Illustration for article titled Books to Read, Courtesy of Book Reader Emrata
Photo: Emily Ratajkowski

An easily foreseen result of the last few weeks is that people stuck at home are reading more books. Or, at the very least, talking about the books that will remain on their shelves, gathering dust and begging to be read. But with the innumerable amount of YA romps and “wellness” diets and self-published romance novels that are released each year, let alone in one lifetime, finding what you should read is rather overwhelming. Thankfully, celebrities and influencers and bikini designers like Emily Ratajkowski also read, and own books that sit on shelves. Let’s check in on her recommendations!

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Her first recommendation is All About Love: New Visions, from legendary feminist writer bell hooks. It’s a foundational text on interpersonal relationships that radically challenges the very idea of love itself. As Emrata writes on Instagram:

“hooks offers a comprehensive look at something our society both holds in the highest regard and simultaneously shrouds in mystery. She defines love in the first chapter (using M. Scott Peck’s words) as ‘the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.’”

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She then connects her feelings about the book to an Andrew Cuomo speech she heard:

“As Cuomo reminded us last week: ‘And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always. And it will win again through this virus.’”

Comparing bell hooks to something Cuomo said seems strange, but everyone interprets the written word differently! Rounding out hooks, Emrata is also working her way through Marxist writer Martin Hägglund’s This Life. In his newest book, Hägglund offers up a new vision of democratic socialism through an examination of time, and how we choose to spend it. Emrata seems to agree:

“Hagglund focuses on the value of time and the power we have in what we chose to do with it. He argues that the finite amount of time we have in this life is what gives life purpose. In a moment when many of us have more time on our hands and less things that make us distracted, this is a nice read to offer perspective and purpose.”

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Is Emrata’s new purpose... doing communism? I’d hope so! The more comrades, the merrier, as Marx argued, while theorizing about the necessary function of Instagram influencers in the class war.

Earlier, in March, Emrata also posted a photo of herself in bed, reading what appeared to be a slightly new-ish copy of White Girls by New Yorker critic Hilton Als. She didn’t offer up any thoughts on the book, but her reading set-up looked comfortable, so I’d say she’s enjoying it!

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Thankfully, this was not the last of Emrata’s recommendations. During an Instagram Stories Q&A, she shared some more favorite books and authors, which include:

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  • The Reckonings, Lacy M. Johnson
  • Whose Story Is This, Rebecca Solnit
  • Self Help, Lorrie Moore
  • This is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz

She also mentioned Ann Patchett and George Saunders, but declined to list her favorite works. I suspect she really enjoyed Tenth of December, but who can really say! Regardless, with all these helpful new recommendations, it’s my turn to ask: what are you reading right now? Personally, I’m working my way through Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’s Inventing the Future, a rather timely book about all sorts of terrible evils plaguing us at the minute, and the imagination we need to overcome them. I’m also reading my way back through Christine Delphy’s Close to Home, as well as finally finishing the latter half of Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, which I had to put down last year for all sorts of wildfire/work/holiday stress-related reasons.

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Alternately, I could just pretend to read these books, then post about them anyway. I’d have to make sure I wipe them down though—they’ve accumulated quite a bit of dust!

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