Bump writes from his own childhood experience on the South Side of Chicago. It’s a heartfelt story with familiar themes of family, love, and growing up, but from a completely unique voice – one that will endear you to main character Claude McKay and one that needs to be heard.
Pair it with Margo Jefferson’s Negroland a memoir, also about growing up, decades earlier and in another part of Chicago, as an affluent African-American. Two illuminating and unforgettable portrayals of race in the U.S.
How mystifying the customs of ancient peoples seem to us... but how far removed are we, really?
Sylvie and her parents join a small university class on "a summer experience" living as Iron Age Britons may have. As prehistoric tasks become more intuitive to the group, so do the rituals they once thought horrific.
This unassuming wisp of a book belies the disquieting story within.
"I shivered. Of course that was the whole point of the re-enactment, that we ourselves became the ghosts, learning to walk the land as they walk it two thousand years ago."
Hot with violet urgency, and shrouded in the moss and fog of the rural Northwest, Vera Violet opens with the eponymous Vera on the run someplace deep in Montana, and does not let up until the final page. In between is something like the root system of a tall cedar, or the wiring Harness on an old pickup: tangled at first glance, but intricate as soon as you start to trace it. This is an unforgettable novel.
E. J. Koh is a poet and translator and in her debut memoir we see proof of a master of language at work. At 15 years old, E. J.'s parents "temporarily" move back to Korea, leaving her and her brother by themselves in California. This coming-of-age memoir skillfully tells the story of a family's complicated history and love for each other.
Who is Juliet? She's any of us who ever felt like they were losing their minds. She's the friend you have that's beautiful and brilliant but can scare you sometimes. She's honest, she's real. She's you and she's me. For those who suffer from mental illness, this book will make you feel less alone. Read this book!
This may be a very funny novel about art and idealism. Or it may be a very serious novel about how our work defines us - albeit one that will make you laugh uncontrollably and at random. Either way, the joke's on us: gleeful, satirical and disarmingly sincere, profound and bombastic in equal measure, and so, so familiar to anyone who has been in their twenties, or nursed a beer in the corner at the party and watched their friends hold court, or contemplated the big questions about whether we are what we create or whether, maybe it's the other way around, Loudermilk is refreshing and incisive.
A compelling, unflinching portrait of Spain in the early 20th century, this autobiographical trilogy is at once a charming coming-of-age saga and a chilling study of the rise of a fascist state. Not convinced? Admittedly, it's long...but this prose is as rich and as satisfying as an Andalusian feast.
Exchange student Ilya has just arrived in the balmy heat of Louisiana from the frozen tundra of Russia. Smart, hardworking, and thoughtful his journey was to be the opportunity of a lifetime. But he can’t seem leave his home behind, or the brother he would do anything to save. In Lights all Night Long, Lydia Fitzpatrick juggles a coming of age tale; a murder mystery; and social commentary on addiction, drug use, and corruption. And it works. Beautifully. She somehow manages to avoid all the predictable tropes of each to create this sparkling world full of hope, friendship, and the power of family in all its forms.
A reenactment of a romanticized past becomes an inescapable descent into the ugliest and most primitive side of humanity. Succinct in its suspense, you won't realize you've been holding your breath until the very last page.
I first discovered Sally Rooney after reading her first book, Conversations With Friends, which I loved! So, of course, I rushed to read her second book, Normal People. On the surface, this sounds like another popular boy befriends awkward girl but this novel unfolds beautifully as you read. With a strong political undertone and exploration of social and economic status, Sally Rooney brings to light many issues worth discussing. But at the heart of the novel, Normal People is an exploration of those friendships we form when we're young that shape us and often times sets the tone of who and what we gravitate towards later in life. Nostalgia will loom over you while you read Normal People.