2019

10 books
  • The Handmaid’s Tale

    Margaret Atwood

    I had a memory of reading this book, but it’s possible I just picked up enough about it through cultural references over the years to convince myself that I had. Or maybe my powers of recall are failing, because I didn’t notice any of the things that are drastically different in the TV show version...more

  • The End of Eve

    Ariel Gore

    I put this book on my to-read list shortly after it came out, and every so often I would notice it on my list, read the synopsis about Ariel Gore caring for her dying mother, and then I’d wonder if it was really something I wanted to read. Eventually five years later, I was looking for an ebook that I could download on my phone in a...more

  • If, Then

    Kate Day Hope

    An interesting take on counterfactuals or alternate realities… If, Then follows four neighbors who begin seeing hallucinations that are actually glimpses of other possibilities in their lives. Though the concept has a lot of potential, the actuality of the novel is a bit disappointing. The damp Oregon setting is effective,...more

  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

    Ocean Vuong

    Dear Ma,
    I am writing to reach you — even if each word I put down is one word further from where you are.

    Though I expected to love this book, honestly I was a little disappointed. I loved the elegiac writing that winds a story around the reality of intergenerational trauma, but I felt the ending was a...more

  • Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

    Celia C. Pérez

    Celia is a friend, so I am biased here. But I’m pretty sure I would love her books even if I didn’t know her. After the success of her first middle grade novel, The First Rule of Punk, she’s back with Strange Birds, embarking on new territory. Four girls in a...more

  • Here Comes the Sun

    Nicole Dennis-Benn

    There are many compelling facets to this book, which is largely the story of a mother and two sisters who live together in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The older daughter Margot is employed at a big resort and has worked her way up, striving towards the management level, partially through her strengths in business but also in part because she learned...more

  • When Brooklyn Was Queer

    Hugh Ryan

    This has been a slow reading year for me, but for the most part I’ve been spending my decreased reading time with really good books, cutting out the ones I would have been pushing myself to finish or charging through disinterestedly. Quality over quantity is not a bad approach. If I were to make a top ten list at the end of this...more

  • Guestbook: Ghost Stories

    Leanne Shapton

    I really like this book in theory, as a collection of eerie vignettes that explore different hauntings through photos and ephemera. But while it’s enjoyably creepy, eventually the hints and suggestions of ghosts fell short for me. It makes sense in a way that the specters feel just out of reach, but the sections where the images were...more

  • Magical Negro

    Morgan Parker

    from “A Brief History of the Present”

    … I worry sometimes

    I will only be allowed a death story. No one will say in

    the New Yorker how my mother made her money, who

    I married, how my career began. Your people. The death …

    more
  • The Clothesline Swing

    Ahmad Danny Ramadan

    Beautiful, elegiac. A play on the concept of Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights, Hakawati takes the role of Scheherazade; many years past (close to the reader’s present) he was a Syrian refugee, a gay man who first experienced violence due to his identity and later due to the brutality of war. But he escaped...more