Readersforum's Blog

April 23, 2014

10 Books for Twentysomethings

BellBy Robin Marantz Henig and Samantha Henig

In the new book Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?, the mother-daughter team of Robin Marantz Henig and Samantha Henig explores the difficulties facing young people in today’s society–including identity exploration, instability, and self-focus. Do yourself a favor and pick up the book, as well as some of these 10 books, selected by the Henigs, which will help get the twentysomething in your life on the right track.

The most uplifting news we’ve read recently about Millennials, the one that counters all the negative stereotypes about them as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and shallow, is that they love books. In fact, a survey reported last summer noted that Millennials buy more books than Baby Boomers (30% of total sales for Millennials versus 24% for Boomers). The future of civilization is assured.

And in their typically self-obsessed way — one generalization that’s probably true, because it’s developmentally appropriate to spend time thinking about yourself at a stage in life when your main task is figuring yourself out — Millennials are probably buying books about other twentysomethings, the more disaffected the better. If they’re not, they should be, because what better way to get through a period of uncertainty and shifting enthusiasms than to read great literature about characters doing pretty much the same thing? Here are 10 of our favorites.

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March 19, 2013

Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman – review

Through a glass darkly … Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman.

Through a glass darkly … Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman.

A genius of the short story will finally have her due, says Mark Lawson

The literary establishment tends to be sceptical about the phenomenon of undiscovered greats. Even before digital self-publishing offered a corrective, it was a common view that agents, publishers, reviewers, readers and the law of averages would, between them, eventually discover the authors most deserving of an audience. The legends of bestsellers repeatedly rejected by the gate-keepers – Gone With the Wind, Dubliners, The Day of the Jackal – paradoxically consolidated the consensus that the system ultimately works.

If it does, then American author Edith Pearlman has had to wait an embarrassingly long time for vindication. At 76, she has spent four decades publishing short stories – at least 250 of them – in regional or academic periodicals. Prizes such as the O Henry and the Pushcart increasingly went her way: last year she won four trophies and was shortlisted for three for Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories.

This volume of 34 stories from across her career has popularised the view that an American writer from the decade that produced John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth and Anne Tyler had been seriously under-valued and may even be their equal. Even now, though, the book’s British launch comes from a plucky smaller publisher, Pushkin Press.

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October 11, 2012

Sara Zarr’s top 10 family dramas

Sara Zarr’s new novel How to Save a Life is this month’s Teen book club read, and as you all know by now (!) it is about two girls trying to figure out who they are and what family means to them. Here Sara lets you in on the Top 10 family dramas that inspired her story.

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