This is stand-up comedy in book form, with crudely rendered yet uncannily expressive drawings taking the place of the physical presence of the comic and painfully funny prose ruminations on everyday absurdities and incidents standing in for the spoken word. Although Allie Brosch’s musings on procrastination and ill-behaved canines have caused me to shed laughter-induced tears in public places (including this bookstore), her writings on (and illustrations of) depression are breakthrough-level in terms of their accuracy, honesty, and refreshing lack of sentimentality while still managing to be both comforting and, amazingly, rather humorous. Buy it, read it, share it, give it.
A beautiful, sad memoir about a man investigating the death of his father. Currently the Deputy Editor of GQ, journalism runs in Michael Hainey’s family: Michael’s dad wrote for the Tribune & the Sun-Times. At age 6, Michael loses his father in a mysterious accident. His mother and extended family never discuss the death, and Michael grows up filled with questions and longing. Conversations, interviews, and lots of visits to Chicago haunts help Michael piece together who his father was and how the news biz operated in the 1960s. This read is a personal account of a son’s quest to learn about a man he barely knew…and a wonderful look at the neighborhoods & institutions of Chicago.
Our former bookseller Nicole has been doing intern-y things at Soho Press and here’s her homage to How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
It’s not that I don’t have a good sense of cheer
but the end of December I especially fear.
The windchill is dropping
and its getting colder.
My birthday is coming and I’m getting older.
The trains are delayed and the stations are freezing.
Tourists are shoving and commuters are sneezing.
They’re all making lists and checking them twice.
They’re maniacally shopping and dodging black ice.
I want you to know that there are people like me
who are perfectly happy without a gift or a tree
All we want is some peace and some time to ourselves.
It has nothing to do with toys or with elves.
When I’m trapped on a train with the unspeakably rude
and the ladies are all wrapped up in their snoods…
or is it a sneed? I don’t know! I don’t care!
Want to know what I think when I’m stuck under there?
That I want to READ. Let me read, read, read, read!
“Personal space!” I silently plead.
I know that is something every New Yorker needs.
But I can’t move my arms.
And I can’t really breathe.
I get these ideas.
These awful ideas.
I just get these WONDERFUL, AWFUL ideas!
What if I was alone?
No one else in the town?
No holiday madness?
No pushing around?
I’d fill my house up with books. So many books.
With Edward Said and lots of bell hooks!
Hemingway! Russell! Austen and Heller!
Kafka and Didion! Renata Adler!
New York would be quiet.
No subways, no planes.
No honking of taxis as they try to change lanes.
And I’d sit and I’d smile with a hand to my ear
because quiet’s the sound that I most like to hear.
But after a while of reading alone
I’d finish a chapter and let out a groan—
“oh man what’d you think”—
but no one is home.
I’m sharing my thoughts with the cold, empty air.
This isn’t fun. No one’s there. It’s not fair!
I have so much to say about what’s in my book
but everyone’s gone and I can’t make them look.
I can’t ask them to listen
because it’s only me.
And somehow your fun is diminished by three
when ideas are boinging around in your head
but you can’t talk about all the great things you have read.
So as much as I hate it
The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags and the the tinsel!
The trimmings! The trappings!
I’ll swallow my misanthropy
(there’s no rhyme for that).
I’ll wrap up my scarf and I’ll pull on my hat.
I’ll smile at commuters who read books on the train
as we shuffle and wriggle, always in vain.
New York is better with people around
even with all its smells and its terrible sounds.
Though I don’t want to go
I will trudge through the snow.
The bookstore will make things better, I know.
It’s been a while since Edwidge Danticat has written a novel but this is well worth the wait. The story centers around Claire but it also is about the about the small town where she lives. What is so engaging is the lyrical way in which Danticat tells Claire’s story and that of the townspeople. She takes the reader on a journey through Claire’s short life going chronologically backwards - from her disappearance to her entrance into the world. Once you start you won’t be able to put it down.
Whether acting in Academy Award winning short films, reading on This American Life, or publishing his biting yet tenderhearted essays David Rakoff proved himself to be a true wit over the course of his lifetime. His posthumously published novel in verse is as moving and funny as anything this pseudo Canadian wrote through the years. If there is one book that can rescue you from the potential terrors of Christmas-family-mandatory time while simultaneously making you crave it, this is it. Rakoff saw our weaknesses yet loved humanity dearly. His satire was full of longing because he desperately wanted us to be better and believed we could. These characters are flawed, they are weak, but they are trying to transcend themselves. All of our lives need more poetry and this novel in verse accomplishes that. Break your heart and read the last thing he wrote.
A fantastic piece of nonfiction that shows you life in a small village in the south of Spain seemingly so peaceful and idyllic that it feels unreal. This is not a book about communism, this is a book about the hope and strength of the people. The people of Marinaleda who decided after the fall of Franco that they had a responsibility and desire to take care of each other and that a democracy alone couldn’t solve their problems. They spent decades performing sit ins, peaceful protests and marches all in an effort to build a utopia. In this village no one goes hungry, no one is homeless and property is communal as are almost all aspects of life. This book showed me that a better world is possible because it already exists in this little town in Spain.
I read a lot of books about young girls, all of them wonderful but none so appealing as this. Translated for the first time since it’s publication in 1931, Gilgi is both the story of a young girl struggling to find her independence and a revolutionary work for it’s time dealing with issues such as abortion, and single motherhood. A powerful novel filled with Gilgis determination to make something of herself. Working and taking language classes in an attempt to leave Germany she spends her days fending off advances from her boss sure she wants no romantic attachments. Until she meets Martin a poor travelling writer living off his wealthy friends, he’s not exactly who she pictured falling in love with. Superbly written and translated, this is absolutely the best novel I’ve read all year.
Obsess much? Nora Eldridge sure does. In this case, over a family. Nora is a teacher, an artist, a daughter, & a friend to many. The Shahids enter her life, and she’s totally taken with them—-especially Sirena Shahid. Nora narrates her story & tells you all she sees and feels. With the recent death of her mother, the Shahids fill a void. However, the devotion & attention Nora dotes on the family lead to devastating consequences. Intense, insightful, and creepy writing make this novel quite satisfying.
Not only for those physically “locked down”, but for those seeking to break the bonds of mental shackles.
With the success of Hill Harper’s motivational books many fan letters came his way, seeking further guidance and support. Harper had noticed an alarming amount of letters coming from corrections institutions. Faced with those letters and the United States’ horrifying statistics of African American incarceration, Harper sought to answer some of the very tough questions that this devastating epidemic has brought on. By using a personal correspondence with a young man facing time in jail, readers are given a front seat in what goes on in the mind of someone locked down.
Knowing that he does not have all the answers, Harper is smart enough to gather wisdom from the likes of Dr. Rudolph E Tanzi, Russell Simmons, Charles “ the rock “Dutton. He places quotes from Aristotle, John F Kennedy, and Malcolm X along the way. The book has a layout that is simple and clear, with illustrations, charts and highlighted quotes it feels partially like a journal. Included in the back of the book is an “owners manual”. Letter to an Incarcerated Brother convinces readers that a “hard time” does not have to be the thing that breaks you.
This book shows you how to make beautiful gifts. Skill level and experience don’t matter: the way the book is laid out makes it easy to learn a new craft, and then two, and three.
A young girl who would risk her life for the sake of the education helps put your own wants and needs into perspective.
Malala Yousafzai made world news in 2012 after being shot in the head for her fight for girls education in her community. Co-written with Christina Lamb (one of the world’s leading correspondents) this book allows readers further insight into not only the life of this brave young woman, but a perspective on the people and the culture around her.
Brown nerds across the land, rejoice! We have not been decimated by various meteorites nor have we fallen prey to the inevitable zombie apocalypse. We exist in the future; we were meant to explore the deepest reaches of space, and this book proves that we’ve always intended to. With an extensive look at everything from music to movies to gender studies, Afrofuturism affirms that the sci-fi fantasy genre can and will be as diverse and all-encompassing as our world is now.
In which a child can learn:
The proper thing to do when one observes a person in distress.
The importance of being observant.
Truth, in relation to The Press.
Also including: Toshers, ‘Orrible Murderers, Royals, Reporters, and a Flatulent Dog.
A serious and humorous story about love and loss. This is Maya’s story and she conveys through writing in her journal how events in your life can affect how you can evolve as a person in a positive or negative way. Even though the book deals with serious subjects as usual Allende can show us the humorous side of situations even in their dark moments. This is Isabel Allende at her best.