Posted by Lily, Associate Editor on December 17, 2018
When a rumor recently surfaced that Netflix was pulling “Friends” from its lineup at the end of the year, Twitter collectively lost its mind. No need to panic yet (Netflix has the rights to the ’90s phenomenon till the end of 2019), but the uproar proved the point Kelsey Miller is making in her book I’ll Be There For You: the show has deep roots in America’s collective conscious. Miller explores why this show struck such a chord, and why it remains such a powerful touchstone long after it’s stopped airing on primetime. (Read the review.)
Miller grew up watching “Friends,” and she now works as a journalist in Brooklyn. We asked her to tell us about a few books she’s been reading.
The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz
I was lucky enough to snag an advance copy of this killer debut novel by Andrea Bartz. This is the kind of thriller that’s extra rattling because it’s so relatable. The story follows Lindsay, a woman who lost a friend to suicide in 2009, when they were young 20-somethings in hipster Williamsburg. When Lindsay discovers a clue indicating it might not have been a suicide after all, she’s forced to revisit her past, and all the people and memories she left there. I think the only thing more harrowing than having to relive your 20s is having to relive them as part of a murder investigation. This book is equal parts nostalgia, cringe and heart-pounding thrill, and I swallowed it whole in about 48 hours. (Publishing February 26)
The Children of Henry VII by Alison Weir
This is the sixth or seventh time I’ve revisited this book. (I actually prefer to listen to it; I’m an old-school audiobook fan and this one of my all-time favorites.) I’ve loved pretty much all of Alison Weir’s nonfiction work, but her trilogy on Henry VIII’s wives, his children and Elizabeth I is my go-to historical comfort food. This one is particularly fascinating because it really reveals how each of Henry’s children were shaped (in such different ways) by the trauma of simply having him as a father. I love Weir’s combination of meticulous research and thoughtful reflection on her subjects—which somehow translates into such a juicy read. It’s like reading really, really good gossip.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
I was late to the party on this one, but once I got there I never wanted to leave. If you’re reading this blog post then you probably know this already—but holy cow, this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of book! It reminds me a bit of my favorite book growing up, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: Both are intergenerational stories that trace a family through a changing world. But Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing does so on such a grand scale, crossing 300 years and two continents, each chapter set during a different turning point in African or American history. But Gyasi is such a strong and confident guide that as a reader, you never feel lost. And while she explores, in unflinching detail, some of the most horrific brutalities in human history, she somehow leaves you with tears of joy.
Author photo by Harry Tanielyan