In Calhoun's apocalyptic debut, the world is suddenly ravaged by a plague of insomnia. As those who have lost their ability to sleep also lose their sanity, the few who are spared the plague become victims of violence, guilt, and impotence. Calhoun's vision of this world perfectly captures the apocalyptic struggle: the ways--both horrifying and uplifting--in which humanity processes and reacts to chaos.
Sam Alden is one of the rising stars in comics right now, and his new book, It Never Happened Again, elegantly demonstrates why. Alden's ostensibly unrefined pencil sketches conceal an artistic genius generally reserved for epic full-color graphic endeavors. The rough lines provide a raw intimacy that beautifully captures the mood of the two stories contained in the book. Alden deftly relates the promise and pain of adolescence and young adulthood, while letting the reader linger in the silent moments.
For fans of Serial, Radiolab, and This American Life, Abel goes behind the scenes of some of the best shows on and off the radio to figure out what makes this narrative nonfiction such an incredible medium for exploring our our world and ourselves.
Atwood's new collection of short stories demonstrates, once again, her keen eye for portraying humanity in all of its messy, mortal, relational glory. The characters in these nine stories find themselves grappling with the existential crisis of growing old: re-evaluating their lives through the lens of personal and social history while simultaneously continuing to live within the context of ostensible decline. Atwood's sharp wit and brilliant prose shine in this gem of a book.
As the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our daily lives, there is an unprecedented ability to collect and examine large swaths of data about how we think, act, and portray ourselves, both on and off-line. Rudder, one of the founders of the dating site OkCupid, deftly parses through the mass amounts of data that is regularly collected by our online actions to demonstrate how we perceive ourselves and others, how disparate our actions are from our words, and what big data can tell us about human nature.
High school is rough. Particularly for Leila: an Iranian American who finds herself crushing hardcore on the new girl in school. Light-hearted and charming, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel follows Leila's misadventures as she navigates coming out and coming of age, while learning that maybe she's not the only one with a secret.
Veselka's lyrical debut novel is a brilliant meditation on our current cultural state: the constant anxiety of societal threat, the blind consumerism and environmental destruction, the hollow gestures of activism, and the emergence of a new lost generation.
Gibson takes pen to paper like flint to steel, generating verbal sparks that exist to ignite the reader's soul. I prescribe Andrea's words to anyone looking to fall in love, mend a wound, kindle rage at social injustice, develop empathy, and--most importantly--find a voice that speaks for the silenced.
Yuknavitch is such a literary badass. In her debut novel, she rips Freud's classic case study to shreds, then stitches it back together as a contemporary radical/feminist/hyperactive/queer coming-of-age story. Hysterical!
In a poor Jamaican community, Delores peddles souvenirs to tourists at the market while her eldest daughter, Margot, works at the nearby resort, peddling paradise to men with money and burying her own desires. Margot’s younger sister, Thandi, carries the weight of the family’s hopes for a brighter future, yet she sees salvation not in the elite school her family can barely afford, but in the skin-whitening remedies that promise a new life. Dennis-Benn’s brilliant debut novel illuminates the sexism, racism, and classism of the region while blazing with a lyrical and narrative profundity that will smolder in the reader’s mind for years to come.
Negin Farsad, a self-described Iranian-American-Muslim-female-comedian-slash-filmmaker-honey-mustard-enthusiast, delves into what it means to be a hyphenated American with humor, intelligence, and turducken metaphors. Drawing from her experience growing up and coming to terms with her otherness, she uses social justice comedy to patiently deconstruct our cultural biases, then provides a practical framework for actions we all can take to bridge our various degrees of cultural otherness and, in time, create an America that is simultaneously inclusive and celebratory of our many identities.