Reviews

Friday Reads: August 2021

Curated by ELLY HONG

For our August round of Friday Reads, we spoke to three alums of The Common’s Literary Publishing Internship. Their recommendations delve into trauma, failure, and purposelessness, but all include notes of hope.

Friday Reads: August 2021
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Friday Reads: July 2021

Curated by ELLY HONG

In our July edition of Friday Reads, two TC interns and one volunteer reader recommend transportive summer reading, ranging from a novel about a trip to Greece to a good old-fashioned western. Read onward for discussions of a braided Faulkner novel, a flâneur novelist, and two cowboys down on their luck.

Recommendations: If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem by William Faulkner, Outline by Rachel Cusk, Hanging Woman Creek by Louis L’Amour.

Friday Reads: July 2021
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Review: There is Still Singing in the Afterlife by JinJin Xu

Book by JINJIN XU

Reviewed by NOOR QASIM

There is Still Singing in the Afterlife Front Cover
JinJin Xu’s first chapbook, There is Still Singing in the Afterlife (Radix Media, 2020), collects twelve poems of multivarious forms, charting equally vast emotional territory–from birth to death, from one language to another, through words and subjects that are too dangerous to be said or written. This expansive collection demands a nimble, heightened attention and rewards the reader with language of great texture and depth. I first came to know Xu as an undergrad and it was a distinct pleasure to be challenged again by her work, to feel the push and pull of the poet engaging and rejecting her reader.

Review: There is Still Singing in the Afterlife by JinJin Xu
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Film Review: Holler

Film written and Directed by NICOLE RIEGEL

Review by HANNAH GERSEN

Holler film movie poster

 

In Tara Westover’s bestselling 2018 memoir, Educated, a wildly intelligent young woman finds herself stuck working in her family’s junkyard, unable to leave her isolated Idaho town even as she longs to go to college. Public school is forbidden by her fundamentalist Mormon father, so she is homeschooled with her siblings and forced to scrap metal in illegal and unsafe conditions. Westover’s gripping story of escape captivated readers across the country, and I found myself thinking of it as I watched Nicole Riegel’s directorial debut, Holler, which concerns a young woman facing similar challenges.

Film Review: Holler
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June 2021 Friday Reads

Curated by ISABEL MEYERS

 

In the June edition of Friday Reads, our Managing Editor and two of our volunteer readers recommend books that have refreshed and engaged them as the start of summer creeps closer. Read onward for reflections on translation, the lasting and often problematic legacy of novels, and the importance of maintaining hope.

Recommendations: Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri, Without a Map by Meredith Hall, Lolita in the Afterlife edited by Jenny Minton Quigley

 

 

June 2021 Friday Reads
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May 2021 Friday Reads: Issue 21 Contributors

Curated by ISABEL MEYERS

We’re celebrating a successful spring issue launch by showcasing book recommendations from our Issue 21 contributors. Their picks, which range from a poetry collection exploring Latino identity to a memoir documenting incarceration in the 1850s, are diverse in form yet collectively poignant and timely. Make sure to read the April installment of Friday Reads, featuring more picks from our Issue 21 contributors, and pick up a copy of the spring issue.

May 2021 Friday Reads: Issue 21 Contributors
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Review: Not For Nothing: Glimpses Into a Jersey Girlhood by Kathy Curto

By CARLA ZANONI 

Cover of Not for Nothing by Kathy Curto

Kathy Curto’s memoir, Not for Nothing: Glimpses Into A Jersey Girlhood, is a dynamic and bittersweet retelling of the author’s childhood in which she seeks to understand and reconcile the inner workings of her family while lifting the veil of the American dream. The book, Curto’s first, is told through a series of 52 loosely-connected humorous and poignant vignettes. It takes a close look at her Italian-American family, from behind closed doors as well as in the eyes of the southern New Jersey community around them.

Review: Not For Nothing: Glimpses Into a Jersey Girlhood by Kathy Curto
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April 2021 Friday Reads

Curated by ISABEL MEYERS

Amidst the warmer days and rainy weather, we at The Common are busy preparing to release our spring issue. In this month’s Friday Reads, we’re hearing from our Issue 21 contributors on what books have been inspiring and encouraging them through the long, dark winter. Read their selections, on everything from immigration to embracing loneliness in pandemic times, and pre-order your copy of the upcoming issue here

 

Recommendations: The Poetry of Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke, Transit by Anna Seghers, Stroke By Stroke by Henri Michaux, By the Lake by John McGahern.

April 2021 Friday Reads
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Friday Reads: March 2021

Curated by ISABEL MEYERS 

Here in Western Massachusetts, the harsh New England winter is gradually thawing, and our greyish snowbanks are melting into puddles. Meanwhile, our interns have returned to their spring semester classes and their work at The Common. This March, we’re hearing what’s propelled them through their long winter break toward a brighter and warmer spring. 

Recommendations: The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune, Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee, A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

Friday Reads: March 2021
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Friday Reads: February 2021

Curated by ISABEL MEYERS

 

We’re starting 2021 with a Friday Reads packed with recommendations set everywhere from the wilderness of British Columbia to modern day Nigeria. Recommenders from the TC team reflect on how their recent reading tackles issues of gender and sexual identity, strained familial relationships, and of course, a classic murder mystery or two.

 Recommendations: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Reconception of Marie by Teresa Carmody, The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler, The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Friday Reads: February 2021
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