David Sedaris and Alice Walker round out our list of pre-holiday books to read!
The year is almost over and we're in a holiday mood! Here's the last batch of Lit Thursday picks to get you through the new year, happy reading!
Christmas humor is a rich, if embarrassing, genre that you may rightly choose to avoid. But if you're looking for something with more bite than, say, a Tim Allen movie then David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice may change your mind. This demented collection of holiday themed essays and stories absolutely slays me- nothing is better than angry local theater critic Thaddeus Bristol's takedowns of children's holiday pageants. Except, perhaps, for Sedaris' own stint as a Macy's elf...
I went to Christian school, so naturally I am obsessed with witches. For me, Alex Mar's investigative-meets-memoir-esque exploration of the occult is (for a lack of better terms) a godsend. Her ability to present the history, traditions, and rituals of communities of contemporary pagans with such vivid prose is spellbinding. From Gnostic masses to Feri covens, Mar consistently couples mystery with reverence. Rather than peeking behind the metaphorical veil, she plunges into the world of the occult head first and it's a breathtaking read. Witches of America is an intimately heartfelt compendium of modern day witchcraft that reveals what it is to have faith and to believe.
I'm re-reading Alice Walker's collection of essays, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens. The introduction of the book establishes perhaps the most radical expression of womanism: womanism is to feminist as purple is to lavender. It has become a sort of refrain for me, as I try to navigate political frameworks for my own burgeoning womanhood. The essays themselves are classically structured, ruminating at points but concerned primarily with making arguments for happiness and full embodiment of black women in a hostile world. If you read just one essay, make sure it is the eponymous one, where Walker reflects on how her mothers, both biological and cultural, cultivated her own perspective as a womanist writer.
The political news has been really depressing me lately. Trump's preening demagoguery is the worst part, but observing how divided and angry the country is has been hard to take. In this time of strife and fear, find it comforting to read old political profiles, because they make you realize that there's nothing new under the sun. Some of the best profiles in the past several decades were written by Marjorie Williams, a writer at Vanity Fair and the Washington Post, who died of cancer tragically early. Her posthumously published collection, The Woman at the Washington Zoo, has the best profile of Barbara Bush ever written, but it also has a beautiful, devastating essay about Williams's cancer diagnosis, and another about the last Halloween she spent with her young daughter. I re-read this book every year or so, and it is always inspiring to me as a writer and a human.