Staff Picks 2017: Anna


The Good Times Are Killing Me - Lynda Barry

I read this in one sitting. For both adults and younger ones. Barry recounts a friendship from her childhood torn apart by race and class relations in late 1960s Seattle. Find beautiful portraits of her favorite musicians at the end.

Moomin and the Brigands - Tove Jansson

To get rid of demanding guests, Moomin invites Stinky over...who wants to eat all the furniture. With salt. I'm already laughing just thinking about it.


After Kathy Acker - Chris Kraus

Holland Cotter is on point to describe this book as a surgery. Having read Acker intuitively in my early 20s, I appreciated the insight into her formal writing processes most.

Riot Days - Maria Alyokhina

Reading through Riot Days is like catching snowflakes on your tongue. Aphoristic and spliced with media fragments and court documents, we follow Maria in her everyday life through the beginning of Pussy Riot's performances to the subsequent repression of the group, her hunger strikes in prison and trial.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - Matthew Desmond

From 2016, but new this year in paperback, Desmond writes with the eye of both a novelist and a sociologist, sharply depicting Milwaukee's low-income housing communities and multi-layered economies at the start of the 2008 crisis (still reverberating into our present.)


Go, Went, Gone - Jenny Erpenbeck translated by Susan Bernofsky

A retired classics professor from the former GDR, Richard, gets increasingly involved with a group of migrants in contemporary Berlin as they face the city's bureaucratic violence. Historical--and actual unfolding--tensions are brought bluntly alive under Erpenbeck's philosophical thumb (and Bernofsky's immaculate translation.)

The Odyssey - newly translated by Emily Wilson

The first translation ever by a woman. You know how the story goes, but do you really?


Modern Love - Constance De Jong

Recently republished with Ugly Duckling Press, I picked up this book after reading about De Jong and Acker's friendship in After Kathy Acker. Dreamlike, layered and kooky, this book made me want to write. Jabs at patriarchal norms of 'modern love' are subtly smart, often made by way of courtly tropes, all the while time traveling in and out of different 1970s metropoles, pseudonyms and moods.

The City Always Wins - Omar Robert Hamilton

Hamilton loosely fictionalizes his involvement in Mosireen during Cairo's 2011 uprising through the character of Khalil, weaving Twitter posts, text messages and other documentary material with his own experiences (and those of his comrades.) Hamilton tells the story of the revolution not just as it played out on the streets but in the media war, Cairo’s cafés, morgues, domestic spaces and interpersonal relations.


Heaven is All Goodbyes - Tongo Eisen-Martin

As Claudia Rankine's description goes: "this is resistance as sound." And the sound is immense, it will have your feet first tapping, then running, then collapsing, only to start all over again. Resistant.

To read:

Extreme Cities - Ashley Dawson
Policing Black Lives - Robyn Maynard
As We Have Always Done - Leanne Simpson

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