We are so lucky to be alive at the same time as Claudia Rankine. I will read anything she writes and any book she blurbs.
This book is gorgeous and, yep, weird! Slate has an unexpected poet's sensibility that makes this less comic's memoir and more micro essays that gracefully and goofilypoint at the human condition -- or at least the condition of being a depressed and trying white ciswoman. As someone who is frequently both depressed and trying, I enjoyed this book thoroughly.
Wow. I LOVED this book. I have read hundreds of poetry books and this is the first to make me feel riotously proud to have been a teenage girl. Gatwood is working through the rational terror of living in a body the world thinks is theirs. These poems mirrored, validated, explored, and transformed so much anxiety and fear I have felt as a tomboy kid, a teenage girl, and a genderqueer adult working through internalized femmephobia. The book gains focus and revs its engines all 147 pages out of love for anyone who has been or, will be, feminine or womxn or girl or femme or soft or betrayed. These poems spoke directly to my body and afterward I felt strong for having been through what this world does to people it thinks are girls. And I felt powerful.
If you liked the intellectual headiness of Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts and the visceral immediacy of Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water, this book is for you. Sometimes we need someone else to admit their shame before we do. Febos is unabashedly candid about her/our less attractive emotional realities: need, desperation, recklessness, blind desire. She has compile a fragmented history of fatherlessness and tox romance.
These meditations on gratitude are sprawling and tender antidotes tow hat in and around us will end. If you love/d Whitman or Ocean Vuong take this book home and read it aloud.
I LOL'd through this entire book. Buy this for your best friend. Buy it for yourself. Lay in the grass. Giggle.
Acclaimed NYC queer chef Gabrielle Hamilton wrote an unexpectedly lush and lyrical memoir. My favorite parts were her wild, rustic, lonely childhood in rural Pennsylvania and the sensuality of her love affair with Italy. A candid, confident, gritty, many-loves story.
A necessary text unfortunately as relevant now as it was in 2014. Prose and images are used in tandem to communicate how and when whiteness polices Black people interpersonally, professionally, casually, constantly. Reading this cover-to-cover will make you interrogate your whiteness and how you uphold subtle and direct violence. An imperative and transformative read that will stay with you. Be ready to read and re-read.
I read this book TWICE in two days! I bookmarked, highlighted, and dog-eared nearly every page. Written in prose blocks, this book is concise, intimate, gorgeous and unsparing. Yanyi writes about transness, kin, trauma, and learning to be with/in yourself. Keep this book close. You will refer to it again and again.
A deeply moving and expertly built book about kinship and survival. Inventive, tender, timeless and imperative, these poems, especially My President and Acknowledgements are already canon. Smith is working as hard on the page as they do in performance and both will blow you away. Their best book yet.
I do not read long books or history books and this book is both. It sucked me in from start to finish. A rich, engulfing narrative of a deeply american horror story. Thorough, nuanced, with incredible detail and characters that will stick with you forever.
Before Cheryl Strayed was famous, she anonymously answered an advice column the result of which was this little empathy bible. The questions mirror our gnarliest fears and insecurities and Strayed's generous responses are maternal real talk. This book is a hug. Perfect for a graduation gift or a gift for someone who has just gone through a big life transition.
The introduction of this book claims this is a book about human desire. It's not. It's about the desire of middle and upper class, mostly thin, mostly straight, cisgender white woman. This isn't a dig but a clarification. With that understanding, this book is a sobering, enveloping read about how desire is internalized and articulated beneath misogyny. It reads like an HBO miniseries; at turns weighty, introspective, and erotic. Months later, I still feel like I know the women in this book.
Whether you've read EVERYTHING James Baldwin ever wrote or you haven't read ANYTHING and are looking for an entry point into his work, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. Ranging from 1961 to 1987, these interviews offer a more candid and relaxed Baldwin, though no less profound. His nuance, genius, and empathy remain timeless. Having this book feels like having him here to go through the current sociopolitical tumult with. Would recommend to anyone.
Rapper and professor Dessa has written a collection of essays about touring nationally in a van with a bunch of guys, growing up in the Midwest, and falling in -- and decidedly out of -- love. Dessa's voice is exacting and swift and her storytelling controlled. Read this if you're looking for a fast, smart, honest read by a confident Midwestern powerhouse.
The first time I read this book it changed my life. To read a queer womxn write without shame was a freeing, metamorphosing thing. CHRONOLOGY is a stunning reflection on abuse, addiction, grief, stillbirth, and survival. This book does not follow chronological order, as a nod to how we hold and reflect on memory. Audacious, frank, and profoundly lyrical. Read if you love Roxane Gay, Jeannette Walls, Melissa Febos, and Dorothy Allison.