Born and raised in Alaska, Laura is proud to have called the Pacific Northwest home her entire life. When she isn't reading or pushing book recommendations on her friends and family, she enjoys cooking pasta, boat-watching on Lake Union, and listening to podcasts.
Reviews & Recommendations
Before she was known for her memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed was writing advice columns under the pseudonym Dear Sugar. The essays collected in this book are unlike any other advice pieces I've ever read; they're filled with empathy and gut-wrenching honesty and are the perfect thing for someone who might be feeling a little (or a lot) lost. Keep it on your bedside table and read it when you need a little food for your soul, or devour it all at once and revisit it over time! Either way, this book makes a lovely companion for anyone who knows what it feels like to struggle.
Le Guin can do more with a novella than most people can do with a full-length book. She writes with complexity about justice, cruelty, home, and grief just as deftly as she moves between science fiction, fantasy, and realism, and each of these stories is populated by characters so real you can almost feel their heartbeats through the pages. These shorter works span multiple genres and, taken together, make a great introduction to the career of an incredible writer.
Around the same time I was first discovering Harry Potter, I was also reading (and obsessively rereading) books by Eva Ibbotson, and The Secret of Platform 13 was always my favorite. This book also features a portal in King's Cross Station, but this one leads to a magical island and only opens for nine days every nine years. After the young prince of the Island gets lost on the normal side of the portal, a group made up of a giant, a fey, a wizard, and a young hag are sent to find him. The ensuing adventure is completely delightful, filled with magic and whimsy. It's a great addition to the shelves of kids and grown-ups alike!
These stories are weird, dark, and utterly wonderful. Each one grapples with what it means to be a woman through different fantastical lenses. In "Especially Heinous," a standout of the collection, Machado rewrites the synopses of 272 episodes of Law & Order: SVU to be about ghosts, eery noises, and doppelgangers. It's creepy and hilarious at the same time, and I can't stop recommending it (and the rest of the book) to everyone I know.
In this book, Mitchell tells six individual stories that all interweave into a powerful narrative on immortality, psychic abilities, and the value of humanity. It starts with a fifteen year old girl who runs away from home, then follows her throughout her life and into the not-so-distant future, where she is caught up in a war between ancient beings that endangers humans everywhere. This book is a perfect balance between this war of epic proportions and the human lives that are affected by it. I still think about this book on a regular basis years after I first read it, which is a testament to the effect it had on me.
In this novella, four astronauts have been sent on a decades-long journey from Earth to search for life on other planets. Between each stop, the crew goes into hypersleep, waking up with bodies that have been scientifically adapted to fit each of their new climates. But as the years pass and the mission continues, the crew begins to wonder: who has changed more--the astronauts on the ship, or the Earth they left behind? Chambers brings her trademark world-building and dynamic characters to this story, as well as bringing up questions of the purpose of exploration, the meaning of separation, and what we leave behind when we go.
Butler was a genius of the short story form. In each story in this collection, she manages to create a compelling world that grapples with the big questions of how we live our lives. Whether telling the story of humans living in a symbiotic relationship with strange aliens on a distant planet or people on Earth who have suddenly lost the ability of speech, the scenarios and characters have stuck with me long after finishing this book. In addition, each story in this collection is paired with an afterword discussing the inspiration and intent behind it, which makes for a truly well-rounded and unique reading experience.
Ranging from dystopian to downright apocalyptic, the stories in Saunders' first collection are vibrant and frightening, wild and lonely, hilarious and raw. Written while Saunders himself was working a corporate job to support his family, each story shows its characters fumbling through one bizarre capitalist hellscape after another. But each story is memorable for its own unique world, its own characters, and the moments of intense, beautiful clarity that Saunders manages to reach. This is a wonderful collection often overlooked in a wildly successful career.