Absolutely charming, smartly plotted, and completely believable. Tiffy and Leon meet under curious circumstances but manage to build friendship and intimacy over time by writing sticky notes and leaving them about the flat. Tiffy and Leon possess specific, unique styles of voice which make them vivid, if opposite, characters. No lazy or trope-ish story here, though the climax delivers a romantic comedy of Hollywood-esque proportions.
This is a must read. Abdurraqib combines the experience of music and culture through such an engaging lens, it's hard to put it down. He can talk about Carly Rae Jepsen, Fall Out Boy, Bruce Springsteen, being black, being Muslim, living in contemporary America all in one breath with such ease and such a command for language. Seriously, even his Instagram captions are well-written (you should follow him).
This book spoke to me like it had a bullhorn. Weird and, at times, disturbing but not just for the sake of being weird and, at times, disturbing. Mona has her heart broken by Mr. Disgusting then moves to New Mexico to become a maid and...dun dun dun...looks through her clients' stuff while also cleaning out some of her own skeletons. Goodreads touts her as a combination of Mary Karr and Miranda July which I wholeheartedly agree. It feels like hearing from a friend but one of those friends you're not totally sure you like but want to hear more from, you know? Read the sequel, Vacuum in the Dark, to see what happens next!
You have adventure, family drama, laughs! A comedian, upon her fortieth birthday, takes each of her family members on one-on-one vacations and chooses Grand Canyon whitewater rafting for her younger sister. With alternating chapters between treacherous days on the water and divulging her father's scandal that changed everything, it almost reads as fiction. She meets curious characters on her boat and faces some fears while also sharing the road to her comedy career and her struggles with religion and marriage. It tackles so much in such a digestible read!
I am neither a father nor about to become one but this book about a comedian fumbling his way reluctantly through fatherhood was a very enjoyable read. Fans of Birbiglia will recognize his humor and delivery as well as his poignant storytelling as he pairs his experience being a father with his wife's experience of being a mother through her poetry. Great insight into the other side of parenthood we don't see as much that will still have you laughing out loud.
The language in this is gorgeous!! In her debut collection, Parsons can write of the ugliest things we don't want to show a black light to like our secret longings, deep-seated self-loathing, or our bodies up close. Then she'll pull a: "Where I'm from, falling asleep is easy. You can hear your eyelashes swipe the pillow. There's so much nothing pouring in, you drift off listening to your choice." Or: "A girl like that can't last. A fleeting gleam. I don't know if there's a word for the ache of missing something when you still have it. I'd kiss her and taste my doom." Wow!
I read this for research (no, I don't want to fake my own death) but now I could totally fake my own death. If you've ever wanted to know more, or anything, about the hidden underworld of pseudocide, Playing Dead is a great place to start! Greenwood, loaded with student loan debt herself, investigates what it takes to leave everything behind for a new life.
Did you know, whilst on a train platform before he could fall to his death, John Wilkes Booth's brother saved Abraham Lincoln's son's life? It's interesting tidbits like this that you can pull out at parties or impress your friends with that you'll find in this book. Vowell, a history nerd at heart, travels to locations around the US immortalized by bloodshed, uncovering more about the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. And with her sharp wit and wisecracking humor, it makes you feel like you're being taught a history lesson but by the cool, hip teacher.
I go back to this book quite often. If I could underline the whole thing, I would. Carson reimagines an ancient Greek myth into a coming-of-age story told through verse, a combination of prose and poetry that lends itself perfectly to Carson's voice. Our main character, a red winged monster, deals with who to love, his brother and mother and the magnetic boy who takes him by the hand. A haunting and beautiful page-turner that at only 160 pages will make you pick it up again after you've just put it down.
Blanco was the first openly gay, Latino, immigrant, as well as the youngest person to be the US inaugural poet when he read for Obama's second term. He brings this energy with him in this collection, his beautiful language depicting such heartbreak toward America's tendency for gun violence, racism, and LGBTQ oppression. Throughout, you can see him struggling with the idea of nationhood, digging his way closer to the answer of how to truly love a country.