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Quick Reads for a Winter Brain Break from the Washer Lounge

by Erin Gow on 2022-12-09T09:00:00-05:00 | 0 Comments
By Abigail Proffitt


Congratulations, you made it through finals! You’ve earned a break from assigned readings, but you can keep your brain active and entertained by picking up some books from the Washer Lounge. Here are some recommendations for some easy reading:

1.  Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine
Fiction, Graphic Novel
This graphic novel follows Ben and Miko as they grapple with the intersection of the personal and the political while navigating a bi-coastal relationship. Tomine’s story is full of an endearing and infuriating cast of characters, drawn in a minimalist style. The illustrations are rendered in stark black and white, but the story develops in gray areas. Shortcomings is a slice of life you can enjoy in an evening and reflect upon until school starts again.

2.    Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, Craig Pittman
Nonfiction, Travel
If you’ve ever wondered why the wildest news stories begin with “Florida man…”, this book is for you; and if you’re landlocked in a cold state over winter break, this book will bring you some sunshine. Part travel memoir, part history, and part social science, St. Petersburg resident Craig Pittman’s portrait of Florida is both sympathetic and self-deprecating. If you crack the volume open straight down the middle, you’ll find a full-color image of Jeb Bush holding a possum. Check this one out if you’re looking for something light hearted and a little bizarre.

3.    The Best American Short Stories 2021, Edited by Jesmyn Ward
Short Fiction, Anthologies
Themes of hope and “a sense of repair” after tumultuous times unite each story in this collection. The protagonists of these stories include Middle Eastern boys playing video games, a gay businessman estranged from his father, and Rodney King. Stitched together by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, editor Jesmyn Ward, this collection will transport you to a unique time and place with each engaging narrative. Pick it up and put it down between naps and trips to the fridge for leftovers.
4.    When I Was Straight, Julie Marie Wade
 Poetry, LGBTQ+
This collection of poems is divided into two halves: before and after. The dividing line is Wade’s coming out as a lesbian. Before details her struggles to relate to her peers, to love like everyone else does, to reckon with expectations, and to live with inner turmoil. After deals with the challenges of living authentically and with self acceptance in a rigid world. Wade, a University of Louisville alumnus, writes candidly and confessionally in a succinct but piercing voice. You’ll recognize this little paperback on the Washer Lounge shelf by its miniature size, hiding among grander titles. Pick up When I Was Straight for a short, digestible read.

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