This week, read a collection of short stories from an up-and-coming new author, dare to dream about receiving a free eReader (just for reading on the subway!), quiz yourself with a fun podcast, and start reading a classic epic.
On Your Kindle
Other People We Married, by Emma Straub
This delightful collection of short stories by up-and-coming young writer Emma Straub will keep your commute entertaining this week. Straub writes many of these stories from a first-person narrative perspective, and as a result, intricate descriptions of scene and setting are frequently replaced by deep access to a character’s running stream of consciousness. The result is Straub’s thoughtful, vivid prose. Her sentences easily traverse the line between funny and sad, and her stories are brief, colorful snapshots of a particular (female) character. First and foremost, her stories are about relationships—among women and their sisters, friends, pets, and gay best friends.
If you like her stories, stay-tuned: Her first novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, is due out this fall.
On Your Smartphone
Love Your Commute with Kobo, by Anna Bittner
How wonderful would it be if, while you were reading during your daily subway commute, an anonymous literary angel appeared and handed you a brand-new, free, no-strings-attached eReader? That’s exactly what Kobo Books’ street team did this past week—in Toronto, they promoted both their eReader and author Julie Wilson’s new book Seen Reading by handing out 100 free eReaders. Read about their cool marketing idea, and watch the footage they recorded of the 100 surprised, delighted readers who happened upon their new toys.
On a Podcast
If the highlight of your week is your nightly round of Jeopardy or your weekly trip to Team Trivia, then this is the podcast for you. Each week, the mastermind behind podquiz.com creates a 15-minute, 20-question quiz that tests your knowledge of random, categorized trivia. Listen on your commute, and play against yourself!
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
If you watched TV at all this week, you probably witnessed a haggard, pallid Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in raw, emotional strains in the trailer for the newest rendition of Les Miserables, due out this Christmas. If you love the story but have never read the book, and you want to be prepared in time for the (surely epic) musical film adaptation, get started on the original French classic. Translated variously as “the poor,” and “the miserable ones,” Hugo’s story centers around Jean Valjean, a convict who has served 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his impoverished sister and her family. The book is a long, multi-volume glimpse into the life of Valjean and the other people with whom he comes in contact: the sinister police officer Javert, the destitute, disease-ridden single mother Fantine, and Cosette, Fantine’s daughter whom Valjean would give everything to protect.