Reading last week’s Sunday papers, I wasn’t remotely surprised by Bret Easton Ellis’ thoughtless comments on millennials and our reading habits. Most middle-aged, middle-class men in the public eye have had a pop at our generation for one reason or another, although one thing that did strike me, was the notion that fewer young people are writing literature.
Lest we forget, millennials entered the workforce in the wake of a financial crash, a housing crisis, the shitshow that is Brexit, staggering university fees and a brand new digital revolution. It’s hardly surprising that Sally Rooney, Candice Carty-Williams and Elizabeth Macneal had no choice but to write their first books alongside full-time careers or education, but of course, “Generation Wuss” would know nothing of hard work.
I’m not sure how many books Ellis manages to get through in a month, but here’s a summary of this millennials’ April reading list.
The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer
It’s only taken six years since publication for this book to land in my lap, and my god was it worth the wait. The story follows a group of friends from 1970’s American teenagehood through to middle age, chronicling both the tragedies and mundanities of life, with envy, motherhood and friendship at the core. If you enjoyed the lengthy, descriptive nature of domestic life in Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A Little Life’, then this is for you.
The Rules Do Not Apply – Ariel Levy
I bought this book as a Christmas present for one of my best friends, inadvertently hoping that it would work it’s way back to me. It did of course, along with a warning that I would bawl my eyes out on the tube. One of the most brutally honest, confronting, and self aware memoirs by a woman who worked so desperately hard to create a life that offered her everything, before watching it all disappear. Read it, treasure it, learn from it.
Educated – Tara Westover
Another brilliant memoir from a woman who carved a life from scratch. At 17, Westover left her family of survivalist Mormons behind, in search of a new life, and most importantly, an education. A constant battle between family loyalty and a need for self-invention sees offers a fascinating glimpse into an extremist way of life and the transformative power of knowledge and learning.
Tune in next month for our FGRLS Book Club, for more books that prove millennials, do, in fact, read a lot. Just not books by Bret Ellis.
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