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Tara Hardy gives you her life’s thesis when she writes, “…my/blood does not make a pity trip.” Indeed, what grips about the poems in Bring Down The Chandeliers (Write Bloody Publishing) is not that she speaks so directly about incest, chronicling the sexual abuse from her father. (In fact, nowhere is the word “abuse” even used in these poems.) Hardy’s gift is her ability to take bravery where it’s never gone before. Like with the admission that thinking of her father “Hardened my nipples with shame. Read More
  If you’re a crafter who’s dreaming of quitting your day job, this book will provide you with the necessary know-how. Hello Craft is a non-profit trade association dedicated to crafters and the handmade movement, and their insider knowledge of the industry makes them a natural (and adorable) guide to its nuances. Read More
In Battleborn, a collection of short stories, Claire Vaye Watkins recreates the rich and complicated history of the desert regions of California and Nevada. The title is derived from one of Nevada’s nicknames, The Battle Born State, which it earned by becoming a state during the Civil War. Similarly, the ghosts of past battles are never far away from the characters’ minds as they struggle through life. Read More
  Oksana Marafioti’s memoir brings to light a minority culture that most people have very little knowledge of beyond TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Yes, Marafioti does write about one of those extravagant affairs, in which she donned a mango-colored taffeta gown and teased her hair to the heavens, but the strength of her book lies in the way it makes her Romani family, who moved to California in the early ’90s, and their over-the-top lifestyle relatable. Read More
In Overdressed, New York-based writer Elizabeth Cline explores the extreme decline in the cost of fashion, and the political, economic, and social implications of this change. Cline begins with a personal yet familiar anecdote: she once bought seven pairs of $7 shoes in a single haul, only to eventually throw half of them out without having worn them once. Most of us who grew up in the ’90s practice Cline’s former shopping ritual: consistently buying cheap, trendy clothes at “fast fashion” stores like H&M and Forever 21. Read More
You run up the stairs before you go to bed instead of walking. You hear a creaking noise and you hold your breath. You spin around far too quickly when you're raiding the cabinets for a snack because you sense someone behind you. There's no one there. Why do you feel so creeped out in your own house? I don't know if you have ever felt this weird sense of fear in your own home, but I know that I have. I know that it's inexplicable, that there's no real reason to be afraid. Read More
  Reviewed by Molly Labell Lizz Winstead is responsible for creating The Daily Show and for setting the progressive tone of the now defunct Air America, platforms that—bless her!—brought both Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow into the national spotlight. With her new book of personal essays, Winstead will undoubtedly be responsible for inspiring sc-ores of creative and opinionated young women. Read More
  Girl Walks into a Bar is a memoir by former Saturday Night Live cast member Rachel Dratch, perhaps best known for her character Debbie Downer. Here, Dratch recounts her career experiences (before, during, and after SNL), her attempts at dating, and her unexpected yet welcomed pregnancy at age 43. As you might expect, “Girl” is laugh-out-loud funny, with humorous tangents aplenty. Read More
  Reviewed by Erica Wetter Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life By Natalie Dykstra (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) You’ve probably never heard of Clover Adams, but as English Professor Natalie Dykstra illuminates in this detailed biography of the 19th-century Washington socialite, she rubbed elbows with many of the nation’s elite. “A perfect Voltaire in petticoats,” friend Henry James commented. “Certainly not handsome” her husband-to-be bluntly lamented to a friend. Read More
  Reviewed by Melynda Fuller Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own By Jenna Woginrich (Storey) At some point, every city-dweller utters the words, “I wish I could just move to the country and start a farm.” In her new memoir, writer Jenna Woginrich lays out that idyllic landscape found so often in the deep sighs of those who feel trapped by urban life. After a short stint as a homesteader in Idaho, Woginrich takes a job in rural Vermont, set on establishing the life of a farmer. Read More