I love both fiction and nonfiction. Magical realism, secret histories, horror, the morbid, and the macabre are particular areas of fascination.
A fun and thoughtful adventure with a whole new kind of vampire, this book kept me emotionally invested and wide-eyed in suspense. The title and cover art led me to believe it was going to be a lighter book than it was, but, while funny, there are some heavy and dark themes here.
A speculative, historical, dystopian mystery. This book may be the first and last of a very specific microgenre. Campisi creates a world that's just slightly skewed to the right of real 16th century Britain, so most of the characters and setting withh meslightly familiar, but twisted in a way to reveal the ludicrousness of real history. It takes a great talent to make an illiterate preteen with little compassion for outsiders and who's never been up a flight of stairs so relatable.
Writing Alabama from the perspective of a total outsider (a German transplant) is a stroke of genius, and paints the strangeness of the landscape in dire, foreboding detail. The themes are heavy and dark, even while the teenage characters feel like they're being innocently moved by forces beyond themselves.This is a troubling portrait of young masculinity.
An interesting snapshot of a group of extremely moving and charming individuals united by a common goal and passion. As someone who isn't from Compton and wasn't aware of its agricultural roots, this book painted a fascinating picture of a lesser known corner of Compton life.
A coming-of-age adventure set in a version of the Everglades that is always on the verge of teetering into a dark fairy tale.The Bigtree family will charm you even while some of their practices repulse you. A great read if you liked Geek Love.
Written in a style that effectively puts you in the early 18th century but is also inviting and accessible, this book travels through several different moral subjects (ego, conformity, cruelty, social performance, etc) on the way to its conclusion. Weird and thought-provoking.
A western with a twist. As violent and tense as you'd expect, but also surprisingly queer and tender— all rendered with the same jagged beauty that makes the wide-open West.
It took weeks to shake the feeling that this book left me with, and each time I tossed my mind back to it for another pass, another layer of the story revealed itself to me. These characters breathe, bleed, create beauty in their world, and sometimes disappoint you. You won't be done with them at the end of this novel; they'll take up residence in the back of your mind.
This book is damned funny and readable, against steep odds. Rarely has such an unrelatable and unlikeable narrator been so compelling. A book about popping pills and sleeping for days shouldn't be a page-turner, but Moshfegh pulls it off. I found myself laughing out loud during each scene with Dr. Tuttle (the worst psychiatrist in history), and wondering seriously about who deserves sympathy and whether sympathy should even be a limited resource.
Funny, relatable, and incredibly endearing, you'll soon find yourself deciding who in your friend group is a Scout, Andy, Ari, or Gwen!
The dread of transgression against unnatural forces builds slowly and deliciously in these two stories set in full-color worlds.
The Twisted Ones is a gripping adventure story with an extremely likable and believable main character and a dog as a really well-realized central character. The mythology is really interesting and just vague enough to allow your imagination to fill in the blanks with whatever creeps you out.
This was a fun, fast read. The author combines a handful of different familiar genres, settings, and characters to create something new. The two main characters are both evil to the bone, but their sympathetic origins and seemingly genuine affection for one another will have you cheering for the bad guy. It would be a perfect quick Halloween read or a palette cleanser after something more serious.
A fun, gorey adventure through a familiar dystopia that is part Metalocalypse and part They Live. In contrast to basically every rock n’ roll fiction trope, the female protagonist is middle aged, never defined in terms of her attractiveness or lack thereof, isn’t driven by love or obsession with a male character, and is never threatened with sexualized violence. Meanwhile, there’s also enough knowledgeable metal band namedropping to amuse real fans.
Gina Apostol presents this novel in a way that feels as though you’re wearing blinders and can only see what is directly in front of you- up until the end, when your view expands and the separate pieces all click together. Sometimes it takes you a moment to figure out who you are, which smartly highlights the commonalities of the seemingly disparate characters. This story is a fascinating exploration of the construction of history and the context from which we view it.
There is nothing quite so unsettling as the ease with which Nabokov places you inside the perspective of an absolute monster. You’re trapped inside the evil, unable to look away. This is not an easy read, but it’s a rewarding one, and one you’ll have a hard time putting down.
Witness the invention of science fiction! Not just terrifying, but deeply tragic and moving. Posits questions that are still relevant, about the boundaries of science and how we define humanity.
You say you know angst? Now imagine that angst stretching on into a potential eternity. Rice’s vampires are beautiful, sensuous, and sad to their deepest core. It’s hard not to fall in love with them even when you are pretty sure that they may well be evil. Highly recommended for strange and unusual teens and adults who used to be strange and unusual teens.
A wonderful read for any age, and possibly a humorous way to take the edge out of death anxiety for teens and pre-teens. Doughty shows off both her trademark knowledge and cheekiness, resulting in a book that might make you see death as just another funny part of life.
I was so pleased with this author's ability to turn my vague parental goals and philosophies into actionable plans. I'm making my husband read it, too!
These stories start in a familiar, concrete place and then snake imperceptibly into the fantastic. Were you the weird kid at your small high school? Have you ever watched a police standoff in your trailer park? Ever had a supernatural experience while on hallucinogens? This book is for you, and when you begin to read, you’ll feel like it was written JUST for you.
Fallon writes about ecology, conservation, history, and mythology, tying it all together with her personal experiences and connection to the titular birds. Her style echoes the nature writers she clearly admires. Entertaining, informative, with a clear mission of winning people over to the protection and conservation of an important bird, this is an excellent piece of pop science writing.
Rootin' tootin' wordplay!
A lovely book about friendship, responsibility, and reciprocity.
What a fun, western twist on a classic! You'll be rootin' for this little cowgirl.
I was blown away by this collection of essays. I didn’t realize I had been seeing the DNA of Didion’s work in so much of the writing I love. Clearly hugely influential, even though the pieces are all slices of life from the '60s, the writing feels incredibly contemporary. I’ll be seeking out everything else Didion wrote, without question.
The Last Cowboys is one part ethnography, one part sports writing. Branch spent three years with the Wrights, at their homes, at their ranch, and on the road to countless rodeos. The result is a warm, fascinating account of a family that might not know how extraordinary they are.
Probably the best history of punk music I've ever read, re-establishing the lost trail of women in punk that were so important to several different genres. Goldman has a unique ability to accurately and compellingly describe the sound of songs.
What a beautiful way to introduce these two incredible artists to the little ones in your life!
This stunningly beautiful book packs a multitude of incredible lessons for kids. The “circle of life,” the beauty hidden in grief, and the responsibilities of love. Every family should have this on their shelf.
Parable of the Sower makes familiar characters in a classic scenario (a dystopian apocalypse) gripping and fresh through plain language and emotional intelligence. Though the story is grim, a heart bursting with hope and love is at its core.
Written with stonefaced hilarity, this book could make you a better writer and one eloquent sonofabitch.
A literary history of Hell (and comparable underworlds) is every bit as scintillating and page-turning as it sounds. Told with a healthy dose of snark, the book is divided into easily digestible sections, often as direct answers to questions that would naturally arise in a matter-of-fact discussion of perdition. Dark, nasty fun.
Ram Dass and I disagree on a number of theological points, and I haven’t lived a life anything like his. The questions he contemplates peacefully from a Maui beach house overlooking the Pacific, I contemplate on my dusty Tucson patio. So it came as somewhat of a surprise that I found so much of his wisdom relatable and true. Regardless of your spiritual background, age, or experience, there is a loving universality to Ram Dass’s words. This is unflinching love in the face of oblivion.
What a wonderfully broad and inclusive introduction to queer theory. I found this really fascinating, even when I disagreed with a specific point here and there. It'll certainly be a jumping-off point for other readings, many of which are cited in this book!
John Waters is nothing if not consistent. He always delivers exactly what we expect from him and, if you're a fan, exactly what you want. This reads exactly like his spoken word work. Hilarious (if stubbornly outdated).
I read this after reading her second book, From Here to Eternity, which I loved. I liked this one even more. This one is about the death industry, yes, but it's also about the individual struggle to accept mortality. Doughty gets extremely personal, seeming at once one-of-a-kind and deeply relatable.
Sometimes being a kid is hard. Wouldn't you rather be an armadillo or a worm? This book, full of beautiful and stylistic art, explores what every kid has felt at some point.
This sweet and poignant book manages to make something as painful and amorphous as loss into something both relatable and hopeful. A beautiful book for anybody— of any age— that has dealt with loss. Be ready to cry!
I don't know if I want more to grow up to be Sissy Hankshaw or Bonanza Jellybean, who are just two of the incredible characters in this story that takes place somewhere between mid-century America and the strangest corners of your dreams. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this joyfully bizarre book, it's high time.
An enjoyable and accessible exploration of astrology that’ll appeal to practitioners of any experience level.
Totally aspirational— great for planning or daydreaming.
Interactive fun for reading together.
This book is like a pep-talk and a hug for everyone’s inner radical.
A beautiful, stylishly drawn story about simple acts of friendship.
A clear-eyed exploration of something that is usually only discussed as the subject of jokes. An important piece of the puzzle when addressing hierarchical systems of power in the U.S.
I read a couple dozen books during my pregnancy looking for a parenting book that resonated with me, matched my values, and was also an entertaining read, and this was the ONLY one that fit the bill. This book is a natural extension of DIY punk ethos and anarchist community-building, and a great parenting resource.
This book is so charming and accessible. A must read. Give this to your well-meaning aunt who says all of this is "just too confusing."
A wonderful gift for new parents, or a great overview for how we can unlearn misogyny in our daily lives. Adichie’s writing is so warm, it feels like a conversation with a friend (which it originally was).
Have you ever read a graphic novel with a bibliography?Reading this and taking in the beautiful illustrations is a meditation. The theory is good thought exercise, even if you find yourself disagreeing on some points.Witchbody will bring more beauty and consideration into your life.
Essential for every feminist’s coffee table. Laugh so you won’t cry!
A punk rock coming-of-age told with raw emotional immediacy.
I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything that better captured misfit teenage girlhood. Gross, embarrassing, harrowing, and absolutely gripping. There’s nothing precious about this protagonist.
This book will earn your love and then traumatize you terribly. Be warned. The language is natural, the characters people I knew in my own childhood. It’s like a workout for the heart- it’ll leave you sore but very alive.
An emotional, visually enticing story of acceptance.
A surprisingly natural meeting place for history, social justice, and ghost stories, and an addictive read.
A conversational and vulnerable exploration of the many ways death impacts us. Warm and familiar.
A lighthearted but respectful exploration of some of the ways we deal with our dead. Coming from a perspective of cultural health and ecological conservation, you’ll walk away with as many questions as answers.
A beautifully illustrated book that prizes dreaming big and teaches kids that being tough and tender can go hand in hand.
An engaging, witty, and accessible dive into the anthropology and biology behind a long-standing taboo.