Will's Staff Picks
"When Louise returns home for her parents' funeral, she and her brother uncover long hidden family secrets and an entity that has haunted both of them for much longer than they have realized. While scary and very much a horror novel, this book is a beautifully heartfelt exploration of family and grief. It truly brought me to tears by the end!"
"In The Late Americans, Brandon Taylor crafts together a series of interconnected stories about a group of friends in Iowa City that is about art, class, race, and chosen family. It is at once intimate and full of desire while also violent and consequential. Taylor captures the voice of each character beautifully as he switches perspectives throughout the novel."
"An incredible debut novel! Jackal mixes the horror of a slasher, a monster movie and the real life fear of inequality, hate and prejudice based on moments of real history like the Flood of Johnstown, PA. Using horror as it’s backdrop, this novel deals with themes of race, class, and abuse in a masterful way that speaks to our current moment in America. Adams' writing is captivating and will have you up all night unable to put the book down!"
"This is a fantastic series of essays! Cutting and hilarious but also heartfelt and emotional, this dives deep into Gilpin’s childhood, career, and personal life and really takes the time to create a stark portrait of what being a woman in Hollywood is really like. I highly recommend the audio book because Gilpin’s delivery of her essays is excellent!"
"'The Daughter of Doctor Moreau' is a beautiful and unsettling adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel “The Island of Doctor Moreau” set on the Yucatán Peninsula. This is an expertly crafted gothic science fiction tale that doubles as a historical fiction as it sets the action besides the conflict between the European descended Mexicans and the Maya people. What happens next is a tale about inequality, isolation and abuse of power. Readers will fall in love with the characters of Carlotta and Montgomery, and Moreno-Garcia’s writing is as stunning as ever."
“In The Family Outing, Jessi Hempel takes on the task of gathering her and her family's stories and putting them together into a cohesive narrative of how a truly unique situation occurred and how as a unit, they grew together and embraced each other's changing identities. Hempel herself is a lesbian, her sister is bisexual, her brother is transgender, her father is gay and her mother underwent a close encounter with an alleged serial killer. In telling her family's story, Hempel writes a novel about what it means to fully accept yourself and your loved ones in every way possible."
"In this comic’s legend’s first novel, Grant Morrison has constructed a character driven epic that defies genres as it smoothly glides between supernatural, thriller, and entertainment industry drama. Following drag queen, Luci LaBang, Morrison tells the story of how Luci trains her new protégé Luda in the mystical art known as The Glamour. But as Luda masters The Glamour, Luci wonders if her protégé is using her new-found power to further secret ambitions. This story will mesmerize you with fascinating characters, evocative scenes, and dialogue so fierce that you’ll have to sip tea while you read in order to handle that level of shade."
"'I'm Glad My Mom Died' is an extremely compelling, darkly funny, and beautifully emotional memoir from former iCarly star, Jennette McCurdy. Jennette is brutally honest in describing her life working as a child star, her abusive relationship with her mother and her battle with eating disorders. It's incredibly hard to put this book down!"
"For anyone familiar with Hannah Gadsby's Nanette, you are familiar with both Gadsby's style of comedy but also her ability to hit an emotional gut punch to her audience. In 'Ten Steps to Nanette', Gadsby puts her traumas and struggles in life on full display while laying out the path that these traumas and a career in comedy formed that led her to her Emmy Award winning Netflix special. Front and center in this memoir is Gadsby's complicated relationship with her siblings, father, and especially, her Mum."
"The Sentence by Louise Erdrich is a fantastic novel that takes an introspective look into one year in the life of a woman who works in a bookstore in Minneapolis taking place from November 2019 to November 2020. It’s about a formerly incarnated woman, a bookstore haunted by its best customer, a loving yet complicated marriage, people being tired of the way things have always been, and finding connection in a time when connection seems impossible. This book perfectly captures the fear, confusion, outrage, desire for justice, and loss that defined the year 2020. With every word, Erdrich manages to find beauty in a time of so much chaos and confusion."
"'Ghost Lover' is a brilliant collection of short stories from Lisa Taddeo. Taddeo’s one of a kind storytelling shines in this form with each story focusing on complex women, while exploring themes of sexuality, wealth, female friendship, love, and men’s intentions. Fans of 'Three Women' and 'Animal' will love this collection."
"In her latest collection of essays, Phoebe Robinson hilariously reflects on the pandemic, her relationship, race, hair, travel, business, Black excellence, and more. Her essays are full of thoughtful insights about the past few years in America and in her own life, as well as hilarious pop culture references, footnotes, and a love for U2 that is unmatched. Robinson is refreshingly honest and laugh out loud hilarious throughout the series of essays."
"Beautiful Country is a phenominal book about Qian Julie Wang's experience living in Brooklyn as an undocumented immigrant in the 90s. Wang shares how she lived in constant fear that she or her Ma Ma and Ba Ba would be deported at any moment, and the trauma she experienced growing up being labeled illegal. And at the core of this novel is Qian's curiosity, resourcefulness and love for her parents."
"TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Door is a hilarious and heartwarming tale about grief, second chances and the goodness of people. Wallace Price is a successful lawyer who oversees a tightly managed law firm. When he dies, he meets his Reaper and takes a journey to a tea shop where he meets a man who lives to help those who just died. At its core, Under the Whispering Door is a kind, queer, and empathetic book and Klune’s storytelling is masterful."
"Klara is an artificial friend who views the world in a child-like manner. When she is purchased to be a companion to a teenage girl, Josie, she uses her observational skills to learn about the human world and come to terms with love, hope, class, and empathy. Set against the backdrop of a bleak not too distant future, Klara's childlike view of the world and moral clarity will make you fall in love with her while your heart breaks as she struggles to understand the world around her."
"Filthy Animals is a moving series of short stories, some linked, others that stand alone, that perfectly showcases the writing talents of Brandon Taylor. Through each story, Taylor explores love, sexuality, anger, violence, and depression in a way that feels melancholic and energizing. Each character comes to life on the page and Taylor writes with such clarity about their lives that it’s hard to believe these are fictional stories."
"An unexpected, unsettling mix of genres, The Other Black Girl is a social commentary, suspense and sci-fi novel wrapped up into one. Nella is an editorial assistant and the only Black employee at Wagner Books, until Hazel gets hired that is. Hazel is cool and confident and quickly outshines Nella at work. And once she starts receiving odd messages, Nella begins to obsess over what sinister forces may be at play at Wagner. Zakiya Dalila Harris brilliantly combines a social commentary on the dynamics between Black and white co-workers in an office setting and a suspense, science fiction novel to create a one-of-a-kind book. A must read!"
"This book is a work of art. Telling the story of Little Dog, his mother and grandmother, “On Earth You’re Briefly Gorgeous” paints an intimate portrait of its characters' lives. Told as if a long form letter to his mother, the book reads less as a novel and more as a poem. Truly beautiful in every way."
"The House in the Cerulean Sea is a witty, wholesome and endearing modern fantasy novel about tolerance and acceptance for adults and children. Following Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, the story takes you to an orphanage on an island where TJ Klune explores ideas of prejudice, authoritarian government, tolerance, and found family. This book is a heartwarming and uplifting read."
"In this eye-opening, horrifying, and hilarious book, Amber Ruffin and her sister, Lacey Lamar, share stories from Lacey's life where she has encountered racism in Nebraska. From racist donuts to being mistaken for Whoopi Goldberg, they share everything from the everyday examples of racism to the downright scary, while making you laugh out loud the whole time. And if you aren't familiar with Amber Ruffin from NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers or Peacock's The Amber Ruffin Show, this book will leave you obsessed."