Recent Reads

Our Autumn Reading List

In the words of our Southern friends: happy fall, y’all! We hope you’re enjoying cooler weather, crunchy leaves, and a hot cup of tea/coffee/cocoa on these cooler fall days.

As the days get shorter, autumn’s darker afternoons offer a perfect time to curl up in a comfy sweater with a book (or three!). Here are a few of Cornelia’s favorite fall reads, plus some from our TBR pile for the next couple cozy months:

What We're Reading Now: In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

The book I'm reading this week is one I've been reading and re-reading since the summer of 2017, when In Other Words, Jhumpa Lahiri's Italian-English translation hybrid essay collection came out in the US. Lahiri's collection begins at a turning point: the writer's love of Italian has led her and her family to move from America to Rome, where she will read and write only in Italian.

(Fun fact: it's been six years since, she continues to do so!)

With Lahiri's Italian words on the left page, and a translator's rendering into English on the verso page, I'm continually making stumbling progress with the Italian, but have read the English translation perhaps half a dozen times. Lahiri's voice in this book is clear, plain but beautiful. Strewn between her essays about her journey with Italian, and her relationship with language in general, are opalescent contemporary stories that read like fairytales: a traveler losing a jacket in a mysterious bazaar, a lake that must be crossed.

As beautiful as Lahiri's stories from In Other Words / En altre parole are, it's her exploration of this seemingly peculiar intense love of the Italian that make me want to savor each word. In an unusual way, I have Cornelia to thank for my particular interest in this gorgeous collection; as a child, I read The Thief Lord, and was immediately captivated by the pictures she painted of Venice with its canals, the damp streets, the crumbling theatre, Scipio. In the years since I was first whisked away to the canals of Venice, I've been lucky enough to travel briefly in Italy, and that fledgling love of an imagined city blossomed into a love of the Italian language and a fascination with the young country's ancient history. When I first heard of In Other Words a few years ago, then published in solely Italian, I practically salivated over news of the dual-language printing!

My first introduction to Lahiri was her collection Interpreter of Maladies (for which she's the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize), and was captivated by her language and pacing. I loved the stories' detail; the quiet, observant voices of her characters, and the singular moments in their ordinary lives. Though the stories are different, the voice in her new collection is resonant, rich and delicious--like an excellent espresso or gelato.

-Liz (booklover & marketing manager)  

What We're Reading Now: Anne Sexton, more Solnit

Today the sun finally broke through the clouds in LA! It's been a slow, cloudy spring here, and we spent the morning in a Los Feliz coffeeshop reading Anne Sexton. 

Anne Sexton (b. 1928, d. 1974) was a popular American poet of the 1960s and 70s, Her talents developed rapidly, and her simple, forceful imagery and suburban realism made her work accessible. 

Some of our favorite poems were Starry NightThe Balance Wheel, and Just Once. What are some of your favorite poems?

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We're also still carrying around another one of Rebecca Solnit's book, The Mother of All Questions--her work is too good!