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What We’re Reading
Heather Hartley (Paris Editor): French artist Jef Aérosol’s bold and vibrant stencil portraits punctuate so many different city streets from Paris to Peking to New York to Nantes. His vast subject matter includes just about everybody: Brigitte Bardot, buskers, Ghandhi, Mick Jagger and so many more. Simple and stunning, whatever language you speak, it’s a real treat to see his work on a little side street or compiled in a book like VIP: Very Important Pochoirs (VIP: Very Important Stencils). With this book, Jef Aérosol was hoping to “make a portrait gallery that would speak to many different generations”—un pari gagné.
Holly Laycock (Tin House Marketing Intern): I read Kevin Sampsell’s This Is Between Us in two days, and I’m surprised it took me that long, honestly. Kevin Sampsell’s writing kept me up all night, and I eventually fell asleep with the book in my hand, not wanting to close it. Told in a series of vignettes, This is Between Us chronicles the relationship of a man and woman over five years, from their first days together to their times apart, and back again. Sampsell captures all the ins and outs of this relationship in a way that feels both uniquely special to the characters, as well as universally familiar to the reader. Reading this book was like a love affair in and of itself, but also felt like a retrospective of past relationships. Even though the characters in the book are older than myself and at different stages in life (divorced, with kids), their daily interactions are comparable to my own (23 year old college graduate). It is a book that I recommend to everyone—my girlfriends, my parents, my younger brother. Just lovely!
Emma Komlos-Hrobsky (Assistant Editor, Tin House Magazine): At the risk of sounding like either a kiss-ass or the literary equivalent of a deranged band aide, I have to cop that I’ve been rereading our own Elissa Schappell’s Blueprints for Building Better Girls. Elissa read from “A Dog Story,” the second story in the book, at one of the innumerable pre-Brooklyn Book Fest events that were September. I don’t think it was just the after-effects of boozy lit trivia at a prior event that had me teary-eyed when Elissa finished. In fact, I know it was the story, because it had me teary-eyed the first time I read it, and it had me again as I read it on the train home from work, almost missed my stop, and had to fix my mascara in the window of a bank. I went home that night to write and took Blueprint‘s opening story, “Monsters of the Deep,” as a kind of master class in getting a story told in scene. As with so many things in life, Elissa makes it look so easy when the feat being accomplished is nothing short of highwire magic.