6 book recommendations from Phillipa Soo
Phillipa Soo originated the role of Eliza Hamilton in Broadway's Hamilton. In Over the Moon, an animated musical adventure that arrives this week in select theaters and on Netflix, the actress and singer provides the voice of the moon goddess Chang'e.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (2017).
This beautiful epic follows a Korean family living in Japan during the 20th century. It spans many generations, starting with a young woman, Sunja, who is compelled by an unplanned pregnancy to marry a pastor and move to Osaka. Not only is this an important story for the historical context, it also takes you on a journey through time and explores identity, love, legacy, and family.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (2014).
When I read Solnit's famous title essay, I was struck by how personal it is, beginning with her story about a man at a party who talked over her about a book that she'd written. The rest explores how gender disparity is deeply ingrained in our culture.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2018).
I'm not the only person who loved this novel, I know. But I am such a huge fan of Celeste Ng, and her characters are so vivid in my mind, that I feel as though I know them personally. I always love a good family drama.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (2012).
I have given this book as a gift multiple times, because it really opens my own heart every time I read it. It's a collection of Strayed's "Dear Sugar" advice columns, and it reminds me of all the complicated, messy, imperfect but glorious ways we go through life, and all the things that make us human.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (2018).
I was surprised by this novel, which is so painful and yet so hilarious. Moshfegh has created an incredibly interesting and twisted protagonist, and I couldn't help cringing even as I excitedly turned each page.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015).
Yanagihara's deeply moving second novel revolves around four friends living in New York City. As the years pass, the men navigate their pasts, their pain, and their traumas together. I cried reading A Little Life. It's that beautiful. And it's so valuable to read a story about this kind of male friendship.
This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.