Rachel is the operations and events director at Avid Bookshop. She fell in love with reading and books because of the mindful introduction to literature her parents gave her starting at age 3, when her father read her the entire Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. He read the entire series to her again at age 7. She listens to audiobooks via Libro.fm while tending to her chickens and yard. Reading in the hammock with her dog, Dolly Parton, is pretty great too.
While southerners are famous for their hospitality, the reality for the twenty-one writers of color featured in A Measure of Belonging ranges from unwelcome to outright hostile. Cinelle Barnes edited this important book of essays featuring writers such as Jennifer Hope Choi, Kiese Laymon, and Nichole Perkins. From M. Evelina Galang's piece on how Miami is like Manila, to Aruni Kashyap's essay on questions potential white landlords in Athens, Georgia asked him ("Are you Muslim?"), you're going to love these perspectives and immediately tell someone about this book.
Joan Silber writes about the human condition in glorious ways that makes even the flawed beautiful. The families in Secrets of Happiness love and hate, uplift and tear down, relish and resent each other with conviction. How well do we know those closest to us? And what good comes when secrets are revealed? This is brilliant fiction.
I read Audrey Audrain's debut, The Push, in 2 days because I literally couldn't stop. What does it mean to be a good mother? What if you don't connect emotionally with your child? How much emotional trauma is passed down from mothers to daughters? THE PUSH examines 4 generations of females as well as the ways having children impact one marriage. I loved this book.
I tore through Leave the World Behind, a breath-taking stunner that slyly becomes a heart-thumping thriller. Alam examines race, class, and family relationships subtly and this is where his storytelling shines. 5 of 5 stars!
Adam Smyer has written a book of humor that is totally on-point for today's cultural climate. A quick read, You Can Keep That to Yourself is a funny and blunt book that my 18-year-old daughter and I both read and then discussed. I wanted to see if it seemed relevant to her because it was very useful to me. She was more familiar with more of the content (youth!) but she learned some new things too. This book is the perfect jumping-off point for much-needed conversations about how to be an anti-racist. It's extremely short and very accessible. I wish I could give this book to everyone. (language: spicy)
Want to learn how to be a good ancestor? Need to address your privilege and feel uncomfortable about talking about racism? You need to read and work through Me and White Supremacy.
The book is a treasure with the type of writing that slaps you in the face, gives you pause, makes you sigh. Whether describing hotel body wash or explaining day trading, the characters in Parakeet are interesting and yes, there's a dead grandmother reincarnated as a parakeet. Highly recommend.
A closeted gay Republican Congressman is thrust into a bizarre series of events involving colonialism, an aardvark, and perhaps a ghost. The backstory of the taxidermist who stuffed the aardvark provides historical context. Enter the Aardvark is a hilarious ride that is super entertaining and I highly recommend you kick back and dive in.
The Night Watchman is an extraordinary book based on the life of Erdrich's grandfather who was a night watchman at a jewel bearing plant as well as an activist against Native dispossession. The other featured protagonist is Patrice Paranteau who you will quickly come to adore. The Night Watchman is one of Erdrich's best works and I highly recommend it!
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s The Revisioners is a tribute, a prayer, a triumphant cry of gratitude to those who came before us. The intergenerational memories and desire for freedom and survival push Ava forward when things get hard. Moving into her grandmother’s house with her son seems to be a temporary fix, but she has no idea the legacy she has inherited. The Revisioners honors with reverence the histories of those who had no voice.