3 Books Weekly #24: Feat. Miranda Roszkowski
09.00, Friday 12 Aug 2016 Link to this post
The following was first posted on the 3 Books Weekly email newsletter and has since been archived here. The intro is from Lisa Ritchie.
Hello fellow readers,
This week two bonus books, hurrah! I’ve been travelling quite a bit, which gave me the chance to get stuck into two books I’ve been looking forward to reading. The first was Smarter Than Us, a short and sweet musing on the hazards and benefits of machine intelligence (really interesting and you can blast through it). The second was The Girls, the debut novel by Emma Cline, which the media has been raving about recently (take a look at this review in The Economist). It’s a dark and disturbing summer read, with observations that really get under your skin. If you’ve read either book, tweet me with your thoughts!
The world’s smallest bookshop (aka our book vending machine, Machine Supply), is enjoying its summer holiday at Machines Room in Hackney, pop down and a take a look!
Now, over to this week’s recommender, Miranda Roszkowski. By day Miranda works for the government, and in Clark Kent style, by night she’s a literary whirlwind, in the midst of writing her first novel and running an awesome spoken word and short story night, There Goes the Neighbourhood (follow Miranda on Twitter @miranda_roszko for info on the next event).
Over to Miranda, enjoy!
#1. For Esmé - with Love and Squalor: And Other Stories, by J. D. Salinger
This is the book that made me want to write. I had read Catcher In the Rye and not been blown away, but when a friend leant me this short story collection I was absolutely transported -I never gave it back. Published (in typical Salinger understatement) as “Nine stories” in the U.S. this short story collection is so full of quirky characters and heart-breaking stories it’s hard to pick a favourite. From the tough-girl wannabee Ginny, the presumptuous ‘Jean de Deaumier-Smith’ to the troubled young war veteran in A Perfect Day for Bananafish and boy genius Teddy, every one of Salinger’s protagonists are painfully human, their stories gripping and hilarious, and all of them seeking the answers in a world that is topsy-turvey. The writing is as fresh now as it was in 1953, and every time I need inspiration I open it to find something new. If you haven’t had the pleasure, open your arms to this collection of renegades.
#2. My Brilliant Friend: 1, by Elena Ferrante
Elena Ferrante is the Sia of the literary world. No one knows who she really is, only that she shares her first name with the protagonist of this epic first book in her series of Neapolitan Novels. In a post-Referendum world, I think it’s even more important to try to understand our European heritage, and if (like me) you’re not one for factual books, novels like this are an easy way in. Ferrante’s story is bursting with content- politics, history, class divide, romance. All set to the backdrop of a complicated friendship between two young girls. It’s bonkers and like the friend of the title, utterly brilliant.
#3. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned, by Lena Dunham
A friend recently asked me why Lena Dunham was a feminist icon - “she’s really awful”. Sure, her alter-ego Hannah Horvarth from Girls once tried to get out of a disciplinary by flashing her boss. But Dunham’s work is not just spine-crawlingly cringey, it’s hilarious and importantly, honest. I was thrilled to see her fearless, fiercely creative approach to life and art shining from these pages. My housemate and I nearly cried with laughter reminding ourselves of the account of Lena’s inaugural discovery of her own body odour at camp. It’s not all funny, there are some really serious bits in there too and I would beg everyone, men and women to read this to gain some insights into the female, and indeed, human condition. By her own account, sometimes Lena Dunham is awful, but then, sometimes, so am I.