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I read fiction, essays, memoirs, some poetry, some history. These days, I'm listening to a lot of audiobooks because it turns out there's nothing like a pandemic to give me anxious fidgets and a lack of focus! This way I can keep my hands busy, and rewind if I miss something. I've included links where possible to libro.fm where you can download audiobooks with great readers, and benefit your favorite bookstore instead of the richest man on earth.
Lydia Millet's every sentence is a perfect little razor. This novel hit me hard when I first read it, and upon second read, settled right in to my heart. Hilarious, visionary, and unsettling to the max, with its priorities in all the right places. Shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction.
Absurd comedy, devastating sadness, raunchiness beyond compare. Not for the faint of heart, the stories of Megg, Mogg, Owl and their crowd. But if you know, you know, and this one's for you. Seeds & Stems is a collection of fragments previously only available in zines, on promotional material, in weird corners of the internet. My fave so far is a one-color story of Megg & Werewolf Jones band practice, which includes a true banger called "Winter Trauma."
Catherine Lacey is one of my absolute favorite writers. She translates loneliness onto the page in magical ways, and cuts up culture mercilessly. I don't quite know what to say about this book, except that it brings the concept of otherness forward in your consciousness, and calls every character (including the reader) on the peculiar desire to identify and categorize. Despite its seriousness, it is a joy to read.
Isabel Wilkerson is a true master of the kind of non-fiction writing that makes normally difficult concepts seem obvious. You know this already if you have read her Warmth of Other Suns. The opening chapter reads like an apocalyptic novel, which is wonderful if you're listening ( Caste - Libro.fm ) because the reader is the fantastic Robin Miles, who also reads many (possibly all?) of the audio adaptations of N.K. Jemisin's novels. ( The Broken Earth Series - Libro.fm )
The Border of Paradise is a California gothic of wildfire, immigration, mental illness, and all that's lost and gained in translation. An intensely moving portrait of a family and landscape in transition.
Leave it to the author of the entrancing collection Her Body and Other Parties to follow up with an equally groundbreaking deconstructed/shattered memoir. It serves as a critique of the format and a historical investigation of abuse in queer relationships, at the same time as retelling her relationship with an abusive woman at a critical time in her life as a writer. READ IT.
Twelve truly thought-provoking essays on what it means to have justice -- and what is required of us to make justice possible -- through the lenses of gender, race, ecology, violence, and more. There are no clear answers here, but plenty of the right kind of question.
Jen Beagins first, Whiting award-winning novel follows Mona on what amounts to a personal odyssey of self-discovery. Nearly 24 at the start, she's living in Massachusetts, dating "Mr. Disgusting," and cleaning houses for characters you have to believe are real, because who could make them up? Winds, fair and foul, take her to New Mexico, where she keeps cleaning, working to scrub that man right out of her grout. With the help of Terry Gross, Yoko & Yoko, big open skies, red dirt and the right kind of drugs, she's on her way. This is one of the truest and funniest coming-of-age novels I've ever read. I fell hard for Mona, and I hope you do, too.
If you haven't yet read the always accurate and poetic advice of Taisia Kitaiskaia's Baba Yaga ---- get to it. This second volume has brought me to the right kind of tears several times in recent months. Each answer offers shifts of perspective that seem small, but open the questioner's concern up to a world of possibility and clarity.