Matt Singer

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We've highlighted five books that are on the top of our reading list.


Pain, Parties, Work by Elizabeth Winder is a compelling look at a young Sylvia Plath and the life-changing month that would lay the groundwork for her seminal novel, The Bell Jar. The Water-Babies (published in 1863) is one of the strangest and most powerful children's stories ever written. In describing the underwater adventures of Tom, a chimney-sweeper's boy who is transformed into a water-baby after he drowns, Charles Kingsley combined comic fantasy and moral fable to extraordinary effect. Irmgard Keun’s first novel Gilgi was an overnight sensation upon its initial publication in Germany in 1931, selling thousands of copies, inspiring numerous imitators, and making Keun a household name—a reputation that was only heightened when, a few years later, the nervy Keun sued the Gestapo for blocking her royalties. All The Light We Cannot See chronicles the intersecting paths of two ordinary people—a boy who grows up in a German orphanage and is trained as a radio specialist for the Nazis, and a blind French girl who escapes Paris with her father when the Nazis arrive and ends up in the walled coastal enclave of Saint Malo. It is a multi-layered tale written in short, crisp chapters that evoke not only the horrors of war but the decency and goodness that emerge in humanity’s darkest moments. In Preparing the Ghost, squid-enthusiast Matthew Gavin Frank winds his narrative around history, creative nonfiction, science and memoir.