Rachel is the operations and events director at Avid Bookshop. She fell in love with 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 enjoys playing the piano, gardening, and reading with her dog, Dolly Parton.
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.
Did Lillian know her life would be changed forever when she met her boarding school roommate Madison? Probably not. Madison isn't like the other rich girls at school, and the fact that Lillian is a scholarship kid doesn't phase her. Things take a turn when Madison gets caught with coke. Flash forward roughly 10 years: even though the friends have kept up with each other with letters, Lillian is surprised when Madison has an unexpected job offer for her involving her stepchildren. This book is funny and strange, totally absurd and entertaining.
Who decides what makes a family? Stay and Fight is a weird and wonderful story of living off the grid, communal living and the enormity of being a parent. ffitch's debut deeply connects to our planet's impending environmental crisis without preaching. The characters dig in when they believe they're right, and their tenacity (and sometimes obvious impending train wrecks) is terribly entertaining.
What if everything wasn’t okay and the father that abandoned both his children wasn’t the cause, but just was? Half-siblings Nolan and Elsa feel forgotten by their father. Whether this was on purpose or by accident is not clear. What is clear is that he’s dead and they’re tired of not knowing and the key seems to be the remote island Reversalist compound where their father spent his last days. Hauser’s storytelling is brittle and beautiful. When your heart is broken, it’s hard to not blame the biggest missing person in your life. Family of Origin is the story of a quest for answers that will cause you to examine your own provenance.
Arnett's storytelling is razor sharp and Mostly Dead Things reads like a beautiful train wreck. Death's influence is everywhere, from the roadkill and peacocks Jessa taxidermies, to her father's suicide. Arnett explores what it means to be vulnerable as well as lose everything and still be able to get up every morning.
The Gulf is the a book about timing, and how when it's right, it's magic. When things are off, it's a struggle just to keep up. Marianne's joke idea to start a Christian writing school was just that, a joke. But when this atheist poet finds herself without any other options, Marianne moves to Florida to set up a low-residency school funded by her novelist ex-fiancé's grandmother. The lives of the workshop applicants who make it to Genesis Inspirational Writing Ranch will never be the same.
Becoming a mother transforms you into the best and worst person you didn’t know you were. Meaghan O’Connell’s memoir, And Now We Have Everything, reveals her personal transformation without apology and cracks wide open societal and gender norms of parenting. Bravo for her honesty. Congratulations for saying aloud what we’ve all thought internally. This book breaks down what so many of us have been unable to share personally and is important.
This memoir is unlike anything I've ever read, yet I fear that there are others who were raised in circumstances like Tara Westover. Westover documents her childhood devoid of education beyond the family's radical, extreme, doomsday religion with chilling detail as if investigating herself as a case study will help explain how she escaped. Highly recommend.