I have had a gift card to a local bookstore in my wallet for over a year now. My parents gave one to me and one to my fiancé the Christmas before last. Since then, it has been torturing me. I imagine it has been calling out “use me! Think of the books!” But I resisted its pleas. My bookshelves are packed with titles I haven’t read yet, and I’ve started to store the overflow under my dining room table. I live in a New York City apartment, so there is only so much space I can use for storage.
But then my fiancé came up with a perfect excuse to use our cards: We should read a book together! We have never done this before, and I was excited when he suggested the idea. We could have gone to the library (you know how much I love the library) and borrowed the book, but we read at very different paces. I’m not sure when we’d actually be able to return it.
And so, on a beautiful New York Saturday afternoon, with the trees budding and dogs playing in the park and everyone shedding layers and enjoying the sun, we took a walk down to the bookstore. Well, he walked. I skipped. I was pretty excited.
Here’s what I bought:
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
This is the title my fiancé suggested reading together after he heard Wilkinson interviewed on WNYC. Spy novels are not my go-to reading material, but as I said, I was pumped to read something with my partner and try something new! I don’t know of too many spy novels written by women of color, or people of color for that matter, so I am glad that this genre is on its way to no longer being dominated by white men.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
I knew I was buying this as soon as I saw it on a table near the front of the store. So many people have told me how great this book is, and I love the cover! I am also trying to incorporate more novels in verse into my reading life. I read Joy McCullough’s Blood Water Paint last year and was thoroughly engrossed, amazed at how I could be so invested in a story with so few words on the page.
Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley
I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. I always feel great after a class, but I usually end up falling over at least once, and I am always comparing myself to the other people in the class who look like pros. I like Stanley’s message that everybody, literally every body, can do yoga. It’s refreshing to see someone tackle the idea that yoga is for one kind of person who looks and moves a certain way.
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
From what I’ve heard of this book, it falls into a category I like to call “smart fun.” It’s written well but is still funny and an easy, enjoyable read. It’s the kind of book you could take on vacation, but feel like you’re engaging your brain. Sex scandals involving politicians are not new, but I am curious to see how Zevin approaches the topic. I also love books told from multiple points of view.
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
Historical fiction is my catnip. It combines my love of reading and great story-telling with my fascination with history (yes, I am a nerd, thank you). I have not read much historical fiction/fantasy, but I think this is the perfect place to start. I also had no idea who Wilson was until this book came out recently. Based on what I’ve read about her and her work, I may have found a new favorite author.