The Reading List: 10 February Winter Reads
10 new releases worth adding to your reading list this month.
1. Best literary love stories
My Mistress’ Sparrow Is Dead, edited by Jeffrey Eugenides
If you appreciate romance but hate schlock, this collection from writers like William Trevor, Miranda July, Vladimir Nabokov and David Bezmozgis will hit their mark.
2. Most ironic title
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Let the news of the lit giant’s retirement from fiction lead you back to his best book. This novel-about the man who has it all and how he loses it-is so luminously devastating that it has become the ur-text on the destruction of the American Dream.
3. Best Oscar prep
I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies by Jeanine Basinger
A look at how Hollywood has shaped our notions of marriage (and divorce) through the lens of some of cinema’s favourite couples: Tracy and Hepburn, Blondie and Dagwood and, delightfully, Friday Night Lights’ Coach and Tami Taylor.
4. Best nerd cred
Building Stories by Chris Ware
Touted by many as the best graphic novel of 2012, Building Stories is less a book than a kit: it comes with books, pamphlets, comic strips and a game board. The stories, about residents of a Chicago apartment building, are no less satisfying for the gimmicky packaging.
5. The most dystopian of them all
Son by Lois Lowry
The 1993 novel The Giver is haunting, difficult and one of the few young adult books out there that treat kids as intelligent readers. This sequel, which meets the standard set by the original, follows a 14-year-old girl forced to be a breeding machine as she searches for her child.
6. Worst idea since Jurassic Park
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Before you read her new fantastic story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, revisit Russell’s first novel, set in a Floridian alligator-wrestling theme park.
7. Best reporting
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
After spending four years in the Mumbai slum of Annawadi, Boo wrote scenes and characters that are so vivid you’d swear you were reading a novel. The fact that you’re not only makes this book more affecting.
8. Best judicial cheat sheet
The Oath by Jeffrey Toobin
The top authority on the U.S. Supreme Court explores the tension between the increasingly right-wing judicial body and the Obama administration.
9. What to read during commercial breaks
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Celebrate the return of The Walking Dead with Isaac Marion’s cult novel about R, a pulseless teenage zombie, and the girl he unexpectedly falls for. Bonus: the movie adaptation is also out this month.
10. Best retro feminism
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Look who’s 50! This axis-tilting feminist screed-first published in 1963-is both a fascinating cultural artifact that captures a specific feminist moment in time, and a trenchant manifesto that informs our understanding of contemporary feminism.