Lauren always has at least two books in her bag and approximately 78 next to her bed and feels that the best books are the ones that make us feel anything strongly, even when it's uncomfortable. On the off chance that she is not reading, she can be found taking fast, purposeful walks (really, they are stomps) around Seattle or writing with exactly the right pen in a very specifically chosen notebook. 

Reviews & Recommendations

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Mrs. Caliban Cover Image
By Rachel Ingalls, Rivka Galchen (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780811226691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 28th, 2017

Someone once said of Rachel Ingalls that she had a particularly jaunty way of writing about tragedy and this is so true it makes my teeth hurt. Mrs. Caliban is a love story between a lonely housewife and a sea monster who only recently escaped from the lab where he was imprisoned. She feeds him avocados (a heretofore unknown delicacy), he listens to her and makes her feel seen for the first time in years. It's campy, but also unexpectedly devastating: it made me think of all the things we turn away from, the deceptions that that make our lives bearable. It's a very lonely book to read, but in the best way possible--I still think about it. 

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Heroines (Semiotext(e) Active Agents) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781584351146
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Semiotext(e) - October 5th, 2012

Kate Zambreno has always been fascinated by the "wives and mistresses of great men," the women history has dismissed as crazy, toxic, or unworthy of legacy. This memoir/biography hybrid gives them their due in a way that feels transgressive and incredibly refreshing. Zambreno tells her own story alongside those of Zelda Fitzgerald, Vivienne Eliot, Lucia Joyce, and others to contextualize and provide evidence for the way women's voices are ignored, diminished, and stolen in literature and in life. Who gets to tell their story? And whose story gets believed? Both referential and the reference, Heroines is mesmerizing, compassionate literary criticism with bite. 

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Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto Cover Image
ISBN: 9781788734424
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - March 5th, 2019

This was such a welcome rebuttal to the deafening white noise of the mainstream feminist movement, the one that prioritizes personal success over systemic change and reinforces oppressive power structures. This straight-to-the-point manifesto posits the necessity of a feminism that is anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-ableist, and anti-sexist—in other words, a movement that will make the world a better place for everyone. Reading it, I had to resist the urge to underline every single word.

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The Witches Are Coming Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316449885
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - November 5th, 2019

The witches are indeed coming and I want to join Lindy West's coven! Her concise and direct style of truth-telling is a refreshing counterpoint to those howling for a past that never existed, to the quivering and ineffectual centrists, to those who urge civility in the face of fascism and use the high road as justification for inaction. The Witches Are Coming presents the Trump presidency and its attendant atrocities not as the beginning of our sharp descent into dystopia, but as the culmination of our national legacy of indifference. It is our collective eagerness to believe convenient lies over shameful truths that has damned us, the American tradition of looking the other way. West makes case after compelling case for caring: about abortion rights and bodily integrity, about climate change, about the appalling human rights violations at our borders, about the corrosive bigotry that is so pervasive here and so devastating. That a collection of such bleakness also manages to be undeniably hilarious will surprise only those who are new to West's work (this grim feminist killjoy hasn't laughed that hard in ages). It is a nimble, clever, compassionate book and I put it down feeling fired up and hopeful. 

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In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - November 5th, 2019

It started out like a fairy tale: once upon a time, Carmen Maria Machado met a smart, sexy woman who made her feel brand new. When they fell in love (quickly, extravagantly), it made perfect sense. But when the mask slipped and her girlfriend revealed herself to be a different kind of person altogether, it was hard to believe and even harder to talk about. Machado tells her story in a series of vignettes like bread crumbs dropped along a dark forest path, and it's incredibly affecting. Fairy tales are the truth told slant, a safe way of exposing the things we cannot name. There is a resounding silence, both historically and currently, surrounding abuse in queer relationships. And rarely is emotional abuse recognized, legally or socially, as a form of violence. By writing this book, this brave, fascinating, multitudinous book, Machado is creating a record, one that will resonate personally with many readers and prompt others to recognize their blind spots.  Prismatic and charismatic, In the Dream House is a shape-shifting memoir of remarkable beauty and pain.