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Arts and Entertainment

Sunday Book Review Confessional: One Book I've Read & One Book I Haven't

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Here's the challenge I face each week: which books to read now and which ones to read later? Most often, this takes the form of a long-ish book review that may convince you to read a book or not, to read it now or read it later.

Instead of doling out a long-winded book review, today I thought I'd be very frank: there are a lot of books piling up on the desk (and floor and shelves and nightstand) to be read. Some of them make it and some of them don't. Here's where the battle stands on this Sunday afternoon:

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How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet is hands-down, no-denying it, 100% worth your time. Millet has somehow managed to create a story about a Type-A real estate developer in Los Angeles whose intense drive for wealth and control is thrown into chaos when a series of family and romantic involvements unravel his perfectly ordered world. Sound good? There's more: the Type-A developer begins to sort himself out only through extremely close contact with, and observation of, rare animals he visits during late-night zoo break-ins. Part meditation on greed and part indictment of our failed attempts to save endangered species from extinction, Millet's novel cuts straight to the heart of what it means to be alive, how and why we fight for survival, and how interconnected animals and humans are, despite our actions to the contrary. Millet will be reading at Book Soup on April 29th at 7pm.

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Felicia Sullivan's memoir The Sky Isn't Visible from Here is, well, burning a proverbial hole into my nightstand. I am so excited to read this that I kind of...can't. I'm waiting for the perfect moment, a window of time where I can give it my full attention and savor it. Sullivan's account of her missing-for-ten-years drug-addicted mother and the havoc said mother wreaked on Sullivan's life deserves laser-like focus for a proper read. The first sentence sort of demands it: "In Brooklyn, my mother and I lived with a man named Avram who taught me two sentences in Hebrew: I love you and I need five hundred dollars." Sullivan will be reading at Book Soup on May 8th. I'm committed to devouring her book this week. Stay tuned.

What books have you recently finished and which ones are you simply unable to crack open despite your best intentions?