Three Books I'm Reading Now, 7/4/22 Edition
The Books I'm Reading Now
I'm in deep on three books that couldn't be more different from one another. I'm listening to The Personal Librarian, historical fiction with race and art at the heart of it, set in early twentieth century New York City; I'm reading In a New York Minute, Kate Spencer's first novel, a light fiction meet cute; and I'm reading Amy Bloom's heartbreaking, thoughtful, brutally honest memoir about losing her beloved husband to Alzheimer's.
What are you reading and enjoying these days, bookworms?
01 The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
The Personal Librarian is Benedict and Murray's historical fiction based on the real figure of Belle da Costa Greene, the woman in charge of securing, building, and overseeing J.P. Morgan's vast collection of valuable manuscripts and artwork.
She was a Black woman who hid her heritage in order to serve in this powerful role—one that was unusual for a woman to serve in at the time, but would have been all but impossible for a Black woman.
Belle's elaborate efforts to disguise her family’s background (her mother was from a longtime, well-respected Washington, DC-based Black family, the Fleets, and her father was a Black activist who abandoned the family) allowed her to mix with high society figures--and necessitated never letting down her guard.
02 In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
In a New York Minute is Kate Spencer's first novel. It begins with Franny Doyle having a legendarily horrific day: she's laid off from her boring but cushy interior design job, then she has a klutzy moment on the subway that's epic--and horrifically embarrassing.
The tall stranger who helps her out (she immediately nicknames him Hot Suit) is the only potentially bright spot of the day, but she knows she'll never see him again.
But when Franny's mishap goes viral, internet viewers invent a love connection between Franny and Hot Suit, and they're eager for a televised reunion. Neither Franny nor Hayes would typically go for such an idea, but they could each use the publicity to help boost their careers--and what could possibly go wrong?
I recently listed some of my favorite romantic, light stories in the Greedy Reading List Six Great Light Fiction Stories Perfect for Summer Reading.
03 In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom
In her memoir In Love, the wonderful author Amy Bloom shares the story of an impossible situation: the heartbreaking pending loss of her husband to Alzheimer's. She explores his decision to take an active role in determining the time and place and conditions of his death, and through her pain she discovers how she can best support his wishes.
Bloom is also the author of White Houses, Away, Lucky Us, Come to Me: Stories, and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You: Stories.
I listed other heartbreaking and beautiful memoirs about facing death and loss in the Greedy Reading List Six Powerful Memoirs about Facing Mortality, and Kate Bowler's No Cure for Being Human is another excellent book about facing mortality. It was a five-star read for me.