Our condensed Friday Reads for ya:
1.) I’m reading Sewer, Gas & Electric by Matt Ruff—and loving it, even despite initial skepticism. It’s a wonderfully absurd mix of edgy literary fiction, near-future sci-fi, and hilarious surrealism. My past experience with Ruff has been rough (too cheesey?), but with Sewer, Gas & Electric, I’m continually delighted to have visited New York in 2023—despite (or perhaps because of) mutant, giant sharks in Times Square, rogue and highly intelligent Electric Servants, and a bright green submarine with pink polka dots dedicated to “benign eco-piracy.”
-Katie Hoffman, Editorial Assistant
2.) Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen—lots of very smart and beautiful stuff about birding, David Foster Wallace, cell phones, Internet and consumerism. Was particularly affected by a passage about his mother in On Autobiographical Fiction which I think would become less beautiful out of context, so I’ll skip reproducing here.
3.) I’m still reading American Gods. Unfortunately, this book’s gimmick is starting to make it drag for me. Too bad.
-Meredith Barnes, Publicist
4.) Reading and LOVING Anouk Markovits’s I Am Forbidden, a really gorgeous novel about two Hasidic women, raised as sisters in Transylvania, whose lives take different paths after the Holocaust tears their families and community apart. I’d recommend this book to just about anyone because of the lovely writing and emotional contours, but more specifically I think the novel is a great in the context of all the media about Hasidic Jews lately. Markovits, who grew up in a Satmar Hasidic community and left in order to avoid an arranged marriage, does (in my humble opinion) a fantastic job of presenting a range of characters’ faiths and choices, and presents balanced and convincing portrayals of many points of view. Also, for those fascinated by the oft-mythologized rites and secrets of Hasidic culture, this book is elegantly revelatory. Here’s the Entertainment Weekly review, which I thought was really spot-on.
-Juliet Grames, Senior Editor