Jesse Ball : How to Set a Fire and Why

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 6.36.10 PMJesse Ball’s blistering novel tells the story of a teenage girl who has lost everything—and will burn anything. Lucia’s father is dead, her mother in a mental hospital, and now she’s been kicked out of school—again. She makes her way through the world with only a book, a zippo lighter, a pocketful of stolen licorice, a biting wit, and the striking intel­ligence that she tries to hide. “Lucia details a philosophy that smartly parallels the novel’s own–namely, that writing literature is, like arson, an act of creation and destruction…A song of teenage heartbreak sung with a movingly particular sadness, a mature meditation on how actually saying something, not just speaking, is what most makes a voice human.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Rikki Ducornet : Brightfellow

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 7.06.30 AMA feral boy comes of age on a campus decadent with starched sheets, sweating cocktails, & homemade jams. Stub is the cause of that missing sweater, the pie that disappeared off the cooling rack. Then Stub meets Billy, who takes him in, & Asthma, who enchants him, & all is found, then lost. A fragrant, voluptuous novel of imposture, misplaced affection, & the many ways we are both visible & invisible to one another. The author of eight previous novels as well as collections of short stories, essays, & poems, Rikki Ducornet has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, is a two-time honoree of the Lannan Foundation, & is the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature.

Lina Meruane : Seeing Red

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.33.35 AMThis powerful autobiographical novel describes a young Chilean writer recently relocated to New York for doctoral work who suffers a stroke, leaving her blind & increasingly dependent on those closest to her. Fiction & autobiography intertwine in an intense, visceral, & caustic novel about the relation between the body, illness, & gender. “Meruane writes further into, rather than through or around, blindness. Her language pulses with the psychological terror of the body’s betrayal; it pulls at the seams of the self, unleashing something deep within. This is not a fictionalized memoir of transformation & recovery, but a book that burns in your hands, something sharp & terrifying that bites back.” — Anna Zalokostas, Full Stop

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