Kate loves to read fiction and is drawn to excellent storytelling, history, and social issues. In between novels, she likes to read non-fiction and has a particular interest in nature & science writing, theory, criticism, social justice and memoirs.
From Thread to Needle is a beautifully detailed look at dozens of contemporary embroidery artists. The high-quality photos make the book a tactile experience while the artist profiles are smart and evocative. This is perhaps my most treasured art book in my collection and has yet to make it to the shelf because I can't seem to close it.
Another brilliant book by one of the most underrated & masterful writers of our time.
As I read Bailey’s Cafe, I had no idea where all of these strange, tragic, and dark stories were headed; but rest assured, this novel is complete.
Gloria Naylor found a spell-binding way to interlace the disparate characters that crossed paths at the unlikely legend: Bailey’s Cafe.
This is a truly compelling novel in which Carla Guelfenbein expertly weaves together the life of a famous writer with a chilling mystery.
I know a staff pick when I read it… This book was GREAT! For those who’d like to take a trip through the history of civilization, through the world’s visual relics and artifacts, this book is for you! Great Read for Art Admirers.
I read this book when I was covered neck to knee in hives and a rash that persisted for nine weeks. I had begun reading the Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn and quickly realized that, although I wanted to be immersed in a complex plot, I needed something a bit more meditative at that time.I picked up the advanced reader's copy of Luis Alberto Urrea's House of Broken Angels and his storytelling and characters immediately resonated with me. This is a dazzling family saga that unfolds in the midst of a funeral, a birthday, and the ruminative last days of Big Angel's (the patriarch's) life.
This memoir is both funny and intense. In tackling social and personal issues, Gabrielle Union is blunt and biting. I was impressed with her ability to shed light on darkness.
This story sank deep into my bones as it unfolded. I was haunted by the ghostly spirit of the Deep South that shaped a family bound by blood, history, and loss. Jesmyn Ward smoothly conveys the harrowing details of each character’s experience with an imaginative clarity. I loved this book.
Alcohol, painted skies, and wild weather set the stage for a bizarre and exquisite journey set in historic South America. The title and synopsis are deceiving. Ema the Captive is a dedicated and deliberate story of ceremony and freedom. Every time I read Aira, I am sure to find myself living in a painting.
Haunting. Han Kang conquers a plot so eerily close to home -- and yet so foreign, it feels unexpected. As a visual person, the imagery in this novel nearly brought me to tears.
This book is at once beautiful and difficult ... to swallow.
The thing I love most about Zadie Smith is the way her brain works. However, reading her novels, I had always felt her writing was perhaps too dense. Then I read Swing Time.
The complex themes interweave with an intriguing plot about a woman always on the verge of finding herself in the worlds of media, travel, and dance. The story unfolds with motion and left me with a feeling of completion throughout.
I really liked this unique collection of short stories. Heyman explores humanity through art, science, love, loss, aging, and relationships. The topics are very well-researched and the dynamic characters have soul. Each story is smart, raunchy, and meaningful. Unlike anything I’ve ever read.
A poignant portrayal of a teenage girl in a small American Midwestern town. The unnamed narrator works at “Chapters” bookstore, goes to the diner with friends, and makes sense of strange nights, awkward relationships, and growing up. Mairead Case’s writing dazzles from beginning to end.
The story unfolds on a family farm in Iowa. Land and memory shape a timeless tale that had me entranced. I was left saying: “Jane Smiley. I can’t believe she went there.”
Reading The Sellout was like experiencing the making of public art.
I deeply enjoyed Beatty’s refreshing perspective on history in this boldly-realized novel.
Song of Solomon is timeless in its meditations on race and violence, relationships, love, and struggle. Deeply moving and culturally relevant, Morrison’s story is embedded with a historical narrative that still lives on. This book is fearless in its purity, exposing darkness and corruption with vivid imagery and emotional depth. Song of Solomon is an essential and significant piece of literature. Read this.
Jesmyn Ward immortalizes the deep South amid the tension of Hurricane Katrina. Told from the gaze of a blossoming young woman, Esch narrates a story of motherhood, betrayal, poverty, and survival.
A mesmerizing work of historical fiction, family lineage and brilliant story-telling. Luis Alberto Urrea's tale is full of life, color and soul.
An albino hunchback dwarf, a seductress with a tail, siamese twins, and a boy with fins all intertwine in this novel of freaks, family, obscenity, the beautiful, the ugly, rivalry, and LOVE.
Dunn's tale is dark and raw, pure and empathetic in its grotesque examination of strange love.
This account of Edward Abbey's season in the desert of southern Utah is exquisite. Vivid imagery and memory come together through the poetic gaze of a lone ranger in the wilderness to make for a rugged and contemplative journey.
Abbey's writing mirrors the desert landscape: unforgiving and elegant at once.
Witty, educational, funny, and intriguing. Roach elaborates on scientific curiosities with style and humor.
Also recommended: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.
A tightly knitted collection of stories that explore love. Dialogue intertwines with plot and character development to display the complex ways in which we communicate. Junot Diaz is raw, unapologetic, ugly, honest and beautiful in each work.
Inga Muscio is clever and entertaining in her elaboration on the cunt. It is an empowering and intriguing examination of the female body through a personal and cultural lens. Her manifesto is revolutionary in its bold and provocative declarations. This is the text that made me a self-defined feminist.
An intimate examination of relationships & culture in this beautifully crafted work of short stories that focus on the dichotomy between Africa and America.
An astounding novel from Argentina that is a meditation on the beautiful and grotesque in nature, the art of landscape painting, and one experience in a man's life that became a lightning rod for inspiration.