If there is anything we love more than reading books...it's talking about them! Scroll down to see what books we are raving about this month.
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A pretty girl in a pink dress walks to the microphone and calmly regards the crowd. Then she explodes. Her transformation is immediate and transfixing. By the time the audience understands what is happening, they are already under her control. "Violence Girl" tracks the ongoing evolution of Alice Bag - from an introverted outcast in East LA to a feminist, punk rock icon - from a nihilistic, social pariah to a teacher and prominent Chicano rights activist. Alice Bag has an uncanny, lyrical voice that spews poetry behind the dumpster. -Steven
I could reread this classic collection of... essays? Stories? Whimsies? a hundred times and not get sick of it. The disorientation of Palm Springs! The giddy joys of the Santa Ana winds! Love, and all the ways it can arrive and depart your life! Babitz writes about Los Angeles, but with a light-hearted, true-sighted observation about its quirks of geography and people that rings sincere with humor and affection. Babitz, as much a character in these sketches as any of the figures she writes of, is a funny and keen narrator that takes you through the particularly weird and wonderful world of 1960s Los Angeles. -Mindy
I love this series. So smart. So gross. A perfect October read. -Alyson
I'm obsessed with Liane Moriarty's ability to write miscommunications. Whenever we're with one character, the others feel so annoying and suspicious, but the second we swap POVs my empathy swerves. I think it reaffirms my belief that all people are simultaneously absurd and beautiful. No offense to the designer (kind of), but please don't judge this one by the cover. -Alyson
Becky Cooper heard a bit of Harvard folklore one day when she was an undergrad: an anthropology PhD student had been murdered in her off-campus apartment in the ‘60s by a professor with whom she’d had an affair. The case was never solved. Something about the tale struck a chord with Cooper, and she ended up sucked into an attempt to find answers about the murder of Jane Britton for the next ten years of her life. In this book, she investigates the myths and suspicions and gossip. Throughout, Cooper is interrogating her own biases as well as our cultural obsession with compelling narratives. The reflective nature of the book is remarkable and, in my opinion, an important step away from academic “objectivity” (hi, not a thing) and an acknowledgment of our positionality in relation to our research. We Keep the Dead Close, while engrossing, is not a page turner. It’s deliberate and encompassing, inviting the reader along Cooper’s circuitous, haunted search for some semblance of truth. It’s both a truth crime read and a deeply personal and affecting account of our entanglement with truth, justice, storytelling, and culture-making. -Holly
In this riveting memoir, Cheryl (a.k.a. Crystal a.k.a. Harbhajan) recounts her childhood growing up on the run, crisscrossing the globe with her family in order to evade Interpol. Diamond’s childhood set the stage for an extremely dysfunctional adolescence thanks to her charming yet intensely controlling father. Not only was the family on the run, they were living by his set of rules and principles that set them even further apart from regular society. Nowhere Girl t hit exactly the way I think the best memoirs do: a place that is stranger-than-fiction and incredibly heartfelt. On top of that, Diamond is an excellent writer, evoking a strong sense of place in each setting as well as offering insightful commentary on her emotional state along the journey. -Holly
"Despite being broken up into a million pieces and scattered across continents, centuries and languages, Cloud Cuckoo Land just works, and works so well, as a gripping, moving story about humans, books, and the power and precarity of both. If you're in the mood for a cleverly constructed epic that ponders the biggest questions, but stays grounded in sensitively written characters and their struggles for survival and understanding, then Cloud Cuckoo Land is your book. -Davi
Part memoir, part literary biography and entirely original, this book somehow defies description. Ni Ghriofa attempts to reclaim the female texts of the past (read: writing about women's domestic work) that were either erased or never written as a way of making sense of her own history. The momentum of the book -- unrelenting, exhausting -- is a perfect meeting of form and function; the fatigue feel after reading this book is the fatigue of women at the end of every day. A bewitching, infuriating book. -Amanda
With just an arsenal of smutty one-liners, spooky innuendo, and a plunging neckline at her disposal, Cassandra Peterson elevated her character of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, from schlocky, late night movie host to burlesque horror queen and queer icon the world over. Her new memoir is an uninhibited roll in the haunted hayride, sensationally scripting a life lived to its electrifying fullest and leaving nothing to the imagination. -Steven
The book that birthed the Hellraiser franchise. I will always recommend not missing this great dark read. The prose feels like poetry to me in Hellbound Heart and has always remained one of my favorite Clive Barker reads. -Will
A perfect read for fans of body horror, existentialism, and unlikely companions. The premise here is rich & tactfully explored for a volume 1. This manga correctly displays the power of the medium with an art style evocative of classic & modern Japanese artists blended to fully highlight the horror & further our understanding of the characters. One of my top 10 I could not recommend this more to those who love Uzamaki but want a more thrilling shonen spin to it. -Hanz