Keiko Furuka is the name of our “strange” protagonist in this short, endearing, and extrospective novel. She struggles to conform to the world around her and we follow her journey of self-discovery that ends in a uniquely euphoric revelation.
This novel has SO much to offer. Smith tackles radical religion, familiarities, war, relationships, body image, class, race, upbringing and more! Smith grabs onto aspects of life that many can understand in an engaging chronicle of two intertwined families.
This book is so wonderful at portraying relationships between women and the relationships that women have with themselves. Ng explores immigration, motherhood, and the different relationships that formed under these circumstances. This book includes displays of cultural insensitivity and provides insight on why it is hurtful. BONUS: Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon teamed up to push this as a Hulu mini-series that they will both star in!
Craola creates extraordinary images that are BEYOND creative. His phenomenal fusions of cartoons, nature and ordinary objects are beautifully bizarre and his art style is reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s. One of my favorite artists and a wonderful book to examine his work in all of its glorious detail.
Semple writes a Betty Friedan-like description of what happens to a brilliant woman when she leaves her award-winning career for a life of domesticity. Despite the disappearance of Bernadette, Semple portrays a beautiful mother-daughter connection that exists beyond the superficial relationships that surround them. Funny, satirical and worth reading.
This is a memoir of Nagata Kabi’s first sexual encounter and the moments leading up to it. After a lifetime of feeling inadequate, Kabi finds herself finally in a place where she can explore her sexuality and she chooses to do so with a professional escort. The disjuncture between Kabi’s adult and child identities was just one of many aspects of this narration that I recognized within myself. A book that feels like a friend you’ve known forever!
Raphael Bob-Waksberg seamlessly weaves together his well-known humor with absurdist premises and very regular situations that hit close to home. Each story has its own element of doom and gloom, but ultimately , the collection left me optimistic. Two of my favorite are “A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion” and “These are Facts.” For anyone who has ever felt an emotion and likes medium spicy comedy with a bit of punch-you-in-the-gut feelings.
This graphic novel stole my heart, listened to its problems, gave it warm cocoa, took it away and then gave it back with marshmallows. As a sucker for childhood nostalgia, I found this book to be entirely comforting. Heartwarming as this illustrated novel gets, it does not become unbearably sweet! I honestly wish that I had more graphic novels like this growing up because this encapsulates a very important message everyone should know.
Han Kang has an ability to craft mesmerizing, yet disturbing images that serve the reader in this story about mental illness. I found this novel compelling in Kang’s purposeful ambiguity regarding the unraveling of our main character, Yeong-Hye. The quiet and common brutalization of women’s bodies is a subtle, but powerful theme that spoke to me throughout the novel. A warning: graphic imagery of violence and sexual natures!
Back Talk is a collection of short stories about the relationships of and between women. My favorite thing about this book is that Lazarin writes for herself and it comes off in subtle, but ultimately relatable, stories that I find many women I know crave.
A wonderful reminder that love exists in every possible corner you look. Somehow Oliver manages to express this abundance of love in a way that is timelessly refreshing and free of banality.
This is my favorite horror collection from Ito. It has everything! Evil cats! Guilt trips! Mirrors full of hate! Cannibalistic children! As always, Ito brings to light the base darkness that is in humans without having to conclude each story on it. Rather it is threaded into each narrative in a way that is so innate to each of the characters in the book. As much as I get paranoid, his art and premises keep me coming back every time.
Vera’s life is melancholy, nerve-inducing, and almost sweet in how she finds solace in others. I found familiarity in our protagonist’s relationships with men and women in this disjointed chronicle that aligns as Knecht reveals more and more of Vera’s history. Somehow gentle and turbulent at once. One of my new favorites that I found myself wanting to reread immediately after finishing.
Gardner has an incredible talent for invoking empathy in his readers. From Beowolf, Gardner draws the inspiration to complete a horrifying monster’s back story and self-perception. This had so many moments that made me question the humanity of Grendel and the humans he interacted with. For anyone looking for a gratifying take on monsters and their stories.