Books

Death In Her Hands: A NovelBy Ottessa Moshfegh(Penguin Press)      In her latest novel, Ottessa Moshfegh crafts a murder mystery that asks readers to decide what they believe. Protagonist Vesta Gull moves to a cabin after the death of her husband. One day, while walking with her dog in the woods, she finds a note stating that a woman named Magda has been killed. Vesta is unsure if the note is real or not, but as the possible identities of Magda and her killer develop...
When Jasmine Guillory wrote her breakout 2018 debut novel, The Wedding Date, she “didn’t envision” what ended up happening over the next few years. As of this summer, Guillory has published five interconnected stand-alone romances (with several more in the works) and has earned legions of fans, including the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Roxane Gay. It’s easy to see why: Guillory, 45, writes stories that are deliciously fun and sexy, with charming, complicated heroines, irresistible love interests, and scorching chemistry. Over the phone from...
I don’t know about you, but in the midst of everything going on, I need a break. And if you’re like me, a “break” involves camping out in Netflix’s true crime tab and bingeing “Evil Genius,” “Conversation with a Killer” and “Mindhunter” (all of which I recommend). However, at some point in my watch party, I decided I wanted to hear some stories told by women. It may seem counterintuitive to take a break from the suffering of the world with a book about grisly deaths,...
With novels, nonfiction classics, and guidebooks on race flying off (virtual) bookshelves, we decided to compile an assorted list of must-reads—ranging from the humorous to the heartbreaking to the educational—all written in the past few years by Black women authors, and all previously reviewed in BUST's print magazine.  Right now, books like Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility are at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, but let’s keep the momentum going and read books by Black women writers all the time,...
The Vanishing Half: A Novel By Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books) What starts off similarly to Brit Bennett’s debut novel The Mothers—an observer opens up the tale that’s about to unfold—quickly turns into a deeply emotional, thought-provoking, and at times, frustrating story about two once inseparable sisters now living parallel lives. Like everyone in Mallard, a tiny Southern community, 16-year-old twins Stella and Desiree are both light-skinned. Scared of getting stuck in their small town forever, the two decide to escape. They anticipate challenges along the way, but Desiree...
In each issue of BUST, Amber Tamblyn reviews a book of poetry. From our Spring 2020 issue, here's her review of Lilith, But Dark by Nichole Perkins. Nichole Perkins has written a beautifully aching and illuminating portrait of a Black woman’s life in her essential collection, Lilith, But Dark (Publishing Genius Press). These poems shine on every page, whether in the shadows or in the light of life’s most extreme circumstances, including family violence, love, longing, and the gloom of loss. In “Athena of Nashville” she...
Verge: StoriesBy Lidia Yuknavitch(Riverhead Books) Fans of Lidia Yuknavitch already know all her sentences are consistently some combination of: intense, electric, damp, arresting—this collection of short stories follows that trend. Some are super-short snapshots. Others have a full, pulsing life. And as a collection, they are populated by misfits on the edge of town, people feeling themselves as mammals existing in liminal spaces. The first story sets an astonishing pace that demands the reader close and blink at the book for at least two full minutes...
This year marked the 104th year of the Pulitzer Prizes, an awards series for journalism, letters, drama and education, among other things, created by Joseph Pulitzer in the early 20th century. The first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize was Edith Wharton in 1921, who won the “Novel Prize” for her classic book, “The Age of Innocence.” Since then, dozens of incredible women have been awarded with these prestigious prizes from Anne Sexton, to Harper Lee, to Toni Morrison. For the 2020 Prizes, 5 individual women...
Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the FutureBy Alice Gorman(The MIT Press)     Popularly known as Dr. Space Junk, Australian scientist Alice Gorman has made an unlikely career out of space archaeology. And in this wide-ranging book, she offers a detailed history of space exploration alongside informed reflections on the way humans have made space meaningful. While technical passages sometimes cause the book to drag, scattered among these more academic sections are unexpected moments of whimsy and wit, including a feminist interpretation of Elon...
MORE MYSELF: A JourneyAlicia Keys (Macmillan) In her memoir, More Myself: A Journey, Alicia Keys asks two important questions: “Who am I really? And, as I discover my true essence, am I brave enough to stand in that truth?” These questions are the heartbeat of the story, Keys narrates. It follows her as she grows from a young artist into a best-selling musician and global activist. Despite the professional and personal heights she attains, she continues to ask, “Who am I really?” Gradually, she discovers that the answer...