Rumaan Alam’s That Kind of MotherBy Deena ElGenaidi
Rumaan Alam opens his second novel by plunging us immediately into Rebecca Stone’s interiority, introducing us to this character just as she gives birth to her first child.
Lillian Li's Number One Chinese RestaurantBy Katharina Smundak
In the “Fried Rice” episode of Ugly Delicious, the show tackles the subject of Chinese-American cuisine, the extent to which it has permeated American culture, and the limitations placed upon it by people’s expectations and prejudice.
Harry Mathews's The Solitary TwinBy John Reed
During the years I was pursuing my graduate degree in creative writing at Columbia University, Harry Mathews was a beloved mentor, and in the years since, as I’ve been faculty at The New School graduate writing program, he has been not only a mentor, but a colleague and a friend.
Virginie Despentes's Vernon Subutex 1By Rebecca Rukeyser
“Life is often a game of two halves,” thinks Vernon Subutex, the hapless character at the center of Virgine Despentes’s virtuosic Vernon Subutex 1.
Patrick Chamoiseau's Slave Old ManBy David Varno
Where to begin? Where else but the words. The first chapter of Slave Old Man, a small but richly layered, obsessive, lyrical novel written after the sprawling, Goncourt-winning Texaco, is named “Matter,” and that word comes to encompass a great deal.
Joshua Mensch's Because, A Lyric MemoirBy John Domini
Among the many shocks and felicities in Joshua Mensch’s Because, one of the best is his way with a semi-colon.
They Cant Kill Us Until they Kill Us: HANIF ABDURRAQIB with Nicholas Rys
I was introduced to the work of Hanif Abdurraqib through his brilliant essay, “In Defense of ‘Trap Queen’ As Our Generation’s Greatest Love Song” in 2015. In it, I instantly heard something (yes heard, for Abdurraqib’s language is so vibrant and alive that one can’t help but hear its musicality when you read it) fresh, unencumbered, yet familiar.
Leslie Jamison's The Recovering: Intoxication and its AftermathBy Deena ElGenaidi
“The first time I ever felt it—the buzz—I was almost thirteen,” writes Leslie Jamison in the opening of her memoir, The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath. From there Jamison’s story unfolds, and we begin to see the ways in which addiction takes a hold of her life.
Skate Dad: NEAL THOMPSON with Marina Petrova
Neal Thompson is the author of multiple nonfiction books, such as A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley, Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR and Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard—America's First Spaceman. His newest work, and his only memoir to date, is about raising his two skateboarding sons. Thompson, in his role as a skate dad, tells a story of defiance, frustration, fear of failure, and love. He writes about parenting without pretense and with self-deprecating humor.
Elle Nash's Animals Eat Each OtherBy John Domini
In her debut novel, Animals Eat Each Other, Elle Nash has no interest in testing boundaries; instead, she crashes right through.