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This Week's Reading

Staff Picks: Harriet the Spy, Happy Fourth of July!

July 1, 2011 | by

In the embarrassing oversights department, I had been meaning and meaning to read the novelist Jean-Philippe Toussaint. Why did it take me so long? His latest work to be translated into English, The Truth About Marie, is haunting, clever, funny. I can’t wait to read more ... as soon as I finish Harriet the Spy. Where was she all my life? —Lorin Stein

I saw a really interesting film recently: The Target, which was cowritten by Vladimir Sorokin. It's a strange mix of Anna Karenina, sci-fi, and social commentary, but it works. Light viewing it's not, but if you're in the mood to stomach a dystopia in which love is a soulless illusion, it's worth seeking out! —Sadie Stein

Also, I’m going to see Le Rayon Vert—back at Film Forum by popular demand. —L. S.

This weekend, I’m reading Rebecca Wolff's The Beginners, a debut novel about a fifteen-year-old girl who befriends a new couple in town, the Motherwells. The Motherwells say they’ve moved to Wick, Massachusetts, to study the town’s history of witchcraft, but from the reviews, it sounds like spookier things start to happen. —Thessaly La Force

Even though Monday is Independence Day, today is the ninetieth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. Check out one of my favorite contemporary Chinese short-story collections, the irreverent and absurd I Love Dollars by Zhu Wen. —Ali Pechman

I was happy to read this article in The New York Review of Books on The Tree of Life—a much-needed break from all the hipster hate I’ve encountered toward Malick’s most recent film ... a film that, yes, I loved. —Natalie Jacoby

I’m in a New York City-themed book club, and our latest meeting had me rereading The Age of Innocence. Of course it’s terrific—but I’d forgotten how truly fun a read it is. —S. S.

More than you would ever want to know about the library inside the doll house of Queen Mary. —T. L.

My mother once took me to a Kugel cook-off judged by legendary food critic Jonathan Gold to teach me about Judaism. The education didn’t really stick, but Gold’s writing continues to propel me into (culinary) rapture. —Mackenzie Beer

Let’s, welcome, the, Shatner, comma. —N. J.

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