Kiese Laymon combines the personal and the political to come up with one of the most beautiful, compassionate, and courageous memoirs I have ever read. It's not an easy read, but it is a powerful and important one.Recommended by Sandy M.
Pants: who needs 'em? Certainly not Pete the Elephant. Wait, he's an elephant? He's big. He's round. He's gray. Maybe he's a boulder. Or a rain cloud. Or a giant naked pigeon.
Author/illustrator Rowboat Watkins's muted, sweet drawings and witty banter make for fun bedtime (or any time) reading.
Pete With No Pants is a totally adorable story of identity, self-acceptance...and pants.Recommended by Sandy M.
Like so many of us, Our Pal Penguin has grown tired of the snow and cold. He has skied. He has sledded. He has skated. What is an industrious yet weather-challenged penguin to do? Why, go to the beach, of course, where he befriends a crab and learns a valuable lesson: it's not where you go, but who you spend time with. Another adorable outing from Salina Yoon.Recommended by Sandy M.
This was, hands down, one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books of 2016. With a nod to Maurice Sendak's beloved Max, a curious little girl wearing a red crown opens a book about polar bears and ends up having a wild adventure, all while learning all kinds of nifty facts (and so does the reader). All natural science books should be so whimsical and filled with wonder.Recommended by Sandy M.
A book-addicted bunny gets thrown for a loop when the library's outdoor storytime moves inside for the winter. What will he do? Are bunnies even allowed in libraries?
This adorable, beautifully illustrated picture book is a lovely tribute to books and booklovers of all ages (and species!).Recommended by Sandy M.
I loved, loved, loved this book so much. I thought I had grown tired of the whole food-memoir-with-recipes-at-the-end-of-each-chapter sub-genre, but A Homemade Life is a wonderful exception.
Molly Wizenberg is a generous writer, full of self-depreciating humor and gentle wit. Her descriptions of her childhood, and especially of her relationship with her parents, are moving and sweet. I will admit, when I was reading this on... (read more)Recommended by Sandy M.
I may have loved this more than Just Kids, mainly because it is not a natural successor to that book. Patti Smith has written a gorgeous, impressionistic, and very moving rumination on loss and grief, loneliness and solitude. And books and coffee — lots of books and coffee. These are two necessities — figuring out what books to bring along can be more of a challenge than packing the right clothes for a trip, and coffee is essential to... (read more)Recommended by Sandy M.
Lucia Berlin is the greatest short story writer you've never read. Her writing style is conversational and real, yet poetic at the same time. Her protagonists are mostly working-class women who are unlucky in life, and Berlin writes about them with great insight, compassion, and, occasionally, humor. What left me totally gobsmacked, though, was Ms. Berlin's way with language. I found myself rereading sentences just to try and figure out how she... (read more)Recommended by Sandy M.
Kate Bolick deftly juggles personal, political, literary, and cultural histories in Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own, an intelligent and thoroughly entertaining meditation on unmarried life. Weaving her five "awakeners" lives (influential writers Maeve Brennan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Neith Boyce, and Edith Wharton) into the fabric of her own story, Bolick invites us to examine our choices and pursue an... (read more)Recommended by Sandy M.
A man walks into a bar... seriously, bear with me, you haven't heard this one before. Sometime in the mid-1990s, Tim Sultan was driving home late at night and made a wrong turn. He ended up on a desolate and isolated street. Seeing a lit sign that simply said "BAR," he ventured into the place, where he found a group of grizzled drinkers, a vintage Martha Graham dance performance being projected on a screen, and Sunny, the eccentric proprietor.... (read more)Recommended by Sandy M.
Vivian Gornick covers a lot of ground in this slight memoir: friendship, mothers, feminism, sex and love, writing and writers, loneliness and aloneness. She does all of this with great wit and intelligence. Her tone is conversational, and reading The Odd Woman and the City is, for me at least, like spending an afternoon visiting a cool aunt, walking and talking the day away in the city.Recommended by Sandy M.
Andy Warhol had his first Los Angeles gallery show in 1963, right before his career exploded. He used the occasion to round up a few friends and a Ford Falcon, and armed only with a Diners' Club card, drove there from New York in four days. The Trip documents that journey but also serves as a great introduction to Andy Warhol's art, and the art world of the 1960s in general.
The Trip is a very fun book, entertaining... (read more)Recommended by Sandy M.