Anje enjoys tearing up lawn and replacing it with native plants, listening to old Canadian hardcore bands, skateboarding on her bad knee, trying to fix things on her truck (over 240,000 miles baby), and repairing her Carhartts. She's responsible for the childrens section at Seward Park, but also reads sci-fi / fantasy, labor history, horror, and fiction that makes her skin crawl. Please bring your (well behaved and leashed) dog into the store so Anje can dote on it. Anje likes "bad" dogs too.
"I'm pullin' for ya, we're all in this together." - Karl Marx
Is your kid not quite ready for Redwall but definitely craving a wholesome forest adventure?
Look no further!
We're talkin' cozy tree home vibes and woodland creatures in period attire, folks.
This story makes my heart sing. Read it and yowl with unbridled joy.
Landscaper solidarity! This book is so funny and so sweet I'm losing my mind. Really fun to read aloud, and there are so many silly little things to spot.
I've been on the edge of my seat waiting for this collection to come out, and now it's here and it's even better than I expected. What I mean by that is - not only is it a desperately needed book about an incredibly stigmatized kind of work and marginalized kind of worker, it's also SO READABLE. My brain hasn't been able to absorb non-fiction very well these last few years, so good god what an absolute joy to read something so urgent and necessary that I can actually take in and retain and consider. It's such an enormous gift these contributors have given us; this extremely personal glimpse into their lives while they try to do what's best for themselves under the crushing weight of capitalism.
A must-read for anyone who cares about the labor movement, or who has ever had even a shred of an opinion on sex work or trafficking.
A solar punk vision board for you and your kids.
Nobody can stop all of us from planting native species in empty lots, right?
This is, and I cannot overstate this, the most gorgeous and informative illustrated book about non-human reproduction I've ever seen. The illustrations are BREATHTAKING, the scientific explanations are in depth but straightforward. This book gives a beautiful, holistic overview of how life continues in all of its forms.This is a must have for any grownups who are fielding sexual reproduction questions.
Much like Robin McKinley, Kelly Barnhill tells fairy tales as if they happened to real people and had consequences*. This story was all Karen Hesse meets Ray Bradbury, told through a mouth full of feathers.
*Jo Walton is responsible for this description, though I wish I could claim it as my own.
The characters in this book haven't left me since I finished it. For readers who want the vibe of a small town Nordic crime novel meets rancher drama with the nuance of Louise Erdrich and the heart of Stephen Graham Jones, this is it.Ann-Helén Laestadius does a beautiful job interweaving a tender, intimate view of contemporarySámi life with the brutal history of anti-indigenous abuse and subjugation that continues in Sápmi to this day. Her writing on the relationship between herders and their reindeer will probably never leave me.
AHHH READ THIS! Simple but evocative illustrations lovingly convey the hurt and confusion of having to move to a new place, and the gradual realization that "home" can mean different things to different people. That "home" is a shared concept, one we make together.
I have never pre-ordered a book faster than when I found out that chunks of this book are narrated by BABA YAGA'S HOUSE. It did not disappoint.
Hands down one of the funnest sci-fi / fantasy series I've ever read. Daniel O'Malley IS SO GOOD at combining the driest of dry British wit with the weirdest of weird supernatural bureaucracy. Like, we're talking X-Files meets Killing Eve. This is the third book in the series, but, it also works as an introduction to the series (and half of it is set during the London Blitz for all the, uh, WW2 heads out there.)
Vibrant and earthy illustrations with the wholesomeness of Frog and Toad and the comedic sensibility of Bob's Burgers. Seriously, try and read this without imagining the dad having H. Jon Benjamin's voice. You can't.
Oh, this book! My name only has 4 letters in it, but I still spent my childhood trying to teach people how to pronounce it, or wishing it was different. I love the lessons from this book:
- be brave
- practice + let people practice
- don't shrink yourself, say your name!
- Anje (an-ya)
This is a beautiful book about death, and using ritual and tradition to both heal and remember.
Lush watercolor illustrations in simultaneously muted and vibrant tones remind us that where there is death, there is also life.
Just a sweet, tender book about honoring someone's memory by tending the garden you planted together.
A really beautiful example of healthy, intergenerational community grieving. And living.
Every neighbor on the block comes together and offers whatever they can to help an abandoned little kitten.
A perfect illustration of why we should talk to our neighbors and what we can do when we work together.
This woman is currently my favorite children's illustrator. Her style is like Marcel Dzama meets Ivan Bilibin meets "Hausu" (if you haven't seen this bizarre/fun 1970's Japanese horror masterpiece please treat yourself). And this book! It's like if A24 Productions made a psychedelic childrens movie about an epic dream quest with elements of both Frog and Toad and Baba Yaga.
A mesmerizing, enchanting little story about the Night Librarian (who, naturally, is a spider) inviting all the creatures of the underbrush to her bedtime story hour.Just the most comforting thing you'll ever read.
I love this book so much and I desperately wish that there was a big neighborhood bath house where I could soak and gossip with all the grannies on my block.
Prepare your brain for this chaotic-good psychedelic journey into the sewers! Darin Shuler is an incredibly fun maximalist illustrator, and included a ton of great stuff that you can try to find in these pages (including his grandpa's teeth!).
Absolutely stunning illustrations that are like a combination of Hayao Miyazaki's movies, and Jan Brett or Maurice Sendak, with the composition of a Terry Gilliam movie.
A beautiful book that shows how workers and community members of all stripes contribute to our nourishment.
"To be a hero is all I need to be
Let the midnight star shine bright on me
I wish I could make you see
That there's a dream inside of me
To be a hero"
- Kirk and the Jerks "To Be a Hero"
This is THE perfect circle time book. I defy you to read it to yourself and then tell me you don't wanna immediately go read it to a room full of preschoolers.
The lush pastoral scenes of Hayao Miyazaki meets the comforting humdrum daily woodland chores of David the Gnome. Shown from the alternating perspectives of forest creatures and a small child. This book will lower your blood pressure by like 20 points.
Lish McBride is a sexy word wizard. A Little Too Familiar is perfect for when you just need a book so comforting that it feels like a warm weighted blanket, like your brain is being flooded with hot chocolate, but you also need the sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a beach ball.
"This book is dedicated to anyone who has ever fallen in love with a culture that was devouring their own."
If you like Dune you need to read this, if you like Ann Leckie books you need to read this, if you like language or court intrigue or spy novels you need to read this, if you like action movies that are actually mostly incisive barbs and diplomacy - you need to read this. Picture a delicate mashup of the Giver and the Expanse series but set in an ancient empire (one could also call it a militaristic death cult) that names its warships after poetry.
Arkady Martine absolutely deserves to be up there with science fiction greats like Herbert, Leckie, and Tepper.
This is the kind of campy sci-fi smut that Fox Mulder would be reading in a motel room as Scully tries to convince him (unsuccessfully) that it's not aliens.
Read it and squeal.
This is such a helpful, reasonable plant care guide. Cheng's take on houseplants and our expectations of them is a breath of fresh air and a weight off my shoulders. Also, its actually fun to read. Not just fun, its fascinating.
Did you have the time of your life reading 'The Lies of Locke Lamora' but also think "Damn I wish this book had more highly competent lady pirates"?
Well here ya go, baby.
I can't believe this has been out since 2006 and I haven't read it until NOW. This is about a group of scrappy orphans living in the island city of Camorr (roughly based on 1700's Venice, but you know, with mysterious alien architecture left behind that nobody knows the history of, and alchemy, lots of alchemy) who, through luck and happenstance, are plucked off the streets and then trained up into an elite team of thieves so that they can rob the rich and... continue robbing the rich. There are HEISTS, there are FRAUDS, there are WOMEN GLADIATORS WHO FIGHT SHARKS WITH HATCHETS WHILE STANDING ON TINY PLATFORMS IN THE WATER.
This is a super user-friendly cookbook, but more importantly to me - it's got a user-friendly recipe for xiao long bao. That's right baby, we're talking about dumplings filled with soup. The warmest, coziest, savoriest, most wholesome meal I can fathom. I defy you to make a cozier dish than this.
Tamsyn Muir has an uncanny ability to write sci-fi / fantasy that is both gut wrenchingly funny and just masterfully, painstakingly plotted. If you're into big picture sci-fi like Dune or Saga but also have an appreciation for eldritch monsters and body horror à la Resident Evil, please treat yourself to this incredible series.
This book will steal your heart like you stole that glittery nail polish at Target when you were 15. It’s full of witty comebacks, clever grifts, and scoundrels who are hot and secretly have big hearts. Come for the crime, stay for the dysfunctional found-family antics that'll melt your heart like expired nail polish.
P.S. Suggested theme song = Superbeast by Rob Zombie
So the saying says
"An elephant never forgets"
Standing in the concrete cave
Swaying sad and insane
They walked over the ocean
In their dreams they dream awake
Until the lights grew dim
Until the cop cars came...
- Neko Case "People Got A Lotta Nerve
Managing to blend a Mark Fisher-esque level of intellectual curiosity with his own perfect ratio of comedy and earnestness, Michael Brooks has given us a marauders map of the vampire castle. It's up to us to fight our way out.
*If you got that awful Harry Potter reference but not the vampire castle one, please enjoy this brilliant essay by Mark Fisher.
Not only one of the funnest series I've read in a while, but also some of the best world building and deeply thought out characters. I was just in a "fun adventures with my bros" mood when I picked these up, I had no idea how smart and caring the writing would turn out to be.
Insanely funny, full of heart, incredible creatures, bitchin' swords, sick ass magic, and he even mentions periods.
This book was a blast, like being part of a D&D campaign if it were co-DM'd by the author Lish McBride and Ben Affleck's character from the movie "Extract".
It's just good.
Gideon lives on a cold, dark planet among the aging remnants of a monastic death cult, and she is fuckin' over it. Join her as she grudgingly accepts her only chance of escape - acting as swordswoman cavalier for her nemesis Harrowhark Nonagesimus as they explore a haunted research mansion while trying to outwit and outfight the other contestants in this necromantic battle royale.
This book is hilarious and elegant and heart-rending in ways I didn't expect, and it's all held together by ectoplasm and bone shards and a foul mouthed, obstinate woman who just wants to bash things with her broadsword.
One of the best non-fiction books of the year. In alternating chapters that focus on past and present, Bauer elegently lays out the brutal history of for-profit prisons in America, and writes about his experience both as a former prisoner and working as a guard in the private prison industry. This is an essential read for anyone interested in criminal justice or law enforcement.
The inevitably devastating and torturous human toll of global warming is such a massive spectre that it's almost impossible for us to truly conceptualize. David Wallace-Wells has done a graceful, brutal job of breaking it all down for us, piece by terrifying piece. His writing is so lush, and at times even funny, that I found it impossible to stop reading even as it crushed my heart. This is the most urgent, necessary book I've ever read.
Don't look away. Read this. Think of what we need to do. Who holds power? What are the levers and fulcrums in our political and economic system? What are we willing to give up? All we have to lose is everything.
For fans of Hatchet, Julie of the Wolves, or the I Survived series...
Nuclear fallout has poisoned everything, Ann's family is gone, and her only companion is her brother's heartbroken hunting dog. But she's tough, she's self sufficient, and there's still clean water in the valley that her family's off the grid farm is located in. She's resigned to never seeing another human again. Until the moment she sees smoke from a distant campfire, getting closer with each passing day; and Ann is forced to consider if human company actually does equal safety, or if it's just another thing to survive.
Millet writes the kind of cruel stories that you can only write about characters you truly love.
The series of linked stories about incest were so deftly handled I was left dumbfounded.
Get it. Read it. Join my cult.
Ann Leckie is so intelligent and so wise about the way she crafts her stories. What we have here is a slow burn fantasy novel told from the perspective of an ancient god that resides in a huge rock, a plot summary which does not sound even remotely exciting. But friends, I'm here to tell you that it is. You will see life evolve, languages emerge and change, cultures form and get subsumed, and religious worship come into being. There is war, there is blood sacrifice, there are fully developed queer / trans characters. There is the deep, echoing feeling that life existed before you were born and will continue after you die.
When I was 13 a cool older girl at school gave me a silk screened patch that said "RIOT NOT DIET". I promptly sewed it onto my backpack and never looked back. Reading this book is the literary equivalent of a cool older girl giving you that patch.
Everyone needs to read this, particularly all the people who believe they don't need to. Trust me, you do.
At first glance, this is a well researched series about an order of medieval assassin nuns sired by Death Himself, so I was pretty much already sold. But THEN I started reading it, and could not stop. For weeks. I burned through all 3 books (and the related upcoming February 2019 release Courting Darkness) in like a week and a half.
The series takes place in 15th century Brittany, a time when everyone is at war, the duchy has been inherited by a 12 year old girl, and the Catholic Church chose to actively subsume pagan beliefs in order to gain acceptance among a reluctant populace. It is one of these old pagan gods, Mortain, now considered the patron saint of death, that our heroines worship and struggle and fight for. But they are also fighting for themselves.
The history is fascinating, the trauma is brutal but very well handled, the romance is the healthy and supportive (but fuuun) kind that you want your teens reading about, and the weapons are historically accurate. Don't you want to read about young women finding self actualization and liberation through violence and subterfuge and epic battles? DON'T YOU?
Want to convince your relatives that universal healthcare, free high quality education, and a robust social safety net are a good thing without them thinking you're a pinko commie? Hand them this.
I started reading this series when I was 8, I am now 34 and I still re-read it and get new things out of it. Does your kid looove the Warriors series? Their mind will be blown by the world of Redwall. Imagine, if you will, an egalitarian community of woodland creatures who fight tyranny, go on epic quests, and throw the best parties with the most scrumptious and elaborate meals you've ever read about.
Every creature, big or small, shy or outgoing, regardless of gender, is valued and has an important role to play. Sometimes it's a formerly enslaved squirrel, or maybe a mute badger grandmother, or perhaps a young ottermaid who has perfect aim with a slingstone...
A wiser woman than I once wrote that "Robin McKinley's whole career is telling fairytales as if they happened to real people and had consequences".
In Deerskin, her devastating retelling of the French fairytale Donkeyskin Girl, McKinley does not pull any punches. This is a gut wrenching novel to read, and I cannot recommend it enough. The slow, ominous build up of nauseous recognition that presages the initial (and most brutal) act of violence in the book was shocking not for it's conclusion, but because of how utterly familiar it all felt. At times the only thing keeping me from throwing the book across the room was McKinley's achingly beautiful writing about the relationship between dogs and humans.
While this book is not for the faint of heart, I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that the root of the word courageous is coeur : heart. And that the heart is a muscle; it needs exercise.
Like if Lydia Millet & Katherine Dunn wrote a dark family comedy and then had John Waters direct it.
How does the language we use when talking about law enforcement influence our perception of it? What do the police gain and what is obfuscated when we embrace euphemisms like "community policing", "body cavity search", or "quality of life crimes"? Using short, incisive chapters that each focus on a single term, David Correia and Tyler Wall have created a beautifully designed and user friendly glossary of the vocabulary of policing.
The best feminist horror novel set on an abandoned sheep farm in the Australian outback that you've never read.
This is a chilling, deeply researched history of the white power movement and post-Vietnam paramilitary culture. Kathleen Belew clearly illustrates how our failure to understand white power as a broad social movement has prevented us from combating it; from seeing events like the Oklahoma city bombing and the Charleston church shooting for what they really are – acts of domestic terrorism inspired and supported by a well established and increasingly militarized racist movement.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is not only a brilliant historian (she wrote “An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States”), but was also an avid gun enthusiast and belonged to an armed underground group. Who better to write a book arguing that the second amendment and white supremacy are inextricably bound, and that the mainstream gun debate is just one big false dichotomy? This book is going to make people on both sides of the gun debate uncomfortable, and it is a necessary discomfort.
I thought this was a concise, accessible read. If you already own a dog-eared copy of "Are Prisons Obsolete?" or have a pen pal through Black and Pink, then this book will be preaching to the choir. However, if you have no idea what those things are but do think that there must be a better way of handling social problems than just sending the police in, this book is a great place to start.
Open this book to page 47 and read "Ode to My Bitch Face". If you remain unconvinced, continue to page 49 and read "Ode to the Women on Long Island".
If you have any interest in the fight against totalitarian theocracy, then you must read A Road Unforeseen. I found it to be a thorough, well organized primer on Kurdistan, ISIS, and the self governing region known as Rojava. Meredith Tax is a phenomenal researcher, and makes this deeply complicated topic very readable. Still not convinced? THIS IS ABOUT WOMEN FIGHTING AN INSANE DEATH CULT.
This violent, glorious book is about a 16 year old female Berserker who has to flee Norway in 1883 for the American West in order to evade the strictures of the law long enough to seek guidance from a long lost uncle who just may be able to help her contain her instinct to mercilessly slaughter anyone who threatens her family.
Berserker combines all the best parts of Norse mythology, historical fiction, and a solid Western. Think Vikings meets True Grit.
Call me old fashioned, but I can think of no better source for objective criticism and advice than a Slavic trickster witch as old as time itself.
In all seriousness, this book is filled with advice that is so beautiful and simple it feels almost feral. I would give it to a distraught teenager, I would give it to a grieving spouse, I would give it to my own grandmother.
This book is like Eileen meets A Confederacy of Dunces meets Sleep Away Camp, set against the backdrop of a possibly haunted boys orphanage. Come for the overly articulate but woefully unaware teenage narrator, stay for the Devils Backbone meets Lord of the Flies vibe.
We are the duck and the mouse, the wolf is artificial scarcity resulting in desperate poverty, and the hunter is capitalism.
Give your child the gift of fun as revolutionary praxis this holiday season!
Join 12 year old Sunny Nwazue as she uncovers her hidden magical abilities, gets inducted into a secret society where knowledge truly is power, and boldly faces off against all of the dark creatures the spirit world throws at her. Oh, and eats lots of fufu and egusi soup. Honestly, what's a good fantasy series without incredible feasts?
Like if Leigh Bardugo rewrote Cormac McCarthy's "The Border Trilogy", replaced the horses with hippos, and it was just perpetually set in that hippo attack river scene from "Congo".
Like a Hayao Miyazaki movie on a bad acid trip. "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" meets "Resident Evil". In Jeff VanderMeer's mind, the wreckage of our civilization will be teeming with life that is both benign and threatening.
Spoiler: most of it is threatening.
There are so many reasons to love this series, from the bizarre and irreverent gallows humor to the amazing variety of obscure mythical creatures represented; the fact that romantic love is not the only kind of love displayed or sought by the main characters; the value placed on multi-generational and non-conventional family units; the fully conceptualized female and queer characters; the insane action sequences; the witty banter, OH, THE WITTY BANTER. Did I mention the heavily-researched-and-cleverly-modified-to-make-them-even-more-appealing-but-also-terrifying-obscure-mythical-creatures? Because there are a lot of them. They are legion.
An extremely approachable overview of Nordic economic policy and Scandinavian views on the social safety net, with an excellent if brief history of the labor struggles that got them there. Though it was especially painful to read during the opening days of 2017, it ultimately served as a tangible reminder of what is possible when a society chooses to embrace solidarity over selfishness.
By far my favorite guide to NW vegetable gardening (it's the only one I continue to use). It has easy to navigate month by month breakdowns of exactly what you should be doing and what things you're able to plant. For someone with an attention span like mine, it's a no-brainer.
Jessa Crispin is not interested in signing a no-strike clause with the patriarchy, and she's here to argue that YOU shouldn't be, either. In Why I Am Not a Feminist, she pulls no punches as she delivers a pitch perfect rebuttal to the uber-approachable milquetoast lifestyle feminism we've all become accustomed to hearing about.
It's hard to grasp just how important the public hospital system is until you read a book like "Bellevue". I was already in awe after reading about them implementing the country's first ambulance service, but as I read about their staff's utterly selfless response during the emergence of the AIDS crisis all I could do was sit there and shake my head. The staff accounts of responding to the September 11th attacks and of hauling buckets of fuel up to the 13th floor emergency generator during hurricane Sandy are gut wrenching. Read it.
Paul Offit wants people to understand that alternative medicine vs. conventional medicine is a false dichotomy - there is just medicine that works, and medicine that doesn't. In this fascinating overview of the massively lucrative and horrifyingly underregulated alternative health industry, Offit beseeches us to think critically, and provides ample evidence that lives depend on it.
Based on interviews the author conducted in an Italian refugee center, this timely book explores the excruciating decision to leave everything you know behind in the face of war. With beautiful illustrations and haunting prose, Sanna illuminates the terrifying journey that so many families are forced to make, and gracefully examines the heartbreak and fear experienced by families who are told "We don't want you here.".
This is Sadie being a mermaid. This is Sadie hiding in a cardboard box. This is Sadie being a hero. This is Sadie picking out her favorite dress. This is Sadie being a boy raised by wolves.
This is a childrens book about a girl who does WHATEVER SHE WANTS. Read it to your little ones. Read it again, and again, and again.
This book SLAYED ME. Never before have I seen the mundane details of everyday life illustrated so lovingly. I already bought a copy for my nephew, who is too young to read, let alone appreciate the subtle humor in this book. It is just that good.
It's hard to describe how much of an impact this series had on me as a young adult. In what is often considered a retelling of "Paradise Lost", Pullman envelopes us in sparkling, luminescent language and plunges us into a world so lush and intricate that by the end it is painful to leave. Do yourself a solid and just read the whole series in one gorgeous volume.
Deciding to have children is completely and without qualification one of the most consequential, life altering decisions you can make. In most cultures, it is also blithely assumed that all people, particularly women, want to do it. In this fantastic collection of essays, 16 writers from all over the spectrum share why they chose not to.
Do you ever wish that woodland creatures such as badgers and rabbits and boars could talk and bake pastries and have a tea party with you?
"We need to see abortion as an urgent practical decision that is just as moral as the decision to have a child - indeed, sometimes more moral.," Katha Pollitt writes. "Abortion is part of being a mother and of caring for children, because part of caring for children is knowing when it's not a good idea to bring them into the world.". You will not find a more compassionately written or meticulously researched book about reproductive rights.
"The Swan Riders" picks up shortly after "The Scorpion Rules" ends, and as a series it continues to be some of the finest, most thought provoking science fiction I've read. Erin Bow explores the dichotomy of being both human and AI, and deftly navigates the politics of an insurgency that arises from the dispossession of both bodies and minds. This series is a perfect rebuttal to all parents that think science fiction or fantasy turns kids' brains into mush.
It's always nerve wracking to start reading the follow up to a book that you truly adore. The fear that it won't meet the high standards set by the first one can feel crushing. Well, you don't need to worry about this book. Everything is there. The subterfuge, the razor sharp wit and dialogue, the sweet, hard earned revenge. My heart was in my throat the whole time.
This novel holds the prestigious honor of being the only book that ever caused me to have a nosebleed, while reading it in a very public place, no less. I can't say I've had such a physical reaction to any other book.
Best read on a canoe trip.
Lauren Beukes has perfectly woven themes of femicide, time travel, and the occult into one of the grimmest and most relevant thrillers I've come across. Really, this book is SO smart and SO creepy. Want a terrifying detective book that also examines how our culture values women? This is it.
Evie Wyld's writing about rural Australia is so lush and raw that you can smell the breeze that whips through the eucalyptus groves, and hear the butcherbird's call. The shredded internal terrain that her characters traverse is written with such astute empathy that by the middle of the novel you begin to physically feel the gaze of monsters both real and imagined. You begin to wonder what could be lurking at the edge of that eldritch sugarcane field.
It started a decade ago, a pandemic that's killing adults and causing children to be born as human/animal hybrids. Gus, a young boy/deer, lives a simple life in a secluded cabin with his dad. Until a day arrives when Gus must put his trust in a stranger in order to survive, and sets out across this great and terrifying nation of ours. Because kids like Gus now have a price on their head.
Dustin Nguyen's illustrations swim through frequencies, and Jeff Lemire writes characters that will make your heart fold in on itself. "Descender" is an epic, gut wrenching saga for the ages. It is stunning.
Jeff Lemire's graphic novels move me to tears with such regularity that I'd be embarrassed were it not for the fact that he is a GENIUS who exudes the kind of empathy we should all aspire to. Plutona combines all the best elements of "Freaks and Geeks", "Stand by Me", and your favorite childhood superhero series.
I was sold on this series as soon as I saw who wrote it, but Cliff Chiang's illustrations definitely sealed the deal. Imagine "Stand by Me" with an all girl cast, throw in "Saga" and some time travel, and you end up with a brilliant coming of age story that begins in suburbia, but looks like it has some very big plans...
This book is textured by the same kind of desperate, isolated atmosphere that you find in movies like "The Proposition" by Nick Cave or in paintings like "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth. Throughout all there runs a deep vein of understated, abject horror. In empathizing with the characters I found myself alternating between feeling unclean, and fearsome.
This series sucked me in much the same way that Harry Potter did when I was 11, except with more swearing and dead people. Do you ever see me zoning out at the info desk? I'm imagining what kind of were-creature I would be, and it's because of these books.
Deconnick and De Landro have created a brutal, unapologetic mashup of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the 1975 dystopian sci-fi action film “Rollerball”. They have taken the struggle of marginalized people everywhere, that daily struggle to insist that others recognize our humanity, and channeled it into the cerebral, violent feminist exploitation comic of my dreams. Buy it for the 16 year old girl in YOUR life.
This story (based on a true one) about a 13 year old girl living off the grid in the Oregon woods with a man who may or may not be her father is both deeply unsettling and absolutely stunning. Written with a perfect mixture of restraint and bluntness, it manages to be both a heartbreaking portrayal of a relationship based on utter dependence, and a tribute to the grit and gristle of teenage girls.
A czarist Russia influenced mashup of the Golden Compass, Ocean's Eleven, and Peaky Blinders.
This gang of cutthroat teenage criminals will sneak, steal, and sabotage their way into your heart. And maybe your wallet. Probably your wallet.
Some of the most beautiful, intricate, and sophisticated science fiction I've read in years. Set against the backdrop of an imperialist, rapacious empire, Leckie forces her readers to consider what it would be like to inhabit hundreds of bodies simultaneously, and what it would feel like to suddenly have that vast consciousness reduced down to one.
The long awaited sequel to "The Rook" is finally here, and I have to say, well played, O'Malley. I came for the witty dialogue and the hilarious supernatural bureaucracy, but I stayed for the stomach churning medical implants and the bathtub full of ectoplasm.
X-Files meets James Bond meets the more bureaucratic elements of Harry Potter. Eh, maybe with a little League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Rick & Morty thrown in there. I could not stop reading, not even after laughing so hard that I choked while riding the bus.
This simply yet beautifully illustrated book is essentially the story of a clever girl who uses her ingenuity and crafting skills to overcome seasonal affective disorder.
It. Is. Great.
Three small-town witches band together to stop a corporate big-box store from demolishing the market square in order to build a new shopping complex, because only they know it will open a gateway to the netherworld.
Oh Eileen. You are antisocial, you are untrustworthy, you are selfish and self-hating at the same time. You are obsessive, you are put-upon. The way you live your life makes my skin crawl.
So why do I love you so much?
The last sentence of this book gave me shivers. In addition, it contains a short chapter written from the perspective of a small bat that is so achingly, hauntingly beautiful it made my heart hurt.
And now I want to go to Nigeria, but I think I'll stay away from the water.
Ann Leckie writes sci-fi with the same sense of justice as Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin, with the addition of action sequences and space battles that I can only pray I will one day get to see on the big screen. Already read and loved the first two, but concerned that Leckie won't stick the landing? Don't worry, she does.
This is an epic and eloquent story about a chronically underestimated boy, a fierce bandit girl, a brave young wolf, and an ancient feral magic. Kelly Barnhill writes about magic in a way that I've never seen before, and it is utterly spellbinding.
Hands down the best writing I've ever found on hoarding. Written with respect, empathy, and wit, this book is a must read for anyone affected by hoarding or merely interested in the pull that physical objects have on all of us. Frost and Steketee obviously hold their patients in high regard, and it shows in the frank self-examinations that make up so much of this phenomenal book.
Jesse Bering has written possibly the best book about "deviant" human sexuality that I've ever read. Copiously researched, scientifically solid, and written in eminently accessible (and entertaining) language, this book is a must read for anyone who has ever felt even a twinge of shame about sex. Yes, that means you.
Snowman spends his days remembering a world dominated by multinational corporations. Ever since the pandemic his only companions are dangerous genetically engineered hybrid animals, and a tribe of herbivorous humans created in a lab that look to him for guidance.
"Who can say I'm not a good mother? Who can say I don't read the subject heading in the books? The HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CHILD IF THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WITH ANY PRIMAL KNOWLEDGE AROUND TO GUIDE YOU GUIDES. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THERE IS NO RECEIVED WISDOM WHATSOEVER. I keep them in an out-of-the-way drawer, like porn."
Smart. Scathing. Terrifying. A must read.
Possibly one of the best portrayals of schizophrenia that I've ever seen. (At least from someone who isn't schizophrenic.) This story of two step-siblings, both of whom are dealing with mental illness, is as frustrating and heartbreaking as they come. Channelled through the prism of Powell's stark yet smothering illustrations, this book is perfect.
Though it is a slim volume, I recommend resisting the urge to read this book in one sitting. Originally written as individual arguments, Solnit's essays are a pleasure to read and sift through. Her writing about the silencing of women is sure to fill some readers with a kind of nauseous recognition, but in the end Solnit's is a voice that lights up the darkness.
Having to patiently endure your child's potty talk phase is agonizing enough, but there is nothing worse than UNINFORMED POTTY TALK. Shinta Cho believes that knowledge is power, and that it should be conveyed via ultra-cute drawings.
As a former pre-school teacher, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of teaching your child how their body actually works. With clear language and adorable illustrations, this book is ingenius in its simplicity.
Carol Ruckdeschel is a woman who has never allowed her heart to be crushed into submission, who faces off with powerful people that seek to desecrate Cumberland Island, and who refuses to let their success echo through her compliance.
A totally gripping, intelligently written sci-fi police procedural/mystery that explores the themes of physical disability and bodily autonomy. I cannot recommend this enough. Never read sci-fi or Scalzi? Start with this.
Lydia Millet notices everything. Her tersely cogent observations about our culture stopped me in my tracks over and over again as I read this darkly hilarious book. I want to be her best friend.
This book is pithy, satisfyingly stressful, and has made me want to study math and chemistry more than any class or lecture I've ever attended. Read it, then have your kid read it.
You've done it again, McBride. I thought I'd reached my snarky/irreverent/cleverly-modified-to-meet-my-bizarre-tastes magical creature quota after your second book, BUT NO! You had this hidden up your sleeve just waiting to distract me from daily responsibilities...
A richly written heroine's journey. Employing beautiful, exhuberant language, Valente introduces us to a girl who builds a ship, saves a boy, frees a dragon, and liberates a world from the tyranny of a despotic queen. ALL children must read this.
A compellingly written, painstakingly researched history of one of the most ubiquitous weapons ever made. A fascinating comparison of Soviet vs. American approaches to weapons development, and their very human consequences.
Do you like witty banter, scathing pop culture references, and vengeful supernatural entities with both class and style? Of course you do, read this book.