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Hump day recommendations

Listen: I imagine most music written by cabinet-level officials is pretty terrible, but former Senegalese tourism minister Youssou N’Dour is the exception. I’ve been grooving to his Wolof traditional-inspired mbalax pop all week. Check out his biggest hit “7 Seconds.” – Matt

Read: “I Never Called her Momma” – This personal essay by Jenisha Watts, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is about reinvention, resilience and rebirth. It’s an impeccable story about Watts’ upbringing in a Kentucky “crack house” and how, as an accomplished writer and editor, she finally began to embrace her past. – Gabrielle

Read: Not a Novel – East Germany shaped Jenny Erpenbeck’s life and art, and this collection of vivid stories and essays reveals the originality of both her vision and her writing. – Willis

Read: Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid. This beautiful novella about a girl who leaves her home of Antigua to work as an au pair in America has prose as sparse and powerful as Annie Ernaux but even more perceptive and sensitive to detail – in the way only people new to a foreign country can be. The book captures the completely justified rage of a young woman from a colonized country who both loves and hates where she's from and where she is now, and the way Kincaid allows the protagonist to unleash that anger is magnificent. – Riley


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