Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

A fascinating history of the cultural stigma of mental illness that simultaneously provides a history of psychiatry, psychology and the creation of the DSM, among other things. While reading this book I constantly had the urge to turn to the person next to me and exclaim, "Wow! Listen to this!" Grinker provides a detailed global history of mental illness and how various cultures have dealt with it. From the creation of asylums to the employment of autistic individuals, Grinker has authored an empathetic overview of his subject with much to mull over as we become more accepting of those that may be different from ourselves. We're all on the spectrum!

Picked by Mark B.

I can't even begin to describe the beauty of this book. It is the most beautiful graphic novel I have ever read. It is so seamless in the way Trung Le Nguyen talks about queer identity, the complexity of family, and love. From a first glance, it is a simple story of love, told through his own experience and his love for reading fairy tales. But once you finish reading, it keeps running in your mind, and suddenly you are unearthing the hundreds of experiences you read through. I feel like it is SO difficult to weave so many different themes with drawings and few words, but it was executed to perfection. I feel so lucky to have experienced this graphic novel, and you will absolutely not regret picking this gem up.

Picked by Javi

Everything about this delightful little book is perfect. From the art, the colors, the world and the characters that inhabit it. From page 1, you are welcomed with big, open friendly arms. You feel so immersed in the story, you start to notice the slight scent of tea brewing. It is packed with messages, telling us to pursue our passions and take care of ourselves and others. Highly, highly recommend.

Picked by Javi

A debut collection of short stories that hits hard and close to home. Each of us exists somewhere in the raw, unavoidable reality of these stories. I saw my own pain on the page, but many other times felt wrenched with empathy for losses I've never experienced. Moniz's prose is lyrical and flowing while acutely pinpointing the ways that grief, numbness, violence, and desire manifest in our minds and our bodies. Although the stories do not always give closure, this stunning look into the diverse, ordinary lives of Floridian families is not one to miss. 

Picked by Jessie

Initially skeptical to read a book about a young musician with just a couple albums out (who may not have even hit his creative peak yet), I quickly understood just why, in the year 2020, this book needed to come out. Using the framework of the 4 albums of Kendrick Lamar, Marcus J. Moore writes a "cultural biography" to explain the intersection of hip-hop and the Black Lives Matter movement today. This is a timely read about one of the great popular musical artists of today. 

Picked by Kalani

Vendela Vida makes the posh suburbs of 1980s San Francisco so oddly familiar and relatable in this wonderful coming-of-age novel about a couple of 13 year old girls, the eccentric Eulabee and her best friend, the decorous Maria Fabiola. Childhood friendships are full of love and laughter but at the same time messy and confusing, Vida perfectly captures the complexities of these formative years in a refreshing and authentic way. 

Picked by Kalani

This is one of the few books I frequently visit, like a good friend who I haven't seen in a long time, and we just sit down and drink tea together. It is a highly researched but deeply personal memoir about having bipolar disorder, and the fears that surface upon being diagnosed. She shares her downfalls and the coping skills she learned for them. It is a beautiful journey of finding balance, accepting the long-windedness of recovery, and the magic and familiarity of feeling good, after spending a long time being nostalgic for it.

Picked by Javi

I saw the title and instantly knew I wanted to read it. I'm a homebody by nature, and Cassandra Calin told me there's nothing wrong with that. Her collection of comics are comforting, funny (literally made me laugh out loud), and relatable. She makes the mundane moments seem exciting and reflective, reminding us that we don't need to be out in the world in order to have grand experiences. It is a perfect companion and reassurance for homebodies everywhere.

Picked by Javi

Let's talk about being neurodivergent in a world that caters to neurotypical folks! Jenara Nerenberg was diagnosed with Autism when she was an adult. After years of being misdiagnosed herself, she was shocked to see what little research had been done about neurodivergency in women, since they are often misdiagnosed with a mood disorder or for being 'hormonal'. So, what did she do? She did her own research and wrote a book. this book reassured me of my own neurodivergency and how to survive in a world that isn't accessible to those who are neurodivergent. Neurodivergence is an actual superpower, and we deserve to be heard and seen! This book is essential for those on, off, and in between the spectrum of neurodivergency.

Picked by Javi