Rob Spillman : All Tomorrow’s Parties

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 7.46.33 AM“Truly exceptional memoirs have to do something more than recount a good origin story: they have to test the author’s youthful understanding of the world, and break down that world, even as it’s being built upon the page. All Tomorrow’s Parties is such a memoir. Not only is it a super-fun, shatter-the-mirror joyride through Spillman’s eccentric upbringing, but it’s also replete with insightful double visions . . . [Spillman] manages to invoke both the dreamy, mythic version of life amid art and interesting scenery, and all the chaos and cracks and potential car crashes that threaten it . . . A thrill to read.”—Interview Magazine

Brian Blanchfield : Proxies

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.59.26 AM“Into what some are calling a new golden age of creative nonfiction lands Brian Blanchfield’s Proxies, which singlehandedly raises the bar for what’s possible in the field. This is a momentous work informed by a lifetime of thinking, reading, loving, and reckoning, utterly matchless in its erudition, its precision, its range, its daring, and its grace. I know of no book like it, nor any recent book as thoroughly good, in art or in heart.” –Maggie Nelson                                                    “Maybe short says it best. Sexy book.”      —Eileen Myles

 

Idra Novey : Ways to Disappear

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 6.44.03 AM“Idra Novey, an acclaimed poet & translator of Spanish & Portuguese literature, has written a debut novel that’s a fast-paced, beguilingly playful, noirish literary mystery with a translator at its center. Ways to Disappear explores the meaning behind a writer’s words–the way they can both hide & reveal deep truths….Yes, there’s carnage, but there’s also exuberant love, revelations of long-buried, unhappy secrets, ruminations about what makes a satisfying life, a publisher’s regrets about moral compromises in both his work & his use of his family wealth & connections, & an alternately heartfelt & wry portrait of the satisfactions & anxieties of the generally underappreciated art of translation.”–NPR review

Ursula K. Le Guin : Late in the Day

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 6.49.33 AMLate in the Day, Ursula K. Le Guin’s new collection of poems (2010–2014) seeks meaning in an ever-connected world, giving voice to objects that may not speak a human language but communicate with us nevertheless through and about the seasonal rhythms of the earth, the minute and the vast, the ordinary and the mythological. As Le Guin herself states, “science explicates, poetry implicates.” Accordingly, this immersive, tender collection implicates us (in the best sense) in a subjectivity of everyday objects and occurrences. “There is no writer with an imagination as forceful and delicate as Ursula K. Le Guin’s.” —Grace Paley

Brian Evenson : A Collapse of Horses

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 6.47.52 AMA stuffed bear’s heart beats with the rhythm of a dead baby; Reno keeps receding to the east no matter how far you drive; and in a mine on another planet, the dust won’t stop seeping in. In these stories, Brian Evenson unsettles us with the everyday and the extraordinary—the terror of living with the knowledge of all we cannot know. “Brian Evenson is one of the treasures of American story writing, a true successor both to the generation of Coover, Barthelme, Hawkes & Co., but also to Edgar Allan Poe.”—Jonathan Lethem  “There is not a more intense, prolific, or apocalyptic writer of fiction in America than Brian Evenson.”—George Saunders

Laila Lalami : The Moor’s Account

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 6.40.59 AMIn this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the 1st black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record. In 1527, the conquistador Narváez sailed with a crew of 600 men & nearly 100 horses. Within a year there were only 4 survivors, one of them our narrator/protagonist Estebanico. As this dramatic chronicle unfolds, we come to understand that, contrary to popular belief, black men played a significant part in New World exploration, & that Native American men & women were not merely silent witnesses to it. In Laila Lalami’s deft hands, Estebanico’s memoir illuminates the ways in which stories transmigrate into history, even as storytelling offers a chance at redemption & survival.

Lacy M. Johnson : The Other Side

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.17.36 PMLacy M. Johnson’s “powerfully moving and brilliantly structured memoir, The Other Side, asks, “How is it possible to reclaim the body after devastating violence?” Her intense desire and demand for a life lived in the body is triumphant. Johnson’s strength to free not only her physical self, but also to move through years of incapacitating fear by writing this book, is breathtaking: ‘I lift the chain from my neck, over my head, let it rattle to the floor’.”–author Kelle Groom