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.
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.
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.
Mesmerizing. Strange. Glorious.
I have to thank fellow bookseller Nicole for introducing me to this stunning book. The technical skill left me astonished. I wanted a bench, as though in a museum, to sit and quietly take in each page of black-and-white pen-and-ink line drawings. Van den Ende's debut is a wordless story of a small paper boat's epic journey across a vast and fathomless ocean. It teems with myriad flora and fauna that reside somewhere between fairy tale and reality. It intrigues. It beguiles. An elegant testament to solitude, strength, and bravery.
I found myself writing down words and sentences on scraps of paper as I read Kaveh Akbar's debut collection of poetry. More an act of devotion than habit, I wanted to keep his words close. While addiction and recovery form the central thesis of Akbar's work, it's the manner in which he mines the unreliable taxonomies of desire, want, and need that took me over. The title of the collection comes from an exquisite line in one of the poems: "Thinking if it had a problem it might have a solution/ thinking if I called a wolf a wolf I might dull its fangs.” A paean to the ineffable, the elusive, the sometimes maddening limits of language and its infinite imperfections that can make your head hurt and your heart break.
Maelyn spends every Christmas at her family friend's cabin in Park City, a tradition that began for her parents and their best friends in college. Back in her mother's Berkeley home at 26, in a job she hates, and harboring a decades-long crush, Mae is totally lost. She sends a plea up to the universe: will someone show her what makes her happy?
A snarky, steamy romantic comedy that is aptly billed as a "Groundhog Day" retelling set over the course of a week. IN A HOLIDAZE is a gift that should be opened all year long - not just as a seasonal treat! Readers will delight in the friends-to-lovers romance that ties up into a satisfying bow and a family tradition that shines brighter with timely updates.
Meet orphan, Jane, whose hardscrabble life has amazingly led her to the steps of the palatial Thornfield Estates and the arms of broodingly handsome Eddie Rochester (who may have his previous wife imprisoned upstairs!). If this sounds vaguely familiar, don't worry if it's been a while since you read "Jane Eyre." You can enjoy this clever, fast-paced thriller and review the classic when you're finished. Then you can truly delight in Rachel Hawkins' witty nod to Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece.
Here is a narrator that I will always love! Storytelling is the heart of this book, and Kvothe is the ultimate storyteller. Our hero is cocky and confident, but rightfully and satisfyingly so. Rothfuss has nested tales within fantastical tales in this epic world, complete with its own deep lore, history, and mythology. The Name of the Wind is overflowing with tavern tables, tearful ballads, murder, magic school, and true love-- everything you want from a fantasy novel and so much more. It is my top pick in this category. I regret devouring this book too quickly on my first read. What I wouldn't give to experience it once again for the first time!
Michael Cunningham has daringly woven together the stories of three women in a reworking of Virginia Woolf's book Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia Woolf's life and novel echo through Cunningham's interpretation as much as they explicitly occur through chapters from Mrs. Woolf's own perspective. He even employs her writing style in ways I find impressive and respectful. Mrs. Dalloway is not required reading before sitting down with The Hours, though you may find yourself aching to read it afterwards. This book is a masterful examination of converging lives coping with illness, loss, and suicide. It is a beautiful and thought-provoking triptych of stories to engage with.
Franny Choi's ideas are rooted in science fiction but stretch into fully human ideas of gender and identity. Cyborg and human speakers morph into each other as you progress through the poems, creating a new framework for understanding the self through technology. Eventually, these cyborgs sound more like humans, insecure and sheepish (try page 19 for "Turing Test_Emotional Response" if this interests you). I imagine this book would be even more fun to read if you were more well-versed in science fiction than I am; the poems are often laden with references. There's a lot going on in this book, but Choi finds balance: for every cleverly robotic turn of phrase, there's a heady sensory description.