Lit Hits: What We're Reading in February

Here at Grub HQ, we're always talking about the books that keep us up at night, the novels we can't put down, the memoirs that call to us over our morning coffees. Every month, we'll share our staff's latest literary obsessions to add to your own never-ending reading list.


Literary Cultural District Coordinator Larry is reading M Train by Patti Smith. Though not as linearly narrative as Just Kids, another book by Smith that he read last month, is it lyrical and very moving. 


Executive Assistant Grant is still reading Eimear McBride's A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing. He's digesting it slowly — it's so darn intense — and is reading William Gay's short story collection I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down as a counterpoint.


Chris, Grub's Artistic Director, just finished Muse 2016 presenter Garth Greenwell's What Belongs To You, which he read slowly, luxuriating in every Proustian sentence, especially the 41-page triumph of a paragraph that makes up its powerful middle section. Next he hopes to read Georgia by Dawn Tripp or Alexander Chee's The Queen of the Night, two other Muse presenters. In fact, his plan is to read only books by Muse presenters until the conference. 


Though she is only two chapters in, Office Manager Lauren is loving the visceral and thoughtfully paced Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Haunting and powerful, it's a punch in the gut, but she can't stop reading. 


Program and Advocacy Manager Jonathan is still reading Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings (or, as it's known in some circles, A Concise Narrative of Seven Homicides). He's amazed by the breadth of characters and voices James created, and loves the mythic version of Bob Marley these varying voices create. He's also jumping around in 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories, and most recently read ZZ Packer's Brownies for the first time. He's fallen back in love with the short story form and is finding it more interesting than the novel right now, perhaps for the first time in his life.


Eve, Grub's Executive Director, is also reading Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings. She's a few chapters in and hugely enjoying the language. She's heading to Jamaica on Friday for a week and loves that she’ll be reading it while she's there. After she finishes Seven Killings, she’ll be turning to Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night and other visiting Muse authors.


Head Instructor Chip is reading Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, the first of her Neapolitan novels. His wife is already on the third one and about to start the fourth, so they have all the books lying around with their horrible cover art. But the books themselves (so far!) are very good. 


Sonya, the Assistant Director of the Muse Conference, is nerding out with a couple friends about the prose texture and cadence of Wright Morris' The Works of Love and how those things can work with or against other elements of fiction.


After finishing Sunil Yapa's many peopled and much praised debut Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, Marketing and Community Engagement Manager Sarah is ripping through Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore. Sarah had the pleasure of interviewing Hannah for an upcoming piece on the GrubStreet blog, part of a New Voices in Fiction series that highlights exciting debut authors appearing at Harvard Book Store.


What are you reading? Share your current literary love with us @GrubWriters using #GrubbieLitHits.

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