Bookseller at Lake Forest Park
Courtney is a waffle enthusiast who spends her time serenading her dog with Taylor Swift, crying in the dark over poetry, and reminiscing on her past success as a rapper.
Emotionally dense, but lyrically feather light, Vuong uses classical mythological references, multiple ethnic identities and the tense details of modern life to present a collection that is rich with emotion. He submerges you with his family's experience with the Vietnam War and it's connection to his queer identity in a way that feels incredibly personal and deeply relatable. The intesity of these poems consistently made me feel as if I had the wind knocked out of me, and left me with an ache in my chest long after I finished.
Told through the residents of district "Beyonce's Thighs", women learn to live in a dystopian/utopian world without men. They explore the ruins of blockbuster, master female pregnancy, deal with the the struggles of unrequited love, and an elder explains life "pre-extinction" through "That's What She Said" jokes. This is a sweet, silly compilation that's sometimes hilarious, other times poignant and thoughtful, and not to mention, it's the funniest most intriguing thing to ever utter the name "Paul Blart"
This is a novel that is hard to explain. While it is the most melancholy dystopian I've ever read, it's also so much more than that. It's a zombie story, an office satire, a tale of a worldwide contagion, a millenial think piece and an immigrant narrative all rolled into one. It's sharply deadning, explansively clastrophobic and suffocatingly consumptive. It's a lot and you absolutely need to read it
This is hands down one of the strangest books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It's a funny, disturbing, confusing and down right weird story told through the eyes of an over-the-top dramatic narrator who undermines her credibility from the start. It's a campy and quirky horror story that will have you laughing and mumbling "WTF" to yourself until the very end.
This collection is slippery, atmospheric and delightfully horific. Blending folklore with reality, Johnson weaves together common themes of desire and otherness that leaves you with a strange eerie feeling long after you've finished. Come for the stor of the house that fallsin love with the occupant, but you'll stay for the writing, which feels like a thick fog. It hangs over everything, hazy, gray and beautifully cryptic.
With the urgent force of a rallying cry, Smith documents the many external and internal forces that imperil black bodies. His pain from his experience as an HIV-positive, queer black man is palpable, and every poem brims with anger, regret and unfathomable sadness. Take your time with each poem, for every one is rich, complex and worthy of re-reading.
This is a great love epic stripped of all its finery, down to its bare bones. Shraya weaves a story of love and lust with Hindu mythology to create a story that is as emotionally raw and fierce as it is tender, reading it is like unwrapping layers and layers of delicious fruit.
This is a simple, bittersweet and lonely story about 3 people who love each other in achingly beautiful ways. Who are sometimes flawed and unhappy and afraid to grasp at the happiness that's within their reach. It's about small kindessess, first love and the complexities and impossibilities of it when the universe is laid out before you.
In a nutshell: "It was beautiful and occassionally, it hurt"
Jonny is a 2-spirit indigiqueer who has a week to return home for his step-father's funeral. Told through a non-linear timeline that weaves together a coming of age story through stories of family and tradition, trauma and survival. It's a dark-tender hearted vision of indigenous life full of raw grit, violence and ample bodily fluids that will leave you on the edge of uncomfortable. Whitehead is a master of words whose command of language will leave you aching for more.
Absolutely searing book of poetry with a fine eye toward metaphor and repetition. Díaz writes like a necromancer, an augurer, a sorceress - a conjurer. She combines the mythic with sharp realities of her Mojave family life and her brother's meth addiction - uncomfortable but luxurious, vibrant and tragic, erotic and linguistically Baroque.
This vulnerable autobiographical manga is tremendously moving, honestly beautiful, tragically funny and surprisingly unerotic. The way Nagata views pain, expectations and adulthood as she learns to cope with her sexuality as well as her depression is what makes this raw and messy story all around remarkable and painfully relatable. This isn't a pretty story, but it is worth it.
This book is nonstop shenanigans and I adored every page. It tackles everything controversial for its time, piracy, infidelity, homosexuality, but the most wild...a brilliant female. It does have its heartbreaking moments, but at its core it's an adventure story, a love story, and a story of growth and acceptance. Most of all, it has a queer protagonist with a happy ending, and that means the most.
This collection of short stories feels the way I think epiphanies are supposed to feel. Haunting, gorgeous, and bizarre, these inventive stories are sensual and creepy. Machado combines magical realism, body horror, and feminism to create an unflinching look at the way s the world debases and abuses the female body and our relationship to our own bodies.
Mothers an daughters and daughters of daughters. This intricate memoir explores generations of women and their complex and intricate relationship with on another. Above all though, it's about the fallibility of memory. How conflicting memories and perceptions of events can produce trauma that lasts for generations. And what it means fora story to be real.
A primarily silent graphic novel that is profoundly moving. The lack of color and text just add to the raw emotions portrayed. You don't read this as much as you experience it. Take the time and let it affect you. Pay attention to what's really happening in each frame and it will gradually work its way into your heart and mind. It's dark and bleak and savagely human.
For fans of Roxane Gay and Lindy West, look no further! Irby has an ability to confront tough issues head on with dark humor, genuine pathos and real pain. Her way of making everything she writes seem both deeply personal and urgently relevant to understanding each other is a talent most of us would never dare get to. You'll laugh, you'll snort, you'll tear up, and you'll enjoy it.
I went through quite the emotional journey reading this. I laughed. I cried. I roared and then fell to the ground overwhelmed with love. The magnificently bright illustrations just farther the simple truth that life is more meaningful and enjoyable if you treat others with kindess and respect. Out of which beautiful friendships bloom and last forever and ever, helping you become and grow into a better dino.
First of all, the art alone is beautiful - Ferris turns the interior of a notebook into a lush bic-pen-crosshatched explosion of emotional expressive art. The narrator/artist is Karen, a ten year-old wolf girl. She's Harriet the Spy meets Anne Frank mashed with Maurice Sendack. She weaves a complicated story of family secrets, wartime tragedies, burgeoning sexuality, the social unrest of the 60's and the difficultly of growing up weird through the eyes of a character who doesn't understand it all.
With her debut poetry collection Shraya applies her keen intelligence and awareness of her positionality to white privilege and systematic racism. Shraya pushes past the notion that racism is anything other than commonplace. It's multi-layered and thought-provoking, as well as imaginative and mind-opening. This combination makes this an unflinching, timely, and necessary read. Keep this as an antidote to the legion of white male poets on your syllabus.
A heartbreaking and intense memoir about Conley's experience in a 12-step ex-gay conversion program and more deeply, his knotty, complicated relationship with his parents. Conley's deeply embedded trauma from the shame-based dogma in his father's ministry and the sorrow he experienced in conversion therapy is both infuriating to behold and beautiful to read. He holds true to a non-condemning world where no one is demonized nor are they a saint.
I love this book and I love Lindy West. Throughout this book she tackles subjects like sexism in comedy, body image, internet trolls, abortion and fat shaming with such a perfect combination of humor, empathy and wisdom. Her ability to use humor as a tool when discussing such heavy topics is really what makes it such an unforgettable read. Lindy West is a national treasure we don't deserve.
Citizen is a completely necessary and remarkable read. It documents racial aggressions from the smallest remarks that propogate systemic racism to the constant racism Serena Williams faces, to the killing of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. She does this with elegance but also with rage and resignation. A must-read in today's world.
Siken is so beyond talented with words, this entire collection is a work of pure art. It had soul and there's something deeply terrifying about it. I love the way Skien lays his words oiut and I love the words themselves. There's sadness, self-pity and a tremor of anxiety. Among the greater story of terror, there are themes of panic, self-loathing and my favorite, unrequited love. I felt it for hours afterwards, the love, the pain, the violence, the darkness. This is how poetry is supposed to make you feel. "Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us. These bodies possessed by light. / Tell me we'll never get used to it."
It may be incredibly cliché to say you don't choose the people you love, but when Nelson starts off that she didn't choose to love the color blue, I couldn't help but agree and overthink this point until I got a migraine. Nelson made me love blue and all the things that make me blue. Days after finishing I saw blue in all its different shades everywhere. I saw it in shirts and in eyes and I learned to love all the ways to say blue. What it all comes down to is that if I could marry a book, I would've already changed my name to Mrs. Bluets.