Read This Next: Celia Recommends (April)
This month I picked three books I eyed for a while before finally picking up—ones I knew I would want to devote an entire, uninterrupted afternoon to read. Daley and I sometimes joke about how we aren’t sure whether we like books or whether we are just so haunted by them we can’t let them go. These are three I definitely enjoyed while reading but, more importantly, they are books that have been lodged in my brain for weeks, ones I find myself wanting to return to and talk about and share.
Brecht Evens, translated from Flemish by Michele Hutchison and Laura Watkinson
Drawn & Quaterly Press, 2016
Panther looks deceptively juvenile—its horizontal, free flowing drawings mimic the illustrations of a children’s book, and the tale of a girl who finds an (imaginary?) friend in a charismatic, shapeshifting panther after the death of her beloved cat seems like fairy tale territory. Evens cleverly plays with these expectations, slowly revealing Panther’s manipulative nature to the reader. Is Panther’s roughhousing with Christine playful and cat-like or is it predatory—a literal and metaphorical grooming? Panther arrives in Christine’s dimly-lit world in literal technicolor, and Evens beautifully portrays how dramatically he changes her worldview in kaleidoscopic, style-bending watercolors. Buy now»
Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun
Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Cassava Republic Press, 2017
Dr. Morayo Da Silva is the beloved patron saint of her colorful San Francisco neighborhood. Stylish, chatty, and intellectual, Morayo is an irresistible narrator whose love of books and her vintage Porsche is infectious. When she is hospitalized after a fall, she is forced to give up some of her trademark independence and a makeshift family of friends surrounds her with good intentions but bad ideas. Manyika bounces from neighbor to neighbor, describing their roles in Morayo’s life and her role in theirs, as Morayo tells stories of her long and interesting life, weaving past into present. Buy now»
Button Poetry, 2015
Danez Smith certainly does not need my cheerleading— if they’re not already a literary superstar, they’re about to be (stay tuned for his next collection, coming from Graywolf this fall)—but if you haven’t read this chapbook, it’s the perfect capstone to National Poetry Month. Smith’s portrayals of neighborhoods and families are stunningly beautiful and honest. Smith explores black grief and black pain vividly but this is not a book of shadowy tragedy. Smith delivers a glorious celebration of blackness rarely seen by white America—black joy, black queerness, black boyhood—in electric, cinematic poetry. Buy now»
Celebrate Indepdendent Bookstore Day with us and get 10% off all staff-recommended books featuring shelf talkers like these!