Tove Jansson's short stories are brisk, manically temperamental, and blunt. Imaginative without sticky-sweet sentimentality, humorously cold without the frostbite, and a reminder for us to take care in this dangerous world. Just as she did with the Moomins, Jansson masterfully balances the psychological horror of being alive with the comfort of being able to come home. Highly recommend for any and all valentines year round (yes, including yourself!)
Prepared before his death last year to be published posthumously, this is my favorite author’s last work. These short stories lend themselves to the imagination with gothic magical realism shrouded in gunpowder-scented mists. There are forgotten cemeteries, forbidden love affairs, genius architects, and the tale of the infamous labyrinth maker, who upon arriving to plague-ridden Barcelona, unleashes a curse upon the city.
Kimmerer weaves together her personal experience as a professional botanist and Potawatomi Indigenous woman in this beautiful and needed exploration of how plants and animals are our oldest teachers and collaborators. This book is a gift for anyone who’s sought solace in the company of a big tree and pairs especially well with Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth.
A cookbook with fresh, simple, and cozy seasonal menus that alleviate the pressure of meal planning. Chock-full of Edna Lewis’s warmth and wisdom, this is Southern cooking at its finest and most nostalgic. When making everything from biscuits and chicken dinners to preserves and picnics, I reach for Edna. My favorite recipes include Fried Tomatoes and Yellow Vanilla Pound Cake.
From the fall of Constantinople, to modern day Idaho, to a futuristic spaceship hurtling through space, one book resists obscurity and influences the lives of five outcasts. A love letter to the natural world, dedicated to librarians, and effervescently written with a compassion for the human condition that was also present in Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, this is my favorite novel of the year.
This is your sign to set sail. Fear not! This is a book written for the every-person by a sailor-turned-farmer about “mongrels, renegades, and castaways” and nature’s overpowering intensity. Uniquely placed as the Grand-Daddy of “The Great American Novel” it earns that title with delightful, jaw-dropping prose that stuns with its applicability to modern America. Learn how to be a Nantucket whaler from this qualifiable manual, or simply skip those middle chapters. The question remains: CLAM OR COD?
"A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept." I'll share mine with you: savor this book. Set in Barcelona 1945, The Shadow of the Wind is gothic fiction meets noir mystery for sweltering summer days and misty lamplit evenings. One such evening, young Daniel Sempere visits a secret labyrinthine library hidden below the cobblestones of Barcelona and his life is changed forever. I adore Carlos Ruiz Zafon. From his lush descriptions that bring Barcelona to life, to his motley crew of characters that have stayed close to my heart for over a decade, this book is easily the one I recommend to anyone I meet. Lovingly translated by Lucia Graves, La Sombra del Viento is also available in its original Spanish.