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one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-by-ken-kesey-21111218A girl’s got to read, this all Clutchettes know. So, to help navigate the ever-expanding world of books, Uptown Literati is here to provide a weekly reading list. We’re a fresh, book blog for cool girls and great reads (check us out on our site [uptownliteratti.blogspot.com] and we’ll be dishing on what you need to be reading now: classic tomes, sassy fiction, juicy tell-alls and every type of paperback in between. Happy reading!

Who: Ken Kesey, American novelist

What: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a dark novel that dared to take its place against the hidden underworld of the American psychiatric treatment centers of the 1950s’ and ’60s. Ken Kesey disturbs the analgesic spell that he assumes most of society has been operating under with respect to what it means to be insane vs. sane by introducing some of the most memorable psychiatric patients in literary history.

Why: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an allegory on the institution versus a single body; man against the machine. Kesey renders a stinging indictment against the forced, sterilizing practices of mental institutions of the 1960’s that were unheard of at such a time.

Rating: 5 stars

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Who: Jamaican-born scribe Marlon James

What: The Book of Night Women, a slave narrative written in the tradition of Toni Morrison, is anything but a recycling of the same-old, same-old tales of the plantation.

Why: Besides the gratification at having discovered a writer on the verge of super-book-stardom, this book takes a raw look at love and conflict in turn of the century Jamaica.

Rating: 5 stars

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Who: Amitav Ghosh, Indian-Bengali author

What: The Glass Palace, an expansive and absorbing novel about the wages of war, rebellion, love and separation set against the backdrop of the 1885 British rule over Burma and the luscious Burmese landscape.

Why: The novel presents over-arching themes, slow, careful descriptions of a people in transition, and Ghosh’s masterful way of keeping you embedded in the story lines. These characters—both who they were in the beginning of the novel and who they become at the end—will never leave you.

Rating: 5 stars

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Who: Journalist-turned-author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

What: The Dirty Girl’s Social Club, Valdes-Rodriguez’s debut novel that helped to flip the classic notion of traditional Hispanic fiction.

Why: This gut-busting account of five upwardly mobile Latinas is classic chick lit fare with a brown pride twist. The young women are living in a white man’s world, for sure, but if the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor taught us anything, it’s that determined women of color are forces to be reckoned with.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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  • Nicole C

    Glad you’re enjoying the book list, ladies! And thanks for all the great recommendations!

    Rehema, Jorge Amado is a stunning writer. I have to check out the book you reocommended soon. I also cannot wait to read The Book of Salt. The title alone has me intrigued :)

    Stay tuned for more selects this Friday!

  • Britt

    Great list, I am especially curious about The Book of Night Women. Keep ’em coming ladies!

  • I am reading The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt right now – http://www.thewhuffiefactor.com. I just finished reading 5 Ways to Blank Your Blog by Deb Rocks. Both are amazing and available on Amazon.com.

  • Oh I forgot to mention the books that really touched my heart in the winter and fall: Belonging by bell hooks and Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps. I read Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith with the Next Chapter Book Blogging Group this summer. We blogged about the book each week.