Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Étonnez-moi: Spring Reading

My dear friend Maggie Shipstead has a new novel out –Astonish Me and it's so ravishing I didn't even rewatch Frozen on my flight to LA and instead ripped through my galley in a six-hour head rush of literary gorgeousness.

New York in the 70's. Soviet defection. Sex, drugs, ballet. But what Maggie really nails, in a brutal, Didonesque way, is the complexity of female friendship and rivalry. And the physical sacrifice for sport, emotional sacrifice for art. My favorite book of the spring.

Also, recently: Rachel Kushner's superb The FlamethrowersI swam the length with my breath held and emerged a little light-headed on the other side. Motorcycle racing, New York and Rome in the mid-70's, A Judd-and-Flavin-like crew downtown having dinner parties, affairs. Also a book about physical and emotional lengths and WOMENS.

What are you reading? What's good? Maggie told me I need to read Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie. Also have The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis on my bedside (which is by the way the EXACT color of the asbestos shingles on Flat Top). I'm deep into Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World and finding it equal parts chorish and dazzling. More women-in-art, women-making-art, women-suffering-art. DO YOU SEE A THEME HERE?

Hopie and I leave for India in a week. P. and Dolly (and Hopie and Block Shop) and I are ALL moving to Los Angeles in a month. After years of searching, I finally found a pencil cholla in bloom on our last trip to Joshua Tree. That's the latest, now what are you reading?


  1. Always love to hear what you're reading, Lily. The Flamethrowers was one of the best books I read last year, and I loved Astonish Me. Curious to know if you've read Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle? I've read book one and am moving on to book two.


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  2. I'm reading...your wonderful blog! always an inspiration of beautiful colour, gorgeous pattern, strong women, and good reads! I have just finished reading The Namesake, by Jumpha Lahiri - i wonder if you have read this one?

    this message is coming to you all the way over the seas from the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland! x

  3. A new post! And even better, one with book suggestions galore. I've been meaning to pick up Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" but it's been on hold for some time at the library. Might just have to buy it because it seems to be getting quite the hype. Junot Diaz was a huge fan, which if you haven't already, definitely go out and pick up his work. His novels are great but I'm a sucker for his short stories. "Drown" was my favorite.

  4. JUST finished Americanah. Loved it. Not to mention the conversations I've had since reading it with Ilan and others. Can't wait to hear what you think!

  5. Oh man, back to India!!! I've been digging into women-centric ANYTHING lately, women and art all the better. I just finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls... have you read that one? It's not new, but I found it on my Mom's bookshelf during our latest stint in Montana and it brings the old dusty wild west to vivid life. And talk about woman power! Loved it. Always glad to get a longer Lily read on the blog, too.

  6. This is perfect -- I always need suggestions for good reads, and women-making-and-suffering-for-art is exactly my jam.

    I've read several things lately, but none have left me riveted. Alas.

  7. I plowed right through 1) Department of Speculation and 2) The Dirty Life. So we have a lady artiste and a lady farmer. Voila.

  8. Finally read Pattern Recognition and devoured it and wish if read it years ago so I could have lived the past ten years with in in my brain and then re-read it now. Haven't made it to the next book in the trilogy, lately I've been disappointed in series and I don't want to spoil it

  9. I just finished Astonish Me and WHOA WHOA WHOA, the best thing I've read in awhile. Jealous that you're friends with Maggie! She's in the running for my current fav author. Just brilliant.
    I loved Dave Eggers latest--The Circle. I'm DYING for a friend to read it so I can discuss.
    Also, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff was just absolutely beautiful and moving. It's written in iambic pentameter which made the cadence so spectacular. I wanted it to go on and on, especially since the author passed away knowing that this was his last work.

  10. Hello! Just wanted to say that I discovered your blog thanks to Heart of Light. I'm loving it already. And yes, I think you should read Americanah, as I'm planning to read it soon as well!

  11. Always lovely to get new book recs! I know you are extremely busy with Blockshop and also in India right now, but when things settle down for you, I would love to do a blog feature on Blockshop as we briefly discussed through email. Show Dolly in your new collection, a brief bit about how you got Dolly and traveling with her, and then I can pull the rest of the info on Blockshop from the wonders of the Internet :) Keep up the amazing work!

  12. Love it when you talk books to us! We are doing a summer reading thing at work where we select a list of 12 titles and then employees can pick two for the company to buy for them. I slipped Americanah on the list and can't wait to read it. Also looking forward to Astonish Me. Loved her first one.

  13. Oooooo! I must read this. Hope all is groovy lady. Catching up on a ton of your posts. :)

  14. Nice! Thanks for sharing this book.

    Hope you had a great trip.

  15. Very nice post.really I apperciate your blog.Thanks for sharing.keep sharing more blogs.


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