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I think often of my diasporic body and seek work that deals with the same: questions of home, problems of language-and-or-lack-thereof, memory, longing, survival, salt. I have a professed interest in translation (both works in and theory of), and a penchant for words that begin with p. Partial to: declarations from those in the margins, short stories, speculative fiction and worlds a touch absurd. Will pick up anything blurbed by Kelly Link.

Convenience Store Woman

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:36pm
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Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802128256
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Published: Grove Press - June 12th, 2018

If you've ever felt like an alien on earth, you will love this absurd, sparkling book. What shapes a life? What gives it meaning? Who gets to decide what is meaningful? I was charmed by this book's details, its brevity that says so much. Convenience Store Woman won Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize for literature in 2016; it is a blessing that Sayaka Murata's novel (her tenth) is available to us now, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori. [Tanya]

The Break

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 05/16/2018 - 12:46pm
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ISBN: 9781487001117
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Published: House of Anansi Press - March 6th, 2018

It's winter in Winnipeg and this book literally comes with a trigger warning for violence. It's a gritty novel, and there are no easy solutions for these Indigenous women. If you like intergenerational stories that explore resiliency and love, are emotionally demanding, and told with great depth, try The Break. The story will stick with you, as it has with me. [Tanya]

Emergency Contact

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 04/04/2018 - 7:29pm
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Emergency Contact Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534408968
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Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 27th, 2018

The payoff is sooooo satisfying. Strong focus on character development and I'm honestly still thinking about Penny and Sam all the time. Choi wanted to write a YA book about a blossoming friendship where "high-key nothing happens"—much of the book unfolds through texting (which is written exceptionally well, not forced LiKe 0Mgz at all)—and I'm maybe obsessed. Introverts and millennials will especially enjoy this contemporary, dual perspective novel, which also touches on anxiety, awkwardness, and class. It's a lighthearted but not fluffy read. I loved this. [Tanya]


Submitted by kingsbookstore on Thu, 03/29/2018 - 12:55pm
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Freshwater Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802127358
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Published: Grove Press - February 13th, 2018

I keep putting off writing this blurb because I don't want to mess it up… but this is the book I want to handsell most. This haunting, beautiful novel Akwaeke Emezi has created is unprecedented. Ten pages in and I knew this. Freshwater is an entire reality; it is liminal space, it is dark, spiritual, layered. It offers a new paradigm for gender and trauma (but let's be clear: Emezi has stated that "none of this is a metaphor for mental illness."). The prose is incantory and so, so gorgeous. Read this and get back to me because I am dying to talk to someone about it. [Tanya]

Sour Heart: Stories

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 03/28/2018 - 5:47pm
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Sour Heart: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399589386
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Published: Lenny - August 1st, 2017

Jenny Zhang packs a punch with this collection of short stories that captures girlhood in all its glory. Her writing is rapid fire, full of wit, anger, sadness, hope, and love. Zhang skillfully embodies the voices of the girls whose stories she tells, is often crass—perfectly capturing a kid's unfiltered self. You'll find yourself laughing one minute and crying the next. Winner of the 2018 PEN Literary Award. [Tanya]

The Poet X

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 03/21/2018 - 8:24pm
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ISBN: 9780062662804
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Published: HarperTeen - March 6th, 2018

Compelling story told in verse—a perfect vehicle for the raw, intense emotions you will feel as Xiomara navigates religion, being Afro-Latinx (specifically the daughter of Dominican immigrants), sexuality, body acceptance… A must-have for every high school library. It's the kind of book teens will cite as the book that showed them they weren't alone—or that they wish they had known about when they were growing up. Slam poetry is a theme, so this book is *especially perfect* for the ones who think they "aren't smart enough" for poetry. Bonus: the author (a slam poet herself) narrates the audiobook! [Tanya]

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 2:26pm
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They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937512651
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Published: Two Dollar Radio - November 7th, 2017

Hands-down my top nonfiction book of 2017. Do you enjoy excellent writing on topics like punk rock, joy, systemic racism, Islam, the Midwest, family—woven together poetically, insightfully? Do you want to cry while reading an essay about Fall Out Boy? Run, don't walk. [Tanya]

The Book of Salt

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 01/10/2018 - 12:03pm
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ISBN: 9780618446889
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Published: Mariner Books - June 15th, 2004

Savor this. Truong, inspired by a fleeting mention of two “Indo-Chinese” cooks in The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, crafts a sensuous fictional memoir told from the perspective of a Vietnamese man living in Paris. The premise alone—to turn a minor footnote into a whole story, a whole life—is a wonderful play on power, but everything about this book is subversive. Nonlinear and queer with so much to say about language, I will forever recommend this book. [Tanya]

Abandon Me

Submitted by kingsbookstore on Wed, 01/10/2018 - 12:01pm
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Abandon Me: Memoirs Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632866578
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Published: Bloomsbury USA - February 28th, 2017

Gorgeous, clean prose presented in eight connected essays—the last of which (the titular) comprises the latter half and more. Abandon as in deserted. Abandon as in to yield oneself completely. Emotional truths are interwoven with mythology, pop culture, history, and philosophy. The result is, at its core, an unflinching and intellectual examination of identity. [Tanya]


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