Thursday, February 1, 2018

Oscar Films and Book Recommendations

I haven't seen all of this year's Oscar-nominated films, but I've been trying to get out to see some, and of course I have to come up with a list of books to recommend for moviegoers.

If you loved Lady Bird, read Chocolates for Breakfast, by Pamela Moore, a better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be coming-of-age book for adults (i.e. not a YA title) about a girl navigating life, love and growing up in LA and NYC in the 1950s. I did not love Lady Bird, and I think Chocolates is much better entry in the coming-of-age department than a film I found frankly rife with tropes and stereotypes. Chocolates is the real deal, though.

If you loved Call Me By Your Name, read The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst, about a gay man in 1980s London and his two great loves- one a man, another a family to which he yearns to belong. I liked the movie OK, but again I think this book is better. And of course the film was based on the novel of the same name, by André Aciman, and you can read that if you like. I kind of want to.

If you loved Get Out, read Slumberland or The Sellout, both by Paul Beatty, two wonderful crazy-good novels about black men and white rules. I loved the movie, and I loved the books and despite Beatty winning the Man Booker Prize for The Sellout, I still think not enough people have read it.

If you loved The Big Sick, read The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, by Mohja Kahf, about a young girl figuring out her place in America and the Islamic world. I loved the movie and the book. If you don't want to read about cross-cultural issues and want to go with a love story, I'd suggest A Very Long Engagement, by Sebastian Japrisot, a World War 1 drama which really doesn't have anything to do with The Big Sick but comes to mind because I loved it like I loved this movie.

If you loved I, Tonya, read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, another unreliable young woman narrator who may or may not have done some very bad things. I, Tonya was a favorite of mine this year but a day or two later I definitely felt duped by this cleverly told and well-acted con job.

If you loved Coco, read Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros, a wonderful growing-up story about Mexico and America. I don't read enough about Mexico but I still say Caramelo is a solid pick.

What books do you think match up with your favorite award winners or nominees?

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