Sofia is a lover of essays and coming of age stories, a sucker for hopeless romantic protagonists, and a whistler of tunes. When not humming whilst hastily jaunting about the store, Sofia can be found wearing overalls, pondering on a park bench, curating playlists for the vibes, and not following recipes while baking.
Recommended to me by two of our best booksellers (thank you, Wes; thank you, Emily), this is the first story collection I ever fell in love with. Lorrie's grief is heavy and familiar with a willingness to find relief and comfort in growing in and out of love and in the universality of death and loss. Allow her to bring solace to an achy heart and you'll want to swim in her wit and drown in her sorrows forever.
A most comprehensive and truly sweet memoir, manifesto, and ode to a movement, a genre, the Cure's origins, and Goth music and culture as a whole. Goth is and always has been more than cobwebs and heavy synths and black eyeliner and screamo and religious motifs and ethereal motions, and is a recognition and admiration of a darkness that's always there. It's a wondrous attempt to find, create, and give meaning to pre-established invitations of anti-authority, etc. from punk, etc. Get in the car kids—we're blasting 'Bela Lugosi Is Dead' and getting ice cream on the way to the cemetery.
Bewitchingly claustrophobic and uncomfortable, wrapped in a sensuous blanket of sophisticated and eerie prose. Nothing felt real yet Bernstein's perception of the most basic human emotions, most remarkably hate, is simultaneously stunning, horrific, and oddly the most real thing I've ever read.
Utterly charming and simply sweet. A wonderful tale of the joy of reading and the community found among the shelves of well-loved and oft neglected books.
The beauty of this little book is that you'll be confused as you are comforted by Lispector's dense but sensical ramblings and yearning akin to no other. Clarice's mind is a mystery but a beautiful one at that.
Looking to have your mind shaken and soothed simultaneously by sheer beauty and complexity and care for every word and sentence? Look no further! Shapland seamlessly explores poisonous toxins, toxic white womanhood, the safety of solitude, motherhood, queerness, capitalism, and her own family's medical misgivings. It's a treatise on being human and being realistically cynical in a world filled with poison, and yet she isn't afraid to point out that there's a beauty within it all despite the sheer shit of things.
A tender tribute to love, grief, Blackness, family, dancing, cooking, hip hop, jazz, and home! Nelson builds crescendos of self contemplation amidst moments of forced reckonings that embody the uncertainty and wonder of growing up, falling in love, starting anew, being lost, losing people, knowing home, and upending one's soul. It's not until the last few pages that my heart fully wraps around the words I've been given and from there I sit in awe of the small world into which I was invited.
In her journal turned memoir, Ernaux reminds us of the love that lingers and the bittersweetness of being lost and continuously coming into oneself. In classic Annie fashion, Getting Lost is unflinchingly vulnerable and if you're anything like me, you'll devour it in less than 24 hours because you simply know from the first page that she'll punch you in the gut with the last page, and she sure did, so thank you, Annie. She's a goddamned writer, she's a lover, she's a mess like all of us — she's Annie!!!
At once a lovely little friends to enemies to friends to lovers, and a tender reckoning with grief, trauma, and prejudice. I love these characters and their friendships and their flaws and their growth. I wanted to eat every meal they ate, drink every cocktail they shared at their quasi-group-therapy-
speakeasy-get-togethers, and just exist within the chaos and the calm. Hug your friends, tell your loved ones you love them, confess your feelings to your crush, trust your gut or heart or brain or whatever, go to therapy, and read this book (in no particular order).
I hate scary things. I don't get why one would choose to feel fear. But this little book got me. I was mesmerized by the discomfort these stories brought me, in small doses and somehow overwhelmingly. She leans into the eeriness of the everyday and the miniscule uncanniness that lingers in her juicy and transfixing prose. Dávila may have made me less fearful and hesitant of being afraid.
This book is messy, Maggie is messy, we're all messy. Maggie doesn't claim to know motherhood, but actively searches for how to fit such a role within one's ever fluid identity. She becomes a mother, just as she continues becoming a wife, a stepmother, a writer, a scholar with each sentence on the page. She has a special way of finding the role of love in sadness, confusion, crisis, identity, etc. that simply breaks and mends my heart. This is a beautiful ode to the queerness of self, relationships, and family; how to navigate change amidst permanence and love; and how to replace what craves replacing.
This is a stunning collection of stories, the first few being quite slow and lyrical with the last three standing out as simply bizarre but so, so good. It's a remarkable exploration of xenophobia, feminism, violence, and social hierarchies that will make you uncomfortable, emotional, and simply stunned--especially "Dead Men Don't Rape," "Invocation," and "Instructions for the Eye." I've never read anything quite like this with a gorgeous translation to match.
Oh, this book is so, so good. It is no plot, just vibes to the utmost extent. It is sardonic and uncomfortable while still delivering incredibly juicy, gorgeous, heartfelt prose of unrequited love and the ickiness/beauty of being nineteen. Elif and her protagonist Selin will teach you how to like and dislike the Beatles, how to ache with emotions, and how to accept just how insignificant your actions are in the grand scheme of things. I love this book. So much.
This is one of those rare books that lingers for months after reading. Written in the second person (!!!) and full of absolutely gorgeous, lyrical prose that reminds me of both James Baldwin and Zadie Smith, it follows the relationship of two young black artists as they live and create art together and individually in London. It's a beautiful dance of a book, singing praises of the music and art that inspires each characters' lives while not shying away from the impact of race and class on each. I will read anything Caleb Azumah Nelson writes forever and ever. You'll be forever changed if you do the same.
This book is nothing short of striking. With rambling and fidgety prose, Brown conveys the experience of a black woman in the predominantly white spaces of her workplace, her upper class boyfriend's family's garden party, and her everyday life in London. It's a short but powerful story of agency, race, gender, illness, survival, and time. Get ready to devour each and every sentence.
This book is simultaneously uncomfortable and endearing, remaining in an amorphous zone of being content and discontent and constantly questioning what it means to see and to be seen. Dusapin writes of the acquaintance between a young receptionist at a tourist hotel on the border between North and South Korea and a visiting French graphic novelist. As they explore the area and grow close, the distance between them remains. It is slow, uneventful, and absolutely gorgeous. Dusapin's words and Higgins's ensnaring translation will leave you grasping for more until the very last sentence.
This is one of the wackiest, most elusive, and most bizarre books I've encountered in a while. The protagonist, whose first name remains unknown, pretends to be pregnant at work to be relieved of the mindless tasks her male coworkers blatantly assume she'll do: making coffee, distributing snacks, cleaning, etc. Committing to the ruse, she gains a new sense of identity, tracking her body's changes, eating for the baby, going to aerobics for the baby...but what baby??? You'll be confused and delighted until the very last week of the pregnancy and the very last page of this book.
In four essays totaling less than 200 pages, Febos writes of "death, trauma, love, loss, recovery." She advocates for writing about the body and the self, for writing sex scenes without rules of taboo words and shame, and for writing as an act of confession and reckoning with lived experience and trauma. This is not a memoir or just advice on craft, but a beautiful reflection of identifying as a writer.
This book is like a warm hug, a cup of tea, and a slice of freshly baked banana bread in the middle of a snow storm. With just as much charm, if not more, as her debut The Charm Offensive, Cochrun has written a love story that deals with dysfunctional family dynamics, the fake-fiancé-who-turns-out-to-be-the-brother-of-the-woman-you-fell-in-love-with-last-Christmas, relatable discussions of mental health and identity, and overall Portland energy. The vibes are wonderful, it's lovely and queer, it's my favorite romance that I've read this year!
Srinivasan has written a moving and reflective exploration of some of the biggest topics within feminism today, with nuance and great consideration of multiple points of view. Her analyses of incel culture, the rights of sex workers, pornography, the relationships between students and professors, and the role of intersectional thinking within each are provocative and thorough. You will continue to ponder each of these essays long after you've finished the collection.
This book feels transfixing in the way fluorescent convenience store lights are, with a low-grade eerie buzzing. The writing is slow yet staccato, but at less than 200 pages it'll fly by. It's uncomfortable yet an enthralling take on how comfortable work, routine, and capitalism can be and how much a job can control your very being.
Each sentence in this novel is crafted to imperfect perfection. Smith writes like a modernist (think Forster with a bit of Woolf) with a layer of tomfoolery atop heaviness and betrayal. This will soothe as much as it will leave you with so many questions (in the absolute best way).
In less than 100 pages, Smith continues her exploration of her childhood, grief, Rimbaud, art, and love seen in her other books, now partially through the lens of late 2020. It's lyrical and beautiful, as Smith's words always are. And it fits in your pocket!
This ALMOST made me want to watch reality dating shows but something tells me I'll be disappointed after reading this. It's quite sweet and, as you can imagine, quite charming. Charlie and Dev are both sweethearts in their own ways, with a handful of strong women surrounding them. If you're looking for a queer love story shining a light on the impact of mental illness in relationships and the everyday, look no further!
These essays, written between 1968 and 2000, highlight what made Didion one of a kind. "Why I Write," "On Being Unchosen by the College of One's Choice," and "Some Women" are individually phenomenal but together within the collection encapsulate Didion's simultaneously critical and caring tone. She's no-nonsense, she's cool, she writes each word with precision and purpose, she's Joan!!!
This book was recommended to me by a friend and now I wish to recommend it to all of you, friends! Shire's words are monumental, compelling, heartbreaking, and simply incredible. You may need a moment to stare at a wall, in silence, after finishing this. Read this then give it to a friend to read as well.
Do you love video games? No? Not me either, but I still loved this book! This is a book about having someone to play with and a recognition that the child in us often needs a pat on the back. Zevin takes you on waves of emotion as you learn to love Sam, Sadie, and Marx as they come of age into often unlikable 20something year olds. Zevin explores grief, family, friendship, love, childhood, parenthood, fame, Shakespeare, and so much more. It's heavy, it's emotional, it's frustrating, it's endearing, and it's a joy to read. Good luck, happy gaming, and happy reading!