2018

16 books
  • Bright Dead Things

    Ada Limón

    Ada Limón writes around the emotions and banal details of life, maintaining a personal, even confessional, tone, which usually draws me right in when it’s genuinely introspective. Capturing memories of her childhood, her parents’ early marriage years, her stepmother’s death, and her own relationship bringing her from New York City...more

  • A Memory of the Future

    Elizabeth Spires

    It was the title that interested me about this book, though it appears there may be hundreds of books with this title or slight variants of it so it’s entirely possible it reminded me of some other work I heard about in the past. Most of the poems here didn’t draw me in very far, but the title poem was worth it for me....more

  • Tell Me How It Ends

    Valeria Luiselli

    First published in 2016, Valeria Luiselli wrote this long essay before the Trump administration came into office and further muddled already insufficient immigration policies. Structured around the forty questions she asked undocumented children from Central America during her volunteer work helping connect these children with legal...more

  • Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night

    Morgan Parker

    I am more comfortable
    being mourned than loved.

    The past has not been as rewarding
    as I had hoped.

    Waiting nearly four months to write about a book makes it nearly impossible to write anything substantive. I remember that there weren’t any complete poems...more

  • Eye Level

    Jenny Xie

    Zazen
    Sour tobacco, tofu bowl, bright.
    Planks of hollyhock in Anhui,
    the way I don’t know could open
    months later like a hive.
    Hard tide of shame that I thought
    had dried out years ago.
    Love’s barks grow watery, faint.

    more
  • Ongoingness

    Sarah Manguso

    Sometimes I think there is an order you need to read books by certain authors; maybe the chronological sequence gives you a context of their development that helps you progress with them, but other times a truly excellent later work will make you more interested to read less mature works than if you had started with those. And after reading ...more

  • H Is for Hawk

    Helen Macdonald

    This is one of those books that defies quick categorization. You could call it a grief memoir or non-fiction nature writing, but it’s some of both and more than those too. At the root level, H Is for Hawk does center around the sudden death of Helen Macdonald’s father, and she expresses the devastation that...more

  • Go, Went, Gone

    Jenny Erpenbeck

    I read Go, Went, Gone several months ago, and if I hadn’t collected some notes back then I probably wouldn’t have been able to post anything about it. Happily I wrote down enough to resurface some memories, as this is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It has a clear political message, so it will appeal...more

  • Garments Against Women

    Anne Boyer

    Anne Boyer holds the distinction of being the only/first so far poet who I’ve initially read via a tumblr post. I guess that needs the clarification of poetry that has truly resonated with me. Her work tends to feel more prose-like...more

  • Silence: In the Age of Noise

    Erling Kagge

    I thought this book would be a slam dunk for me, written around the questions: What is silence? Where is it? How do we create it? Erling Kagge is a Norwegian explorer who in 1990 became one of the first people to travel to the North Pole unsupported. For that expedition he had a partner, but three years later he spent fifty...more

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