Hey there. Are you a new or relatively new subscriber? Thanks for reading. Here are the archives. You can write me here. When I started this newsletter in 2015 (sidebar: 2015?!), my goal was to send one twice a month, on Fridays. And I maintained that schedule, give or take a newsletter, until last summer when my life went sideways. This is the third dispatch of 2018, and it represents a renewed faith—in the power of literature, in myself, in you, the reader.
My last newsletter was composed from the largest ATV I've ever seen, in Iceland, using a browser on my phone. Because of those unique conditions, I was unable to provide links to my recommendations. Independent People is the book I recommended by Iceland's Nobel laureate, Halldór Laxness. I also recommended the documentary Chasing Ice. And finally, this is how you can make a tax-deductible donation to Everytown for Gun Safety.
1. I finally finished William Finnegan's Barbarian Days. This is one of the books I got last year based on friends' recommendations. (I had put it down toward the end of the summer and it got lost under the growing pile of books on my nightstand. When I spotted it last week I saw that I had about forty pages to go.) It turns out to be a finely wrought memoir of Finnegan's life as a surfer, from his adolescence in Southern California and Hawaii through his young adulthood hopping around various islands seeking waves only surfers and locals know about to his current, more settled life in New York. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography in 2015. But surfing is not my jam. I would have never picked it up unless three women writers whose taste I find impeccable had not pressed it on me. Yes, it's about surfing, but it's not really about surfing. It's phenomenal.
2. My friend Amy Bass, preeminent scholar of sports history and women's history, has a new book out: One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together. Think of it as a northeastern Friday Night Lights but soccer instead of football with the added bonus of the tensions that come with immigration and racism. YOU MUST READ IT.
3. I have recently become interested in what you might call "coffee table books." My interest began when my mother and I visited MoMA last year and saw the Modern Women: Women Artists at MoMa exhibition and I insisted on buying the book that accompanied it. Since then I have added a few books to my collection, mostly contemporary photography. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I went to acquire my friend Joel Dinerstein's American Cool, the supplement to his National Portrait Gallery exhibition on that topic, and it was out of print. (If you can't, that feeling was something akin to devastation. I tried every channel imaginable.) But we're in luck—it's available again, at least for now. Get your copy while you can. This belongs in every American's home library.
4. I usually offer three recommendations, two books and one other. This time you're getting four recs and they're all technically books. You're welcome. About a week ago, I shared this on Facebook (& Twitter). It quickly became my most popular post, with 392 shares (and counting). So we are all reading Kate Manne's Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Join us.
This week I'll be in Tampa, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference. You might find me at Booth 333. On Saturday at 10:30 AM in Salon 6 I'll be talking political feminism in the age of Trump. Will you be there? Come say hi.