When he's not selling books, Jeff is an avid reader, father of an infant daughter, and a writer of minor historical epics.
More than his intellect, wisdom, or wealth of experience, I enjoy James Alan McPherson's fundamental decency. Reading his essays, you can almost feel yourself becoming a bolder, brighter, and better person.
Reading Mona is like smoking from a vaporizer. Inhale deeply. Laugh. Smile. Feel more insightful than before. And keep your fingers crossed. In the end, things might veer toward the darkness. (This is the good stuff.)
Perhaps the best story collection I've ever read, these stories are hilarious, moving, poetic, ridiculous, and potentially offensive. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
James Baldwin is a saint. If you haven't read his work, you're missing the insight of the greatest poet and prophet America has ever produced. Seriously. Read this book.
An honest expression of self is an act of defiance. It means opening yourself to insult and mockery. You might be called "pathetic" or worse. And yet, the freedom to be who you are -- to be free -- is the essence of a healthy society. By nature, that's what the stories, poems, and essays in this collection are: fierce, honest, vulnerable, and free.
Get word-drunk on poetry, enjoy the squalor of a somewhat miserable existence, and include some potty humor. Result: Henry Miller.
Ovid wrote the definitive epic poem about Greek mythology in 8 AD. Two thousand years later, Charles Martin wrote a terrific new translation. Twenty years after that, you found this staff pick and decided to read the poem for yourself.
Writing justifies everything. Some stories mythologize. Headless men dance with hundred-year-old women, and women transform into birds. Other stories are vivid and confessional. This novel is both, and best of all, it has a wicked sense of humor.
There are poems in life, so powerful... I don't know! When you need to laugh, when you need to cry, when you need a reminder that suffering can be transposed into a song, turn to Vallejo. He is simply the best.
Lee Young-Ju's poems are brief kaleidoscopic scenes. She reminds me of that wonderful drug-addled pharmacist, Georg Trakl. Her poems, like his, map a lustrous dream space where things are bolder, and truer, than the things of this world.
With this sequel, Marlon James cements his reputation as the greatest fantasy writer of our time. His stories establish new mythologies and worlds while providing an antidote to the toxic whiteness pandered by writers like J.R.R. Tolkien. He's simply the best.
A modern classic, this book revolutionized what literature could be. Garcia Marquez inaugurated magical realism as its own genre. The writing itself is magic. Seriously. Just read the first sentence.
Richly imaginative, tender, and surreal, Memory Police is the best dystopian novel I've ever read.
Herman Melville was more than the madman who wrote Moby Dick. He also wrote spectacular short stories. "Bartleby the Scrivener," filled with dark, almost nihilistic humor, is a personal favorite. I could say more, but I would prefer not to.
This book is tender and magnificent. An expression of the thoughts and feelings we rarely share -- about race, gender, and nationality -- from a poet of incredible skill.
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What happens when a first-rate poet embeds with a corps of hapless soldiers and follows them into battle? Red Cavalry. Poignant, lyrical, and brutal, Babel was executed because of what he wrote in this interconnected series of stories.
(This book cannot be returned.)
This short novel, for me, is the best thing Bolaño ever wrote. Filled with dark humor, poetry, vulnerability, and magic, it's an absolute masterpiece.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf is known for its gripping story and the monstrous creatures plucked from African mythology. But it's also a clever critique of racist American culture. (James has referred to it as a "Black Lord of the Rings.") The commentary never bleeds into the action; it purrs in the background like a hidden jungle cat. For example, keep an eye out for his skewed depictions of Batman and Spider-Man.
Part personal essay, part cultural critique, Drug Use for Grown-Ups shows exactly what's wrong with the way we talk about drugs in America. Mixing anecdotes and hard data, Dr. Carl Hart exposes the racism lurking beneath the prosecution of most so-called drug criminals, while proposing useful real-world solutions.
Mesmerizing. This book will find you at just the right moment. Like right now.
Albert Cossery celebrated laziness. Fortunately for us, every once in a while he wrote a novel. His books are revolutionary and hilarious. This is his best.
Hilarious! These interconnected short stories are like bite-sized candies -- tiny and delicious. Try one!
A book lover's dream filled with hilarity, poetry, and rampant bibliophilia -- or, as she calls it, bibliolepsy.
Some stories wouldn't be believable if they hadn't actually happened. This is one of them. Profound, lyrical, spiritual -- this is perhaps the most humane book I've ever read.
Pedro Paramo es el mejor libro que he leído. Hermoso y poético, es una obra maestra.
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Poetic and absurd, The Boy Who Stole Attila's Horse possesses the power of myth. It might be a quick read, but the story resonates for a long time.
Let Cesar Aira whisk you away to the dreamy forests of Argentina, in the days of the colonies, when money was nothing more than scraps of inked paper. Like life, this book is a miraculous adventure!
Grief cannot be rendered more richly than this. Pollari's work is vulnerable and raw. A truly masterful work.
Discover the forgotten ritualistic roots of Zen. Honor the ancestors. Bring enlightenment and peace to yourself and others. Zenju Earthlyn will be your guide.