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I'll probably never stop talking about Maggie Nelson's genius. If you've met me while I'm working, you've heard me wax on about her gift for language, for conveying beauty in suffering, and her incredible embrace of the everyday cruelties and joys of life. But, somehow, I hadn't gotten around to reading Something Bright, Then Holes until this summer, when I spent a day of my pre-grad school purgatory sweltering in my childhood backyard and reading this book. I've spent much of my mid-twenties trying to describe the complex-but-everyday emotions of being. I found such relief in Nelson's ability to do just that. Her talent for putting universal situations backed by complex emotions into stunning, musical prose is heart-wrenching, and for that, this collection wins my pick for my favorite read of 2018. - Julia
There is nothing I find more appealing in a non-fiction work than an articulate, well-researched, and well-constructed argument for a change in the perception of an American institution. Prison and incarceration is a large part of the American psyche -- in pop culture, legal imprisonment can sometimes seem equivalent to “justice.” Michelle Alexander shows how mass incarceration, which disproportionately affects Black peoples, especially Black men, is the exact opposite of what our common societal perception of justice should entail. This book is essential for anyone who would like to take a closer look at race, discrimination, stratification, and the historical outline for our current, legal system of oppression that exists within the mass imprisonment of people of color. Although this book is by no means completely comprehensive or completely critical of the issues surrounding American imprisonment culture and its connection to race and class, it is a great way to educate yourself and others on an issue that should be more within the American awareness and understandings of race and class discrimination that is wrongly justified by this country’s social constructions and government.
There is nothing like a book that transports you completely -- both on a sensory level and an emotional one. Rebecca does this with ease, enveloping you an exquisite combination of an atmospheric moody English coastal estate, and the pointedly naive and often trepidation-riddled emotional state of the book’s unnamed narrator. This is a somewhat uncategorizable read, with cause to call it a tale of suspense, romance, horror, or mystery, along with its current status as a brooding modern classic. I love this book, and I think of it often. I’m confident you will, too.
I ordered this collection after a customer recmomended it to me, and I wish I could thank them! Rudy Francisco is a force. He grapples with heartache, tender adoration, depression, and all manners of relevant injustice with a voice that is unwaveringly true and admirably vulnerable. Check out the poems "Alternatives to Bae" (pg. 22), "Mercy" (pg. 80), "I Bet the Trees are Thinking" (pg. 76), "Skin II" (pg. 57), and "12 am" (pg. 18) if you're debating snagging this book. I don't think you'll regret it!
The cover of this book, in itself, is spectacular and enticing. Yet as much as the cover hints at the complex, lush, and mystifying contents within, it cannot possibly tell you all you need to know about this book. Jeff VanderMeer takes his time, building an ecological and emotional landscape that equals the classic science-fiction and fantasy worlds that we know and, sometimes, feel we inhabit as we read. ANNIHILATION is beautiful, terrifying slow burn of a novel, alluring in its dark mystery and captivating in its detail. Slow down, sit in the lovely Michigan summer outdoors, and devour this book.
If you can imagine a mix of The Babysitter's Club, Stranger Things, and The Exorcist, you'd juts about nail this book's vibe. Februrary was a tought month, and this high school/demonic possession tale was the perfect campy horror escape. If you're a horror fan (like me), this is the perfect scary fix wrapped in a bubble of perky '80's nostalgia. They offset each other nicely.
In 1781, the captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that 150 enslaved Africans be thrown overboard and drowned so that the owners of the ship could collect insurance money. One document exists, a legal document, that proves that this terrible mass murder occurred. Zong! is unlike anything I’ve ever read (or experienced) before. It is certainly not for the faint-of-heart, but is immensely educational in the most rewarding, powerful sense. M. NourbeSe Philip uses this legal document, dissects it, and wields the words and phrases to create visual, visceral poetry. I would recommend this to anyone that has a passion for poetry, history, and archival documents. This is a stunning work, and pays a beautiful tribute to the pain and song of voices that were previously lost to a history that willed itself to forget.
Oh man. How do I begin to describe this book? The Secret History grabbed me from the start and held me, spellbound, for several concurent late nights the first time I read it. Although she's a talented writer, Donna Tartt's true skill lies in the unspeakable tension and thrill present in this book. It is both captivating and distressing to follow the main characters as they grapple with the consequences of their horrific actions. This book will hold you long past when you finish it -- I may have to read it again after writing this! - Julia
'...instead, I stood blindly and went out her door and back down that long, ludicrous hill that the glacier clawed out of the rock all those eons ago. At home in my bed, clutching blankets, I grieved the loss.
At the same time I still disbelieved her, and kept oneear pricked for the phone.'
Sexy, infuriating, and brilliant, My Education is scorchingly obsessive, beautifully phrased, and strangely relatable if you live in or around Ann Arbor. Susan Choi sure knows how to pack a stunning, devastating, intelligent punch.
I read John in one rapt sitting. Seeing Annie Baker's plays live is unforgettable, but reading them is a unique emotional experience. I was so satisfied from her incredible talent for dialogue and her stunning ability to set a scene for the reader. The quiet, ordinary anguish and joy contained within her well-defined characters, and the house in which the story occurs, is exquisite. Baker tackles nebulous concepts like time, relationships (both familiar and unfamiliar), and the ghosts of the past in such a heart-wrenching way. Even if you're not ordinarily a play-reader, you will enjoy John immensely.
My upbringing being fairly religious, I was excited to read God in order to gain a wider perspective on the topic. Aslan's appoach to the concept of "god" as thought-of by people was certainly eye opening. The book is very philosophically and scientifically satisfying. I would recommend it as a valuable read, regardless of spiritual or religious belief.