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What We’re Reading

Jakob Vala (Graphic Designer): I’m a religion-obsessed, secular Jew with grand plans for a spiritual road trip. Obviously, there aren’t a lot of books that cater to that sort of thing so I was excited when, after thoroughly confusing a Powell’s employee, I found Daniel Radosh’s Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture. Radosh (also a secular Jew) began investigating contemporary evangelism after he attended a Christian music festival with his sister-in-law. Though he’s critical of many aspects of the culture, he approaches each situation—from Passion plays to extreme Christian skateboarding competitions—with a genuine desire to learn and understand. Radosh doesn’t tend to delve deeply, but Rapture Ready is a great introduction to the intersection of Christianity and consumerism.

Diane Chonette (Art Director): During rare moments of stillness in our household, there is a stack of books at the ready. This week’s favorite has been the wonderful edition of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet published by BabyLit (Gibbs Smith). It is a counting primer that starts with “One Balcony”. This series of board books is beautifully illustrated and offers just a little toddler taste of what the classics hold. Our other favorites are Moby-Dick, Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland.

Thomas Ross (Editorial Assistant): After the AWP conference in Seattle, I had to make some space on my bookshelf by selling some books at Powell’s. Of course, I left Powell’s with a few new ones, so I basically broke even. One of those new ones was Bark, Lorrie Moore’s new collection. The first story, “Debarking,” is one of the best stories I can remember reading. It’s funny, cool, lightly mean. Favorite line: “It wasn’t he who was having sex. The condom was having sex and he was just trying to stop it.”

Heather Hartley (Paris Editor): I’ve been reading Françoise Sagan’s slim collection of essays, With Fondest Regards these past days. Published in 1984 long after the scandal and fame of Bonjour Tristesse, this collection includes portraits of everyone from Billie Holiday to Orson Welles as well as vignettes about the high life in Saint-Tropez and the low lights of the casino there. “Whisky, gambling and Ferraris are better than housework,” she wrote, and With Fondest Regards offers reflections à la Sagan for a very early spring.

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