Merry Christmas You Guys!
I decided to put out a very belated little last-minute-shopping “Book Gift Guide”. If you guys are like me, you still have 50% (or honestly more) of your Christmas Shopping to do TODAY haha!
Don’t you worry, because I’ve got a list for you! I won’t go into my personal reviews on each book, since they will all be in my previous “Wrap Up’s”, but I will attach the Amazon Plot Blurb for all. I will try my best to separate them into separate genres too 🙂
Happy Shopping & Good luck out there! I went to the Mall yesterday, and it was HELL ON EARTH.. SO busy!
Love Carly xo
Books I’ve Loved And Wholeheartedly Recommend
FICTION/ HORROR/ ADULT ROMANCE
1.) “Conversations with Friends” By Sally Rooney
(SALLY ROONEY NAMED TO THE 2019 TIME 100 NEXT LIST • WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK) YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD • ONE OF BUZZFEED’S BEST BOOKS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE AND SLATE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BUZZFEED AND ELLE
Frances is a coolheaded and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, they meet a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into her world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and handsome husband, Nick. But however amusing Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it begins to give way to a strange—and then painful—intimacy.
Written with gemlike precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
“Sharp, funny, thought-provoking . . . a really great portrait of two young women as they’re figuring out how to be adults.”—Celeste Ng, “Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast”
“The dialogue is superb, as are the insights about communicating in the age of electronic devices. Rooney has a magical ability to write scenes of such verisimilitude that even when little happens they’re suspenseful.”—Curtis Sittenfeld, The Week)
2.) “We Met In December” By Rosie Curtis
(Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.
Two people. One house. A year that changes everything.
Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.
But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.)
3.) “My Year Of Rest and Relaxation” By Ottessa Moshegh
(One of the most compelling protagonists modern fiction has offered in years: a loopy, quietly furious pillhead whose Ambien ramblings and Xanaxed b*tcheries somehow wend their way through sad and funny and strange toward something genuinely profound.”
— Entertainment Weekly
From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.
Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.
Named a Best Book of the Year by:
The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Amazon,Vice, Bustle, The New York Times, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, The AV Club, & Audible)
4.) “Red White & Royal Blue” By Casey McQuinston
(* GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER for BEST DEBUT and BEST ROMANCE of 2019 *
* THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER that is a *BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR* for VOGUE, NPR, BOOKPAGE, and more! *
What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.
“I took this with me wherever I went and stole every second I had to read! Absorbing, hilarious, tender, sexy―this book had everything I crave. I’m jealous of all the readers out there who still get to experience Red, White & Royal Blue for the first time!” – Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners
“Red, White & Royal Blue is outrageously fun. It is romantic, sexy, witty, and thrilling. I loved every second.” – Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six)
5.) “Sour Candy” By Kealan Patrick Burke
(At first glance, Phil Pendleton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to set his own bedtimes and eat candy whenever he wants. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined. What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life. A new novella from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of THE TURTLE BOY and KIN.)
6.) “On The Island” By Tracey Garvis Graves
(In this runaway New York Times bestseller, a harrowing near-death experience brings together an English teacher and her student as they struggle to survive on a desert island.
Sixteen-year-old T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. With his cancer in remission, all he wants is to get back to his normal life. But his parents insist that he spend the summer catching up on the school he missed while he was sick.
Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher who has been worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere. To break up the monotony of everyday life, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring T.J.
Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahans’ summer home, but as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens: their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.
At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, and as birthdays pass, the castaways must brave violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the worst threat of all—the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. With only each other for love and support, these two lost souls must come to terms with their situation and find companionship in one another in the moments they need it most.)
1.) “Every Boy I Ever Kissed” By Nellwyn Lampert
(A bold step toward a new cultural narrative around sex)
(Sex was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be fun, liberating, and empowering for a girl who’d been brought up thinking the battle for sexual equality had been won. But for Nellwyn Lampert, losing her virginity would turn out to be anything but simple. Whether she was being confronted with porn-induced erectile dysfunction or other crises of masculinity, nothing went according to plan in the bedroom. Instead, Nellwyn had to learn to navigate the realities of sexual liberation, female empowerment, and masculinity all on her own.
In this coming-of-age memoir, Nellwyn looks back on her experiences with humour and insight to explore what true liberation and empowerment may look like for today’s young women. Her many unexpected adventures will prompt reflection on a bigger question: What does it mean when our experiences fail to live up to who we think we should be as liberated, postmodern women?)
2.) “Hunger” By Roxane Gay
(New York Times bestseller
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Lambda Literary Award winner
A best book of 2017: Time NPR People Elle The Washington Post The Los Angeles Times The Chicago Tribune Newsday St. Louis Post-Dispatch PopSugar BookRiot Library Journal Booklist Kirkus Reviews Shelf Awareness
New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.
With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.)
3.) “Meaty” By Samantha Irby
(Smart, edgy, hilarious, and unabashedly raunchy New York Times bestselling author Samantha Irby explodes onto the printed page in her uproarious first collection of essays.
Irby laughs her way through tragicomic mishaps, neuroses, and taboos as she struggles through adulthood: chin hairs, depression, bad sex, failed relationships, masturbation, taco feasts, inflammatory bowel disease and more. Updated with her favorite Instagramable, couch-friendly recipes, this much-beloved romp is treat for anyone in dire need of Irby’s infamous, scathing wit and poignant candor.)
4.) “Talking to Strangers” By Malcom Gladwell
(Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, David and Goliath, and What the Dog Saw, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers—and why they often go wrong.
How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?
Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.)
5.) “Unexplained” By Richard MacLean Smith
(In every corner of this earth there are secrets. They are hidden in the dark edge of the woods, nestled in the cold stars, and staring out from a stranger’s eyes. And whether they be demonic possession or an unsolved murder, the unknown has always haunted our dreams.
From the hit podcast Unexplained comes a volume perfectly crafted for the curious, the cynical, and the not-easily-frightened. Richard Maclean Smith is the expert in the unknown, and humbly offers up ten tales of real-life events that continue to evade explanation. With these chilling stories comes the missing key: a connection to our own beliefs in science, superstition, and perception.
What can a case of demonic possession teach us about free will? What can a cursed box show us about the act of storytelling? What can a supposed instance of reincarnation tell us about developing a concept of the self?
Perhaps some things are just better left unexplained. . .)
6.) “The Naked Truth” By Leslie Morgan
(“A formidable, addictive storyteller, Morgan provides a highly stimulating story of a midlife education in the messiness of modern sex and love. A steamy, liberating tale of self-exploration and self-love that encourages readers to ‘revel in your sexuality’” —Kirkus Reviews
Leslie Morgan, bestselling author of Crazy Love and Mommy Wars, was a mom turning fifty, reeling from divorce and determined to reclaim her life. In a radical break with convention, she dedicated a year to searching for five new lovers, seeking the rapture absent in a life of minivans and mom jeans—and finding a profound new sense of self-worth.
When Leslie Morgan divorced after a twenty-year marriage, both her self-esteem and romantic optimism were shattered. She was determined to avoid the cliché of the “lonely, middle-aged divorcée” lamenting her stretch marks and begging her kids to craft her online dating profile. Instead, Leslie celebrated her independence with an audacious plan: she would devote a year to seeking out five lovers in hopes of unearthing the erotic adventures and authentic connections long missing from her life.
Clumsy and clueless at first, she overcame mortifying early missteps, buoyed by friends and blind faith. And so she found men at yoga class, the airport, and high school reunions—all without the torture of dating websites. Along the way she uncovered new truths about sex, aging, men, self-confidence, and what it means to be an older woman today.
Packed with fearless, evocative details, The Naked Truth is a rare, unexpected, and wildly entertaining memoir about a soccer mom who rediscovers the magic of sexual and emotional connection, and the lasting gifts of reveling in your femininity at every age.)
7.) “Educated” By Tara Westover
(For readers of The Glass Castle and Wild, a stunning new memoir about family, loss and the struggle for a better future
#1 International Bestseller
Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.
Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.)
8.) “Know My Name” By Chanel Miller
(An Instant New York Times Bestseller
Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, TIME, Elle, Glamour, Parade, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, BookRiot
“Miller is an extraordinary writer: plain, precise and moving.” –NPR
“Know My Name is a gut-punch, and in the end, somehow, also blessedly hopeful.” –Washington Post
“Know My Name marks the debut of a gifted young writer. Miller’s words are purpose. They are maps. And she is a treasure who has prevailed.” –The New York Times
She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.
Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.)
9.) “Permanent Record” By Edward Snowden
(NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.
In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.
Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online―a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.)
10.) “Three Women” By Lisa Taddero
(#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 INDIE NEXT PICK
A Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post * NPR * New York Public Library * PBS * Time * Economist * Entertainment Weekly * Financial Times * Shelf Awareness * The Guardian * Sunday Times * BBC * Esquire * Good Housekeeping * Elle * Real Simple
“THIS IS THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR. This is it. This is the one…It blew the top of my head off and I haven’t been able to stop thinking or talking about it since.” —Elizabeth Gilbert
“Taddeo spent eight years reporting this groundbreaking book…Breathtaking…Staggeringly intimate.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A breathtaking and important book…What a fine thing it is to be enthralled by another writer’s sentences. To be stunned by her intellect and heart.” —Cheryl Strayed
A riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.
Hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “riveting page-turner that explores desire, heartbreak, and infatuation in all its messy, complicated nuance” (The Washington Post), Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women has captivated readers, booksellers, and critics—and topped bestseller lists—worldwide.
In suburban Indiana we meet Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks and, after reconnecting with an old flame through social media, embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming. In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who allegedly has a clandestine physical relationship with her handsome, married English teacher; the ensuing criminal trial will turn their quiet community upside down. Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women.
Based on years of immersive reporting and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy. “A work of deep observation, long conversations, and a kind of journalistic alchemy” (Kate Tuttle, NPR), Three Women introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.)
1.) “The Selection Series” By Keria Cass
(The first book in the captivating, #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series! Discover a breathless fairy-tale romance with swoon-worthy characters, glittering gowns, fierce intrigue, and a dystopian world that will captivate readers who loved Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Ally Condie’s Matched, and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined)
2.) “The Folk of the Air Series”, By Holly Black
(By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.)
1.) “Flux” By Orion Carloto
(“YouTube Mastermind” Orion Carloto turns raw emotion into powerful, digestible verse in her debut collection of poetry.
Flux is a somber narrative, an ode to change, a collection of poetry and prose written from the many states of grief over a broken heart. With original illustrations by artist Katie Roberts, Orion Carloto creates a dream world for the brokenhearted and paints a whimsical picture around the themes of love, loss, solitude, depression, sex, nostalgia, and unrequited romance. Flux takes readers through a raw and sorrowful journey of each and every bitter moment of heartbreak. Forewarning, Flux is best read with a warm cup of coffee in hand.)
2.) “Life of the Party” By Olivia Gatwood
(A dazzling debut collection of raw and explosive poems about growing up in a sexist, sensationalized world, from a thrilling new feminist voice.
i’m a good girl, bad girl, dream girl, sad girl
girl next door sunbathing in the driveway
i wanna be them all at once, i wanna be
all the girls I’ve ever loved
Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood now weaves together her own coming-of-age with an investigation into our culture’s romanticization of violence against women. At times blistering and riotous, at times soulful and exuberant, Life of the Party explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. Gatwood asks, How does a girl grow into a woman in a world racked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? In precise, searing language, she illustrates how what happens to our bodies can make us who we are.
Praise for Life of the Party
“Delicately devastating, this book will make us all ‘feel less alone in the dark.’ ”—Miel Bredouw, writer and comedian, Punch Up the Jam
“Gatwood writes about the women who were forgotten and the men who got off too easy with an effortlessness and empathy and anger that yanked every emotion on the spectrum out of me. Imagine, we get to live in the age of Olivia Gatwood. Goddamn.”—Jamie Loftus, writer and comedian, Boss Whom Is Girl and The Bechdel Cast
“I’ve read every poem in Life of the Party. I’ve read each of them more than once. In some parts of the book the spine is already breaking because I’ve spent so much time poring over it and losing hours in this world Olivia Gatwood has partly created, but partly just invited the reader to enter on their own, caution signs be damned. This book is enlightening, inspiring, igniting, and f***ing scary. I loved every word on every page with a ferocity that frightened me.”—Madeline Brewer, actress, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange Is the New Black, and Cam)
3.) “Love Looks Pretty Good On You” By Lang Leav
(The much anticipated new book by international bestselling author Lang Leav. A breathtakingly beautiful collection of contemporary poetry and prose, offering powerful insights into love, heartbreak, relationships, and self-empowerment.
Filled with wisdom and encouragement, every single page is a testament to the power of words, and the impact they can have on the relationships you build with others. And most importantly, the one you have with yourself.
Lang Leav captures the intricacies of emotions like few others can. It’s no wonder she has been recognized as a major influencer of the modern poetry movement and her writing has inspired a whole new generation of poets to pick up a pen.
Love Looks Pretty on You is truly the must-have book for poetry lovers all over the world.)
4.) “Bright Dead Things” By Ada Limon
(Finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award
A Best Poetry Book of 2015: New York Times and Buzzfeed
Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in a world you know you have to leave one day, and the search to find something that is ultimately ‘disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.’
A book of bravado and introspection, of 21st century feminist swagger and harrowing terror and loss, this fourth collection considers how we build our identities out of place and human contact-tracing in intimate detail the various ways the speaker’s sense of self both shifts and perseveres as she moves from New York City to rural Kentucky, loses a dear parent, ages past the capriciousness of youth, and falls in love. Limon has often been a poet who wears her heart on her sleeve, but in these extraordinary poems that heart becomes a ‘huge beating genius machine’ striving to embrace and understand the fullness of the present moment. ‘I am beautiful. I am full of love. I am dying,’ the poet writes. Building on the legacies of forebears such as Frank O’Hara, Sharon Olds, and Mark Doty, Limon’s work is consistently generous and accessible-though every observed moment feels complexly thought, felt, and lived.)
1.) “Blackbird Series” By Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel
(Included in Tor.com’s Best Comics of 2018
Included in Book Riot’s Best Comics of 2018
“Much like BARTEL’s art, the world of BLACKBIRD thrums with a fantastical undercurrent, and the moments when it spills through to the surface are supremely satisfying.” -KELLY SUE DeCONNICK (BITCH PLANET)
Nina Rodriguez knows there’s a hidden magical world run by ruthless cabals hiding in Los Angeles. And when a giant magic beast kidnaps her sister, Nina must confront her past (and her demons) to get her sister back and reclaim her life. Perfect for fans of SYFY’s The Magicians, CW’s Riverdale, and THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, don’t miss the first collection of the smash-hit neo-noir fantasy series from fan-favorite writer SAM HUMPHRIES (Harley Quinn, Nightwing) and red-hot artist JEN BARTEL (Black Panther, Mighty Thor)!
Collects BLACKBIRD #1-6.)
2.) “Killing and Dying” By Adrian Tomine
(Included on Best of 2015 lists from Washington Post and Publishers Weekly! A New York Times bestseller!
“As a serious cartoonist, one secretly hopes to create “That Book”: a book that can be passed to a literary-minded person who doesn’t normally read comics; one that doesn’t require any explanation or apology in advance and is developed enough in its attitude, humanity and complexity that it speaks maturely for itself… Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying may finally be That Book, and I’m amazed and heartened by it.”―Chris Ware, author of Building Stories
Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century.
“Amber Sweet” shows the disastrous impact of mistaken identity in a hyper-connected world; “A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture” details the invention and destruction of a vital new art form in short comic strips; “Translated, from the Japanese” is a lush, full-color display of storytelling through still images; the title story, “Killing and Dying”, centers on parenthood, mortality, and stand-up comedy. In six interconnected, darkly funny stories, Tomine forms a quietly moving portrait of contemporary life.
Tomine is a master of the small gesture, equally deft at signaling emotion via a subtle change of expression or writ large across landscapes illustrated in full color. Killing and Dying is a fraught, realist masterpiece.)
3.) “My Friend Dahmer” By Derf Backderf
(The bone-chilling graphic novel that inspired the major motion picture starring Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer.
2013 ALA/YALSA Alex Award
2014 Revelation Award at Angoulême
2015 ALA/YALSA Alex Award (Excellence in Narrative Nonfiction)
Named a BEST OF 2012 by Time, The Village Voice, A.V. Club, comiXology, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, MTV Geek, and more!
You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer—the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper—seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, “Jeff” was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.
Also available by Derf Backderf, Trashed.)
All Photography @Carly Ingram Photography 2019