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Quinn is a child of the West having called New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Arizona home. Her love for books and stories has taken her on an insane journey through film school all the way to the stomping grounds of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. She self-describes as a ‘wannabe writer’ hoping that one day an editor will find her writing alright enough to get published. In the meantime, she enjoys playing her double bass, Beulah, and preaching that the golden age of film was in the 1980s.
Olga Tokarczuk, we are not worthy. This is Tokarczuk's Magnum Opus and her crowning achievement as she transports us to 18th century Poland to encounter the messianic figure, Jacob Frank. I know that the size of this novel will intimidate, but please do not pass on this masterpiece. Filled with wit and flawless insight to a time far beyond our scope, you will be absolutely absorbed by this epic opera. 'The Books of Jacob' is, without a doubt, necessary reading for all historical fiction fanatics and those who are looking for an experience like none other.
Clowns? A creepy rural town? Teens making poor life decisions? Sometimes I forget how awesome slasher stories are and then there are books like "Clown in a Cornfield" that remind me that they are a blast to read. Cesare gives us a true to form, slasher story where we follow Quinn Mayfield as she moves to Kettle Springs and embarks on a gnarly, terror filled adventure. "Clown in a Cornfield" is not only an amazing homage to horror classics, but finds its own voice to stand amongst the greats.
This book brought me all of the joy in the world! A young boy decides to do a school presentation about the one, the only, Betty White and it is truly the most pure and heartfelt reading experience you can ever have. "That's Betty" is a wonderful celebration of an icon who made such an amazing impact on all of our lives and this book is the perfect way to help celebrate her legacy.
This collection of short stories is an absolute battle cry for women. Kirby embraces the weird and delivers stories wholly unique to anything else you have ever read before. I mean there is a story about radioactive cockroach women that will make all women realize how powerful we really are. Who else could pull that off? Kirby delivers a masterclass in short story writing, showcasing that she can write every genre with the same finesse as the last. There is so much to mine from this collection and I guarantee this is one of those books you will never stop thinking about.
Ocean Vuong is absolutely transcendent and ethereal in his sophomore poetry collection. As Vuong grapples with his mother's passing, he explores his history with his mother, fully delving into his grief. He finds the words that most of us can never find when we are deep in our woes and brings light to the questions we always ask ourselves when nothing makes sense. This collection shows us how to grieve and how to live and how to find the moments in between. Vuong is essential reading and this collection of poetry only solidifies his status as one of the greats.
I'm sure the title pulled you in pretty quickly, because let's be real, we all love the idea that the person we hate most is going to die and that's a great selling point for a book. If you have never encountered Daniel Sloss, buckle up buttercups because his humor will take you on a emotional journey from, "Why am I listening to this disturbing humor from a very Scottish man?" to, "How was he able to make me reevaluate my humanity, my relationships, and connection to the world?". Yeah, he's that good. Sloss masterfully uses his irreverent comedy to explore the complexities of relationships while using every curse word known to mankind. I'm obsessed with this book and I guarantee that you will be too.
'Nervous System' absolutely moved me, stressed me out, and blew me away. Ella is an astrophysicist who wishes for more time to complete her thesis and in turn she develops a mysterious illness that completely debilitates her. Meruane's dreamlike poetics hypnotize you in almost horror as Ella meditates on her body's deterioration, her grief, and her relationships with loved ones. Meruane ingeniously weaves Ella's domestic struggles with those on the cosmic level showing us that everything is connected and we are integral parts of a greater system.
This amorphous and profound collection of poetry is pure brilliance. Medlin masterfully pulls you into worlds unknown and known. Set with the backdrop of the Phoenix suburbs, Medlin examines systemic racism, celebrity, and what the future can be. Ultimately, this collection is a love letter and a call for hope while acknowledging the struggles that must be overcome to reach a better world. There are some books that you simply should not ignore and at this moment you are looking at one.
If you have read Sally Rooney before, I won't have to say much to convince you to read her new novel as you will have already picked it up without hesitation and are on your way to the registers now. If you are new to Rooney, then you will learn that there is real beauty in mundane moments and casual conversations. In Beautiful World, Where Are You, Rooney knows how to deliver simplistic looks at relationships and life that will hit you in profound ways.
There are some storytellers that whenever they share a story, you are instantly enraptured. Joy Harjo is one of those storytellers. Poet Warrior is a powerful memoir told in a non-linear fashion, bridging her life experiences with philosophical meditations. This is a memoir about compassion, finding peace after grief, and the love one has for family, community, and tradition. Harjo's words are healing and will inspire you to strive for the same compassion that she possesses.
You're in a bookstore, and indie one at that--good for you, sticking it to the man--and you are wondering what book you need to pick up. Which one will make you stand out against the rest, get you that nod of approval from the most intimidating bookseller? You are currently looking at that book, the book that will impress your friends, your family, maybe even that special someone. Did I convince you to read Cultish? If I did, then I definitely learned something from Amanda Montell. This fascinating book examines the linguistics that permeates society in order for us to join "cults" whether those cults be CrossFit, 3HO, or to simply buy Lululemons. Once you finish this book, you will gain an empathy for those who fall to cults and you will see the world with more clarity than before.
As a Latina who is obsessed with Selena Quintanilla, I obviously lost it when I saw that this book brings this legend back to life via seance. I mean, do you need to know more? It's Selena back from the dead! If you do need to know more, know that you have never read anything like this and it is extremely doubtful that you ever will in the future. Lozada-Oliva is an operatic master to this cacophonous ensemble. Dreaming of You is the gnarliest love story that also examines the nuances of obsession and womanhood. Once you dive into this masterpiece you will dream of this book, I can promise you that.
There tends to be this glossy, rose-colored imagery that is associated with life in California that showcases only one facet of life afforded to the top 1%. As someone who has lived and loved California, the true beauty of California lies outside the Hollywood marketing. Jose Vadi gave me everything I wanted with Inter State. Vadi examines California's complicated history with migrant farmers, gentrification, and the dichotomous nature of California with the eye of a historian and the heart of someone connected to the land. This collection of essays is a love letter to a place that is so deeply misunderstood, but loved by those who have toiled there.
Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. Field Study is a quietly meditative prose poem that explores what it is to be a black woman. In short stanzas that read as observational notes, Sebree delicately disseminates topics such as desire, discovering yourself, grief, and womanhood. Her use of language is a powerful and magnificent thing to behold. You will read this book in an afternoon, then spend the rest of the month still thinking about every word you read.
What is it like to be the only person of color at a book publisher? If that sentence instantly gives you anxiety, you should pick up this book. If it doesn't, still pick up this book to understand why it should give you anxiety. Nella is the only woman of color at Wagner Publishing until one day there is Hazel, the new black girl. Filled with mystery, real life struggles of the publishing industry for POC, and a creep factor that will have to up all night, racing to the end. Even if you never worked in publishing, but are a POC, you will read this book and understand Nella and everything she feels. Don't think about it, pick up this book and you will not regret it.
Once you get past the fact that Seth Rogen has one of the most underwhelming autographs (I'd say it's in the Top Five), you will find that this random celebrity dude is a pretty great writer. In all honesty, I love Seth Rogen (shout out to his two liner part in Donnie Darko!). His collection of essays is just as delightful as he is. Rogen doesn't fall into the celebrity book trope of saying, "I'm a celebrity, hear my stories about other celebrities," but talks about the hilarity of buying weed from a naked hippy, the unforgettable advice his grandmother gave him before moving to L.A., and going to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to find a girlfriend. He also has celebrity stories, if that’s your jam. This book was the laugh I needed and was what books should be--an escape.
This book might be aimed towards professional bartenders, but if you have any love for cocktails, you need to own this book. The drink recipes are classics and the deep dive into everything that goes into a bar is utterly fascinating. If you own just one bartending book, let this be the one.
Pero like we all deserve a really good telenovela to help us escape the doldrums of everyday life. Let me tell you this is exactly the dramatic, saucy, lighthearted novela that even your abuela would tune in to. Set in Miami, Carmen just wants her high school diploma and to get it she takes a job to dress up as Belle for birthday parties. Then, her ex who ruined her quinceañera, Guapo Mauro, joins the same company and then they have to perform at her cousin's quince, who also ruined her quinceañera! Meda, listen, you will devour this book, learn some lessons along the way, and by the end you'll wish there was more. Escúchame y créeme when I say you will love this lovable novel.
Mona is a hedonistic fever dream of a novel. Oloixarac deftly handles tokenism in academia and the writing world, the philosophical quandaries of being a woman on the outside of what society dictates a woman should be, and the absolute madness that lies within genius. The mysteries in the novel will have you racing for answers, the humor will keep you alert, and the moral content will send you spinning. This is a novel for those who love Didion and Bukowski, but want something wholly original.
I absolutely love experimental essays, so it didn't take much for me to excitedly pick up this collection. Night Rooms is told in disparate and fragmented moments from Gina Nutt's life as they mimic the nature of memory. Nutt correlates her life experiences with horror movies, giving greater depth and understanding to the universal themes of grief, identity, and mental health. This collection is a survivor's tale that will open your own eyes to what it is to be alive.
Have you ever heard of Tove Ditlevsen? If you grew up outside of Denmark, chances are you haven't. Ditlevsen was a prominent writer who was born in the 1930s and whose wild nature would have had Hunter S. Thompson blushing. The Copenhagen Trilogy is a groundbreaking, experimental memoir that follows Ditlevsen through her life as she explores how to live her life on her own terms. Full of desire to escape the confines of motherhood and womanhood, Ditlevsen finds herself confined to a different type of dependency than that of what society placed her in. We can all learn something from Ditlevsen and I implore you to take the plunge with this powerful trilogy.
Dantiel W. Moniz astonishes in this striking debut collection. Moniz tackles the female experience with enviable skill. Each story is unrelenting as they dive deep in what it means to be a woman and the violence, grief, and desire that accompanies it. At times, the stories feel surreal but remains viscerally grounded in reality. You will devour this collection and then you'll go back to read it once again. There is no doubt that this collection will stay with you long after you've finished.
Cookbooks freak me out. I usually feel like I need a better skill set in the kitchen before I even glance at a cookbook. I also find myself wishing I was more like Matty Matheson. That being said, I had no fear when I cracked this magnificent cookbook open. Matheson knows how to make the art of cooking more accessible to novices like me, then he throws in his iconic humor and passion for food that makes you feel welcomed into this wild world of his. Matheson is a true culinary genius and anyone who wants to eat like the joyous person Matheson is, should permanently place this cookbook in their kitchen.
Julián Herbert might be one of the wildest and most talented writers living. His collection of short stories, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino, are chaotic, ruthless, and ambitious as they explore the effects of being a creative in a cruel, vicious world. This collection is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. If you have a love for literary horror and crave something entirely unique, then this title is a must have.
Bro? Bro. Now, I hate Beowulf, or at least I did before I read this masterpiece. This ain't your mother's Beowulf. If you're a purist, then stay away from this translation. But if you are like me, and want to see a classic reinvigorated and the women finally given the voice and power they deserved in the original, then pick up this gem.
Hey, it's me the Mantel fanatic here to try to convince you to read this magnificent woman's writing. If you've never read Hilary Mantel, this collection of her essays is a fantastic place to start. Mantel is fierce, eloquent, and insanely intelligent on every topic that she explores. Mantel's writing is something to behold and is even more impressive when she turns her sights towards the world and history to give her unfiltered, razor-sharp critiques of it all.
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Stephen Graham Jones, you are a master. This is not a typical horror novel, this is a horror masterpiece. I was hooked from the beginning and was I yelling out loud while reading? Absolutely. Jones seamlessly blends the themes of revenge and guilt with the complexity of breaking away from tradition and identity. At the heart of the story, Jones gives insight to how traditional and contemporary Native lives clash and then he surrounds it with gore and edge-of-your-seat-this-is-creepy vibes. I can't say enough about how much I dig this book and how traumatized I am every time I see an elk now.
I'll be honest, I have tried to write this review many times and each time I never seem to find the words to adequately describe how groundbreaking and vital this memoir is. One of the greatest modern day tragedies is how society silences Indigenous Women and Toni Jensen is here to shatter that silence. 'Carry' is heartbreakingly poetic as Jensen describes what it is to be Indigenous in America and the monsters that linger in every part of our 'civilized' society. Her words will haunt you, anger you, and awaken you. I promise that this is a memoir that you will never stop thinking about.
I will preface this by saying that I am a massive Mantel fan and think that she is one of the greatest living writers. She does not disappoint with the conclusion of this epic trilogy. You might know how the tale of Thomas Cromwell ends, but Mantel finds a way to make it just as surprising as if you were a novice to Tudor history. With sharp language, humor, and an almost unsettling insight to these historical events you will be enthralled by this conclusive novel.
Mexican Gothic is the story you need as the weather gets colder and you want a scary story to curl up with. Moreno-Garcia delivers with this atmospheric horror story that pays tribute to the Gothic writers of the past. Set in the misty mountains of Mexico and in the creepiest house imaginable, this story will take you on an utterly hypnotic and unsettling adventure. You won't be able to put this book down as you will keep diving deeper and deeper with our heroine, Noemi, until you discover the truth about the family that lives at High Place.
There is something that is incredibly calming in reading Zadie Smith's Intimations. Smith ruminates on the chaotic times that we live in and tries to make sense of the senseless. Although you could speed read through this in an hour or so, please don't. Sit with her words. Take a step back and hear what she has to say. The world will seem less dire and maybe, just maybe, a little more hopeful.
I am not being hyperbolic when I state that I Hold a Wolf by the Ears is, without a doubt, the best book of 2020. This collection of short stories will haunt you and inspire you. Van den Berg masterfully explores the ever-changing nature of identity, the ghosts that haunt us, and the silent but insidious moments that plague women. These beautifully crafted stories will leave you wanting to revisit them time and time again. I am forever grateful for the day that I picked this book up and I am sure that you will be too.
Hood Feminism is the book that society direly needs. As we search for equality, we need voices like Mikki Kendall's. Kendall doesn't sugarcoat the issues that plague the feminist movement as it has left women of color and their issues outside of the driving narrative. If you are a feminist read this book. If you aren't a feminist read this book. If you don't know where you land, read this book.
The Seep is the type of novel that will stay with you long after you finish. It is also the type of novel that can be devoured in an afternoon, I know I did. In this world, a benign alien invasion begins simply with drinking punch. When the world is stripped of class, race, economic, and mortal barriers it is left with humanity unfiltered. Porter excels in portraying humans trying to find what it is to be happy and how that journey affects all those around us.
When people list things that they enjoy, funerals generally aren't one them. Ant finds joy in attending funerals. Yet, when the cousin of his childhood friend dies Ant is less enthused about attending. On its surface, Whiteout Conditions is a road trip story set against the backdrop of Midwest Suburbia. As the story progresses it becomes more of a rumination on loss, grief, and the ghosts in our rearview mirrors.
Pizza Girl follows a pregnant 18-year-old girl who delivers pizzas and is constantly smothered with love and support by her boyfriend and mother. In Frazier's debut novel, she is a master at causing all your muscles to tense up as you follow Pizza Girl's ever-growing obsession with struggling housewife, Jenny, after delivering the very common, pizza with pickles. Pizza Girl explores what it means to realize that we are flawed human beings and the bumpy path that we take to figure out who we are in the end.