Jeff Vandermeer : Borne

“Here is the story about biotech that VanderMeer wants to tell, a vision of the nonhuman not as one fixed thing, one fixed destiny, but as either peaceful or catastrophic, by our side or out on a rampage as our behavior dictates–for these are our children, born of us and now to be borne in whatever shape or mess we have created. This coming-of-age story signals that eco-fiction has come of age as well: wilder, more reckless and more breathtaking than previously thought, a wager and a promise that what emerges from the twenty-first century will be as good as any from the twentieth, or the nineteenth.” —Wai Chee Dimock, The New York Times Book Review

Thalia Field : Experimental Animals

“Thalia Field has now composed what very well might be her life’s work–a tragic, comical, & utterly fascinating tale of a marriage that vividly encapsulates not only the origins of experimental medicine, but an entire age that spirited experiments in literature, science, engineering, film, etc. It’s nothing less than a history–gorgeously fictional, purposefully essayistic–of how we got where we are.” -John D’Agata; “Stemming from a through-line of marital discord in the household of the great French vivisector Claude Bernard…this compelling tale is made up largely of excerpts and quotations…a beautiful and thought-provoking collage of…rescued history & a sobering tribute to some of its victims.” —Karen Joy Fowler

Sallie Tisdale : Violation

“That Sallie Tisdale’s a treasure comes as no secret to lovers of the essay, and yet this happy gathering that spans the decades is revelatory, a fascinating look at the epic wanderings of a life mapped by curiosity. Here we get elephants and houseflies, diets and fires, birth and the debris of death, all the mixed and messy vitality of family life. We travel far and we travel wide, but in the end we circle home to Tisdale herself, vulnerable and available, intimate and encouraging, our guide and our friend, her questioning presence lighting the way and celebrating it all, every little step in life’s saga, one lovely sentence at a time.”–Charles D’Ambrosio

Morgan Parker : There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

Morgan Parker uses political & pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st cent. black American womanhood & its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity & politics. Parker explores this in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, & Hip Hop. The voice of this book is a multifarious one: writing & rewriting bodies, stories, & histories of the past, as well as uttering & bearing witness to the truth of the present; actively probing toward a new self, an actualized self. This is a book at the intersections of mythology & sorrow, of vulnerability & posturing, of desire & disgust, of tragedy & excellence.

Melissa Febos : Abandon Me

“Abandon Me is, in many ways, a story about how a woman’s body & the body of literature hold memory. In other ways, Abandon Me is a story about stories. Febos weaves familial stories, feminist stories, communal stories, literary stories & love stories,  revealing much of where she’s been & where we, her readers, might go if we dare. Do we dare? Are we all running away from abandonment? It makes sense that Abandon Me feels completely structurally innovative. Febos has created 21st century text that intimately explores addiction, pain, pleasure & the strangely joyful & terrifying nuances of abandonment. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more thankful to read a book. Abandon Me found me when I most needed it.” – Kiese Laymon

Ursula K. Le Guin : Words Are My Matter

“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society & its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, & even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality. . .”  Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, intros to beloved books, & book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our foremost public literary intellectuals. It is essential reading, & through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.

Susan DeFreitas : Hot Season

An outlaw activist on the run. A pipeline set to destroy a river. And 3 young women who must decide who to love, who to trust, & what to sacrifice for the greater good. Based in part on real events in the Northwest & Southwest in the early 90s & mid-Aughts, Hot Season explores what Oregon Book Award Winner Cari Luna calls “the charged terrain where the youthful search for identity meets the romantic, illicit lure of direct action.”  “Is it worse to destroy a dam or to destroy a river? Which is to say, how do we live our conscience on a crowded, corrupted planet? DeFreitas has captured what it means to be coming of age in a tangle of love, politics & environmental degradation.”–Monica Drake.