Now that classes are over and a difficult, half-online semester has come to a close, it’s a good time to read whatever you want. Maybe you did the hundreds of pages of reading for your politics class, maybe you skimmed a few pages or maybe you didn’t even buy the book — the fact of the matter is, it’s summer now. And instead of feeling pressured to feel any sort of way, Arts and Entertainment is bringing you three books with three very different moods, united by their compelling writing and just waiting for you to take them under your wing.
“Sabrina & Corina” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
A finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2019, “Sabrina & Corina” is the first published collection of short stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. The book includes 11 short stories dealing with a range of characters, families and relationships, all written in the captivating voice of Fajardo-Anstine, who handles complicated histories and themes with grace and urgency. Centered in the American west — Fajardo-Anstine is from Denver, Colorado and studied at the University of Wyoming — “Sabrina & Corina” is unafraid to delve into serious issues and explore fraught dynamics related to Latinx and indigenous people in America and the concepts of home and heritage. If you’re looking to read something that will make you think and feel, try a couple of the stories from “Sabrina & Corina.” You probably won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve read them all.
“We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union
Looking for a bit of levity to start your summer? Many celebrities have tried their hand at writing a memoir, and few can claim they’ve done it successfully. Gabrielle Union’s “We’re Going to Need More Wine” is a rare standout, mostly due to Union’s charming yet measured take on the complicated moments of her life. Published in 2017, it has adorable stories about meeting her now husband, former professional basketball player Dwyane Wade, among other treasured anecdotes, such as her experience with the cast of the 1999 teen comedy “10 Things I Hate About You.” Union also speaks about more heavy moments in her life — her experience with sexual assault, her marriage and her journey towards self-love. When Union shares her trauma and her struggles and hopes in processing that trauma, you get a sense of her as genuine, thoughtful and principled in her beliefs. We are not entitled to anyone’s story, especially the details of a private life, even one lived by a celebrity. Union shares hers with a sincerity and humor that makes you realize the gift you’re being given as you keep turning the pages.
“The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai
Sometimes, the end of the semester is the perfect time to feel more, not less. Published in 2018, “The Great Believers” was a lauded page-turner then and still is now. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award, the novel tells two intertwining stories, one set in Chicago in the 1980s in the midst of the AIDS crisis and another during the modern day, as a woman grapples with both her past and her relationship with her daughter. Makkai’s writing is a compelling, fierce blend of sympathy, precision and wit as she tells stories of friendship and love amidst the most painful of circumstances. A heartbreaking and beautiful book about tragedy, love and loss, “The Great Believers” is a powerful, moving piece of literature. Senior Writer Dan Goff swears — “If you have a heart, you will love it.”