Every month on DD we assemble a list of recommended reads, all relating to our monthly theme in one way or another. This month it’s GENERATION, and from books that have been quite literally passed down through generations, to books that vividly evoke a time and place, we’ve got your reading for the month sorted.
Preparation for the Next Life
by Atticus Lish
“Atticus Lish’s debut is a harrowing one; an engulfing and addictive portrayal of life in the shadows of contemporary New York, it entwines the psyche of two striking characters – Zou Lei, an illegal immigrant from China; and Skinner, a 23-year-old Iraqi vet. PTSD, paranoia and unpredictable emotions unravel as the unlikely couple attempt to remain anonymous and hidden within the underbelly of modern America.
Constantly skirting the fringes of the city, Lish’s prose ebbs and flows with these strong and damaged characters through the city’s edgelands, and we emerge in the light of the morning with the starkness of reality – one that questions if there is ever a personal resolution to be found when survival is all you can hope for. As human and original a love story you can get, within an epic sweep of a ‘Great American Novel’, this is ultimately a telling of imperfect portraits – of Zou Lei, Skinner and The City itself.”
–Kate Holford, Bookshop Manager
Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online
by Emma Gannon
“Emma Gannon was born the year the internet was invented and, subsequently, went on to literally grow up alongside it – from teen years spent on MSN and a Nokia 3310, to dating via Twitter, to a career that grew out of her hugely successful blog: Ctrl Alt Delete is that story. For anyone born between, say, 1989–1995 it is hugely, hyper, uber relevant, almost spookily so. To delve into experiences that I’d so closely shared felt at times like an indulgent treat, and others a painful reliving (reading this book was probably the first time I allowed myself to recall a lot of previously repressed, semi-dodge online encounters, many of which in the Habbo Hotel…).
But though it documents the life of a certain generation, it’s important to point out that this isn’t just a book to be read by someone of a specific age only; the ‘Ctrl Alt Delete generation’. There’s a lot of wisdom and universal lessons to be learned here. Want to know why I spent hours after school on MSN, Mum? Read this book. Emma puts it so much better than I could ever own up to.”
–Abby Parsons, Editorial Assistant & Dear Damsels Co-founder
by Emma Cline
“This story is embedded in the 70s – in a hazy summer of bored teenagehood, of a thirteen-year-old girl desperate to grow up, of the glorious mystery of the just-out-of-reach elders who seem to breeze where our protagonist stumbles. The Girls pulls you into this world, a portrait of a generation obsessed with beauty, and turns it on its head into something sinister so subtly, you don’t realise it’s happening. ”
–Bridie Wilkinson, Dear Damsels Co-founder
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
“To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that spans generations. If you still haven’t read it, why on earth not? Through the innocent eyes of Scout and Jem Finch we spend a summer in Maycomb County where the ongoing trial of a man shines a light on the adult attitudes to race and class in 1930s Alabama.
My mum declared this the first book she read at school that ‘made sense’ and inspired her to read more voraciously. When it came to my first reading of it, it was her own dog-eared copy that I read. I wonder how different our reading experiences were 30 years apart…There’s a reason it’s a classic; it’s as important now as it was then.”
–Kitty Stogdon, Editorial Assistant
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