Get ready for the Monday morning commute this week with some fresh reading material in your bag or on your Kindle.
Listen to the Vagina Monologues’ Eve Einlser, explore a modern-day Shakespeare adaptation set in San Francisco, and more—all with our picks this week.
On your kindle
For all their unique styles and individual talents, writers are a sharing bunch. Words like “genre” and “archetype”impress upon readers the general literary trend toward recycling and re-hashing, but some artists go a step further and borrow entire tried-and-true storylines of tales past.
Such is the backstory of The Great Night, by the perpetually over-achieving Chris Adrian (English major, medical student, pediatrician, divinity scholar, Guggenheim fellow). In this, his third novel, Adrian borrows freely from the bard himself, re-interpreting Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in modern San Francisco. Though the inspiration is old, the story is new and its corresponding emotions real: Adrian blends the surreal and fantastic with the tangible and touching.
On your smartphone
I’m constantly seeking to find new nests of short fiction that I can read easily and on-the-go. My newest find: I recently stumbled across ElectricLiterature.com, a fiction anthology that celebrates all types of media.
Each new issue, published quarterly, features stories by five different authors and is available on an iPhone—or online, on a Kindle, on an iPad, or in print. And once you subscribe, you’ll have the archives of past issues at your fingertips. The site celebrates writers and their rights—and, as a subscriber, you will too.
On a podcast
Embrace Your Inner Girl: TED Talk by Eve Ensler
If you’ve ever wished that you were a boy—ever thought it would be easier, thought you’d be better-suited to leadership or to office culture, thought you’d be stronger—listen to this TED talk and think again.
Given by Eve Ensler, author of the much-celebrated Vagina Monologues, this twenty-minute talk seeks to reverse the perpetual idea that the “feminine” proclivity toward emotion is a negative one. Ensler gets emotional as she celebrates emotion, and she offers hard facts that underpin her support for empathetic women—and people—everywhere. Take twenty minutes of your commute to listen, and feel inspired all day.
If your commute is a quick one, turn to this late poem by modernist Philip Larkin. This short poem, written as Larkin began an affair with his secretary of twenty-eight years, alludes to late-in-life relationships and the sadness of growing old. As summer draws to a close, its lines
We walked through the last of summer,
When shadows reached long and blue
Across days that were growing shorter:
You said: ‘There’s autumn too’
fill me with both a pang of sadness for those days “growing shorter” and a thrill of hopeful anticipation for all that lies ahead. Read on your way to work, and let it mull in your subconscious for the rest of the day.