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
This memoir from former first lady Michelle Obama will surely get a lot of attention from her critics, and it’s a shame, because it’s nothing if not a chance to revel in the sheer number of pictures taken during the Obama years. So many pictures. Black and White. Color. There’s even pictures of dogs, which is always a nice treat in a book. You may have to thumb through a few pages to get to the pictures, but that’s nothing new. Am I right?
These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore
Now, this is a hefty one. It probably weighs about three pounds. Maybe more even. There’s just a lot of pages. I counted and I think there’s got to be multiple hundreds. The book jacket is also pretty thick. So maybe think about using this as a paperweight or something, just to really wring some value out of it. Are paperweights still a thing? Regardless, for lovers of, um, shit, what was it? History? Yeah, history— nothing can beat this book.
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
Oh boy. Okay. Another one, huh? How many books come out a year? Jesus, some of us have articles about books to write, and don’t have time to read a bunch of books. This is a lot, right? Anyway, this book is probably—I mean—it is pretty good. There’s killing it in, which people like. And many other things as well. The characters are human, which is relatable to many of us, so that’s something else about this book.
Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf
Now this is the perfect book for someone who isn’t a huge fraud. You know the type. Someone who didn’t somehow build a career as a writer even though they can barely sound their way through an Applebee’s menu. Imagine the hellish reality that would be, constantly having to find ways to bluster through pitches, knowing even the basic reality of emailing a follow-up is beyond your grasp. And when the deadline rolls around for, say, your latest article on bullshit books to read, you know the best you can do is dictate it into a tape recorder and hope you find a transcription service open late. Because your editor is breathing down your neck, and you have no way to email that it will be late, because what’s the emoji for late? Like a smiley face looking at a watch? Seriously, what is it?
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
I don’t know. Just get it.
END DICTATION: Obviously don’t write this part down, but after you’ve transcribed this article, please put it in the body of an email and send to my editor. Tell them you work for me, and maybe casually mention you saw me writing it. Don’t make it weird, but just throw it out there, like, “Boy, Mr. Steele sure was writing hard last night, with a pen and paper and everything. He definitely doesn’t pay the 7th grader who lives across the street to do most of his work for him, that’s for sure.” Thanks. I’ll have another article for you to transcribe tonight called Stumble Into Success With Gmail Auto Reply.
Images: Pexels, The Crown Publishing Group, W. W. Norton & Company, Knopf, Harper Collins, Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt