8 Books You Should Read Over Memorial Day Weekend
After months of coats, scarves and hating everything, Memorial Day is almost here. Our plans include drinking wine outside, starting to work on our tan (responsibly, of course) and getting in some reading. We don’t know about you, but we’ll be picking up one of the following eight titles, all of which are short enough to finish before the weekend is through.
“Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen” by Marilyn Chin
Under the watchful eye of their dominating grandmother, the two twin sister delivery girls of this linked short story collection try desperately to become somebodies, encountering constant challenges and threats to their heritage along the way.
“The Dud Avocado” by Elaine Dundy
First published in 1958, Dundy’s cult classic details the exploits of a young Missouri native who moves to Paris. There have been countless coming-of-age stories since (maybe too many), but Dundy’s iteration is impossibly charming without being too far removed from the struggles of young adulthood—perfect long-weekend reading.
“Miss Lonelyhearts” by Nathanael West
Published in 1933 and set in New York City during the Great Depression, West’s second book is a super quick, darkly comedic read. Here, the titular Miss Lonelyhearts is an unnamed male advice columnist who’s considered a joke by the entire staff of the newspaper where he works. Boozing and philandering ensue.
“The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri’s first novel (after her Pulitzer-winning debut story collection, Interpreter of Maladies) follows the Ganguli family from Calcutta to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they attempt—with varying degrees of success—to assimilate to American culture while holding onto their roots. You can read this one quickly, but the story will stay with you for way longer than a three-day weekend.
“The Awakening” by Kate Chopin
This daring novel about a woman trapped in a marriage essentially ended Chopin’s career, and was the last thing she published before her death in 1904. Still, it has become a landmark work for its frank commentary on the psychology of infidelity and honest depictions of female sexual desire. Though it certainly won’t shock you the way it shocked readers in the late 19th century, you’ll definitely appreciate Chopin's willingness to cover territory previously uncharted—especially by a woman. *Faux gasp*
“Wishful Drinking” by Carrie Fisher
The late, great actress and writer Carrie Fisher adapted this, her only memoir, from her smash-hit one-woman show and it's nothing short of wonderful. From growing up with famous parents and achieving massive success at the age of 19 to struggles with mental health and near constant relationship drama, Fisher is candid and hilarious. Really makes you wish she could've been around for a little longer.
“The Edible Woman” by Margaret Atwood
Obsessed with The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s dystopian adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 1985 book? For some lighter Atwood fare (that you can finish in just a couple of days), we suggest her first novel, about a young woman who becomes unstable when she gets engaged. Another comment on gender and society, for sure.
“How to Get Into the Twin Palms” by Karolina Waclawiak
This updated twist on the classic immigrant’s tale (a young, Polish woman struggles to gain admittance to a posh L.A. nightclub) is tragic and darkly funny…and sucks you into its characters' lives from the very first page.