As David Byrne sings: "I don't know what you expect staring into the TV set." That seems like a good sentiment heading into the weekend. It also happens that it's a lyric from the Talking Heads' song "Burning Down the House," which I've been singing on a loop since I first learned about the book pictured to the right. Adrian Liang mentions it in this edition of Bookmark It! Meanwhile, Jon Foro is taking the stoner frisbee player route with his pick. And Seira Wilson... well, we know her well, so we won't be concerned about her. But she's going to have a pretty heavy weekend of reading.
Adrian Liang: I was talking last night with a friend about how graphic novel creator Marjorie Liu changed my life last year, when she said, “Use your voice; take up space.” It altered how I approached not only business interactions but just walking along on the sidewalk. My friend suggested that I read Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman by Gail Evans, a book that is now 17 years old but still relevant. I’m also looking forward to spending quality time with Monica Hesse’s American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land (July), a nonfiction investigation into an arsonist couple who plagued a rural county on the Virginia coast that was suffering from economic decline even before the fires were lit. Comparisons to Hillbilly Elegy are being tossed about, and the book has already received a starred review from Kirkus, which is not known for being overly generous with its stars.
Jon Foro: David Gessner is a fine writer of natural history, and in 2015 he published one of my favorite books of the last five years (at least): All the Wild That Remains, a thoughtful meditation on the paradoxes of the West told through a comparison of two contrasting writers who helped define it, Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner. (He also wrote this illustrated meditation on their contrasting hairstyles for the Amazon Book Review.) His new book is about an altogether different passion. Ultimate Glory is the story of a young writer immersed in the world of competitive Frisbee in its nascent, stoner days, long before it grew into an organized sport played by tens of millions worldwide. If this seems like a stretch, remember that Barbarian Days - a 500-plus-page memoir of a surfer in search of the perfect wave – won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.
Seira Wilson: This weekend I’m going a little dark—reading about hit men, and what you do when life gives you a swift kick in the face. The first book is Confessions of a Cartel Hit Man, coming out next month. It’s the true story of a young man who gets involved in drug cartels and gangs at a young age and later turns state’s evidence against them. I’m also going to finish Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. I had the good fortune to hear Sandberg and her co-author Adam Grant speak about the book a couple of weeks ago, and despite the tough subject matter I’m finding it remarkably helpful and uplifting. When things fall apart, resilience is what carries us into the next chapter of our lives with heart and soul intact, and in their book Sandberg and Grant share examples and research about how we can gain and strengthen resilience in ourselves.
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