Welcome to our Reading List! Find new recommended reads here every month, find spotlights and recommendations for our book world friends, and shop with us!
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It's PRIDE Month!
We hope you'll enjoy some of our recommended reads!
In one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves. -Bookshop.org
Young Adult Fiction
A Stonewall Honor Book
"From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time."- Bookshop.org
"Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers." -Bookshop.org
"A national bestseller from the "prolific and exceptionally insightful" (Globe and Mail) Roxane Gay, Difficult Women is a collection of stories of rare force that paints a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America."- Bookshop.org
Young Adult Fiction
A People magazine Best Book of Fall 2019
An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of 2019
F***ing outstanding.--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
Recommendations from Arvin, co-owner of Townie Books.
Arvin Ramgoolam is the co-owner of Townie Books and Rumors Coffee and Tea House in Crested Butte, CO. He is the 2020 One Story Adina Talve-Goodman Fellow and has recent stories published in The Jellyfish Review and The Normal School. You can find him on Instagram: @towniebooks, Twitter: @ArvinRam1, and in his store ranting about pop culture and amazing short stories.
"Dantiel Moniz’s collection of stories, Milk Blood Heat, is told with unflinching observation that informs us how we live in our bodies. Strong and flawed characters are revealed in bold language that exposes the human condition. " -Arvin
"Te-Ping Ching’s Land of Big Numbers feels like a modern take on issues in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Pulsing with technology and information and the ominous presence of China’s government, each story captures the multinational existence of the 21st century through the sieve of love and relationships gone wrong." -Arvin
"The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw is at once guilty pleasure and literary perfection. Each story feels like a carefully crafted world that cares for the reader as much as the characters in these heart rending stories that leave us with a sense of humanity unique to the short story form." -Arvin
"How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is a wonderful introduction to the life and work of Alexander Chee. As an artist and activist, this book bolsters me and everyone I sell it to, to stick to what they are passionate about and keep going despite failure, obstruction, and sadness." -Arvin
"Kazim Ali’s Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water is a wonderful meditation on place and belonging. Ali returns to the town of Jenpeg and finds himself at the crossroads of community, environmentalism, and the broken promises of the Canadian government. Ali captures the breadth of the story of a place as an outsider, rootless in the new world, and trying to make sense of the cost of progress.
A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind."
"Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses is the long-needed assessment on the state of American letters. Diving deep into MFA programs across the country, Salesses deconstructs the white male centered writing programs that often leave writers of color alienated and dispirited. Salesses argues for a more diverse world of publishing and offers a path to better writing workshops and ultimately, better writing." -Arvin
"Conditional Citizens is an anchor for all Americans, both new and old. A new citizen of the United States myself, I appreciate every passage in Laila Lalami’s book as one of the millions of immigrants in the country that sometimes feel like conditional citizens, a part of the whole but not always accepted despite the lengths we go through to achieve citizenship. As Vonnegut put it, “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center,” and Lalami has reported from the edges an America that we can still see hope in." -Arvin
"Black Buck is one of the year’s most laser sharp looks at race and corporate culture. When super-smart slacker Darren is pulled into New York’s fastest growing startup, he reimagines himself as Buck, “a black salesman on a mission” in an all white setting. Told from the perspective of the invented Buck, Askaripour’s prose hits in all the places you least expect it." -Arvin
"A wonderful novel about a family navigating the undocumented immigrant experience in New York City. A beautiful story that wraps the love for family with desire from the perspective of those furthest from the American dream." -Arvin
"Interior Chinatown is a metafictional masterpiece realized in script format. A necessary and sharp witted piece of fiction, Interior Chinatown combines our modern love for story and cinema with the prescient need to confront stereotypes and how we digest them through media." -Arvin
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The Healing Reads List is a reading list that goes beyond anti-racism books. This list is all about healing and uplifting within and across communities. The books shared on this list have been sources of healing for us throughout this year. This is a rolling list so stay tuned for new healing reads being added!
Liza Michelle Bevams is a writer and multimedia artist exploring life in the Rocky Mountains. She is currently working on her first novel.
“This book is a gift of radical love that keeps unfolding and unfolding.” -Liza Bevams
"This book took my breath away. It's an unexpected and urgent embrace of truth." --Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Dare to Lead
"The Magic My Body Becomes is an extraordinary collection that captures the beauty and complexities of identity." —Liza
"An absolute necessity . . . the personal stories and the healing and reconciliation of self in this title are all undeniably honest and relatable--a reminder of our shared imperfection and humanity." -Booklist
"This collection of multi-generational writing is a demonstration of how radical and transformative love, self-love, can be." —Liza
"Girl, Woman, Other, the intermingling stories of generations of black British women told in a gloriously rich and readable free verse, will surely be seen as a landmark in British fiction."
"Diaz's collection is no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire."- The New York Times Book Review
Fiction and Poetry
"A source of healing, inspiration, and community." -Liza
"Reading this book gave me a new perspective on writing, love, forgiveness, and facing things that are difficult and uncomfortable to acknowledge. Kiese Laymon is a brilliant wordsmith." -Liza
"This is an insightful, courageous, and vibrant book. Derricotte's words linger and touch your soul." -Liza
"There is so much forgiveness and freedom in this book."- Liza
"Morrison is more than the standard bearer of American literature. She is our greatest singer. And this book is perhaps her most important song" -The New York Times
"Highlights the importance of imagination and learning to celebrate what it means to be different in a world that demands conformity."- Horn Book
These poems celebrate, encourage, and offer the reader a new perspective on hope and self-love.
"(D)on't think for one minute that Black Imagination is easy. As you will read here, it is hard-earned and sometimes dangerous, but it's necessary, and radical, to claim and work towards. Listening to my people in this book gave me so much life, and I'm pretty sure, dear reader, you're in for the same."- from the Foreword by Steven Dunn