Nikki Barnhart recommends:
Brave New World by Louisa Luna
Somehow, Louisa Luna’s “Brave New Girl” has gone largely overlooked since its publication in 2001. This makes me both mad that it hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves and a little bit happy that I can still hold it close to me as my little secret. It’s just that kind of book – one that I’ve loved for so long, that’s gotten under my skin and become a part of me, that I return to again and again, that’s never failed to spur that little burning burst of pure love upon each re-read. Although it centers around a 14-year-old (the singular, endearingly badass, and incredibly winsome Doreen Severna – finally here’s a character actually worthy of the inevitable Holden Caulfield comparisons thrust upon any coming-of-age novel’s protagonist), it never feels any less relevant as the years go by. Rather, it lets me tap into those lingering adolescent feelings I don’t think we ever really outgrow, and revisit the time when life felt the most agonizing, pungent and fervid. The angst is as palpable as the California heat of the setting, the grit as strong as strong as the lo-fi grind of Pavement’s “Summer Babe” (which appears in the book and has my vote for best literary scene prominently featuring a rock song). It’s a book that puts you in a mood, a certain feeling, a world. Think of it as a sleeper (and stronger) Perks of Being a Wallflower with a female heroine (edgier, feistier, and vividly more alive than Perks’ Charlie). Also, it’s probably the best love letter to the Pixies ever made.
Benjamin Lee recommends:
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
Here we dive into the musings that led into the concept of time itself. Imaginative, compelling, and utterly fantastic. A short read but definitely one worth taking your time with.
Claire Hopple recommends:
Found Audio by N.J. Campbell
N.J. Campbell knows how to artfully play on your curiosity in Found Audio. Take all of your favorite documentaries and condense them into vignettes that make up this small, sharp novel. You get a little bit of everything good, mysterious and conspiracy-theoried on this globe in one place.
Kyle Flak recommends:
Irksome Particulars by Matt Cook
What a fun book to have in your pocket all day! Actually, you can take it out and have fun reading it, too. These tasty little butterscotch candy prose poems are like things your grandpa might tell you while trying to nab a trout on a river in northern Michigan, but actually I like it better when fish stay alive. Matt Cook is both wise and funny. You might find yourself wanting to write him a really long fan letter asking if he really will maybe become your new grandpa. But guess what? After reading this book, you will already know how to become your own grandpa! And grandma! From outer space! With a spaceship!
Greg Zorko recommends:
Sparse Black Whimsy by Marcus Scott Williams
Sparse Black Whimsy is a book that throws aside narrative to look deep into the lights, sounds, tastes and sensations of the minute-to-minute. Told through a series of “flash memoirs,” Marcus Scott Williams leads the reader through a vibrant New York City, always in motion, where thoughts and feelings bleed into one another. It’s a book that looks outward and inward at the same time, written in a rhythmic and fluid language that’s probably unlike anything you’ve read.