Bedtime Stories: November 2021

  • November 17, 2021

What do book lovers have queued up on their nightstands and ready to read before lights-out? We asked one of them, and here’s what she said.

Bedtime Stories: November 2021

Lisa Napoli:

After writing one memoir and three biographies over the last dozen years, I decided I loved both genres so much that I leapt to enroll in a new Master’s program dedicated to their study at CUNY Graduate Center.

This semester, along with many other super books by the likes of Joseph Mitchell, Janet Malcolm, Vivian Gornick, and Edmund de Waal, my professor assigned Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I wasn't particularly excited for this stage of the syllabus, to be honest, for a graphic novel did not seem my cuppa tea.

How wrong I was.

I could not put the book down. It’s fabulous storytelling: humorous, heartfelt, clever, inventive, Bechdel's many fans apparently already knew. Bechdel takes the coming-of-age, crazy-family story to spectacular heights with her wise art and text.

Separately from school, I'm working on a new book that’s inspired me to read Dusk of Dawn by W.E.B. DuBois; Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery by Leon F. Litwack; The Daughters: An Unconventional Look at America's Fan Club by Peggy Anderson; The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt by Jill Watts; and The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes.

I've also been intrigued by the writing of Benjamin Quarles. Thanks to the Los Angeles Public Library, I have a large stack of material which I dip into and out of — riches for this insomniac.

If you can guess from these titles what I might be working on — I'd tell you, but we haven't shopped the proposal yet — drop me a line at [email protected] and I'll send you a copy of one of my books.

Lisa Napoli is a veteran journalist who has worked at the New York Times, MSNBC, and public radio's Marketplace. She is also the author of four books: Radio Shangri-la (about Bhutan), Up All Night (about Ted Turner and the launch of CNN), Ray & Joan (about the man who made the McDonald's fortune and his third wife, who gave it all away), and Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie (about the founding mothers of NPR).

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