Recent Reviews

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Night Rooms: Essays Cover Image
Night Rooms

Serpentine and stunning, Gina Nutt’s Night Rooms leads us on a tour of the empty backrooms of our own personal experiences - we weave through corridors of memory and stumble into the bloody maw of classic horror tropes. The prose reality hops, making subtle and brilliant associative links – the emptiness within the spaces rings out as loudly as the gnashing content of the words themselves. This work gives the feeling of floating aimlessly in a long-abandoned Victorian flooded with viscous liquid. A disquieting dream rendering the reader a heavy limbed ghost haunting the halls of their own past. Recommended by Jack

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Of Women and Salt: A Novel Cover Image
Of Women and Salt

Of Women and Salt is made up of interwoven snapshots. It starts with Jeanette, a young woman struggling with substance abuse in modern-day Miami who takes in her neighbor, a Salvadoran child whose mother has been taken by ICE. Through a non-linear timeline, we meet Carmen, Dolores, Maria Isabel—the Cuban women who came before her. And we hear the stories of the Salvadoran women as well. All of them women who make choices that their daughters may never understand. Gabriela Garcia’s characters are complex—flawed yet vibrant. This slim volume is like a toe dipped into a vast ocean of intergenerational trauma and the stories it conjures. The heartbeat of these stories is survival. Recommended by Mary

Garcia introduces Cuban immigrant Carmen in 2018 Miami, quickly transitions to young Maria Isabel, Carmen’s ancestor, in 1866 Cuba, and ends back in 2019 Miami with Ana, a teenage Salvadoran immigrant. In non-linear, but easily traversed chapters, we venture into their lives and those of Carmen’s daughter Jeanette, Carmen’s mother Delores, and Ana’s mother Gloria. Each is fraught with sorrow and loss, many with guilt and abuse. Each woman evokes compassion; some are also unlikeable - thus entirely human - as they make their way through the challenges of an unjust and often disappointing world, struggling and hoping for something better. Recommended by Nancy

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Good Eggs: A Novel Cover Image
Good Eggs

What a treat to find Rebecca Hardiman's debut novel Good Eggs when, more than ever, readers need a gifted writer to transform a mess into a perfectly happy ending! We toggle between the stories of three members of a dysfunctional yet nonetheless good-hearted Irish family. Meet feckless Kevin, an  unemployed father of four; Millie, his lonely, kleptomaniac mother; and Aideen, his disgruntled  teenage daughter. Their combined quirks and self-destructive antics brew into a perfect storm of hilarity. Highly recommended by Kelly!

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The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free Cover Image
The Barbizon

Paulina Bren's The Barbizon, profiling Manhattan's trend-setting escape for career-minded women, is essential feminist history. That makes it sounds dry though, which it most decidedly is not. Readers will learn juicy stories from its famous residents--most notably Molly Brown, Sylvia Plath, and Joan Didion. Bren's narrative also charts a changing country through the stories of women such as Barbara Chase-Riboud, visual artist and writer and one of the first African-Americans allowed in the once exclusive club of Mademoiselle guest editors famously lodged in the hotel. Finally, The Barbizon offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most elite options for ambitious women who didn't want marriage as their only option. This is a fascinating read! Recommended by Kelly

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No One Is Talking About This: A Novel Cover Image
No One Is Talking About This

Patricia Lockwood’s No One is Talking About This asks what it means when a person exists entirely Online, and what happens when that digital existence is tested by off-line events. The book starts with a sharp and hilarious fragmentary case study of a narrator addicted to the Portal, an all-consuming social network. Then, something happens to the narrator’s sister that no meme can explain. I’m being vague because I want you to experience the power of this unforgettable novel for yourself, and because it’s nearly impossible to categorize or explain it. I’ll just say this, inadequate as it may be: Lockwood has written an urgent, important novel unlike anything I’ve ever read. Recommended by Danny

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The Cot in the Living Room Cover Image
The Cot in the Living Room

The Cot in the Living Room centers on a Dominican-American family in Washington Heights who often host neighborhood children while their parents work nights. Most evenings, a guest child sleeps on the cot in the living room, which makes the youngest daughter of the family jealous. After spending a night on the cot herself, the daughter realizes that it’s not as great as she thought—her jealousy turns to empathy. This lovely book explores culture, class, and envy within a realistic story—its lessons are perfect for every child. Recommended by Mary

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Laxmi's Mooch Cover Image
Lakshmi's Mooch

Laxmi hadn’t really noticed her mooch—“mustache” in Hindi—until her classmates started teasing her about it. Now she’s embarrassed about all of her body hair. But her parents help her realize that feminine body hair is a part of their heritage—that beautiful, powerful women with body hair came before them. Laxmi’s mooch turns to whiskers on a majestic tiger, her unibrow changes from caterpillar to butterfly. And when she goes back to school, she flaunts her mooch and teaches others to appreciate their body hair as well. With bright illustrations and end-paper glossaries, Laxmi’s Mooch is a progressive addition to body-positive children’s lit. Recommended by Mary

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Milk Blood Heat Cover Image
Milk Blood Heat

Moniz’s stories take unexpected turns, and have powerful endings. She explores human relationships, from the symbiotic to the strained, and leaves readers contemplating not only her characters’ lives but also their own. Her characters are complex and compelling, displaying weakness, foibles, and strength. From young girls craving to truly know how things feel to a middle-aged man struggling with his wife’s illness, to daughters and mothers bound by pain, disappointment, and resentment, they elicit sympathy, contempt, and recognition. They get under the skin and are not easily forgotten. Recommended by Nancy

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The Butchers' Blessing Cover Image
The Butcher's Blessing

Ruth Gilligan’s The Butcher’s Blessing presents a tenuous turning point in the culture of Ireland. A moment of lurching forward momentum caught up in a backswell of tradition that refuses to be quietly abandoned. Those who still hold the old ways dear are faced with being forcefully forgotten. Forsaken for the opportunity offered by the coming twenty-first century. Two families find themselves tugged apart by the personal and societal difficulties brought on by this changing cultural tide. When the conflict reaches its peak through a mysterious act of violence, none of them will be able to remain as they once were. Recommended by Jack

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Bodies Are Cool Cover Image
Bodies Are Cool

Tyler Feder’s work never fails to inspire me. Her illustrations are whimsical yet realistic—true-to-life in that they are not beautified versions of everyday people, but they are those people, perfect already. Trans people, fat people, queer, disabled, dark, or light, all the characters in this book are joyful and capable. With sparse, rhythmic text, Bodies Are Cool will help kids realize that all bodies are good bodies, that everyone deserves to be represented, and that everybody (and every body) is worthy of love. Recommended by Mary