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A Cup of Rage
Raduan Nassar
Nasty, brutish, and short, i.e. perfect.— Recommended by Vanessa
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The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance...
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Black Swans
Stories
Eve Babitz
"He was not remote, elevated, or windy enough for me; by God, I liked my men humiliating or at least impossible to get to..." Eve Babitz is full of such delights. Come for the gossip, stay for the sentences. —Recommended by Vanessa & Cassie
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Dusk and Other Stories
James Salter
Do you remember those rock tumblers that would turn any old pebble into a shining jewel? These stories are just like those jewels: endlessly worked until no rough edges remain, buffed to an impenetrable, bright surface in which you can almost see yourself. Excellent.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Empathy Exams
Essays
Leslie Jamison
If you've got a glowing, tender heart and wonder how it's possible to feel so much, this is the book for you. Hypochondriacs are advised to skip essay #2.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Goodbye, Vitamin
Rachel Khong
You can devour this book in a sitting or two, and then return to like a condensed memory of sweetness—our first ice cream, maybe, or fresh cherries in July. —Recommended by Vanessa
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Her Body and Other Parties
Stories
Carmen Maria Machado
Every story in Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" unfolds with the creepy languor of a Kubrick film. Machado seduces you with devilishly great prose only to deliver the coup de grace of terror like a stiletto to the throat. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul
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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
Essays
Alexander Chee's essays have a dark radiance to them, and are among the best examples of sensuality as a mode of intelligence I’ve found. Highly recommended. —Recommended by Vanessa
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I Am The Brother of XX
Stories
Fleur Jaeggy
Prose so sharp it slices molecules; observe the intricate geometry inside.—Recommended by Cassie, Ivy & Vanessa
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The Leopard
A Novel
Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Starts off like a pleasurable, tipsy picnic in the hot sun; like so many picnics, the mood sours into gorgeous despair. A novel to savor with wine in hand. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Love Me Back
A Novel
Merritt Tierce
This novel is not perfect, but it is one of the few contemporary works of fiction that have lodged in my brain and poked at my softer parts once finished. It's cold, bitter work to get through this, but Tierce is a writer I'll be watching. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Mars Room
Rachel Kushner
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner's work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul
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Mrs. Caliban
Rachel Ingalls
Who doesn't secretly want a frog monster boyfriend? —Recommended by Cassie & Vanessa
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The Vanishing Princess
Stories
Jenny Diski
Strange, sneaky, sexy, smart. Snap it up. —Recommended by Vanessa