Marissa A. Staff Picks
Alright, with this one, you've gotta stick around for about 200 pages until it really starts coming into it's own -- but it's worth it!! Think of the first half of the book as the lead-up to a cleverly crafted joke that slaps you in the face with the punchline. I mean it.
It's a commentary on those 'Chosen One' narratives that we all know and grew up with but that have grown pretty tired and predictable. This is not that story.
An atmosphere that is a lovechild of The X-Files and Drop Dead Gorgeous, with a narrating voice that the author describes as a mixture of Clueless' Cher Horowitz and Morrissey. Eerie in it's beauty, 'like a Barbie doll whose head has been torn off." It rules.
This is laugh-out-loud funny, especially if you ever had Tiger Beat posters plastered all over your childhood bedroom in the early 2000's. And if you feel some type of way about Gillian Anderson (which is all of us, right?).
Written as an artistic collaboration between the author and sculptor Lea Gulditte Hestelund, this weird little novel pulls you into a claustrophobic spaceship/workplace that challenges the employees to confront what it means to be human, to be alive. Make sure to look up the artists work to give you a visual of these 'objects' that both comfort and repel the employees.
These stories are gross. I love them so much. :)
*flips* *kicks* *yearns* *runs across roof* *bleeds from mouth* *pines in gay* *spins*
This is absolutely required reading if you've stepped foot in a bookstore in the past two years. That's it, that's the review.
I own three different versions of 'Carmilla' and this is my favorite one because, you guessed it, it's edited by Carmen Maria Machado. My queen, my terror, my flickering flame in a dark, dark room.
Also, I dare you to research CMM's footnotes in the preface. And then read the Electric Lit article interviewing her. Talk about a fever dream!
One of my bookseller friends (hi, Josie) had been raving about this book for weeks before I finally picked it up and was pulled into the depths of this...memoir? Interlocking essay collection? Autofiction? The more you drift through the waters of this book, the more murky the lines of classification become. It's about motherhood and what it takes from you; it's about academic obsession bleeding into the personal; it's about searching for women in a history that has abandoned them; it's about an 18th century poet who drinks her husband's blood; it's about a contemporary poet who can't let go. I know one thing for sure: "This is a female text."
You know how Becky Chambers is the queen of tenderpunk, sci-fi comfort reads? Ryka Aoki is hot on her tail! This book is heart-wrenching and heart-warming, with many elements of the fantasy and sci-fi genres coming together to create a lovely story of friendship, food, and music.
The perfect read for spooky season! Written by horror royalty, this graphic novel is twisting and dark, and the illustrations are to die for. I mean, it's enough that it's by Carmen Maria Machado. Pick it up, you won't regret it.
Reading this feels less like an encyclopedic exploration of Iceland's museums and more like you're being guided through a fairytale land, where magic lurks under every stone. You thought their most interesting institution was the Icelandic Phallological Museum? Think again!!
Look, the premise of this manga series is ridiculous: a shy, anxious virgin turns 30 and can suddenly read the minds of those he touches. Not only is this very shocking for our adorable and easily frightened protagonist Adachi, who thinks so low of himself that he laments 'What could anybody possibly find to like in a sad sack like me?' but the stakes are raised when he finds out that the office heartthrob is in love with him! The growth of their relationship, with Kurosawa's genuine sincerity in his feelings for Adachi inspiring him to slowly come out of his shell, makes for the most delightful office romcom experience that you can revisit again and again for a burst of serotonin. Oh, and it's gay.
A quiet novella that packs a helluva punch. A story about telling stories, Vo crafts a folkloric tale that simmers with passion, frustration, and dueling narratives that leave both the narrator and reader hanging in the balance.
Absolutely delightful. A beacon of hope in the midst of a bleak and rainy life. A sea of cerulean with the caption 'Don't you wish you were here?' An inside joke that just keeps getting better the more you share it with someone. "Like being wrapped in a big, gay blanket."
I knew from their first book, FINNA, that Cipri was a master at capturing the tone of retail mundanity in the midst of extraordinary happenings, but I was happily surprised to find out that DEFEKT is just as good as the first, if not better! It's a lovely story of finding your chosen family and escaping the clutches of corporate drones and, terrifyingly, anthropomorphic furniture.
The author describes this book as "Picnic at Hanging Rock + The Blair Witch Project x lesbians," and I don't think I can make it anymore clear than that.
I listened to the audiobook on Libro.fm and the narrator was fantastic, but the illustrations and footnotes in the physical copy really shine when you're holding it in your hand. I recommend doing a bit of both listening and reading!
SO FUN! I read this in only a few hours during the COVID-19 lockdown and it was the greatest escape I could ask for. You've got some fantasy, you've got some broken hearts, you've got some hilarious customer service stories, you've got some time-traveling monsters - a little bit of everything!
For fans of ergodic literature like House of Leaves. From the mind of Lost's J.J. Abrams, so you already know it's strange and frustrating, but so worth it! A book within a book, you'll love this if you're a multi-book reader or if you love picking up used, annotated books. Solve the mystery of 'S'!
If you're both a nostalgic & spooky person like me, then you'll love this book! Imagine a crew very much like Scooby-Doo's Mystery Inc. but all grown up and dealing with the traumas of their teenage adventures. It's funny, tragic, and heartwarming all in one. Also, ever 'shipped Daphne and Velma? Cantero definitely did, too.
How does an expert tell whether a Van Gogh is real and not a forgery? Costamagna takes you through his experience of learning the skills to become an "Eye" in the artworld and how even an expert can be wrong.
Remember the good ole days when women who were diagnosed with "hysteria" were treated with the newest medical technology, i.e. the vibrator? Dive into this hilarious play that reads like a kooky Victorian sitcom.
"Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" was a 1971 essay by Nochlin that was a call to action for feminist art historians. With this collection, Nochlin studies and analyzes women's role as subject in artworks as well as the new methodology that art history should follow to be more inclusive.
A 14th century monastic murder mystery set in NOrthern Italy that wonderfully explores the medieval inquisition era with intrigue and close historical accuracy. Throw in a Sherlockian monk and a mysterious Borges-inspired library to draw you in even more!
"Groff has an uncanny way of linking her characters' simmering anguish with the lurking Floridian wildlife, ready to spring forth at any moment. Within my reading only a few sentences into the first story, the surrounding humidity went up 40% and I swear mosquitoes started swarming my room. It's just like Jumanji, Groff's descriptions of the Sunshine State came to life around me and reminded me exactly why I moved up north as soon as I could (mainly running away from all the snakes)."
Where my witches at?! Grab your familiar (probably your cat) and cuddle up with Madeline Miller's new epic about the most infamous witch in Greek mythology. You might remember her as the woman who turned all of Odysseus' men into pigs, but after reading this classical re-imagining, you'll realize Circe is so much more! Beautifully written character development is the star here, slowly building to an epic and empowering end that will have you applauding from your couch/nook/coffee shop table.
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If you love "The Princess Bride" but are completely useless in your social relationships, then this book is for you! If you have loving and wonderful relationships, you should still read this book, and if you say you don't love "The Princess Bride" then you're wrong, go re-watch the movie and then read this book. You'll breathe better afterwards. (No, really, Nichtern will teach you.)
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I like when a title explains everything you need to know about a book before you even crack the spine, no poetic metaphors or tricks of language. If you've daydreamed that a "Die Hard" scenario would happen at your day-job or if you've ever wanted a robotic arm, pick up this book now!