Grace started her bookselling career back in high school, and now as a college student its become a huge 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.
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.
I think this collection of stories has officially solidified Taddeo as one of my top three authors right now and I couldn't be happier about it. If there is anything Taddeo knows how to write it's the ugly yet raw, honest, and at times unbelievable parts of womanhood, and this is no exception. By far her most candid expression of human nature yet, the depictions of lust, femininity, self-image, and guilt through women of all ages and walks of life are completely and utterly engrossing. For me not a single story missed the mark, each one satisfied a different want in my brain and it was almost addicting reading this. My new favorite story collection right here, I cannot recommend this one enough!
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.
Douglas Stuart has done it again and created a heartbreaking, vulnerable, and just jaw-droppingly fantastic work of art. A story about young love, loss, and learning between two boys in working-class Scotland, Stuart nails every aspect of this novel. His prose is untouchable and elevated, and his style and structure bring something fresh and new to a book that shares similar themes with his previous work. I get big A Little Life energy from this one, and that's one of the highest compliments I can give a book. An unforgettable read.
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.
My personal nonfiction pick of 2020, Three Women follows just as you'd expect, three women, living in different states across the country and their lives behind closed bedroom doors. It took Taddeo almost a decade of reporting, knowing every aspect of these womens lives, even living in their own towns to create this book, and it all paid off. At first I thought this was going to be three women's sex lives and gossip, but I couldn't have been farther from the truth. It's a look into the pressures a girl faces in teen years, the ups and downs of relationships, heartbreak and new love, but most importantly its a discussion starter. If there's any book you should read about women and feminism, its this one.