The CausewayLit Editors’ Two-Line Book Reviews on Their Pandemic Reads


Hello, CausewayLit readers,

My name is Kristen Dalli, and along with Victoria Buitron, I serve as one of Causeway’s Co-Editors-in-Chief. As readers, writers, and lovers of words, Victoria and I compiled a list of our most recent reads to share with all of you. While this hasn’t been an ideal time for many things, it has given us the opportunity to dive headfirst into our to-be-read piles, and we’ve been lucky enough to discover some great books that could help pass the time while at home. These selections have brought us comfort – and distraction – and we hope they’ll do the same for you. Happy reading!


Victoria’s reads:

Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl: A Memoir by Jeannie Vanasco

Vanasco finds the courage to confront her rapist and discuss their relationship before and after the fact. Braided in with the transcript of their discussions, Vanasco addresses the pain men inflict and how closure is just a made-up word that doesn’t really exist when your body has been taken from you.

Things We Didn't Talk About Jacket.indd



Severance by Ling Ma

Okay, it might not be the right time to read an apocalyptic novel based in New York City. But once things go back to some semblance of how they were pre-pandemic, read this captivating novel by Ling Ma and find it irresistible to correlate it with our current times.




Mean by Myriam Gurba

Maybe one is born with synesthesia or maybe one develops it while reading Myriam Gurba’s memoir. I could taste the lyrical prose and sometimes the words felt like they cut me and drew blood.




The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext edited by Felicia Rose Chavez, José Olivarez and Willie Perdomo

I reveled in each of these poems—a must read for anyone—and then I followed a slew of poets on Twitter. I can’t wait to go back to them again and again and again feel the words pop on my tongue.




The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

As I read this book about Joan Didion’s loss immersed in current societal and transformational loss, I kept on wondering what Didion was doing in the precise moment I read her words. I also thought, like everyone else does, that no one else can write the way she does.






Kristen’s reads:


You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld

This short story collection has been sitting on my shelf since it came out in 2018, and this was the perfect time to crack into it. Though I was initially struck by the title, I stayed for the way Sittenfeld examines life in America following the 2016 election and the complex characters she created in each story.




Untamed by Glennon Doyle

After reading Love Warrior, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Untamed, and it exceeded every one of my expectations. The cover, the structure, the brilliant way she crafts each sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter — all of it is perfection. I want to keep going back to this one over and over again.



The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This is another one that had been sitting on my shelf for awhile and I finally dug into. The father-son relationship is the heart and soul of this book — and what had me sobbing by the end, but McCarthy’s prose is masterful from start to finish, as it has a simplicity to it that is simultaneously heart wrenching.




Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

The perfect quarantine read for so many reasons, but mainly because it is laugh out loud funny. I’m about a third of the way through this one, and it’s so easy to get immersed in Irby’s work; her wit, relatability, and unfiltered confessions are exactly what we need to get us through these uncertain times.




Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden

I technically read this one start to finish before the pandemic, but I haven’t been able to fully put it down since. I’ve gone back to read and reread essays from this one day after day, because Madden’s ability to sit in a moment and make you feel all the feelings is unparalleled.



Featured Image by Edward Jenner from Pexels



Victoria Buitron is a writer and translator currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Fairfield University where she is the Associate Editor for Brevity and EIC of CausewayLit. Her work has been featured or is upcoming in Entropy, The Bare Life Review, and The Citron Review.





Kristen Dalli is an emerging writer from New York. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction at Fairfield University, where she serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of CausewayLit, and as an Assisant Editor for Brevity. She is a news reporter at ConsumerAffairs, and her creative work has appeared in Stone Canoe, ForWomenWhoRoar, and on the Brevity blog.

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