15 July 2011

Other People We Married

My book of the month for May/June was Other People We Married by the lovely Emma Straub. I loved this book so much that it actually made it into my Top Six Picks for June 2011!!

I think that being in an academic setting and constantly reading non-fiction while juggling course work, clubs, and my social life set me up for being drawn to short stories. In high school and during breaks, I had the time to focus my energies on reading full length books and novels, but during the last few years, I'm finding that finishing a book for pleasure is proving to be more difficult. Hence my goal to read a book a month.

That said, this book of short stories was so incredible, so perfectly structured, so simple and direct that I read it quite quickly and am considering re-reading it! I read half of the stories on the train to Galesburg at the end of May, I just couldn't put it down! Emma Straub's writing is very direct, taking root in the thoughts of the main character's who are often lonesome female types. It's interesting, even if I didn't know that the author was a woman, there was something that felt feminine about this book. The characters felt so real, dripping with honest reactions and feelings towards their diverse situations.

Environment plays a very important role in these stories. They each take place in different settings, both in the US and internationally, in towns big and small, remote and metropolitan. It's as though the environment is directly related to what is happening to each character having such an effect that it's as though the space in which they occupy is just as much a character as the characters themselves. And to celebrate the settings, Emma Straub is currently embarking on a book tour in which she does a reading of each story in it's rightful location. Amazing.

If you like this book, you will also like the work of Deb Olin-Unfurth and Miranda July. I highly recommend reading No One Belongs Here More than You and Minor Robberies for a quick and satisfying read by other amazing lady writers.

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