I enjoy reading a wide variety of genres, including literary, speculative, and children’s fiction, graphic novels, and non-fiction. Here are some recent reads I recommend.

 

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

This one-of-a-kind graphic memoir drew me in, made me laugh, and broke my heart. When Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian six-year-old son asks searching questions about race and color, she tries to answer them honestly and bravely, reaching back to her own brushes with the same issues. An excruciating, moving, hilarious, and essentially American read.

Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

A delightful collection of micro-memoirs by the poet laureate of Mississippi. Fennelly’s insights and recollections about love, motherhood, marriage, writing, and loss are candid and witty, vulnerable and illuminating, and a pleasure to read from start to finish.

Not Quite Not White by Sharmila Sen

A wry, erudite, and trenchant memoir of a young immigrant from Calcutta who first aspires to assimilate into white America, and finally reclaims the power of naming whiteness while being not-white. I kept turning the pages far into the night, propelled by a growing sense of total kinship with Ms. Sen. A phenomenal read! 

Chemistry by Weike Wang

The fictional story of a PhD candidate, the only child of immigrants, who struggles to decide what and who she wants in her life. I loved the narrator’s dry wit, keen self-awareness, insightful factoids, and most of all, her generous heart. I wish I could meet her someday.

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

A collection of short stories that seethe with horrors and ache with honesty. The author may write about an imagined near-future dystopia, but he shocks you into sharper awareness of present reality. Amazing.

Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

‪This book is not only a comprehensive and clear-eyed look at female anger and its many nuances, but also an enlightening view of how it has shaped US history. After Ijeoma Oluo’s work, this is the most important non-fiction I’ve read all year.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Tess is a wearer of fine boots, keen thinker, savior of lives, respecter of pronouns, seeker of wonders, defender of the frail, heedless drunk, racked with unmerited shame, unflinching in the face of pain and death. What a woman! 

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

A world of imaginative play and high-spirited fun, where every kid belongs, and anything is possible. My kid loved to read this book over and over, and with good reason.

So You Want to Talk About Race

A lucid, direct, and eye-opening work of non-fiction about an issue that is fraught with painful emotions. Ms. Oluo lays out practical tips for everyday situations, crucial conversations, and simple actions to move things forward. Essential reading!

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Moxie is about female rage that simmers and then blazes, bright and pure and strong. It's also a sweet story about first love, a tender tale of a mother and daughter, and a positive portrayal of female friendship. But mostly? It's a terrific, burning torch.