Sunday, March 07, 2010

What is Joanna Smith Rakoff reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of the novel A Fortunate Age, which was a New York Times Editors' Pick, a winner of the Elle Readers' Prize, a selection of Barnes and Noble's First Look Book Club, an IndieNext pick, and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller.

Her entry begins:
Right now, I’m reading Meghan Daum’s deeply brilliant memoir, Life Would Be Perfect if I Lived in That House, a sort of history of her life (and her mother’s life) through the prism of real estate, which is also a vivid take on the housing craze of the early Oughts. Daum is, undoubtedly, one of the most interesting thinkers—and cultural critics—of our generation, if not the most interesting, and certainly one of the most elegant, sharp writers of prose around. While reading Life Would Be Perfect—which I cannot put down—I’ve found myself thinking, “Wow, I’d read Meghan Daum’s thoughts on anything.” (A slight tangent: Recently, while getting my hair cut, I was handed a tattered copy of Allure and began reading a profile of Kristen Stewart, only to find myself thinking, “This is incredibly smart and funny. It’s as if Allure hired Meghan Daum to profile Kristen Stewart.” Then I flipped back to the byline and, indeed, Allure had hired Meghan Daum to profile Kristen Stewart.) In Life Would Be Perfect she...[read on]
Read an excerpt from A Fortunate Age, and learn more about the book and author at Joanna Smith Rakoff's website.

Among the praise for A Fortunate Age:
"A wonderful, funny and spot-on portrait of my clumsy generation that brings to mind such hallmarks as Mary McCarthy's The Group, Jay McInerney's Brightness Falls, and Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children."
--Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook

"Joanna Smith Rakoff has cast a brilliant and glittering spell with this fierce debut. Her social observations are not only spot-on but often wickedly funny... She has captured both a generation and a landscape, and I'm still marveling at how she managed to pull off this page-turning cocktail of intelligence and desire."
--Joanna Hershon, author of The German Bride
The Page 69 Test: A Fortunate Age.

Writers Read: Joanna Smith Rakoff.

--Marshal Zeringue