Bookseller Recommendations: February
Four real people suggest good books we think you might like, too.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf: The Dark Star Trilogy #1
by Marlon James
Riverhead Books | February 2019 | $30.00
This book is mesmerizing. The plot follows our narrator’s recollected hunt for a missing boy in a fantastical Africa full of witches, cannibals, giants, shape-shifters, and future-tellers. This story challenges masculinity and pushes the boundaries of what truth can be. At points when I found myself a little lost, I was happy to go back to reorient myself and reabsorb the prose. Read this if you like non-linear storytelling, multifaceted characters, getting lost in a world that feels like something you have known but have never experienced before, or you want to try reading science fiction/fantasy. This book is so grand and challenging and rewarding—I can’t wait for more people to read this so we can talk about it. Buy now»
Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
by Hanif Abdurraqib
University of Texas Press | February 2019 | $16.95
Hanif Abdurraqib always reminds me that music writing it is still the form closest to my heart. In his brilliant new book, he writes toward friendship, mercy, and the opportunities for transcendence that music offers us, examining the legacy of A Tribe Called Quest, album by album. In particularly affecting portions of the book, he writes to the group’s members, delivering the gift of their music back to them transfigured through his own life. Abdurraqib’s writing feels like the house parties that appear in his work: a blend of intimacy, storytelling, sense of possibility, and always, the living, steady pulse of the beat behind it all. Buy now»
by Christopher Castellani
Viking | February 2019 | $27.00
Is there a better way to escape February in Minnesota than to lose yourself in the glamorous world of 1950s Italian beaches? This novel explores that time and a complicated view of Tennessee Williams through the eyes and voice of his real-life partner Frank Merlo. Mixing together actual events, works of art, and parties thrown by none other than Truman Capote, Castellani creates a vibrant and nuanced cast of fictionalized characters who more than carry their portion of this novel. Leading Men is a love story that balances the troubles of fame with oversized personalities. Merlo, an oft-forgotten man, becomes the anchor and star of this show. Buy now»
In the Country
by Mia Alvar
Vintage | March 2016 | $16.95
This is a good pick for someone attracted to gorgeous and inventive writing (some stories are told from “we,” others “you”) and who also cares about the larger world. The collection centers on the relationship of characters connected to the Filipino diaspora, but is saturated, too, by larger societal shifts. In the Country takes place across multiple settings (including Bahrain, the Philippines, and the US), and includes themes of loss, socioeconomic class, and displacement. These stories are not light—but they are meaty, and moving. Your world will be enlarged by reading them. Buy now»
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