A sleepy boarding school is shaken by allegations of a teacher sleeping with his students...it’s an old, well-trodden story. Vanessa, however, doesn’t believe she’s been abused- her relationship was special. My Dark Vanessa examines difficult questions of teenage agency and the validity (or not) of the relationships they choose to foster. This one will make you squirm, but you won’t be able to put it down.
Offill perfectly captures the essence of living in a world on the brink of disaster, having climate catastrophe at the forefront of your mind while it seems to be on the backburner for everyone else. Lizzie is approached by her old mentor to answer questions emailed into her climate change podcast, and she finds herself spiraling into the world of bleeding heart liberals and doomsday preppers. Her every waking moment is filled with angsty questions about the future - should she move her family, and if so, where to? Which skills should she make sure her son knows in order to have the best chance at survival? What medical procedures should she have done now, not knowing how long health care services will be readily available? Lizzie exists physically in our world, but mentally is in her own. Dark and twisty as it may seem, perhaps she’s actually the most sane of us all.
Opening The Starless Sea was like settling down into a long-neglected cozy chair that you forgot existed. The writing that made everyone fall in love with The Night Circus comes right back to life in Morgenstern’s long-awaited follow up, which tells the story of grad student Zachary who finds an unmarked library book full of magical stories, one of which details a very memorable day from his childhood which no one was around to witness. A wonderful web of literature and adventure!
Calling Signature Dishes That Matter a cookbook seems almost insultingly reductive. Each page illustrates an iconic dish from history, starting three centuries ago, examining its importance and influence on the culture of dining out. Recipes are listed in the back, so you can give them a go for yourself, or simply enjoy learning the secrets behind culinary masterpieces before putting the book on your shelf to be admired for years as the beautiful object it is.
West’s latest may seem like a fun, feminist romp (and certainly there are moments of levity) but the importance of her social and political commentary should not be overlooked. She goes from engaging internet trolls to #MeToo to why the founders of Fixer Upper could be more problematic than you imagine to the true despair that is impending climate disaster with ease. Even though I felt a bit despondent about the state of our world at times, West supplies a great rallying cry to all those who will listen - we’ve won this war before, and we will win it again.
Jones depicts growing up black and gay in suburban Texas, the freedom he felt when heading off to college, and the relationship with this mother that was as solid as the one with his grandmother was strained, with shocking clarity. A single-sitting kind of read, this book will wreck you. And you’ll love it.
Coates’ first novel is just as important and relevant as his non-fiction, and just as powerful. What begins as a story of growing up in slavery becomes a warning against the separation of families and communities, and contains the perfect, slight amount of well-crafted fantasy elements.
A gay, gothic, monster love story under 200 pages? It’s a dream.
In The Ghosts of Eden Park, Abbott unpacks the complicated and unbelievable life of George Remus, the biggest bootlegger in American history and inspiration for The Great Gatsby, as well as his tumultuous relationship with his second wife Imogene. Wild parties, forbidden booze, and murder abound.
Spanning many decades, children, and homes, Ask Again, Yes is a fascinating examination of the consequences of actions both large and small. Celeste Ng meets Sally Rooney meets J. Courtney Sullivan.
A self-help book, a touching dual memoir, and a hilarious look at a personal obsession with true crime. Highly recommend for both Murderinos and those who have no idea what that means.
An intense survival story with a tough, warm, and intelligent hero - who just so happens to be a wolf. Swift gets suddenly separated from his pack, and has to traverse the Oregon wilderness to try to find his way home. Based on the life of a real wolf and densely illustrated, A Wolf Called Wander is a fantastic addition to any adventure-lover’s bookshelf.
Each of these stories begins with a guttural laugh and ends with a knife to the heart. Written from a Turkish prison, where the author remains, this powerful collection is a consume-in-one-sitting kind of deal, but will remain with you for weeks afterwards.
Prior-Palmer’s post-high school restlessness leads her to enter the world’s longest horse race on a whim, and so she travels to Mongolia to ride 25 different horses over 1,000 kilometers of harsh, lonely landscape. It was refreshing to read about women being ruthlessly competitive in a high-stakes athletic event. For fans of hardcore female survival stories - i.e. Wild and Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube.
For those who aspire to live in an indoor jungle of their own making, but have a terrible history of killing their plant children within the first month. Helpful tips, gorgeous photographs, and creative display ideas.
Like Bridget Jones’ Diary, but with casual racism and a frank conversation about mental health.
You know when you're going through a particularly rough time in life, and there's that one friend who sits you down and has a gentle, warm, firm, and terrifying conversation with you that opens your eyes to the fact that life happens whether or not you take time to appreciate it? This book is that friend. Mary Laura Philpott is that friend.
Never did I think I would laugh so hard over a story about a garbage disposal.
The Road meets The Handmaid’s Tale meets Castaway
Not just another feminist dystopia. Truly a fascinating look at power dynamics between men and women when all of humanity is stripped away. The compelling, strong, and distinct characters drive this story to its shiver-inducing conclusion.
Part medical history, part memoir, all heart (or kidney, or liver, or….) Although it’s now a commonplace medical procedure, the first physicians who experimented with organ transplantation were outcasts in their profession. How did we get from there to here, and what drives a medical student to pursue this immensely challenging field?
What starts as my ultimate dream - sleeping for days on end without interruption - soon turns into a nightmare for a small college town when students who’ve fallen into this deep slumber fail to wake. Walker turns this seemingly innocuous concept into a fascinating look at social and familial norms, and how they collapse in time of uncertainty.