Staff Picks - Sam
This book is haunting, hauntingly gorgeous, and tragic. I've also read Go Tell it on the Mountain which I also highly recommend (and I have every other book by James Baldwin on my TBR list), but this one has a lyrical prose that is penetrating, visceral, and long-lingering. It's in my top 5 novels of all time and I would tell everyone to read it. It's so beautifully written that you almost forget about it's searing social and political commentary that is not easy to swallow but very necessary to digest.
If anyone knows the books on my list they may have recognized that I'm a sucker for poetic prose. This book is written so serenely and beautifully despite it's tragedies. It lures you in with gorgeous imagery from an observant young girl in a new country and the way she sees her father and family from a child to when she begins to grow up and see things a bit more clearly. I've been meaning to reread it since I read it the first time. Stunning.
I call this the bible. Every woman-identifying person should have this book. I randomly flip to a page sometimes and find that it is always what I need to hear in the moment. One of my favorite divination methods.
I'd recommend EVERY Toni Morrison novel and similar to James Baldwin, everything of hers I haven't read is on my TBR list, but Jazz is my favorite. Maybe because I studied it so closely in school and had it annotated like crazy (it's now gone... ugh), or because I've always been drawn to 1920's Harlem/Jazz age, but I've never read a book with such a gorgeous opening ever. Whew! And then it keeps you hooked the rest of the way with amazing characterization, suspense, and a drama that permeates race, gender, AND generational issues.
Maybe this is cheating because I'm still reading this but I love it so far and the language is gorgeous and it's so VISUAL and relatable and I'm excited to continue.
One of my favorite novels of all time. Again, gorgeous language and relatable themes. A tragic story of a young girl in LA who has to raise herself through foster home after foster home. Janet Fitch writes about LA in such a way that would make anyone want to come experience those Santa Ana winds, but it also might trigger a mother wound or 5. This book is so gorgeus to me that I, to this day, haven't seen the film. Maybe one day.
I'm not going to lie, I can barely remember this book from the first time I read it and very much can't wait to read it again. There are some tough scenes that are quite visceral, and I very vividly remember how it made me FEEL and when I read it, on trains back and forth work and home when I lived in Boston. It's another haunting and lyrical novel that I couldn't put down. It's not marketed this way but I'd actually say it falls into the horror genre at times which is one of the reasons I love it so much, because Morrison does not water down it's horrific themes and history. I haven't read much horror in my reading time but Toni Morrison doing the genre is something to live for. Everyone on earth should be required to read this novel.
You don't have to believe in anything specific to understand that our bodies aren't just physical matter. I love how Anodea Judith breaks us down by chakra because it adds so much dimensional understanding to why we are the way we are, societally and individually, from how we're born and raised and how it impacts us as adults. Highly recommend if you're self-healing and self-exploring out of family or other trauma, or if you even want to learn about another facet of the human experience.