Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

A master-class in literary criticism, critical theory, and art history, Illuminations is a must-read. Hannah Arendt's introduction gracefully captures Benjamin's tragic and compelling biography. In the current political environment, it is important to reflect on the immortal work of this man, whose life was ended too soon by nationalism and racism.

Picked by James

This book had a significant impact on me. It's was heartbreaking, hopeful, and thought provoking. Although it's a children's book, I feel it should be read by everyone. In the story you follow a young boy fleeing Hitler's Germany with his family, a girl escaping Cuba and Castro in 1994, and a Syrian family in 2015 attempting to make their way to Europe after their home is bombed. These are stories that need to be heard. I feel changed after finishing this and better for it.

Picked by Patti H.

I'm a nostalgic fool for the Archie universe and everyone knows the best character in Riverdale is the hamburger-loving Jughead Jones. While Archie is off bemoaning his feelings for Betty and Veronica, Jughead is taking care of the real problems facing Riverdale such as an evil principal brainwashing students and the unfair closure of the beloved Pops All-Nite Diner. Erica Henderson and Chip Zdarsky bring a fresh take to a beloved series while still remaining faithful to the original. As a massive Jughead fan, I had a really fun time with this one. And if you want more, volume 2 is out and SPOILER ALERT Sabrina the Teenage Witch makes an appearance. What a time to be alive!

Picked by Halley

You don't have to be a compulsive to-do-list maker, frustrated diarist, sometime doodler, and planner/scheduler to find joy in using a dot journal (also knows as a bullet journal). The system Rachel Wilkerson Miller lays out in her book is as simple or as complex as you need it to be, and it's endlessly adjustable. The first step is choosing a journal. Then you create pages to keep track of your time in whatever manner serves you best, your handy how-to book by your side with stylish layouts you can add to your journal as you go. The brilliant detail that holds it all hang together is the index in the back; no more flipping through pages for that phone number you wrote down last week. If you want to keep your serial to-do lists in chronological order, list the books you read this year, and keep track of how many times you've been to the gym this week/had a massage/gone to the movies, this is the system for you. You can draw flowers on good days and shade a whole day gray when ashes fall from the sky. This system is versatile, generous, and powerful. I wish I'd found it years ago.

Picked by Dana

Rick Perlstein's Nixonland does something remarkable, similar to what was accomplished in last year's Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made in America: it takes as its focal point a single, familiar figure while also offering a panoramic view of a critical moment in American history and culture. The book makes an compelling case for the career of Richard Nixon, with all its caustic rhetoric and manipulative machinations, as setting the course for the next half-century of American politics. Perlstein defines the titular “Nixonland” as a place where “two separate and irreconcilable sets of apocalyptic fears coexist in the minds of two separate and irreconcilable groups of Americans." As for the man at the center of it all, Perlstein draws Nixon as a sort of tortured Richard III type: cynical, manipulative, and very much a villain, but not without a certain underdog charm. And while you might be forgiven for wanting to escape from our own noxious political climate, Nixonland will at least let you escape to a time when our leaders were just as malevolent but quite a bit more competent.

Picked by Theo

Maggie Nelson’s The Art of Cruelty is one of my very favorite works of criticism, an incisive and wide-ranging consideration of the aestheticization of violence across a host of media. Nelson excels at finding intersections between genres you never thought bordered one another; between criticism, poetry, and memoir, for example. And while The Art of Cruelty is closer to pure criticism than some of her more experimental books, it shares the freewheeling style and adroit attention to language that mark her very best writing.

Picked by Theo

In the near future, a brain-implanted device called the “feed” has connected vast swaths of the American population in a telepathic network, a descendant of the Internet. But while the “feednet” has allowed for incredible wonders of convenience and hedonism, it also serves to blind its users to the violence and injustice that permeate their society. Fifteen years after its publication, Feed is heralded as a classic of young adult fiction, and M.T. Anderson’s insights about adolescent life in a technology- and information-inundated landscape feel more ominous and prescient than ever. Marked by wit and cynicism (the good kind of cynicism), Feed is a wonderful introduction to the potential of science fiction as social commentary.

Picked by Theo

After finding her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs, Tanya DuBois makes a break into the night, shedding the past ten years behind her in a flash. Tanya--not her real name--has been living under a stolen identity, trying to bury a catastrophic secret that's worth her life to reveal. She's coolly competent, ingenious, and quick with a bottle of hair dye or contact lenses. But living on the run and rapidly switching identities begins to grind away at her core sense of being and morality. Not even she knows what kind of choices she'll make, or where they'll lead her. Trying to figure it out will keep you reading all night, tired eyes, beating heart and all.

Picked by Christina

Journey to the meeting place between east and west. Where Kassabova blurs the borders between the present and the past; this world and the next. Her clear voice marked the way and I couldn't help but follow.

Picked by Alex