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A 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!

-17

Who: Indian Author Jhumpa Lahiri

What: The Namesake, Lahiri’s debut novel (her first book was a collection of short stories). Lahiri breathes more life into a topic she so masterfully explored in her first book: the conflict of finding one’s identity when caught between two cultures with different ideals.

Why: Anyone with an affinity for Indian culture, or compassion for what it feels like to be an outsider, simultaneously connected and yet detached from your true self, will grow to love Lahiri’s troubled protagonist Gogol Ganguli and the Ganguli family. Lahiri’s quiet, distinguished voice as a still relatively new presence in literature is not to be missed in this stunning follow-up novel.

Rating: 5 stars

-18

Who: Journalist Valerie Boyd

What: Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, a biography that is just as engaging and lyrical a piece as any of the folk tale stories Hurston published during her lifetime. In this book, the first biography of the Harlem Renaissance writer in over 25 years, Boyd shows us the life and times that conspired to create such a fascinating artist and literary figure.

Why: Long before Alice Walker ever dreamed of purple and Toni Morrison pondered the bluest eye, Hurston fashioned elegant prose using familiar and oft-overlooked Black countrymen as heroes. And while the ultimate tribute to the dazzling writer is a second (or third) look at the novels and stories that defined her career, it’s also fitting to read how Hurston came to be such an important writer–black, female or otherwise.

Rating: 4.5 stars

-20

Who: Journalist and author Michael Pollan

What: The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Without advocating one way or the other for vegetarianism, Pollan makes a startling case for it by pulling back a transparent curtain over the oft-hidden world of food manufacturing. Pollan examines the mega-million dollar industry of food production in a way that informs, enlightens, repulses, and satisfies all in one serving. Find out why that chicken nugget only tastes like chicken.

Why: Before the commercialized hype surrounding sustainable eating and “going green”, Michael Pollan—along with his predecessors of the 1960s hippie awakening to the benefits of organic food—laid bare the environmental toll of choosing to eat healthy or not. Thanks in part to the ground swell of support for Pollan’s book, President Barack Obama has taken initiatives to help more Americans enjoy the fruits of community gardens and access to local ingredients. And we can’t forget Mrs. O herself, who planted the White House’s first organic kitchen garden.

Rating: 5 stars

-19

Who: Novelist and beauty blogger Tia Williams

What: Williams’ debut novel, The Accidental Diva, a chick lit page-turner that’s as steamy as it is funny (as former Harlequin Romance devotees, we like a heroine who’s getting some). Magazine editor Billie Burke is smart, ambitious and dateless magazine when her world is thoroughly rocked by bad boy-turned-writer Jay Lane. But ho-hum boy-meets-girl story it is not; there are plenty of plot twists, friend drama and office inside to add many layers of dimension.

Why: If you’ve ever secretly dreamed of making it big in the Manhattan magazine world, this book reads like an insider’s guide. And Williams, who ascended to Beauty Director of Teen People magazine as a wee twenty-something, is the perfect person to tell it all. Plus, fans of her Shake Your Beauty blog, which is part beauty tips, part celeb commentary and part “oh-my-gosh, this woman’s life is too fabulous,” will appreciate the chance to read more of Williams’ hilarious writing.

Rating: 4 stars

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