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Latest Staff Picks

Equal parts creepy ghost tale, social commentary, grief study, and pure poetry. Man Evie Wyld does not disappoint. She is the master of eerie and bone chilling. In Bass Rock, it's not the suggestion of ghosts that frightens but the specter of generations of violence against women that truly terrifies. I appreciate her ability to write all types of women. The honesty her characters exude is something I find very rarely in fiction. Evie Wyld is not writing to please anyone but herself and ultimately, you.

Picked by Erin

A perfect example of a book for children and adults alike; give this to everyone you know! Woodson writes in verse, beautifully combining prose and poetry, to tell the autobiographical story of a brown girl coming of age at the tailend of Jim Crow. She grapples with identity and the idea of home, growing up in South Carolina and New York, while still trying to be a kid with dreams of becoming a writer. It's powerful, it's beautiful, it's no wonder it was a Newbery Award nominee.

Picked by Emily

Told in sparse paragraphs but with full language, like only the best bits you underline in a book. Woodson weaves together the many stories of a multi-generational black family as, across time, everyone navigates their own relationship with identity, gentrification, parenthood, class, and that red-to-the-bone feeling that comes with love.

Picked by Emily

Essential for Palahniuk fans as well as writers wanting to learn from a seasoned pro. He gives you behind-the-scenes insight into his infamous story, Guts, his eventful book tours, and, of course, Fight Club. He also tells you how to write a damn good story, he should know. You don't have to take his word as God but you are guaranteed, regardless, to be entertained.

Picked by Emily

Listening to the audiobook felt like, hilarious comedian, Michelle Buteau was my best friend sitting in my passenger seat. What I liked was that, like everyone, she has insecurities (especially as a mixed race plus size woman in our society) but she doesn't dwell and then fully embodies confidence, not cockiness and not in a ra-ra-bumper-sticker way. Essays range from her early years in comedy to bumbling hookups that led to her Dutch husband to 9/11 and trying to get pregnant via IVF. If that didn't convince you, watch her minute-long scene in Someone Great on Youtube then read this book.

Picked by Emily

Have you ever wanted to know what Dave Eggers read when he was a kid? What is Louise Erdrich reading right now? Book nerds Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager (librarian/author and playwright, respectively) pick the brains of other book nerds (famous writers) about the books that made them who they are. If you want some good recommendations from authors you trust as well as insight into their writing and reading lives, this is the book for you!

Picked by Emily

Trethewey comes at writing a memoir like the poet that she is. Her words will break your heart almost as much as her story does, told from a daughter's perspective of her mother suffering through domestic violence. She really shows the thin line between love and hate, passion and anger, especially in the bone-chilling recorded phone calls between her mother and ex-husband. Through her efforts to learn more about the woman she lost when she was 19, Trethewey will take your breath away.

Picked by Emily
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Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecture Cover Image
By Diana Agrest, Peter L. Galison (Contribution by), Caroline A. Jones (Contribution by)
Unavailable at this time.

Ocean currents. Coral reefs. Algae. Fog. Landslides. Salt domes. Perpetual creation and destruction. As part of the Advanced Research graduate studio at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union, Diana Agrest has assembled a collection of drawings, models, and essays that delve into natural and material processes with the aim of building a bridge between humanity, time, and nature, which has its own scales and intentions. Art, science, philosophy converge. Ideas are challenged and reorganized. 

 

Picked by Em

I picked up this slender but powerful book on the last day of the year and read into the night, into the new year. Days later, I find it unfurling like a banner in my mind as 2021 lurches forward. The story of Kazu, a deceased laborer whose ghost haunts one of Tokyo's busiest train stations, is as much social commentary as it is character study with its examination of poverty, homelessness, grief, and regret. Miri deftly weaves events of Kazu's life that led to his homelessness with Japanese history with conversations from station passengers who float into view and then bob away, unaware, on their own streams. Miri's writing feels almost painterly at times: repetition feels like brushwork, vivid colors flash behind the lids, texture shapes the geography of loss. A beautiful ache of a book. 

Picked by Em