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The Literary Edit: Our End of Summer Reading List

We are allowing intuition to guide us this August, as we pick up these five very different but equally compelling novels.
Zadie Smith

This quote by Zadie Smith sums up this month of reading – all over the map. Different styles sprinkled in with no rhyme or reason and no two novels alike -- except they are all novels. This is my favorite way to read, guided by intuition, or simply a blind pick, it’s always the perfect leap of faith . . .

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Here’s what I’ve been reading…

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer

I absolutely loved this book! An endearing narrator, an Eat, Pray, Love sort of quest and a tale of someone who doesn’t quite realize how magnetic and magical he is – a wonderful, heartwarming journey with a memorable character.

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The first book in Achebe’s trilogy was on a must-read list that I came across a month or so ago, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t it earlier (my husband and several friends had read it in high school). A powerhouse of a novel, Things Fall Apart comes in at a slight 210 pages, yet carries with it an unmatched force, detailing the culture of a particular people in Africa through the character of Okonkwo. Achebe plants the reader firmly in the time and place of one African community as British colonization enters the scene – so much so that I felt each page carried with it the weight and immediacy of direct experience. If you haven’t read this book, find it. It’s a one-sit read – timeless, necessary, and an absolute perspective shifter – a true classic.

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Outline by Rachel Cusk

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Secretly, I have always been intrigued by this book, and had never read it. But as I near my 40th birthday, I’ve realized that I thought I’d have a bit more of life figured out. Perhaps, an inch-closer to life’s answers, a smidge closer to . . . dare I say, enlightenment? I’m as far away as ever, with no answers, and maybe the nugget to take is to simply enjoy the journey? But I’m not there yet, still looking for answers as I creep towards this birthday. And in that search, I picked up Zen . . . I found a few answers and more questions, which I think is a good thing and maybe the point. Pirsig details one of the most interesting father and son stories I’ve read and offer’s a peek into his own mental breakdown or “hard enlightenment” as he calls it. From this vantage, it is one of the most interesting and confounding books I’ve read and worth its salt as a metaphysical classic.

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