Michelle Cohen’s Best Reads of 2016

notes-from-no-mans-landMy name is Michelle Cohen.  I live in Evanston with my husband and two children.  When I’m not designing lush gardens and landscapes for my clients, I can usually be found reading a book, or at the very least, talking about them.

1)  Notes From No Man’s Land by Eula Biss (2009)

Intimate and nuanced essays about living in a racist society.  Essential reading.



2)  The Door by Magda Szabo (1987)

This novel about female friendship, secrets, and living and writing in Communist Hungary deserves a wide readership.  It is smart, emotional and difficult to put down.

3)  A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (2000)

bakewell_attheexistentialistcafe_finalA quietly lush book about reintegrating into British society after war WWI.  A beautiful exploration of the powers of art and the work of memory.

4)  At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell (2016)

A serious but playful engagement with early twentieth century European philosophy and the rise of Existentialism.  Wonderful portraits of Simone De Beauvior, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, and Albert Camus, among others.  Fun and fascinating!

5)  A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015)

This much-talked-about book deserves a read.  You may struggle with the considerable pain in the story, but the example of love and friendship it offers is redemptive (almost).  A story that is truly hard to forget.

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