Truth—a higher, bigger truth—is what I want when I read. I want to nod my head in radical understanding. I want to grasp our complex, fragile humanity better. I want the ancient truths on every page, shown in unique ways. These books deliver. Not a false note in any one of them.
- Liar by Rob Roberge
When a liar decides to speak the truth, jump back. I read this memoir in manuscript a couple of years ago and was dazzled. Rob is unflinching in his telling, sparing nothing. He’s a masterful writer and careful sentence by sentence seem effortless and majestic. (Read an exclusive excerpt from Liar here.)
- The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Here’s a truth: there is nothing that Paul writes that I don’t want to read, and re-read, and give to friends, and put in Little Free Libraries for everyone else to read. His latest work, a memoir of a friendship and love and loss and beauty and the richness of life, is no exception. He exposes our humanity in ways at once timeless and unique. After reading this, I felt better prepared to live my life, to solider through pain, and to see the gorgeous beauty everywhere.
- Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones Reading these poems feels like being witness to the revolution. I can’t say it better than Brenda Shaughnessy did:
It’s a big book, a major book. A game-changer. Dazzling, brutal, real. Not just brilliant, caustic, and impassioned but a work that brings history—in which the personal and political are inter-constitutive—to the immediate moment. Jones takes a reader deep into lived experience, into a charged world divided among unstable yet entrenched lines: racial, gendered, political, sexual, familial. Here we absorb each quiet resistance, each whoop of joy, a knowledge of violence and of desire, an unbearable ache/loss/yearning. This is not just a “new voice” but a new song, a new way of singing, a new music made of deep grief’s wildfire, of burning intelligence and of all-feeling heart, scorched and seared. In a poem, Jones says, “Boy’s body is a song only he can hear.” But now that we have this book, we can all hear it. And it’s unforgettable.
- Close Quarters by Amy Monticello
This memoir explodes with love. A broken family rebuilds in unexpected ways amidst a boozy, smoky haze. A kaleidoscopic portrait of a family that is rich and warm while showcasing loss and sadness. Amy is so smart and so open—you will own a different, better heart when you’re finished reading this.
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