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What we’re reading

The Outlook staff shares some of their summer reads.

I have just finished listening to The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. These days, I love audiobooks because I can take stories with me on the go whether I’m cleaning or walking the dogs. It even takes me back to my childhood days when my dad used to read to me every night before bed. The Keeper of Lost Things intertwines the lives of characters over the collection of seemingly mundane things that have been lost over a lifetime. But really, the book is about relationships and healing. I found the book to be well worth a read … or a listen. — Jen Jones, designer

I’m dancing my way through Questlove’s Music Is History (written with Ben Greenman) — a riff on memoir through music in which this multi-talented drummer, filmmaker, producer, DJ and more leads us on a 50-year whirl through history, starting in 1971, the year he was born, up until the present. The Attica prison riots, disco, 9/11, politics, film, musicians famous and forgotten – personal and public history – are all set to his own creative beat. Plus, there’s a massive playlist — who doesn’t love a playlist? — Leslie Scanlon, national reporter

Our family is in the middle of a move from Illinois to Virginia. I set aside The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois months ago to read on the 14-hour road trip. I love reading novels where I can gain historical and cultural knowledge. Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ beautifully written, multigenerational novel of an American family with African and Indigenous roots delivers an expansive and profound narrative. One hundred pages in, I’m already invested in the characters and eager to learn about their future. At 797 pages and 30 hours on audio, I’ll be reading Jeffer’s novel for most of the summer. But I can already tell it will be worth it. — Teri McDowell Ott, editor

There are a couple of books with “active” bookmarks on my table, but I am currently leaning into Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad. I started it last year but approached it as a book rather than an instruction manual — which is what it is. This time, I’m part of a group at church that will meet monthly to “work” the chapters. Saad is simultaneously easy to read and challenging to consider. I look forward to some growth in awareness and action, supported by folks in my faith community. — Alfred Walker, office manager

I just picked up Gayl Jones’ Palmares after reading that Jones, a gifted storyteller, had published her first book in 20 years. She writes for the ear, and so her narrator, Almeyda, a Black girl enslaved in 17th century Brazil, drew me in immediately. She tells the story with such urgency that it feels like it’s happening now and yet it takes me to an unfamiliar time and place. — Amy Pagliarella, book review editor

I am currently reading Fredrik Backman’s Us Against You. I’ve developed quite a fond spot for this Swedish author — or perhaps it’s for his translators, who always seem to include wordplay in their interpretations. This book is his second in the Beartown trilogy about an all-consuming love of hockey and the ethics of sport in a small, struggling town. It feels particularly fitting to be reading now after months of watching hockey this spring. — Rose Schrott Taylor, interim associate editor

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