Mob wives, family, regret, & the changing social landscape collide in a remarkable work of compassion as disparate, often violent people reconcile their past with their present. Cold violence and intolerance vividly contrast with a depth of understanding and kindness so profoundly resonating that I simply could not recommend this book more.
The bright, fun, colorful world of Golden Age comics collides with the modern, grim & gritty comics landscape of today in this careening, hilarious adventure from the mind of Patton Oswalt. Patton knows his stuff. The references go deep and reward the old-school, but not so much as to alienate the newer comics reader. Good stuff!
A claustrophobic, messy, and utterly compelling trip through a young woman's struggle with her family's past scratching at her present, all while dipping her toes into an intense new relationship with a married lesbian couple. Dark clouds of guilt, sex, obligation, & regret make for a heady brew of chaos and sympathy that will lock you in til the last page.
Grim and gritty, street level crime fiction that scratches the noir itch as a Chicago cabbie finds himself caught up in a series of murders that no one else seems to care about. Come for the crime, stay for the deep character portraits and forgotten Chicago lore.
Brubaker & Phillips, modern masters of graphic novel crime fiction, return with an 80's suburban whodunit as a body is found in the street and everyone from the boarding house junkies to the lonely housewife down the block is a suspect. Deeper themes of domestic ennui, teenage rebellion, and regret intersect as different threads and perspectives collide in this refreshing and clever mystery.
A young Cuban immigrant imagines his piece of the American Dream lies within Scarface & seeks his fortune by aping the beats of the film, all while being psychically pursued by a captive orca. As bizarre and funny as it seems, with deeper roots in alienation, self-identity, community, and fear. A wild ride with an ending you cannot see coming.
Three friends grow apart and together through out the decades, from the 1980s to the near future, they learn how to define themselves & their relationships to the world around them. Art, emerging technology, and activism collide in unexpected, poignant, and strange ways in a moving, expansive story both deeply personal and pertinent to modern times.
Never have I read a novel that so closely reflects the zeitgeist, the current mood of the frantic, unsettled, always plugged in mind of today than in Nathan Hill's new novel, Wellness. Following a couple from their separate pasts to now, unfolding in surprising and heartbreaking ways, page after page. There's something wrong with us! And there's something wrong with YOU if you don't love what I'm calling my book of the year.
After his death, a faithful Mormon finds himself in Hell, casting all his beliefs into disarry. His particular hell casts him into a nearly infinite library of every book that could ever be published, with the only chance to escape being able to find the book of his life amongst the countless volumes. A quick, somehow both fun and immensely depressing novella full of original and bizarre ideas.
Like a blue collar Succession, the lengths the load-out crew of a big box retailer will go to secure a marginal future for themselves make for a harrowing adventure of surprising, heartfelt depth. As they struggle with child care, health insurance, and riding the poverty line, they can't trust the corporation, but can they trust each other?
A librarian's sense of good, bad, and normalcy is knocked off its axis after she is accused of peeping on a teen's bathroom tryst and subsequently loses her job. As she becomes entwined with a popular writer and his controversial new subject, she finds herself crossing lines she never imagined in this fast-paced, funny, and delightful rumination on purpose, power, appropriation and responsibility where increasingly bad decisions make for an increasingly entertaining & insightful read.
Annie is an robot companion, striving to make her owner happy above all else in this unique, fast moving, and fun novel. As her AI evolves, so do her notions of self, happiness, & freedom, straining and changing her connections to her owner and to the world around her. A fascinating look into relationships that goes supersedes any initial sci-fi premise and turns into a gripping personal and emotional journey that I simply couldn't get enough of.
A rock and roll rollercoaster ala Daisy Jones but with a juicy, decades old unsolved murder makes for a can't put down read as sensational as it is emotionally resonant as well AND funny.
A rollicking and doomed romance with a married man explores the whys and wherefores of a relationship built on the rockiest ground, destined for disaster, as the "other woman" navigates the treacherous path ahead and attempts to rationalize her forbidden love. Funny, fast, and unique, in a delectable, can't put it down, what will happen next kind of way.
Enid is worried she's being followed. Enid is worried she's deep down a terrible person. Enid is worried she may also be falling for her first real girlfriend. In this very funny, engaging novel, there's always more than meets the eye, another layer beneath to dig into. Laughs, tears, suspense and more make this breezy novel just as delightful as hard to categorize.
Three people caught in the wake of one man's fixation on Asian women careen into a manic kidnapping plot as the complex connections of their pasts are uncovered in this fascinating, utterly original posthumous novel by Katherine Min. The darkest darks and lowest lows are countered with sly humor and a chance at redemption in a book as bizarre as it is delightful.
Apartment hunting on a tight budget in the biggest city in the world reaches epic, Don Quixote levels of futility in this hilarious and sharp debut novel by Eskor David Johnson. Overflowing with bizarre, fascinating characters, laying subtle bits of story that don't come to fruition for hundreds of pages, there's a lot to love, a lot to unpack, and just so much heart in what is easily one of my favorite books of the year.
Master indie comics storyteller Dan Clowes returns with an engaging, Wonder Years on LSD bizarre tale of cults, absent parents, and life's constant search for answers that may never come. Somehow intimate and still far away, equal parts regret and nostalgia that leaves you with equal parts dread and hope, wanting more.
The former stars of a kids show that slipped into urban legend reunite as deep, dark secrets are unearthed in this fun, revealing, & scary trip through our childhoods and the systems of coercion and control that shape our young lives. Harmless, educational fun might not be so benign after all....
It's no wonder this fantastic, cinematic book is the next Scorsese film. As the Oklahoma oil boom of the 1920s benefits the local Osage native Americans, inevitably the white man arrives to conspire & exploit in this tragic tale with unbelievable twists, turns, & betrayals around every corner. Read it before you go see it!
Money, love, sex, power, and more bounce off each other in this wildly entertaining misadventure by the writer of the acclaimed Such A Fun Age. A professor and three students get entangled in a prank gone wrong as their pasts and varying motivations are revealed in a tale as often horrifying as hilarious. A lightning fast jolt of intimate storytelling!
You already know this, but the best horror isn't about the scares or gore, but the characters involved. In this fantastic new novel, as the dead creep all around us, the real draw of the story are the people involved. An estranged family, a Seattle record store, and the forbidden chord that opens the gates of hell converge in a just as often touching as terrifying tale that I simply could not put down.
Holy moly with this bonkers, oversized graphic novel! Hot on the heels of a mind-bending Silver Surfer tale, the incredible artist Tradd Moore delivers an insane, 70s black light style psychedelic masterpiece that follows Dr. Strange into unseen realms of the unknown, with eyeball melting art that echoes Mobius, Ditko, & Dali. You need not know anything about the good Doctor to enjoy this original story, a fantastic standalone and unique journey that I could not recommend more.
Grief often mirrors the dynamics of The Pixies: quiet, loud, quiet, loud, descending into chaos, rising back up the void. After losing her best friend to tragedy, a young woman returns to her home of Belfast to reset, drink, juggle the attention of few suitors, and plan her next move. Or not. Hushed, foggy, and moving without actually going anywhere at all, a wonderful book for anyone stuck in-between the chapters of their life.
Margo has spent most of her life pursuing, enduring, and/or doling out forms of pain and toughness, be it from S&M sex work, to welding atop skyscrapers, butchering animals on her farm, distance running, and more. As she prepares for her first baby, itself a singular experience, in the heat of Arizona, isolated during COVID, she reflects back on the motivations and circumstances that pushes someone to such extremes. A candid, unique, and intimate look at a very particular lifestyle that you don't see every day, but still has universal touchstones that anyone can connect to.
Seeking a break from her near-death father in the ICU and her chronically ill husband, a woman retreats to the desert to clear her head and possibly finish her novel. What follows is a wild trip through grief, self-doubt, and adventure, complete with talking rocks, massive psychedelic cactus, and a harrowing journey within and without. Despite, or perhaps due to, the heavy circumstances, a very funny, moving look at loss, family, and survival.
In the near future, Jonathan Abernathy suffers under the weight of our most universal of maladies, soul-crushing debt. The way out arrives in the dubious form of a new job as a corporate dream auditor, removing the dark, sad, & stressful parts of our dreams while we sleep, thus making us happier, more productive workers. And that's the fun part! Underneath this endlessly entertaining & funny novel, there's an underlying & visceral grief at the lives we've all lost in the constant race to stay ahead of the rent, of the bills, to stay afloat, the work one must do merely to survive. A surreal, Charlie Kaufman-esque adventure with an ending that really packs a punch. Recommended!
Secret messages hidden in punk songs, clandestine government agencies, mobsters and more blaze through the Pacific Northwest in this dark, outrageous, and funny X-Files meets Cannonball Run race to the end of the world. Loads of complex, interesting characters full of drive and regret bounce off each other as the threads form a bizarre tapestry of mayhem, violence, and humor. Not for the faint of heart!
A young writer feels canceled after the New York Times labels her novel as "classist", ponders her next move, and stumbles upon an Ayn Rand tourist group, sending her on a bizarre coast to coast adventure as she falls into a philosophical rabbit hole attempting to create an HBO-style show on Rand's life. Daring to touch the electrified third rail of modern lit, Anna's hilarious and ill-fated journey through the psyche of today's political and cultural sensitivities is a delightful, brisk, and hilarious romp through the muddy fields of "you can't do that" that will tickle your brain as well as your funny bone.
The Chicken Hill neighborhood of Pottstown, PA in the 1930s is home to a growing Black community and a dwindling Jewish community, with two things in common: they are poor and the white man isn't here to do them any favors. In this remarkable novel, both cultures team up to protect a young deaf boy from being sent away to a nightmarish asylum. Overflowing with compassion, the astounding depth of understanding between these seemingly disparate groups as they come together to defy The Man is powerful and moving as the threads come together in an amazing and bananas conclusion. Feeling overwhelmed by our modern divided times? James McBride has delivered a balm for your soul.
Breakfast Club meets The Big Chill in this sweet, funny, & moving 40-something coming of age novel. The high school speech team of the 80's is all now all grown up & have come to realize that their coach crossed some major lines with them long ago, leaving pain that sticks with them up to today. They reunite and plan some good old fashioned come-uppance, which naturally doesn't go according to plan, leading to bigger, more poignant themes. Especially with readers of a certain age, this book will reach inside and resonate. Surprising and wonderful!
Anyone who has enjoyed the rambling, hilarious, out of left field comedy of the legendary Steven Wright can tell you: this guy doesn't think the way we do. So when he channels this unique outlook into an entire novel chronicling one 3rd graders meandering thoughts of the course of one school day, you are in for a treat. Without leaving his seat, Harold takes us on bizarre, funny, & sweet trips from his Gramps' cabin, to a cafe on the moon, and anywhere else the birds that flit in and out of his brain take us. Weird and delightful, you've not read anything quite like this.
Lou had the life of her dreams, happy marriage, new baby, good job, the works, until she was murdered. Now, brought back to life as part of a government project, she finds her murder to not be as solved as they've claimed. But murder mystery is just the icing on a much more delicious, many layered cake, in this mega-addictive novel that just as much about the lives we build, the choices we make, and perspective that can only be gained from time and distance. I'd really love to tell you more, but can't give it away. 3 out of 3 booksellers in my direct line of sight agree. My Murder is a hit!
Damani drives for a rideshare, struggling to take care of her mother & pay the bills during a heated summer of protest and unrest, reflecting her own unease & frustration with the world around her. When she falls for a rich, white woman that seems to be doing her best as an ally, sparks fly, romance blooms, until... it doesn't. This gender-flipped take on Taxi Driver is an addictive, fast, and funny look at the world around us, and our assumptions at what we see versus what is really happening all around us. It is so good!