Books

In each issue of BUST, Amber Tamblyn reviews a book of poetry. From our Fall 2021 issue, here's her review of Great Exodus, Great Wall, Great Party.  Chessy Normile’s Great Exodus, Great Wall, Great Party is a book so good from a voice so original, you won’t want to put it down. But you’ll inevitably have to—to wipe tears from your eyes, cover your mouth as you scream with laughter, and pace the room wondering how in the hell she came up with such damn good lines....
Solange, R&B singer, songwriter, and Beyonce's little sis, has debuted her latest project: a free library featuring rare works by Black authors. In 2013, Solange founded the creative studio Saint Heron and has produced visual art and podcasts. Solange, also known as Solange Knowles, is renowned for her albums A Seat at the Table (2016) and When I Get Home (2018).  The Saint Heron website now displays 50 titles by Black authors, available to US-based readers for up to 45 days. “Season One” of Saint Heron...
The Irish author of Normal People, Sally Rooney, has yet again successfully covered a range of topics which permeate our lives in her new novel, Beautiful World, Where are You (BWWAY). While Rooney has had huge success with her previous two books, Conversations with Friends (2017) and Normal People (2018), she has received a ton of backlash recently upon the publishing of her third book. This backlash came from Rooney rejecting a publishing deal with an Israeli publisher, Modan Publishing House, due to the practice of...
In her new memoir, The Big Hurt, author and actress Erika Schickel re-examines her “bad girl” self-image and offers an intimate look into her long process of healing from emotional and sexual trauma.  “Life isn’t linear,” Schickel says in the book. “Eventually we will double back on ourselves, and hopefully we will have grown wiser, maybe we will have learned something.” It is through this lens of past and present intertwined that Schickel approaches her own story, interweaving tales of her reckless adolescence with glimpses into...
I had been living in New York City for six months and working at school for students with Autism and related disorders when I heard about Allison Moorer. More accurately, I heard her twangy Alabama drawl as she chatted with her son’s teacher during afternoon pickup. It was a fall afternoon in the midst of after school dismissal and Moorer’s voice rang disparate compared to the usual city cadences that echoed throughout our school building.   As a Virginia transplant her voice reminded me of my mom’s...
As we step into fall, we can't think of anything better than cosy up at home with a good book with a cup of hot chocolate. Need some recommendations on what to read? Check out our reviews below on books by Maggie Nelson and Nichole Perkins. On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint By Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press) There are few cultural critics with as much name recognition as MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Maggie Nelson, author of nine books, including 2015’s New York Times bestseller, The Argonauts. Her latest, On Freedom:...
Rosa Brooks was tear-gassed in utero. As the 1960s became the ’70s, her mother, left-wing activist and journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, was pregnant and protesting against the Vietnam War when she was gassed by police. Ehrenreich passed her rebellious streak down to Brooks, now 51, who grew to ask herself: How do I rebel against a rebel? Decades later, Brooks was working as a tenured law professor at Georgetown and driving her kids around the Virginia suburbs. But a sense of subversion infiltrated her days. So, in the polarized period between the election...
After the success of her HBO TV series I May Destroy You, which explored issues of sexual assault, consent, and their intersection with race, British actress and screenwriter Michaela Coel is continuing her work on these very important topics. This past September 7th she released her first book, Misfits: A Personal Manifesto. From her experience with racism at a very young age to the traumas of sexual assault, Misfits is a touching look at Michaela Coel’s life and work as a “misfist”.  Shiny purple and orange...
Happy Hour: A Novel By Marlowe Granados (Verso Fiction) Happy Hour, the debut novel by Marlowe Granados, follows Isa and Gala, two best friends in their early 20s, as they survive a sweltering summer in N.Y.C. through their feminine wiles and too many hot dogs. Isa is hot off a stint in London and has found herself in the Big Apple running a clothing stall with Gala. Like The Last Days of Disco for the millennial age, both girls have definitive (and occasionally misguided) opinions about the way...
Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark By Cassandra Peterson  (Hachette Books) Elvira is one of those celebs who seems to have sprung from the ground fully formed—sky-high wig, wild eye makeup, and full vampire queen regalia. But in Yours Cruelly, Elvira, the woman behind the boobs, Cassandra Peterson, reveals how she became the Mistress of the Dark, and her tale is far more complex than one might expect. Her memoir covers everything from her difficult Kansas childhood to her days as a...