The Best Spring Reading
Profound, gripping, heartbreaking. And then all of those things again. A Little Life, Yanagihara’s second novel, is ambitious in both size and scope, and unrelenting in its spellbinding story arc, which traces the lives of four college friends who move to New York City and set about their lives. Told over decades, it primarily revolves around Jude St. Francis, a hauntingly fragile and lovely man, as his past is slowly revealed. It is stunning and will stay with you long after it’s done; don’t be intimidated by its girth.
Acclaimed literary biographer Brad Gooch turns to the contours of his own life, particularly his romance with film director Howard Brookner, in this brave and intimate memoir. From Gooch’s arrival in New York City in the 1970s to Brookner’s eventual death from AIDS in 1989, just shy of his 35th birthday, the elegiac book traces complex terrains of sex and drugs, ambition and love, and art and mortality with tender honesty.
Compassionate end of life care, which doesn’t bankrupt both families and taxpayers, is the central thesis of this fascinating page-turner. In loving detail, Gawande, a surgeon, details his own ordeal helping his father, also a physician, die with dignity, all the while addressing the weaknesses in our long-term care industry. In exchange, he offers creative approaches for empowering our parents and grandparents—who are living longer and longer lives, requiring more and more resources—to choose when and how they’d like to pass on.
Loosely based on the life of Margaret Mead, Euphoria revolves around the lives of three anthropologists in the ’30s, stationed with a handful of tribes in New Guinea. Two are married, and the third is desperately lonely—and smitten, it would happen, with the wife, Nell Stone. Their complex love triangle plays out against a fascinating backdrop in this quick, fun read.