Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own bio, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, this paragraph must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. Now I sell books.
Comprised of filmmaker Werner Herzog's diary entries written during a three week pilgrimage from Munich to Paris (on foot!) in the winter of 1974 to visit a dying friend. At it's heart, this book is an exploration of grief and loneliness, a reconciliation of having a body, being a body, and a triumph of emotion and physicality. Poetry for when we're at our most human
Forget whatever you may have learned reading think pieces about Millennials, there are really only two kinds of us in this world: those who love John Darnielle and those who have dated someone who loves John Darnielle. So, in that sense, his second book Universal Harvester is kind of universal. Telling the strange and haunting story of a video store clerk who discovers that disturbing, mysterious scenes are appearing on some of the VHS tapes from his store, it is a novel about grief, full of 90s nostalgia and what could only be described as a rural loneliness. You are going to make it through this book if it kills you.
300 Arguments isn't the chorus but it is part of the hook from your favorite song, the one you sing during your walks home at night, the one you sing to keep the dark away with your head down and a fire in your belly. Sarah Manguso's aphorisms are that same melody, one which at first seems fragmented and unclear, but continues to build upon itself, steadily alluding to a braver, brighter symphonic whole—sort of like someone finally gave Emil Cioran a cookie. Worth reading if you've ever felt bold for merely enduring or if you wake up each morning with some sort of dark optimism on your lips. You know how it is.
Can your grandma's weird Facebook posts, that guy from high school who seems to post Instagram selfies from a different country every day, The Internet of Things, Twitter poets, and that one Youtube video you've seen a thousand times be considered Art? In Magic and Loss, critic Virginia Heffernan positions digital culture and the internet itself as a work of art—from the content it hosts down to its very design—a testament to humanity that rivals both the Great Pyramids and the Sistine Chapel. An engaging, forwarding-thinking book about the magic of this new experience and what may have been lost along the way.
At the beginning of Chuck Klosterman's But What If We're Wrong?, the author and columnist states that his newest book is not a collection of essays. But, I mean, he's totally wrong. It's definitely a collection of essays. Full of hilarious insights and Klosterman's signature wit, each piece attempts to examine twenty-first-century culture through the lens of future generations. What if gravity isn't gravity as we know it? What if in 300 years music historians don't care about the Beatles? We're going to be wrong about a lot of things. And maybe that's okay.
Black Wave, the newest metaliterary offering from Michelle Tea, is a moving portrait of identity, queer culture, sobriety, and finding a place (as well as peace) in the world, even as it ends—a near-perfect novel, a near-perfect memoir, a perfect combination of both. I loved it so much I cried and laughed and cried again. In public, even. You can throw as many words as you want at this book and they'll all stick: visceral, gripping, vulnerable, hallucinatory, apocalyptic, and—most importantly—hopeful. There are enough words, but there will never be enough praise. Black Wave demands to be read.
Surgeon General's warning: This book is so good, you'll be hooked! Just kidding. It's an addictive read! Forgive me. Nell Zink is back with another charmingly idiosyncratic novel (and, in my opinion, her best) following last year's Mislaid and The Wallcreepers before that. It's calledNicotine. It's a story about family as well as the strange people in our lives who become like family. It's quick-witted, unafraid of modernity, and it comes highly recommended. The fact that each of her books have been written in only three weeks time is barely a portion of what makes Zink such an interesting voice in contemporary literature.
Sarah is an artist with a particular problem: she can't draw. She's terrified that there's no such thing as an original idea, that it's all been done before. So she drops out of school and wanders the streets of Philadelphia, encountering both past and future versions of herself. In the wonderfully empathetic hands of A.S. King, Sarah's existential crisis and journey to overcome past trauma is both moving and encouraging. I wish I could have had a book like this as a teenager; I'm glad I have it now. Still Life with Tornado is perfect for anyone who's ever felt like they're floating but not dreaming.