From Staff Picks

Sunday Staff Picks: May 17th

Writers and Lovers by Lily King Writers and Lovers is Lily King’s latest book after the success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel, Euphoria. Her new novel follows 31-year-old Casey Peabody who copes with her mother’s sudden passing, heartbreak, and pursuing a writing career while drowning in debt. King’s first-person narration gives us a direct gaze into Casey’s thoughts which reveals her constant uncertainties and very real anxieties. Despite all that seems to be going badly for her, Casey never ceases to point out the humor and absurdity in everything. Writers and Lovers is full of little truisms delivered…

Sunday Staff Picks: May 10th

Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O’Connell Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O’Connell is not the book you’re expecting—but unquestionably the book we all need during the seismic shift of COVID-19. Throughout, you follow the conversational meditations of this worried yet apprehensively optimistic author as he goes through the same mental loops I’ve felt…

Sunday Staff Picks: May 3rd

Temporary by Hilary Leichter “I have a shorthand kind of career,” confesses the protagonist of Temporary, Hilary Leichter’s zippy debut novel. This confession is true, as it turns out, in a delightfully unconventional way. A temp at “an uptown pleasure dome of powdered women in sensible shoes,” Leichter’s unnamed protagonist is sent out to fulfill…

Sunday Staff Picks: April 19th

Sh*t is F*cked Up and Bullsh*t by Malcolm Harris I picked up Sh*t is F*cked Up and Bullsh*t for fairly obvious reasons. Released less than two months ago — let’s call it the Before Times — Marxist journalist Malcom Harris walks readers through the past decade here in America. It’s not a pretty picture. Beginning…

Sunday Staff Picks: April 5th

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry Quan Barry’s latest novel, set in a Massachusetts coastal town, delivers witches, field hockey, and late 1980s cultural references, all in Barry’s distinctive, irreverent tone. After the team makes a deal with the Devil, in the form of an Emilio Estevez notebook, the Danvers field hockey team inexplicably begins winning game after game, landing them at the state finals. Despite the normal pressures of high school—sexual awakenings and creepy teachers as only the beginning—the girls truly dedicate themselves to bonding as a team. Perhaps dark powers propel them to field hockey stardom,or perhaps…

Sunday Staff Picks: March 29th

Staten Island Stories by Claire Jimenez In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a group of strangers embark on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, telling stories to pass the time—but the text ends before they reach their destination. The pilgrims become connected by their narratives rather than their geography: and, because we never see the pilgrims reach Canterbury,…

Sunday Staff Picks: March 1st

A Sand Book by Ariana Reines Newly crowned winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the dizzying four hundred-page epic A Sand Book by Ariana Reines masterfully takes on issues of spirituality, consumerism, womanhood, and the occult. Moreover, Reines suggests these themes are conjured by the gross deterioration and obfuscation of language at the hand of the immediacy so latent in the digital economies of the contemporary West. In “A Partial History,” Reines writes of these challenging times: “We were lost in a language of images. / It was growing difficult to speak. Yet talk / Was everywhere.” In turns at…

Sunday Staff Picks: February 23rd

The Gilded Auction Block by Shane McCrae Addressing America, Shane McCrae’s speaker in “Everything I Know About Blackness I Learned from Donald Trump” says “even in my dreams I’m in your dreams.” McCrae’s The Gilded Auction Block turns America and the American dream inside out, and in doing so creates a surreal logic—a fractured but incisive way of looking at contemporary America. Although the epigraphs are often quotes from the current political moment, the book undergoes a traditional narrative of katabasis when the speaker descends into Hell to confront a Trumpian figure (among other demons). McCrae’s attention to enjambment, rhythm,…

Sunday Staff Picks: February 9th

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener Everyone who’s worked in publishing has had the same dream: flee New York, join a tech company, and make barrels more money in an office filled with top-of-the-line snacks and California sunshine. Anna Wiener carries out the dream and chronicles how it dips into the nightmarish in her memoir, Uncanny…

Sunday Staff Picks: January 26th

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado Carmen Maria Machado’s urgent memoir, In the Dream House, confronts the literary archive’s dismissal of her and others’ experiences of psychological abuse in same-sex relationships. Non-queer abuse stories, she shows, have appeared often enough in cultural and literary discourse that they’ve almost become a kind of narrative…