One of the few drawbacks of this profession is the limited time an agent gets for recreational reading. Most of us are backlogged with work-related reading—new manuscripts from clients; new manuscripts from prospective clients; newly-published books that are competing with those of our clients.
So I wind up carving out a couple of periods during the year when work-related reading gets put on hold and I get to read whatever I want. One of those is when I’m vacationing; usually during the summer, and the other is during holiday week, when the book business mostly shuts down and I can call my time between Christmas and New Year’s my own.
Here are the must-reads for me during the last week of this year. I’ve either already bought these—or friends and family have received not-so-subtle hints from me about what I hope to find under my tree.
- BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I already feel way behind the curve on this one. It seems everybody, and particularly every news commentator, has read it except for me. I don’t think any other book has received this much attention all year. With Black Lives Matter on everyone’s mind, this book has definitely come at the right moment.
- THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick. Selznick is a literary and artistic visionary who has created his own unique storytelling genre. I share his fascination with theater and film, and am very much looking forward to this story about a theatrical family which, based on what I’ve heard, begins in the mid-eighteenth century and hopscotches up to the late twentieth.
- THE CATSKILLS: ITS HISTORY AND HOW IT CHANGED AMERICA by Stephen Silverman and Raphael Silver. This lush, lavishly illustrated story of New York City’s upstate playground looks fabulous, and it covers a part of the world that has seen enormous changes—from its prehistory to its Native American dwellers, through Rip Van Winkle, numerous wars, and the rise and fall of enormous middle-class Jewish resorts such as the Concord, Grossinger’s, and the Nevele.
Do you have your own end-of-the-year reading list? If so, let me know what’s on it. I’d love to hear.