Our favorite novels of the year, plus an essay book from a legend, a poetry collection from a new breed of Instagram favorite and two extraordinary memoirs.
My autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland
This inventive treatise by Jenn Shapland is a National Book Award finalist and has won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Outstanding Nonfiction. She talks about the love letters she found while working as an archive intern. The letters were between Carson McCullers (best known for her 1940 novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter) and a woman named Annemarie. Shapland, who identifies as a lesbian, sees herself in her words. And she decides to find out who McCullers really was – and if there’s a reason she was never described as a lesbian. What follows is a succinct, thought-provoking exploration of women’s sexuality and the language that has been used to describe and limit our desires throughout history.
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