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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
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
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.