Reading · West Wing stuff

Claire’s Week in Books: Fabulous Brown Alumnae Edition

There’s been a bit of a theme to my book buying over the last couple of weeks: these three books are all great (I say this in faith because I have only read two of them at this point), all have a Brown University link, and are all written by lovely women whom I have met (though admittedly only two of them would have any idea who I am).


Come to the Edge, by Christina Haag

I am forever losing Audible credits because I forget to use them, so I got ahead of the curve and bought a book I knew I would want to revisit. Christina Haag’s moving and beautiful memoir of love and loss, Come to the Edge, is one of my all-time favourites. I already have the hardback and the Kobo versions. (I went to Providence last year and owed it to myself to sit in or close to some of the places described in this book and re-read the relevant passages), but I hadn’t brought it with me.) Anyway, I’m long due a reread of this gorgeous book, but there are so many books and there is so little time, so my plan is to use audiobooks for rereads. Christina reads it herself, and she’s an accomplished actress, and has also become my friend, so I’m looking forward to this. My original review of it is here. This book captured my heart and I want it to capture everyone else’s, too – it deserves it. Buy it for yourself and then buy it for everyone else you know. You won’t regret it.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P, by Adelle Waldman

Another book I technically already own, on Kindle – it was one of my favourite reads of 2014, and when I found out that its the love affairs of nathaniel pauthor, Adelle Waldman was teaching a writing workshop at Sarah Lawrence this June, and that it was particularly going to be focused on the psychology of characters, I jumped at the chance to take it. I’m still pinching myself that I got the opportunity to learn from such an accomplished, insightful writer. And of course, I wanted the book, signed by her, to take away so I could prove to myself that it had really happened. I definitely intend to read it again at some point too – it’s funny, insightful, and mildly terrifying to anyone wanting a relationship (or in one) with a thirty-something male. In a good way, I think. It feels to me like she nailed the interiority of the commitment phobic young man, and I’ve yet to find a guy who has disagreed with me. Like Christina Haag, Adelle Waldman is a Brown grad and a lovely person. I wonder if there’s some kind of correlation there.

Dear Mr You, by Mary-Louise Parker

dear mr youOkay, fine: Mary-Louise Parker is not a Brown grad, but she played one on TV: Amy Gardner is a very divisive character on The West Wing and I alternate between loving to hate her and hating to love her, and these feelings were in large part the inspiration behind my first novel, Inevitable. I’m very lucky and very excited to have got hold of an Advanced Review Copy of her memoir. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of either the title or the cover, but I have been impatient to read this since I first heard about it what feels like forever ago. It’s a collection of letters to the men in her life – some real, some imagined – and I’ve got to say, I love this idea, and wish I had thought of it myself. (Though everything I’ve ever written could essentially be interpreted as a letter to one particular man, but I digress.) I’ve also heard good things about how well written it is, which doesn’t surprise me. I saw her in a play, Heisenberg, a week ago and she was phenomenal, and really lovely to me when I waited for her at stage door. This might be the book I am most excited about in the whole of 2015. It comes out officially on 10th November and I am crossing everything that there will be a book event at Politics and Prose for this one so I can get it signed and say all the things I wimped out of saying when I saw her in New York.

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