Are you ready for a summer reading challenge?

Calling all readers! If you follow the annual Tournament of Books held by the Morning News, you may want to take part in their summer reading challenge. It’s only six books over the summer, so it’s perfectly doable. I’ve read one of the selections, Ill Will by Dan Chaon, which I recommend if you like your books a little off-kilter.

Source: Welcome to the Rooster Summer Reading Challenge – The Morning News

We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment – The New York Times

This is fascinating.

You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you – The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal explains a concept that can be very difficult to grasp.

This is a comic about the backfire effect.

Source: You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you – The Oatmeal

The Handmaid’s Tale…

Y’all may not have noticed, but I truly love Margaret Atwood.

Living The Handmaid’s Tale: a real-life horror story.

And, in case you didn’t realize, The Handmaid’s Tale is feminist.

Margaret Atwood–high priestess of fiction, yes.

Some language links…

America’s uncivil war over words.

The problem with gendered language.

The language of talking about dogs on the Internet.

On symbols: How the swastika became the Confederate flag.

Another good piece on Get Out…

Another good piece on Get Out: My reaction when I saw it was that Get Out was at heart a zombie movie that hearkens back to the Haitian origin of the zombie myth and the fear of slavery that created it.

Friday reads: Foxlowe and The Girls

I discovered Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg and The Girls by Emma Cline because both were short-listed for the Shirley Jackson Awards this year (which is one of my favorite award lists–always something good to read on that shortlist). I read them back to back and was struck by how similar, and different, they were from each other.

Both are about young girls involved in a cult, narrated from the point of view of an older woman looking back on her younger self. But each novel takes this premise in a different and interesting direction. Foxlowe is set on the English moors, in a crumbling mansion; it is gothic and creepy. The Girls is set in sunny California during the summer of love–the cult in question is rather obviously based on the Manson family. In Foxlowe, the cult leader is a charismatic but abusive woman; in The Girls, it is a charismatic but manipulative man. Both books tackle themes of abuse and identity, but through very different lenses. And both were engrossing reads.