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The Book on My Nightstand

Lilith editors tell us what they are reading now — and why

Right now I’m reading Elissa Schappell’s Blueprints for Building Better Girls, a collection of inter-connected stories that follow the lives of girls and women as they attempt to navigate the fraught minefield of sex, marriage, and motherhood. I’ve read five of the eight stories in the collection, and am savoring Schappell’s astringent tone and wonderfully tart aperçus: “There were pregnant women as far as the eye could see. Young and tattooed, graying and in clogs, fit and over thirty in T-shirts so tight you could see their belly buttons protruding like the stems of pumpkins,” is one. “Just a few weeks ago Ronnie had walked in on her with a tube of slice-and-bake Toll House cookie dough, eating it like it was cheese. She’d rather he’d seen her on the toilet.” Schappell’s eye is sharp and all encompassing. These characters speak for so many of us; it’s just that they are brighter, brassier and most honest than most of us could ever dare to be.

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