WWRN

What We're Reading Now: SOUTH AND WEST by Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s South and West, published in 2017, is a slim volume excerpted from Didion’s notes during two periods—one in 1970, on a roadtrip in the American South, and another in 1976, around the Patty Hearst trial.

“The idea was to start in New Orleans and from there we had no plan.” This book of essays sends the reader right back to the 70s, with Didion on the road or at the writing desk, yet there’s a sense of timelessness, as if the era these notes were written in wasn’t half-a-century from this. While the pieces Didion may have intended to write in the 70s didn’t pan out, the notes left from each period paint clearly snapshots of both times with full force of Didion’s shrewd yet dispassionate eye for detail.

What We're Reading Now: THE CARRYING by Ada Limón

parenting, and motherhood; and the changing roles we have in the ever-turning cycle of birth, aging, and death. It’s a collection studded with images anchoring the reader to the natural world around the speaker—from trellising tomatoes in the garden, to “the cold salt froth / of the Pacific,”* to watching eagles in a field.

What We're Reading Now: THE REFUGEES by Viet Thanh Nguyen

What are you reading, book-lovers? This month, we’ve started more books we finished, but those we did finish include: The Refugees, a short story collection by Viet Thanh Nguyen; Ada Limón’s most recent poetry collection, The Carrying; and South and West, a slim nonfiction volume by Joan Didion that muses on moments decades past, in (as the title suggests) the American South and in California. A varied bunch!

What We're Reading Now: Conversations with Friends

Did this February seem particularly dreary everywhere, or just in rainy LA? There’s been so much rain on the West Coast that it’s felt a bit like Ireland—very green and very, very damp! Dublin, Ireland is also the setting of the only book we finished this month: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney.

It may not have kept up with our New Years reading resolution, but this fantastic novel was everything I want in a rainy-day read: with great dialogue and vivid images that make the reader feel not only that you’re in the story, but oh!—how much you’d like to step into the rooms with them.

What We're Reading Now: Nonfiction

I knew I had to when Roychoudhuri read aloud a sentence that absolutely summed up how I've felt in the last weeks and months: "Many of us are experiencing a shift in our perception of time because of the intensity and trauma of a leadership that shocks us daily—a single day can feel like a week, a week can feel like a month." 

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!