Each time I read a book by Melissa Febos, I learn a bit more about myself and what motivates me. Body Work is more than just an instruction manual on how to create art that is truthful, it's a guide for all aspects of our relationships with others. I don't think I will ever read any memoir again without thinking about what Febos writes here about fear, memory, and shame, but also the pleasure of telling our own story exactly the way we... (read more)Recommended by Bry H.
A charming and unique story, at times absurd, funny, and joyful. The Starlings — the family at the center of this novel — are both relatable but also unlike any family you've read about before. I loved spending time in Everton, New Hampshire, with all the characters — be they human, ghost, or animal.Recommended by Bry H.
A truly fun and engaging read. Everything you want in a dark and satirical comedy. While reading French Exit, I couldn’t help but think of the film Grey Gardens, a story of perhaps the most infamous formerly wealthy socialites and their fall from an upper-class lifestyle. At times, you want to cover your eyes as you watch the characters in French Exit happily skip towards complete ruin. Recommended by Bry H.
Irby is adept at making sad things funny; she writes from the heart (and sometimes the gut). This year, whenever someone asked me for a recommendation, Irby was the first person to pop into my head. Some years you need to dive into the long story, the big book. But this year I was drawn to short form. Reading We Are Never Meeting in Real Life felt like having a really great conversation with my best friend, peppered with belly laughs and... (read more)Recommended by Bry H.
This is the story of a not-so-Brady bunch and their 50-year journey. It’s what many would call a family drama, and they are not wrong. I love the fractured narration and the way Patchett brings a family together and takes them apart both through her story and by scattering the characters across the globe. I’ve often wondered what would happen if you asked each one of my family members to narrate the same event without fact-checking each other. I... (read more)Recommended by Bry H.