Here's Molly and the first chapter book she ever read by herself. It was some book!
It's hardly a how-to guide, but this is one of my favorite books on motherhood I've ever read, as a someone whose creative mind has been forever altered (largely in good ways) by becoming a mother. I deeply appreciated the range of emotions reflected in these essays about artists and writers and their relationships to motherhood—including Alice Neel, Ursula LeGuin, Audre Lorde, and Angela Carter, to name a few. It's a profound and honest examination of the great paradox of parenthood: how it changes you completely, yet you remain exactly who you are.
I don't know why it took me so long to read this beautiful book (a longtime Point Reyes Books bestseller), but I'm so grateful that I finally did. Braiding Sweetgrass is a revelation, a sermon, a love poem, a scientific text, a memoir, and an instructional manual for how to live on earth. We're lucky to have it.
I don't often pick up books that explicitly have joy at their center, but as Ross Gay artfully demonstrates in these beautiful, vulnerable, haunting essays, joy is at the center of more than we think. This book revels in the joy to be found in some of our darkest and most despairing moments, as well as in its more obvious expressions, like dancing and kinship and growing food. I devoured it, and then went looking for more joy, which is a pretty great thing for a book to do.
These "lectures" meander through subjects -- poets and the moon, the joys and sorrows of reading, fear, and irreverence, to name a few -- with a voice full of wonder, wit, and wisdom. Guaranteed to inspire any writer, dreamer, creative soul, or lover of words, Madness, Rack, and Honey is the book I always wish I were reading again for the first time.
She's simply one of the best to ever do it. This is the first book that made me fall a little bit in love with California.
A quick and haunting read about crossing borders of all kinds: between the U.S and Mexico, and also across language, gender, and reality and other-worldliness.
All I can really say about this book, a big, beautiful novel that spans generations of an American family, is that every single person I know who has read it has loved it, and we all talk about the characters as if they're old friends. What makes a novel so beloved? It's hard to say, but this one just is.
Whether you're diving into the wondrous world of Angela Carter for the first time or your appetite for her work is already insatiable (there is no in between), this is a collection to treasure. It includes the re-worked fairy tales for which she is probably best known (The Bloody Chamber) and the hard to find and equally, if not more, amazing collections (Saints and Strangers and American Ghosts and Old World Wonders being my favorites).
The All of It is a stunningly beautiful novel about family, religion, shame, and love. Reading it is like sitting spellbound in front of a crackling fire late in the night, when all the really good stories and secrets come out.
Always Coming Home really is a novel unlike any other. A "fictional ethnography" of people living in a post-apocalyptic Northern California, it's full of stunning prose and landscapes that feel both surreal and familiar. It's an impressive artistic feat of beauty, prescience, and hope.