The Survivors was a heartbreaker. Three estraged brothers return to the isolated cabin where they spent their youth at the behest of their mother, who has just passed. This was the sight of a tragic accident that the family had carried and left unprocessed for decades. Stylistically, Schulman is experimenting with time and memory in way that propels the reader forward; it anchors you to the family by making you feel unmoored.
Despite the title, this is not a horror novel. But then it also kind of is! Ghosting when things get too real is an all too true horror of relationships. I loved reading Alderton’s take on modern relationships of all stripes from friends to lovers to parents. The people in our orbit make us who we are, but what happens when things start to change?
Phoebe Robinson is hilarious and relatable but what’s best about her each of her essays collections is how incisive and vulnerable she can be. I have loved following her career through her books and this new collection is no exception. Check it out and make your book shelves just that much cooler!
What a ride!! This was absolutely fantastic! Middle grade but with crossover/classic appeal. This historical novel of friendship and kinship will simultaneously devastate, enlighten, and enliven you. The world can be dark but there's so much hope in it.
A delight! Edim has curated a collection of short works from prominent Black writers each addressing girlhood through the themes of Innocence, Belonging, Love, and Self-Discovery. Each selection includes a few questions to bring you deeper into the story and theme making this perfect for reading groups.
I'm not a writer but I had to read this collection from one of my favorite writers on writing to live. Charlie Jane makes me feel like there is good in the world. Reading her work is like getting a Care Bear Stare right to the heart.
Also, there's good practical advice here for writers and yada, yada, yada - just read it!
If you are a graphic novel fan, read this. If you are not a graphic novel fan, READ THIS! Told through breathtaking illustrations, Ballad for Sophie is a story of remembrance and redemption. This blend of art and music was the perfect way to illustrate the long tail formed by our early choices. Just, all the feels with this one!
Beautiful Country is a childhhood memoir of immigration, fear, and poverty. Wang is deeply connected with her child self and the tone of this memoir feels as though the story is being told by that frightened girl rather than the woman she has become, which makes for a powerful read! Towards the end of the memoir, as Wang comes to terms with her childhood trauma, she acknowledges the power inherent in vulnerability and the reader can see how this book began. Truly a triumph!
Well, that was perfect! Whitehead's character work here is just beyond. A few short sentences and the whole of a person is made clear. There are lines and phrases that are now etched on my brain! Including "Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked." (which the pub clearly loves too because they quote this everywhere). I would typically expect a noir novel to be significantly shorter, but I enjoyed every moment I spent with Harlem Shuffle.
Mary Roach broke out publishing a book about cadavers, but this is her most distressing work. About the inevitable conflict between humans and wildlife, Fuzz details our many attempts to control nature for human comfort. There's much that is fascinating here, delivered with Roach's trademark wit but it is a heavy read. We can't control animals (of the human, domestic, or wild variety) and our efforts to do so often come with a heavy loss of wildlife.
A beautiful, meditative read. I've encountered Harjo in anthologies before but never read much of her work and what an introduction this was. She writes of her life, family, work, and her people. Poems of hers and work from other poets that she admires are included throughout. Not so much a narrative of a life but a poetic dissertation on the making of a person.
Absolutely delightful. Lemony Snicket has received a deadly communique alerting him to the fact that his breakfast has been poisoned! As he traces the origins of each of the elements that made up his breakfast, the author ruminates on writing, storytelling, and connection. I was charmed throughout!
Absolutely adored this middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who moves with her family from Pakistan to the US. Such a touching look at family life. The poems are lovely and completely accessible to younger readers, which is no easy writerly feat! Faruqi's own experience as a young immigrant adds depth to the story as well.
I loved this one - my kinda weird. Adventure and ridiculous jokes, but there's heart here too.
I love books about writers. And a romance between two writers that have been writing about each other, pining for each other, yet not speaking to each other for 15 years - yeah, that's going to burrow into my heart forever! The confrontation scene...I just...I felt it in my soul!!
A middle grade novel about family secrets, generational trauma, and the true history of a refugee family that built a community for the waves of refugees that followed them. I highly recommend this one to folks who may be looking for ways to talk with their kids about intergenerational misunderstandings. Sternberg does solid work to establish a standoffish grandmother that is overburdened with the weight of history she feels she cannot share.
Morningside Heights is novel spanning the history of a shared life. It's love and sacrifice and the missteps we make in becoming who we are. The characters all orbit the companionable marriage of Pru and Spence, but the scope of a marriage is never just two people. Friends, colleagues, children, and lovers create a world around the pair that maximizes the realities of love, heartbreak, and shame. None of us are equipped for this life; our communities make it bearable. Henkin has crafted a story of real life so fully honest and true it can only exist in fiction.
Officer Clemmons is the memoir of a man at the intersections of race, sexuality, high art, and a curious fame. Francois Clemmons has every right to be bitter towards and lack faith in humanity, but at each step in his life he has followed paths of grace, curiosity, and empathy. This book is filled with tales of sorrow told through a lens of hope and abundance. Whether or not you are familiar with the character from the Neighborhood, you should get to know Franc.
The Saturday Night Ghost club is quick read that packs a heavy emotional punch. This is a nostalgia fueled, coming of age that will break your heart. Honestly, the plot is not what I need to sell you here; you are here for the characters, for relationships, for family truths, and friendship bonds. Davidson has crafted an excellent novel that moves through time to give us a look at that transitional space when you are not quite a kid anymore but there is still so much you can't understand.
Some memoirs transcend the author's experience and become universal - I always thought of those as the good ones. Then I read Jayson Greene's memoir of loss and grief and was forced to confront the fullness of his individual humanity in a way I haven't experienced before. Grief is distinctly personal and Greene's story of the death of his two year old child is simply unfathomable to me, yet his honesty and willingness to sit in the fearfulness of life resonated deeply. Once More We Saw Stars is a wonderfully written memoir that connects on an almost primitive level.
Read this! It is exactly the exact essay collection featuring critical engagement with pop culture that I wanted in my life!
Ghost Boys is a devastating novel. But it is also hopeful, full of compassion, and a compelling case for the fact that 'we can all do better, be better, live better.'
Holy world building Batman! This book is fantastic. The world Adeyemi has created is so detailed, the characters are wonderful, even the animals are amazingly described. Add to that the fact that this is a clear allegory to our times and then sit back in awe that this future YA classic is a debut.
A fantastic novel about race, class, and mass incarceration, but mostly a novel about love and the forms it can take. Beautifully written.
What did I just read? How can such a short work deal with so many interlacing themes? I tore through this novel and loved every second.
A heartbreaking treatise of abuse in many forms, but ultimately a story of triumph. The power of the monologues themselves is obvious, but juxtaposed against them are the stories of hard work, hope, joy, and sisterhood that go into mounting a production of them that are absolutely empowering.
How to deal with a national shame that is impossible to comprehend? Shattuck brings three women together to work through the response of ordinary Germans to the Nazi party, Holocaust atrocities, and war itself. Very human characters, with flaws to learn from. I loved this novel.
A perfect all ages comic! I love Lunella Lafayette, the smartest girl in the world!
An amazing collection! Worth purchasing for the title poem alone but then the author hits you with lines like this: "And because my hunger is so deep, I am ashamed to lift my head." Dip in to Robin Coste Lewis; her work is heartrending, lyrical, gorgeous.
Full disclosure, I think Julie Cantrell is one of the greatest humans! And this is her best book yet. The familial relationships are perfectly captured. This is a book about what family can provide and what we must choose for ourselves. Becoming who you are is as much about what you came from as it is what you are pushing against.
A novel about love and the price we pay for loving! Read this even if you haven't read Hoffman's earlier books; a perfect glimpse into a world of magic.
A look at death culture from around the world. A beautiful reflection on what life means to those left behind and how a healthy interaction with death can increase our quality of life.
This story of an amazing and brilliant group of women who relied on one another and lifted each other up is full of grace and dignity. Their passion imbued them with the power to live self determined lives, which so few people are able to manage.
So much fun! Diana's stories in Themyscira and our world are both so fun, refreshing, and earnestly life affirming. A joy to read!
A primer for creating the community you want to live in and highlighting the best of what your corner of the world has to offer. An inspirational work and one that affected me deeply!
Fascinating and horrifying! These women suffered greatly not only from the horrors of radium poisoning but also the true evils of monied interests that would rather kill people than risk profit. Read, be horrified, and think about what these woman fought against to get our labor laws in place.
This book wrecked me! A hypercharged plot written with care and full of honesty, anger, and hope. The characters are so real; I love them so much it makes my heart practically burst!
This seems like a simple (though well written) collection of vignettes about class and family until it becomes a great deal more. An expertly crafted novel; its brilliance comes in as Shanbag subtly allows a flood of wealth to dictate the lives and morality of his characters.
Slice of life comics following three friends in college that I wish I could dive into!
I do not have adequate words to describe this beautiful book. Woodson's memoir in verse is one my favorite books. A perfect work.
Loved this book! Love Doughty! The way we interact with death dictates much about the way we interact with life. We are all going to die, and we will live a whole lot better if we acknowledge it.
Because I am curious and not at all adventurous, astronauts' memoirs are a way of life! Hadfield's story is both fascinating and motivational. He naturally rolls in a personal development message about hard work and positivity that almost borders a trite, but Hadfield is just so absolutely likable that it all works.
Everything about this series is perfect! The writing, the art, the characters! Nothing is better than Kamala Khan!
This is an excellent essay collection spanning criticism of culture, feminism, and competitive Scrabble. Roxane Gay tackles racism, sexism, and Fifty Shades of Grey. She writes about her love of The Hunger Games and Law and Order: SVU alongside stories of rape, oppression, and the damage done by our modern fairy tales. Gay balances her frustration and anger with levity and pure openness. At times she seems fearlessly honest. I agreed with her, I disagreed with her, I laughed with her, and ultimately I am championing her. Roxane Gay is someone who is thinking critically about our world and it is a better place for it. She admits that she doesn't always get things right, that she lets herself down - that's the glory in being a Bad Feminist, you don't have to be perfect, which is lucky because no one is.
Just about everything in this novel resonated with me. Friendship, growing up, opportunities both seized and squandered - all the stuff that we take in that makes us who we are as adults. It is all described so well by Wolitzer.
I have never loved a family more than I love the Cuthberts! Read this! Balm for the soul!
I'm starting to think that this book was written for me. It has practically everything I like: smart, quirky characters, epistolary style, solid writing, brilliant satire...the list goes on. I offer my thanks to Maria Semple for writing the funniest book I've ever read about depression.
Still one of my favorite books from late childhood – one of the novels that made me fall in love with reading.
You should have a copy of this! Reciting Stickboy's poem never fails to make me and those around me smile.
A young girl who suffers from rabies (or is possessed by demons) and the priest who loves her. My introduction to Garcia Marquez; a great place to start if you're not quite ready to dive into "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
This book literally changed my life. It changed the way I look at food and definitely changed the way I eat.
Eqypt in the 1920s (when Carter discovered Tut); an eccentric Egyptologist, his lover, and the detective hired by her father compete in this fantastic epistolary novel.
I was such a late comer to this book that I feel obligated to inculde it here for others like me who may have missed the boat. The Secret History is so good that I need explitives to describe it. This is just my type of page turner; dark, brooding, full of literary allusions. A book about such horrible, insufferable individuals has no right to be as enjoyable as this book is. Donna Tartt rules us all.
Finally read this after many pleaded with me to do so, and I loved it! The characters are wonderful and Gabaldon has a fully realized world in 1740s Scotland that I was absolutely sucked into!