Around this time of year, there’s always a flurry of people committing to lacing up their sneakers more regularly, cutting out all manners of food and drink, and diving into a new hobby. I’m not here to ask you to do any of that.
Instead, I am quietly suggesting you read more women in 2020. My most recent “Staff Picks” urged my local community to do just that – so now I am extending that challenge to you, too. More that that, I’m asking you to listen to more women artists and watch more movies directed by/starring women. Absorb their voices and stories. Need somewhere to start? Find my picks below!*
As always, I’d love to hear your recommendations to me!
In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives collide. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman, alone in a house abandoned by the men in her life–her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her two older sons, who have gone in search of their father after his return is delayed. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, a boy with a bad eye who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home, and a seventeen year old maid named Josie, her husband’s cousin who communes with spirits. Lurie is the son of a dead dockworker, a former outlaw, and a man haunted by ghosts–he sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires an epic journey across the West. The way in which Nora and Lurie’s stories intertwine is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel. Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, Inland showcases all of Téa Obreht’s talents as a writer, as she subverts and re-imagines the classical American genre of the Western, making it entirely–and unforgettably–her own.
The author’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.
The dramatic, inspiring story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis, shore up the Resistance, and pave the way for Allied victory in World War II.
Since her 2014 release, Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, performed in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival, and wrote her first film score and song for TV. Amidst these endeavors comes this album. ‘Comeback Kid’ began as a piano ballad and evolved into a dark, menacing anthem. ‘Seventeen’ winds up a star-spangled nod to Springsteen, exploring gentrification and generational patience. The breadth of Van Etten’s new passions has inflected this album with a wise, warped-time perspective.
Channeling boundless self-confidence through a downright earth-quaking voice, colorful persona, and undeniable star power, Lizzo struts into the spotlight and steps up with a whole lot of sass, spirit, and soul. Embracing her vocal range like never before and celebrating herself to the fullest, she speaks her mind, censors nothing, and delivers an enviable level of honesty, pure passion, and fresh fire.
The Highwomen are a new, highly anticipated, collaborative movement formed by Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires. Their debut album includes the single Redesigning Women.
Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate.
Told from a wildly original, fresh, and modern perspective, this is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds they create that last a lifetime. Capturing the spirit of the times, it is a coming-of-age story for a new generation.
*All summaries are taken from the library catalog.
Suggestions provided by Renee. Email her at: RRoberts@albright.org with YOUR recommendations.