Lit Hits: What We're Reading in January

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 recently finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. He couldn't turn the pages fast enough and was so absorbed by her journey to fame that he now wants to be her friend. He's onto her new book, M Train, next. 


Alison, Grub's Director of Programming and Marketing, is coming off an Irish writer bender: She re-read Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (as she does every Christmas), devoured Colum McCann's Thirteen Ways of Looking, and is currently finishing up Sarah's heavily marked copy of Anne Enright's brutally lovely The Gathering.


Youth Programs Manager KL has been biting into Dracula, traipsing down the rosy paths of Victorian homoeroticism, terror, and affected British/Transylvanian accents. 


Executive Assistant Grant wants to publicly thank Sarah for the gift of Eimear McBride's A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, which he is currently reading.


When Chris, Grub's Artistic Director, is not reading his delightfully dark Christmas gift, Otessa Moshfegh's Eileen, he is savoring every gorgeous line of Jennifer Grotz's new collection of poems, Window Left Open


Grub's Office Manager, Lauren, is loving Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides at the moment. Just this morning, she almost missed her train stop because she was so immersed in the worlds he's created.


Program and Advocacy Manager Jonathan just started digging into Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings, which he's loving thus far, particularly for the rich voice. Meanwhile, he's working his way through two collections: There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, and Pulp and Paper by Josh Rolnick. He also spent one joyous day reading Sex Tips For Husbands and Wives from 1894 by Ruth Smythers, and Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 by the Bodleian Library. 


Eve, Grub's Executive Director, just finished Alysia Abbott’s wonderful Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father and is now reading Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution: Voices from Tunis to Damascus, a powerful collection of first-hand accounts of the Arab Spring from the perspective of activists and others on the ground during the turmoil and chaos. 


Head Instructor Chip just finished Tolkein's translation of Beowulf, which was much more difficult to read than the Seamus Heaney translation, though it was fascinating to compare the two. He will probably spend some quality time reading Tolkein's commentary (also included in this book, compiled by his son), and then move onto something with a more contemporary syntax, which will be a relief. 


Marketing and Community Engagement Manager Sarah is slowly working through her holiday gift pile, beginning with Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. She's splitting reading time between this and an (as yet) un-published short story collection by one Jonathan Escoffery.

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

About the Author

GrubWrites is a space for the writing and reading community to share ideas and seek advice, a place where writers at the very beginning of their careers publish alongside established authors. Book lovers, we bring you reviews, recommendations, and conversations with exciting new authors to keep you up to speed on all things lit. Writers, this is your one stop shop for expert craft talk, opinions on how we learn and teach writing, and essential advice about the publishing industry.

Plus, we want to hear from you! Our ongoing call for submissions is open to literary community members of all types and persuasions. We want to hear from students, teachers, authors, readers, editors, agents, publicists, and any devotee of the written word. If you have something to say about writing, reading, the publishing industry, or anything related to the literary world, this is the place to voice it. We’re particularly committed to advocating for a diverse range of voices in the literary marketplace and raising the visibility of writers from under-represented communities.

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