Kelsey Westenberg, Co-Manager and Master Library Scientist
A librarian masquerading as a bookseller, Kelsey has found throughout her life that she is happiest around books and bookish people. You can usually find her reading anything from poetry to graphic novels or YA to translated fiction--she prefers books that make or break her heart. When she isn't reading, she's embroidering semi-obscure quotes, baking, hanging out with her neurotic mutt, exploring new places, or consuming copious amounts of coffee.
This is a stunning, brutal fantasy about deeply-inlaid prejudices and the people brave enough to try to change them, despite prevailing feelings of hopelessness (relevant, no?). With richly textured world-building and shifting points of view, Jemisin immerses you in the broken land of Stillness. I CANNOT wait for the next installment in this new series!
"Remember how the naked soul/comes to language and at once knows/loss and distance and believing." -from "Note"
If you aren't familiar with two-time Pulitzer winner and former U.S. poet laureate W.S. Merwin, I will be the first to tell you that you should be. This is one of my favorite collections of his, a collection that is tangled through with graceful and subtle meditations on memory, mortality, loss, and language.
Where do I even begin? This mesmerizing and poetic novel follows the lives of six friends through their individual thoughts from youth to death. Though difficult at times, the prose makes the seemingly innocuous moments we all experience from day to day shimmer. This is a book I will return to again and again, finding new things each time
Raw, gritty, and graphic, this novel follows Maya through her life of drugs, sex, and f**ed up relationships as she tries to figure out what she ultimately wants apart from what society has told her she has needed to crave. This is a darkly humorous book, punctured with thoughtful reflections and told with a witty and uncompromising voice. Maya definitely has some "problems," and you won't always like her, but it's hard not to empathize with her as she struggles with addiction and self-identity.
Devastatingly honest and thought-provoking, this essay collection delves into pain both physical and emotional, attempting to understand and expand on notions of empathy. The subjects of the essays range from exploring a crazy ultra-marathon to ending with a stunning essay on female pain.
Nadja Spiegelman, the daughter of famed cartoonist Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly, has written a brave and graceful memoir that traces the origins of the tense relationship she has always felt with her mother. Through difficult and intimate interviews with her mother and grandmother, Spiegelman discovers the complexity of memory and how our shapings can intricately affect the present. Compassion, understanding, and forgiveness weave through the memoir as she uncovers surprising patterns and parallels between the lives of four generations of women. Amazingly, this memoir never drips into sentimentality, but is written with a clear and poetic voice that I look forward to hearing more of in the future.
Noah and Jude are incredibly close twins that find their bond nearly severed after the sudden death of their mother. Told in their alternating viewpoints, this is a coming-of-age tale that explores grief, first loves, and the passionate, healing power of art.