Lately, on plane rides, trains, and on several walks with the kids, I’ve shoved an old favorite in my bag to keep me company. Recently, The New York Times dubbed it one of the best memoirs of the past 50 years.
Have you read Men We Reaped, yet? It’s a devastatingly beautiful memoir folding in and out of the death of three men (at different times) in Jesmyn’s life. For me, it felt tangible in a heartbreaking sense. Her writing is brilliant but easy. Her experiences and stories and the haunting of death and life, and sort of being adjacent to it, doesn’t feel too far off from the experience of many black women (and men). I loved it so much so, that I picked it up for a long drawn-out summer re-read. Something to keep me company in-between it all. Next week, when I turn the last page on this once again, I plan on attempting to read a new one. But it’s so so hard when you have a good summer favorite.
“Ward tells their stories with tenderness and reverence; they live again in these pages. Their fates twine with her own — her dislocation and anguish, and later, the complicated story of her own survival, and isolation, as she is recruited to elite all-white schools. She is a writer who has metabolized the Greeks and Faulkner — their themes course through her work — and the stories of the deaths of these men join larger national narratives about rural poverty and racism. But Ward never allows her subjects to become symbolic. This work of great grief and beauty renders them individual and irreplaceable.” – — Parul Sehgal
With that said, what’s your summer vacation read?
Speaking of summer reads, I’m having my very last (!!) reading tomorrow night at The Wing in Dumbo! I can’t believe how magical and comforting the last three months have been. I opened up a few spots on the guest list for readers who have been meaning to attend a signing, if you’re interested. Just shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org