Spring has officially sprung, so we shall explore the unofficial theme of the season: Rebirth. Our spring reading list is all about new beginnings, second acts, recoveries and comebacks. So curl up – or maybe find a patch of green in the park – and enjoy these inspiring reads.
‘Educated: A Memoir,’ by Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s riveting memoir describes her experience growing up in – and ultimately, leaving – a survivalist Mormon family in Idaho. She cans fruit, packs emergency kits and stays disconnected from the outside world. Through sheer force of will, Westover goes from never attending school in her life to enrolling at Harvard. “Educated,” is a fascinating window into a subculture many of us know very little about, but also a relatable story about finding the courage to build the life you want.
‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer,’ by Michelle McNamara
This book chronicles journalist Michelle McNamara’s exhaustive search for the infamous Golden State Killer. Sadly, McNamara passed away before completing the book, so her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, ensured that it was finished, bringing on an investigative journalist and a researcher to complete the job. Released in late February, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark…,” has already hit #1 on The New York Times Bestseller list. McNamara’s urgent prose sucks you into her dual world, in which she lived a “normal” life as a wife and mother by day and an obsessive investigator by night, scribbling down leads in crayon long after her family had gone to sleep.
‘Exit West,’ by Mohsin Hamid
In Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel, two migrants, Saeed and Nadia, leave their war-torn country and travel to Mykonos in search of a better life. “Exit West,” has fantastical elements (refugees travel through magical doors to get to their destinations), but this story feels more timely than futuristic. At its core, this is a novel about all of the hope and fear that comes with leaving behind everything you know and starting anew.
‘Black, Volume 1,’ by Kwanza Osajyefo, Jamal Igle (Artist), Robin Riggs (Artist), Tim Smith III (Artist), Derwin Roberson (Artist)
Comic superheroes are the ultimate embodiments of rebirth, and “Black,” is a perfect example. And an important one for our time. After surviving a police shooting, the protagonist learns that he has superpowers, and that in this world, only black people have superpowers. The images are just as powerful as the subject matter.
‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel,’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal
In the novel, “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows,” a group of Sikh widows who intend to take an English class at a community college mistakenly wind up in a creative writing class. There, the unsuspecting widows come across a collection of erotic stories, in turn unearthing their own buried stories and desires. The course becomes a place of liberation for the women, but only if they can keep it a secret from their conservative community.
‘Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon,’ by Iris Apfel
The fashion crowd already adored her, but the rest of us met 96-year-old style icon Iris Apfel in the wonderful 2014 documentary, “Iris.” Her new book, hilariously subtitled “Musings of a Geriatric Starlet,” provides another window into Apfel’s colorful world. She discusses her love of jazz, her affinity for red lipstick, and why she wears those enormous glasses. The book is more manifesto than memoir, but Apfel does write lovingly about her parents – celebrating her mother’s impeccable style and her father’s devil-may-care attitude; clearly, she inherited both.