They Came from the Director’s Nightstand

My wife and I had a baby this spring, so reading time is precious and generally right before bed these days. Here are a few books I've been drifting off to sleep with in the past few months.

Room to Dream

I have been reading the new David Lynch biography/memoir on and off for a few months. I'm up to the mid-90s right now (between Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway). For any Lynch fan, this is a must read. For anyone else, you should read it, too. He is a fascinating dude with an interesting outlook on life.

Great detail of his life by biographer Kristin McKenna is coupled with commentary by David Lynch himself. Each chapter is a she reports/he remembers and opines kinda thing. There are great photos of Lynch and his homies throughout. 

The Recovering

This book has had some mixed reviews which surprises me. Perhaps some people were coming to this book with the wrong idea of its intent; I found Leslie Jamison's memoir/cultural history of drunks completely spellbinding and brilliant.

She tells her story of diving into alcoholism and drug abuse and her slow, bumpy rise out of it. She couples her story with those of several other renowned drunk writers and notes the rampant sexism in who is celebrated and who is pilloried for their drinking (Cheever being drunk, awesome; Jean Rhys being drunk, not awesome). It's powerful material with tremendous writing, and I highly recommend it.

Akata Witch

Nnedi Okorafor is coming! Nnedi Okorafor is coming! With the all-the-awards-winning author Nnedi Okorafor coming to Lawrence this November (don't miss it!), I had to delve into some YA fantasy—not my typical read. Akata Witch is exceptional. Far more than the "Nigerian Harry Potter," this book is a propulsive adventure novel that takes a deep dive into Nigerian folklore and mythology. It's compelling. Akata Witch is mandatory reading for all humans!

The Power

The buzz has been strong on this book for months. I finally got around to reading it this month. OMG. Teenage girls suddenly can electrocute people with their hands; this changes the world fundamentally. Women are to be feared, men to be pitied and exploited. The Power is a terrifying parable about how institutional power structures work and a brilliant examination of violence with the script of our current patriarchy flipped.

I have been thinking about this novel a good bit after finishing it—clearly worth all the hype. And guess what, there isn't much of a hold list on this one anymore. Get yourself a copy for free at your public library!

You're caught up with my reading list for the past few months. Happy reading!

-Brad Allen is the Director of Lawrence Public Library.