Compiled by Gwen Orel
What’s on your night table, Montclair? Autumn is always busy, but can you sneak in some time to read for pleasure? What’s going with you on your commute? Thrillers? Nonfiction? Fantasy? In honor of The Little Read, which continues this weekend, we thought we’d share this list!
Steph Auteri, Montclair Local’s “All Write Now:” As a journalist with a focus on sexuality, I often write about rape culture and consent, so I was eager to read Chanel Miller’s “Know My Name.” A memoir from the woman previously known as Emily Doe — the woman who was assaulted by Brock Turner — this book is an essential accounting of everything that occurred in the aftermath of her assault. I hope it forces people to discard their often faulty assumptions about what a victim looks like.
Heeten Choxi, Montclair Local publisher: I am reading “Biased,” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, which talks about how the natural functioning of the brain creates Bias and the challenges with eliminating the affect of bias in our society.
Patricia Conover, Montclair Local stringer: I‘m reading “The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams (1948). Born in Rutherford, Williams led two fascinating lives, one as a physician and one as a poet and author. Written to fulfill a publishing contract, the book is raw, revealing and unpolished. If you’re a Williams fan, it’s completely riveting.
Kathy Curto, author, “Not for Nothing: Glimpses into a Jersey Childhood:” Funny because I just started a book I have a feeling will change my life. I have that feeling because of the way the writer has chosen to tell her story. It is one that is not only unique but fierce and brave. It is “Joy Enough” by Sarah McColl. I chose it because I heard her speak at a literary festival recently and also because a friend recommended it. It’s going in a direction that makes me want to press Pause on my intended duties for the day, grab a blanket and a chair in my backyard sunshine and dive into this little yellow book. I want to stay in her world, on her pages, because the writing already feels at home and has managed to keep me both present in her tale of loss and living, but also able to remember my own mother loss — somehow she is telling my story, too.
David Galef, creative writing program director, MSU: Believe it or not, I’m reading Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” for the first time. I’m old enough not to be swayed by the social philosophy and am just enjoying the way Rand rigs up her characters and plot.
Jose German, “Gardening for Life:” I am reading “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen” by Jose Antonio Vargas. Vargas is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. I’m also reading “How to hide an empire” by Daniel Immerwahr.
Molly Hone, Montclair Local’s “History & Heritage:” I’m reading “Sullivan’s Island,” the debut novel by the late Montclair resident Dorothea Benton Frank. I had been interested in reading Ms. Frank’s work when I learned of her connection to Montclair a few years ago, and put Sullivan’s Island on my “to read” list as I worked my way through other books and authors that I was fixated on at the time. As happens, it wasn’t until Ms. Frank recently passed away that I became inspired to put her work at the top of my reading list, and I’m glad I did. Forty pages into Sullivan’s Island, I’m already hooked not only on the story of a woman bouncing back from marital infidelity, but on the strong sense of humor, and richly drawn setting. If, like me, you’ve taken too long to delve into the work of the talented and prolific Ms. Frank, do yourself a favor and start at the beginning with Sullivan’s Island.
Kirsten Levingston, Montclair Local’s “Welcome to Montclair:” “All You Can Ever Know” by Nicole Chung. It is a memoir about a Korean American woman adopted as a baby by white parents ill-equipped to appreciate the challenges children of color face in all-white environments, and their daughter’s desire to connect with her culture and birth family. I received this book as a Mothers Day gift.
Loyla Louvis, Montclair Local’s “Mother Matters:” I’ve been reading a book called “Anatomy of the Soul” by Rebbe Nachman of Breslev for about a year now. I am fascinated by the idea that the body’s construction has spiritual significance. Written by a 17th Century Jewish scholar and rebbe, this book compares the mystical connection between the human body and the levels of the soul.
Steven McCarthy, news producer, school of communication and media, MSU: I just finished “A Bright Shining Lie” by Neil Sheehan. It’s the history of the Vietnam War thorough the story of a troubled hero named John Paul Vann. Sad story in many ways but interesting bit of history.
Jack Marflak, Montclair Local advertising sales manager: I’m just finishing up a beautifully written memoir by Egyptian born American Journalist Lucette Lagnoda. “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit” is the story of her family’s exodus, after the war, from Cairo to Paris and then Brooklyn New York. It’s also a touching story of a young woman’s love for her father.
Elaine Molinaro, artistic director, Culture Connection Theater: “All Out War: The Full Story of Brexit” by Tim Shipman. I wanted to learn more about the Brexit backstory. This book was recommended in the British press as a “must-read” to understand the mayhem. I am
Jacqueline Mroz, author, co-director, Succeed2gether’s Montclair Literary Festival: I’m reading “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead for my book club. It’s very well written and interesting, though upsetting to read. I’m also reading “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips, a Montclair High School grad and National Book Award finalist who will be appearing in this year’s S2G Montclair Literary Festival on March 28!
Elizabeth Oguss, Montclair Local listings editor: “Full Tilt: From Ireland to India with a Bicycle,” by Dervla Murphy. On her 10th birthday, Murphy was given a bicycle and an atlas, and determined right then that she would bicycle to India. Twenty years later, in early 1963, she did just that. This is the account of her journey through Persia, Afghanistan, and over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India.
Gwen Orel, Montclair Local features editor: “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement,” by Jody Kantor and Megan Twohey. This Pulitzer Prize winner is a really exciting “How I Got that Story” from the journalists who got the scoop on Harvey Weinstein and broke it for The New York Times. I’m also reading “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo, a novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about fierce, truthful Afro-Latina Xiomara Batista who needs to feel seen. Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Erin Roll, Montclair Local education and news reporter: For The Little Read, I am reading “Roxaboxen,” by Alice McLerran and Barbara Cooney. It’s the story of a group of children who create a special town of their own on a desert hill covered in rocks, old boxes and other discarded debris. I chose it because it was one of my favorites in first grade — one of our teachers read it aloud to us one day, and I liked it so much that I bought a copy at the next school book fair.
Allison Task, Montclair Local stringer: “Born To Run,” Springsteen AUTO biography. I wanted to know my state heroes, and what better way than with his own storytelling. Better late than missed.
Deborah Ann Tripoldi, Montclair Local editorial assistant: I am reading “The Táin: Translated from the Irish Epic Táin Bó Cúailnge” by Thomas Kinsella, part of the Great Works Series at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair. The Irish epic shares the stories of the hero Cúchulainn, a complicated hero who struggles to find a noble person worth serving. It shows the dangers of creating a warrior class and how much damage can be done when we give powerful people our freedom, our fortune and our permission to do as they please.
David Witten, professor of music and keyboard studies coordinator, Cali School of Music, Montclair State University: Everyone is reading Alan Walker’s biography of Chopin…
Robin Woods, Montclair Local’s “Robin’s Nest:” For The Little Read, I was going to keep my book choice a surprise, but here it is: :we don’t eat our CLASSMATES,” by Ryan T. Higgins (lower and uppercase shown here is used by author as the title). I like to read books to the children that make them laugh, as well as passing on a very gentle message. “It’s Penelope’s first day of school, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But making friends is hard when they’re so delicious!”. (Penelope Rex is a dinosaur).