This musical pierces the veil of the “image” of gay culture to reveal the raw confusion + self-loathing familiar to any LGBT millenial, especially artistic ones. More importantly, it’s beyond hilarious + sheerly alive.
A jagged coming-of-gender story told with total vulnerability. The voice is astoundingly intelligent while staying grounded in the realm of feelings + introspection. Captivating.
recommended if you like: T. Kira Madden, truth
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Delve into the fascinating inner workings of the animation master. These interviews are priceless. Wonderful essays and commentary and Miyazaki’s haikus for each of his characters are worth it alone. Geek out!
recommended if you like: genius artists, Japan
For those who’ve always been jealous of the home-schooled! Geeky goddess Felicia Day shares her tips and tricks that only come from a lifelong bout of anxiety and obsessing over creativity. Yay!
recommended if you like: tactile, expressive self-exploration
Not the sexiest topic for a book of essays, but that’s possibly the brilliance. Truth + loneliness simply fit, and the best writers of today were clearly inspired, producing emotional, stupefying jewels.
recommended if you like: clarity, variety
This book is extremely useful for anyone who works on projects and gets overwhelmed. Tharp really makes the case for organization, consistency, and play using fantastic anecdotes and real talk.
recommended if you like: The Artist's Way
You'll want to spend a lot of time with this author's voice. Full of energy and insight, humor and pain. The entire tapestry of wild youth is presented in stark detail + ecstatic glee.
recommended if you like: voice-driven memoir
This book is like a modern-day Casablanca on steroids. I could not put it down, feeling all the dramatic highs + lows along with the narrator. Memoir-as-summer blockbuster!
recommended if you like: a fight for love + glory
Come for the weird, esoteric details of presidential assassinations + stay for Vowell's hilarious analysis of them + expert tracking of their relevance for today. Plus a road trip!
recommended if you like: Sedaris, quirky history
Stray off the trail with this perfectly uncanny guide to the desert. Read up on surreal facts, sobering legends, and wild characters - all told by a narrator that you will trust with your life (but try to hydrate!).
recommended if you like: Joshua Tree spooky tales
Often imitated, yet never duplicated - this classic text is filled with magical transformations, wish-fulfillment, + a sense of truth within every flight of fancy. Come play with Pan, Hook, + Tinker Bell!
One of the best mystery stories ever - adult or child, doesn't matter. An engrossing tale with a cast of crazy characters who still stick with me 25 years later!
recommended if you like: playing Clue
The ultimate heartbreaking book - captures all those tragic feelings of self-denial, lust, and whirlwind love that it aches to even think about. Also will make you want to visit Paris immediately!
recommended if you like: Call Me by Your Name
One of those completely timeless tales that feels like it should be based on some ancient myth - but isn't. Can stand toe-to-toe with any fantasy classic + has the added bonus of knowing humor + poetic language.
recommended if you like: Neil Gaiman, Miyazaki movies
This absurdist, existential take on being Black in America will suck you in from the beginning with a raging narrator, twisted from his experiences. Beyond relevant. Beyond sharp. A ride.
Fairbrother is one to watch. Her crisp, polished prose sucks the reader in, creating vivid scenes on each page. She also has a very light touch, with some heavy subject matter. A delight.
recommended if you like: daddy issues, funeral drama
A moody, melodic, adult fairy tale. Gaiman’s power to access the heart of what grips us about folklore & fantasy shines here. “Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel.
A compact, superbly executed tale of inner-conflict, shadow selves, and soulful, existential dilemmas. Universal. Transcendent. Finding purpose in a purposeless world.
recommended if you like: the existential and absurd
Much like The Magic Theatre featured in its psychedelic climax, this book is “not for everybody.” But if you struggle between despair + immortality - pick this up. “Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.
recommended if you like: Siddhartha, Dostoevsky
This novel is unfinished - but don’t let that deter you! It’s incomplete nature perfectly reflects its subject and themes, adding to its powerful allure, defying any easy analysis or categorization. Kafka at his finest and weirdest.
recommended if you like: nightmares, David Lynch
McBride is a modern Mark Twain and shows that off best in this story collection that feels completely timeless. The final story about a lion in a zoo will delight you with its marvelous mythology and memorable characters.
recommended if you like: Kipling, sharp voices, poignancy
The fuss is deserved. This classic is also a lot gentler and more soulful than it may appear. Ishmael + Queequeg remain literature’s greatest bro-mance. “Come: let us squeeze hands… into the very milk + sperm of kindness.”
recommended if you like: calls to the sea, symbolism
Welcome to one of the most riveting, artfully dreadful tales you’ll ever read. Told through connected monologues, the story covers a murder constantly unfurling. This fucked-up class will make you appreciate zoom school.
recommended if you like: POV shifts, dark shit
The most accessible, necessary primer on fascism you’ll ever read. With this expert allegory, Orwell packages so many complicated and frightening concepts into one cute, fuzzy, entertaining presentation. A favorite.
recommended if you like: satire, must-reads
Suburban desperation and conflict and cringe at its best. Interweaving memorable characters, smart, sexy. Also just fantastic, engaging, and witty writing. The movie stars Kate Winslet.
recommended if you like: bad moms, anxiety, and affairs
Out of every Sartre that I’ve read, I believe these lesser-known short stories *best* exemplify his existential philosophy. They are thrilling moral conundrums that you can analyze from so many angles.
Packed with astonishing imagery, poetry, ideas, + true *weirdness*. This book begins with one concept - a volcano in Central Park - only to continuously “elevate” from there - on every single page - yet always keeping masterful control.
recommended if you like: queer Vonnegut, widening gyres
The ultimate ode to human stupidity! This book’s humor is as sharp as its indictments on religion and the amoral progress of science. No one is spared, perhaps. All hail Bokonon?
recommended if you like: fake religions, absurdity
Wallace’s fire-power is blasting on all cylinders in this story collection. The last one is probably my favorite with the best fictional use of 9/11 I’ve ever read, along with pooping on live TV!
recommended if you like: the edgy, cerebral + absurd
Don’t be too fooled by its meme-ish look, this guide to Dawson’s Creek takes a strange anti-Dawson stance that illuminates so much about the core ideology of the show and made me see it in a whole new light!
recommended if you like: '90s WB, getting woke
Often adapted or used for source material - but nothing captures the singular experience of diving into this masterpiece of literature. Dense yet balanced, intellectual yet compelling!
recommended if you like: smart superhero stuff
Not what you think, this Cambda literary-nominated masterpiece reimagines the "theatrical" cartoon mountain lion as a Tennessee Williams proxy during the Pink Scare, Stonewall, + McCarthyism. Satire + Sincerity abound!
recommended if you like: Angels in America - for real
Soon to be an FX show, this is the disaster adventure epic that put Brian K. Vaughn on the map! Clever dialogue, incredibly fun plotting, and characters that stick with you. Plus, the end of men!
This bright-eyed, enthusiastic, hopeful, charismatic observer stamps an utterly relatable and human face onto an unimaginable atrocity. You will get swept up in one girl’s daily life, at once so ordinary and so singular.
recommended if you like: the tapestry of life + death, of good + evil
Perhaps the crowning jewel of Wilson’s ten-play “Century Cycle," Fences is a masterful study in keeping the audience's sympathies shifting with each scene, and perfecting the modern anti-hero in the larger-than-life Troy.
recommended if you like: Death of a Salesman
A psychiatrist endures a concentration camp and comes out with an ethos valuable to all humankind. A breathtaking account that will make even a most cynical person marvel at the human spirit.
recommended if you like: night, transcendence