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Lauren Mechling's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Lauren Mechling recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Lauren Mechling's favorite book recommendations of all time.


A Friend from England

In one of her most delicate and suspenseful novels to date, Anita Brookner brings us an exquisite story of friendship and duty. Rachel Kennedy and Oscar Livingston were not precisely friends or family. Rachel had been acquanted with Oscar for some time, first as her father’s accountant, and then as her own. Part owner of a London bookshop, Rachel is thoroughly independent and somewhat distant, determinedly restrained in her feelings for others, but above all responsible. And it is this trait that leads Oscar and his wife Dorrie to seek out Rachel as a mentor for their twenty-seven-year-old... more
Recommended by Lauren Mechling, and 1 others.

Lauren MechlingHow to describe Brookner’s prose? It’s sophisticated and a little musty. She’s known for writing about spinsters, or about women who are not in possession of the brass rings that maybe those around them have come to get. They’re outsiders, and often very curious observers. There’s something both calming and disturbing about her writing that brings me back over and over. (Source)

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Quartet in Autumn

Shortlisted for the 1977 Booker Prize

This is the story of four people in late middle-age - Edwin, Norman, Letty and Marcia - whose chief point of contact is that they work in the same office and they suffer the same problem - loneliness. Lovingly, poignantly, satirically and with much humour, Pym conducts us through their small lives and the facade they erect to defend themselves against the outside world. There is nevertheless an obstinate optimism in her characters, allowing them in their different ways to win through to a kind of hope. Barbara Pym's sensitive wit and...
Recommended by Lauren Mechling, and 1 others.

Lauren MechlingSo many people who work in the world of literature, and who love humorous, poignant writing, still haven’t gotten to Barbara Pym yet. But that’s part of the beauty of her—she was so overlooked and so marginalized, and that’s why she’s able to write about that kind of character (Source)

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A superb new collection from one of our best and best-loved writers. Nine stories draw us immediately into that special place known as Alice Munro territory-a place where an unexpected twist of events or a suddenly recaptured memory can illumine the arc of an entire life.
The fate of a strong-minded housekeeper with a "frizz of reddish hair," just entering the dangerous country of old-maidhood, is unintentionally (and deliciously) reversed by a teenaged girl's practical joke. A college student visiting her aunt for the first time and recognizing the family furniture stumbles on a...

Lauren MechlingAny Alice Munro story is a horrid story to boil down to an elevator pitch. I still don’t even know what the story Nettles is about, except I know that it’s about a woman who feels at home in the Alice Munro universe: she’s a writer, she’s a Canadian, she’s a mother, she’s sexually alive. (Source)

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This thrilling critique of the forces vying for our attention re-defines what we think of as productivity, shows us a new way to connect with our environment and reveals all that we’ve been too distracted to see about our selves and our world.

When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so radical as… doing nothing. Here, Jenny Odell sends up a flare from the heart of Silicon Valley, delivering an action plan to resist capitalist narratives of...
Recommended by Ezra Klein, Bryan Formhals, Bo Ren, and 8 others.

Ezra KleinThat's from @the_jennitaur's book "How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy," which hit me particularly hard, and made this conversation such a delight. (Source)

Bryan FormhalsSuch a great book. Gave me a lot of confidence to pursue some new ideas. (Source)

Bo Ren@ClaytonHartford @the_jennitaur Best book I read in 2019! A must-read. (Source)

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

This is a novel about a young woman's efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents,...

Ben CollinsFavorite book of the decade. (Source)

Claire Diaz Ortiz@racheld great book (Source)

Lauren MechlingThe friendship in it is very sweet, actually: it’s about two women, one of whom doesn’t have a name, and her best friend, Reva. They’re both brilliant comic characters, but Reva really lived on with me. Ottessa Moshfegh has this ability to say so much with little spiky details that linger. (Source)

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