This book is framed by Frankl's account of his time life during the Holocaust; it is from these experiences he formed the conclusions for not only determining meaning, but determining how and why we continue to live each day, even under the almost certain promise of death, as he and countless others have experienced. His answers to man's search for meaning apply regardless of the outside circumstances, and his time in the camps gives his theories a stripped-down, no nonsense approach to the existential vacuum, as he calls it.
I'm not the most well-versed in mysteries or thrillers, but this one I was reading every chance I got, just to get a little bit further down the rabbit hole. Abbott manages to draw you into the web deeper and deeper, creating both a seriously addictive book and a raw, honest picture of what sacrifice and struggle a family experiences in high level gymnastics. It's dark, it's a bit twisted, it's chilling. Check it out even if you're straying from more familiar genres.
Look at the beautiful cover art on this one!! This clever, fun book presents a fresh take on magic, while retaining the same feel of classic fairy tales. The way Barnhill uses magic within this book, its limits, its applications, its dangers, is inventive and intriguing. As well, the book plays with the idea of questioning who is in charge and why, and what to do when they really shouldn't be. The book is divided into fairly short chapters, and interspersed through with short, bedtime stories that fill in plot points without getting too exposition heavy. It's insanely readable, at times harsh and realistic and at others touching, and sweet. Good for all ages!
Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is a story made of an intricate collection of recollections. The narrator takes you through her history, her childhood and her relationship with her magnetic friend Tracey parallel with interludes on the history of dance. The stories highs and lows take you alternatively through the narrator’s childhood and youth in England and work in Africa, all while Tracey moves in and out of her thoughts, in and out of her life, like a ghost. This history of dance winds its way through this book and lends itself well to the complexities of race and identity (and the associated power and politics that go hand in hand) that make up the meat of the book. Readable yet provoking.
This book is just super; it gives quick history lessons, it's funny, it's good for broken hearts, and those happily coupled up. Each chapter is devoted to a famous breakup and a cheeky sentence describing its best applications; for instance, there's a Henry VIII chapter, for obvious reasons, for those who keep making the same mistakes. While Ol' Henry VIII and his penchant for beheadings is one of the more famous breakups, there are many that are both less infamous and more gnarly. A seriously funny book that manages to be informative and memorable.
Leslie Kaminoff's handbook of common yoga poses are gorgeously illustrated and dissected, showing major muscles targeted by each pose. The posing and 'dissected' view really set this book apart. I love that this book can give you both a guide on basic anatomy relating to poses as well as why the pose feels the way it does; each page focuses on a pose, sometimes showing a variation or two, and a brief description of the muscle groups contract and relax to accommodate the postures. Even if you're not a yoga person, flip through this book and check out some seriously cool, unique illustrations.
This slim little novel is, among other things, a ghost story. It's also a book described as 'unsettling', a perfect choice of words. This is not a haunting story, nor a horror story; it's an uncanny book, a ghost story that's really about poor family living in a partially constructed luxury high rise.This book hooks deeply into something primal inside you. Not your heart, more like the ancient part of the brain keyed into danger and fear. It's beautiful, sad, and vivid. Aira packs an impossible amount of meaning in each word.
What?? A picture book without picture? How and why? This book forgoes illustrations in favor of text that the adult must read, no matter how demeaning or silly or hilarious. A seriously fun book made to be read together. Flip through it with your little one and get ready to laugh.
Bone People is a work of realism, veering into magical realism in just the right amounts. Think New Zealand's version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but sadder and colder.This book strikes a lot of emotional notes and yet never veers into saccharine (possibly because of the realism in detailing the day to day life of impoverished Maori). Following an intentional hermit who befriends a mute orphan and his adoptive father as the three negotiate happiness as unhappy people. Together, they make a trio, not quite a family, not quite friends. Follow them and get a glimpse into Maori culture and traditions, watch them reconciling their own traumas and pains with this new connection.
The mad scientists as an archetype has never been as disquieting as Dr. Victor Hoppe, geneticist and religious zealot, obsessed with Christ's suffering. He returns to his hometown with three sons and slowly the strangeness escalates. With a retired schoolteacher, fielding Victor's bizarre requests as the primary witness to the inner workings of father and sons. The plot twists and turns through the evolution of Dr. Hoppe and his work, seeing in glimpses how and where and why, but never knowing what's coming next. Disturbing, suspenseful, some might say blasphemous.
We tend to think picture books are something we graduate out of reading once we've gained reasonable abilites to string letters into sense in our minds. This book however, is for anyone who has ever felt lonely. This beautiful story is made further beautiful with its delicate, masterful illustrations.Try not to smile at its end.
Maybe you're reading this in hopes of learning what this book is about. Don't you hate when there's no blurb on the back?? I've got you. This book follows two families affected by market bombings in India. Mahajan, page by page, shows how the pain and trauma of the past reverberates and shapes our futures. Over time, we get a full picture made up of varying points of view; glimpses from both families, from well-meaning do-gooders, and from the bomb makers themselves, come together into a nuanced elegy for the forgotten victims of lesser acts of terror. Ultimately, this book is an honest, naked portrayal of loss and the emptiness that follows.
What's a poor little fish to do in the big bad ocean? Crack this one open and find out! If a kiddo in your life is the shortest kid around like I was, you won't want to miss this one. This is a seriously cool, beautifully illustrated picture book that really makes its point.
Set in a post-disaster, plague-riddled world, we watch the events of this book primarily through the eyes of Melanie, a brilliant and pragmatic young girl. She is one of a few children partially immune to the plague devastating the Earth, being studied in hopes of finding a cure. As happens in a power vacuum those vying for control converge and set in motion the worst road trip ever. While the set-up may sound formulaic, this book surprises you at every turn, not shying away from averting your expectations and chilling you with its stellar writing. The ending will blindside the dickens out of you.
I'm not much for crockpot recipes, but I'm all about Indian food. Shopping for spices before you make your first recipe out of this book is probably the most difficult part, and Singla walks you through that too! So if you're like me and you want something that tastes like you spent hours over the stove but still leaves you time to watch and rewatch Game of Thrones episodes, give this a go. Homemade Indian food doesn't have to be daunting.
For my next trick, I’ll convince you to read this book of horrible plagues. Why? Because it’s important to see what we’ve done in the past when faced with an extinction event. Wright spins a tale about the worst diseases mankind has battled into a read that is not only funny, but reassuring; each chapter ends with a wrap up and underscores that each plague contains a lesson to take with us should we face an epidemic in the future (we’re overdue, you know).
Cammie O’Reilly is a little girl growing up angry, living in an old apartment within a prison. She’s angry, in part, because she doesn’t have her mother. Through Cammie’s eyes, we watch her try to fix this by recruiting a variety of figures, willing and unwilling, into her life to fill the empty role. Spinelli manages to cover both the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships and those of tween and teen girl friendships with a prison and its occupants as its unforgettable backdrop. This one made me cry, twice in fact.
For a certain type of person, playing pretend can not only be intoxicating, but downright addictive. Rose Bowan is one such person. During a thunderstorm, she experiences a surreal, Being John Malkovich moment seeing life through the eyes of Harriet Smith, a woman she has never met. Chapters alternate from present and past, wherein we meet Ava, Rose’s little sister; Ava's present day absence hangs over the story like a (forgive me) thundercloud. Past melts into present and gives you just enough to keep you hungry, tearing through each chapter to find satiation.
Just after the Rwandan genocide had begun to lose momentum, Gourevitch began visiting and collecting stories from survivors, sometimes victims, sometimes perpetrators. With context, exposition, and hindsight, he wove them together; what sets this book apart, what makes it so haunting, is the telling of the story by witnesses. The extent, the scale of this unimaginable atrocity, is parsed out in these accounts with Gourevitch’s unmistakable voice supplying a commentary and occasional exposition, with bittersweet wit and unflinching, frank language.
Ward packs out a lot of pain into this deceptively short memoir. The chapters alternate between a retelling of her childhood and an elegy to the lives and premature deaths of young black men; her friends, her cohorts, her family, all are weighed down by the millstone of poverty and blackness in the South. With sensitivity and startling honesty, Ward revisits, with the clarity that comes with time, her turbulent childhood and memorializes four men that died too young. Hanging over the work is the feeling of déjà vu, or perhaps inevitability, all told in Ward’s rich, toothsome voice.
This short story collection is an impressive debut to say the least, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's short stories. Introverts will identify with the delicate sense of remove in the narration, while everyone can appreciate the way Machado plays with old fairy tale conventions and reader expectations. Attempting to pick a favorite story in this collection feels impossible; while each story is touched with a similar, somewhat disquieting magical realism, each has its own charms, its own arresting images. You might find yourself reading and rereading this one.
With his impeccable attention to detail, Weir has fun with the physics, engineering, and chemical elements of the plot, building a moon base so convincing you'll start saving for your ticket to Artemis. His world-building is fleshed out by a cast that feels like a real, thriving community, organically grown and entangled. Jazz, the narrator, is a determined, reluctant genius and porter/small time smuggler. Through her smuggling, she gets drawn into an enterprise too good to be true and too good to turn down. It's good Jazz is so quick on her feet, because the plot unfolds quickly; Weir skillfully weaves the plot and science based exposition in Jazz's sometimes heartfelt, sometimes irreverent, narration. If you like your sci-fi smart, funny, and fast paced, you seriously can't skip this one.
Read this book because it will enrage you and break your heart. We follow a young generation of women who have landed a dream job that not only comes with generous pay but the cachet of working with the super substance of the day: Radium. Moore manages to contain in this book a brief biography of radium, portraits of a dozen or so women, spanning two towns, and many years of court cases. This is a story of workplace negligence and worker exploitation and gross abuses of employees, where women sickened were discarded at the end of their usefulness still fight until death for justice.
Have you ever been curious about what happens when our big human brain goes a little batty? Pick this one up and it'll suck you right in. This neuroscience book isn't just intriguing but enlightening and easily digested. Each chapter gives a brief description of the physiological background needed to understand the condition, and then a case study, often from Ramachandran's own experiences. You'll also see the brilliant neuroscientist use basic tools, like mirrors and cotton swabs, to both illuminate and treat uncommon neurological conditions. As well, he takes historic case studies of incredibly rare neurological disorders and uses them to illustrate neurological malfunctioning at extremes.
How to begin speaking about Dylan Thomas? His poems bypass rationality and give you glimpses of timeless madness, pain, passion. It feels like Dylan Thomas had a direct line to something in humanity that is both primordial and playful. His language is at times stark and at others musical. You’ll find yourself reading, rereading, rerereading single lines, words even. If there is any defining feature of Thomas it is that he nearly defies definition. This is a helluva collection, one you’ll keep at hand for years to come.
Borne is Sci-Fi of the highest order-- surprising, inventive, immersive. We follow a badass scavenger and a distraught scientist in a world where bears fly. Rachel, our protagonist, meters the story with just a glimpse here, a memory there, to sketch the downfall into the present, but Vandermeer has a deft hand with exposition and avoids troweling it on. There are moments and images of abject horror cut with moments of humor you can't anticipate. Come for the promise of biotechnology gone native and stay because you won't be able to put this intricately crafted, addictive universe down.
This book will entrance you and draw you in; you willing to follow Helena, the narrator into the disquieting depths of her unconventional childhood. Her cold, feral, wildman father seen through Helena's eyes is at once in the cloak of childhood admiration and bittersweet adult hindsight, with interludes of the eponymous Hans Christian Andersen tale collide in an eerie, heart racing, beautifully written ode to the marshes of the Upper Peninsula and a singularly complicated father-daughter relationship.
Dreamy fairytale sequences interspersed with stark, rigid scenes of life growing up in a staunchly religious household, Winterson's Oranges... is an addictive coming of age novel. This is one I read years ago that I've come back to just to reread single passages and pages. She really nails down the pain that comes from a kind of difference within that is perceived as dangerous. There is something both exquisite and personal in Winter's coming of age novel.
What if your classmate who wore the same old clothes every day promised she had one hundred dresses in her closet at home? Can you imagine? This sweet story will introduce class awareness while also teaching the kind of magic we can make with our own hands and the value of having friends that see the world differently. A charming and timeless kid's story about income inequality and dresses.
Get ready for a story that manages to first break and then mend, and then melt away your heart.Good for all ages, this is touching story of loss and grief, of growing up too quick in ways you're never ready for. Whether you've experienced the exact losses in this story or not, Sheets is beautiful in its message of resilience and acceptance. The rich colors, lively illustrations and its dynamic, industrious, clever heroine will have you reading and rereading this gem of a comic.
Poole's book was as breathtaking as it was sensitive. The backdrop of bloodshed that is the Great War is almost its own character in Poole's writing. The format with the early lives and war experiences of each man lends itself so well to the dissection of the works produced by those who returned but never really came back. The hunger for horror, the almost compulsive need to relive and re-experience the trauma, and the irrevocable mark on the landscape of our psychology and pop culture, Poole is dead on with sharp analysis and drinkable prose.
This novel explores the disquiet of in between places through the eyes of an unsettled adolescent and the sumptuous interior worlds of his mother, a sailor,the boy himself. He's the only son of a single mother in between childhood and adolescence, the new man in his mom's life in between father and not. His friends, a band of similarly aged boys, critique the hypocrisies and shortcomings of adulthood and the underlying philosophical purpose of growing up. A haunting read, luscious and ferocious.
You might know that cows are revered in India, but I bet you don't know why. The popping colors of this one definitely caught my eye, and by the early encounter of the cow in an elevator (yes, an elevator) I was hooked. Part homecoming memoir with a dash of culture shock, all in all this is a devotional ode to cows and the unique friendship that develops between Shoba Narayan and Sarala, the Milk Lady. From myth up to modern day medicine, read this book for Narayan's sensitive re-acclimation to India and the way traditional reverence reconciles with modern day living.
This is a book of fascinating snapshots of the rise, pinnacle, and fall of various societies, and a retrospective of how they fell, why they fell, sometimes even the ways in which they made baffling choices that hastened the end. Jared Diamond's signature attention to detail and personal retelling resurrects each extinct society before and into their final days. rather than removed and alien, these peoples and their fallen worlds, in disquieting way, are familiar and not near removed enough for any sense of security against our own possible collapse.
Pick up this up if you're looking for a slim read that packs an epic between its covers. There is a somberness about this book's playfulness; at its core this a story of dysfunctional coping in the wake of love lost. That being said, each thread of plot is swept with surrealism, from a woman of paper to a war against Saturn. The rotating cast of characters makes for a delicately stratified plot that lulls and never lags as it winds through to the conclusion. The dreamlike quality of this book is sealed in Plascencia's play with the text itself, running parallel narratives in columns, blots and blackout boxes denying reader's are denied voyeurism, even the orientation of the page itself. Reality itself is more malleable here.
Hilarious and sometimes painfully relatable, we follow Dorothy, reeling from a handful of back to back traumas, is at home preparing dinner when suddenly, like in a B-movie horror flick, an amphibious reptilian humanoid invades her kitchen and her life. He disrupts the sad but safe monotony of her day to day, for better or worse. Ingalls will surprise you, at turns breaking your heart with the banalities and bruises of life we've all felt; at others, she'll catch you off guard and unready, pulling surprised laughs from you over and over again. Really, this is a novel unlike any other you've read.
Gessen's biography of Putin is a fascinating and chilling overview of this faceless man and his seamlessly crafted public persona. Emerging from the collapsed USSR and Yelstin and Gorbachev clash was Vladimir Putin, an undistinguished KGB colonel in a plain suit. This biography connects the dots, through Putin's early years into the 2010s.Shadowy intrigue, tough guy posturing, civilian casualties, and assassinations of perceived enemies follow as Putin rapidly develops into the steely leader we know today.
You may know the more famous Andrews book Flowers in the Attic but let me tell you about My Sweet Audrina; we follow Audrina, living in a grand, decaying manor in the woods, where time tumbles between rushed weeks that pass like hours and afternoon hours that stretch endlessly, shaped by a memory she compares to swiss cheese. She is haunted by warnings that her older sister, now dead, failed to heed, hounded nightly by her father who believes Audrina can reverse his luck, and tormented by her precocious cousin Vera. What happened in the space between Audrina's memories? Soapy, gutpunch dark. Don't discount this grim, creepy, psychologically chilling story.
What would you do if you heard the voice of your god? Brutha, our primary narrator, is in such a position. He is the most faithful, earnest novice one could find, and among the melons of the Citadel garden, he is called to greatness by a tortoise that's seen better days. A surprisingly smart, funny, sharp, and poignant look at faith, at the old gods, and the righteousness of cruelty. Small Gods is an old school favorite of mine, and a notable in the Discworld series in that it is removed enough to be a standalone, which was how I encountered it. Pratchett is a good palate cleanser if you're looking a charming read that never dumbs down with a wry twist of humor.
There are no recognizable words in this graphic novel. Under the stylish, striking illustrations, this is an immigration tale told by immigrants brought to this towering, yet whimsical city for a dream as old as any: a better life. There are little cool details, like the benign monster/creatures sprinkled through each scene and unusual architectural choices in a surprisingly chic chocolate and khaki monochromatic palette. Exquisite, entrancing panels and full pages guide through a story that may have no words, but speaks universally. At its core, this is a sweet, simple family story in elegant, delightful illustrations.
Toews really nails the claustrophobic yet supportive feeling of a truly insular community. The fact that it's done almost exclusively with dialogue makes this book all the more impressive. The narrative of these women manages on its surface to read as inexperienced and naive, with a disarming philosophical depth to both their dilemma ( Do Nothing, Stay and Fight, Leave) and their own continued existence as Mennonites. An unforgettable read, provocative, effortless, and self-possessed.
This book is full of line after line that will make you stop, shut the book, and soak in each syllable. The novel’s backbone is a letter to the narrator's illiterate mother, but what sets this apart is the writing. This beautiful, fragile story is a faceted work of the love of a single mother and her child, the difficulty growing up an immigrant in rural New England, the constraints of masculinity, and the reverberating pains of grief and loss that cannot be healed. This is one I found myself reading and rereading single sentences savoring the slip of syllable to syllable. The pages are alive with fleshy feelings and images at turns brutal and gritty, others ethereal and transcendent.