Grace started her bookselling career back in high school, and now as an adult, its become a major part of her life. Originally from North Carolina, reading has always been a passion for her, so working in a bookstore is a perfect fit. She reads a little bit of everything, with her personal favorites being literary fiction, translated works, and any book that falls under the "woman in the void" category. When not reading you can find her rifling through record boxes in the Fan, collecting Interview magazines from the 90s, or finding the best-iced lavender latte in Richmond.
Arresting, unputdownable, so raw it hurts but it's the kind of pain you love, and above all absolutely monumental. Rachel Aviv has crafted the perfect essay collection that delves into the deep tunnels and ideas of mental illness, and it'll change your life. As a fan of her magazine work I knew this was going to be fantastic, but Aviv has just entered a league of her own. A collection of seven essays that span from a woman in India with schizophrenia that made a lasting impact on the temples she would frequent, to Rachel herself, as she starts this collection with her own struggle as the youngest diagnosed anorexic possibly in history, at age 6. So accessible yet insightful on all fronts such as diagnoses, treatment options, long term and short term effects, this is something anyone could pick up and instantly be enchanted by these true stories.
This book is a tiny surprise of literary magic. A kafkaesque yet simple premise: our main man Anders wakes up no longer white, but a deep brown color. His mind is the same but his body is new, and he's not the only one whos gone through this change. I knew going in that race would be the main theme in this, but the way it's handled is so perfect and timely. Along with that are themes of death/grief and family, which I was not expecting but added perfect and honest touches to this almost surreal book. Mohsin Hamid knows how to do fiction that creeps up on you and just takes your breath away completely, and im here for it.
I am a sucker for any non fiction about the politics of sex and feminism and within the last 6 or so years Ive been blessed with many great different books that supply this, but none compare to this one. Srinivasan causes the reader to stop avoiding questions and ideas and lets them tackle them head on. Unlike other essay collections and such that cover these topic they immerse you and thats about it, which is always fine, but this one causes you to think and have the conversation with yourself. Its a bold book, some ideas I don’t completely agree with and I think thats what made it even more appealing to me. Because of the differing of opinions and new ideologies that Srinivasan introduces this caused me to do my own critical thinking on points made in this instead of just surface level digesting a few quotes about "my body my choice" which I’ve been craving from a book like this. Full of philosophy, powerful yet not overwhelming writing and such a distinct voice I love this one for the talent it took to pull this off, but also the way it left me feeling after finishing the last essay.
50 Shades for people who relate a bit too much to the narrator of My Year of Rest and Relaxation!
I have three major weaknesses when it comes to books: 1) Striking neon pink text on the cover 2) Books about a woman coming to terms with her sexuality and sensuality and 3) Characters so problematic/unlikeable but you connect with them in this weirdly honest way, so this book was basically written for me. I loved it, even with these huge standards I had from skimming over, it lived up to it. I didn’t really know what the expect, as the back cover doesn’t give much except the basis of a young queer woman posts her nudes anonymously and a new relationship blossoms from it and comparisons to Moshfegh, Rooney and Didion (which I really see the Moshfegh and Rooney especially in the Eve character), which amped me up even more. Overall I thought the strongest part of this was the characters, and it works. The book takes place over a year and some change, and the plot is good but the characters all really take over and set the tempo for the novel. I thought all of them seemed realistic and crafted very strongly, even if they aren’t major parts of the story (ex. Fatima) Honestly the last 30 pages of this bumped my 3 stars up to a solid 4, from the revelation Nathan says and then how it all ends, really saved this for me a bit. Fresh, strong debut, cant wait to sell this one for avid readers of “woman in the void” fiction.
I don't think I will read something like this ever again, and I adored it. This book is a living breathing thing, a story filled with tender emotions of first love, but on the other hand the brutal reality of losing the one you love the most and processing the grief. A book full of ambitious themes of grief, love, religion and influences of philosophy and spirituality weaved throughout in a less than 200 page span sounds difficult to do, but Heti does it with the utmost perfection. Every aspect from quality and prose to originality and the layers of depth in this is top tier, maybe even some of the best thats out there right now. And I cannot stress enough that the writing in this is something else, from the first page I was in a trance, captivated by the strongest writing I've read in years. Trying to explain this book doesn't do it justice, this is an experience you need to have with the book itself. My first one sitting read of a book not just all year but in months, and I don't think this one will be topped as my number one publication of 2022.
THIS BOOK IS INSANE!!!!! I cant even begin to describe it, as it seems just like a book about some guy who likes to watch his wife cheat on him, but oh my god, it takes a turn. This book came out of nowhere, I remember seeing it in a bookstore elsewhere and just thinking "hmmm this sounds like a really interesting read about something rarely talked about in books" and I took a chance on it, and I am so so happy I did that. Its a quick read, surprisingly funny for the subject matter and truly my jaw dropped when I finally got where this book was going. That is all I’m gonna say about this one, but if you read this please talk to me about it.
Vuong's themes and writing abilities, this collection of poems had me intrigued just from the title and it did not disappoint in the slightest. The poems in this are truly like nothing I have ever read before, I can barely put into words how much this collection affected me, and it's been weeks since I finished this. This collection deals with many different themes including race, sexuality, and family, but for me personally, the grief in this book is what knocked the wind out of me. As someone who has gone through the grieving process of losing their mother I knew this would be a tough yet relatable read, but I truly was not prepared for the wave of emotions that took over me while reading this. It's raw, gorgeous yet haunting, but overall it just leaves you speechless in the best way possible. The originality with some of the pieces in this added such a dynamic layer to it as well which I adored (specifically the Amazon History poem, possibly my favorite piece of writing I've read in 2021). The pages in this come alive with anger, confusion, fear, joy and so many other feelings, it's like this book has its own soul it’s just that full of life, energy, and emotion. Without a doubt the best poetry I've read in my life, and I cannot wait for everyone to savor the emotions you get from this just like I did.
There are not enough words I can say that would describe my absolute love for this book. I haven't read something that captivated me with every word on every page in years, and this one did just that. In this short, yet incredibly powerful book we follow Josephine, a 35 year old teacher in France who drowns her everyday sorrows and anxieties in Xanax and erotic literature. By day she's a mundane philosophy teacher, but at night she awakens and begins to live as Rose Lee, her dancer alter ego. On the surface this may seem just like a book that follows a teacher living a double life, but that is only the beginning. Novels where we follow a woman learning to love herself and her body is not new, but this book makes it so fresh it felt like the first time ever reading something like this. The writing in this is something else, creating these explosive nightlife scenes one chapter full of neon colors and sparks, and then the next chapter will be her drab and colorless life as a teacher, all while never dropping the reader's attention. I don't think I will ever run out of things to talk about why I love this so much. The writing, character development, world building, pacing, every aspect of this book is perfect. The themes of freedom and embracing your femininity and sensuality are revamped and just so captivating to watch how it all plays out. My favorite book hands down of 2021, and now one of my favorite books of all time.