Poetry, essays, short stories… these Buzzfeed-recommended books will spring off your library’s shelves!
WADE IN THE WATER by Tracy K. Smith
US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith returns with WADE IN THE WATER, a new collection of poems that feels both timely and timeless. In lines that are as lyrical as they are wise (and so poignant you’ll want to write them down immediately), Smith makes connections between the current state of American culture and its history — police brutality, slavery, immigration, the Civil War, the Declaration of Independence (which she turns into an erasure poem). What does it mean to be an American, to be a woman in a society still dominated by men? Smith captures memories, found language, music, and the voices of the past to get to the beating heart of our nation today — and you’ll feel it in every fiber of your being while reading.
A LUCKY MAN by Jamel Brinkley
The nine stories in Jamel Brinkley’s collection A LUCKY MAN are about black men grappling with their place in the world, their pasts, their friendships, and their families — boys coming of age and encountering firsthand how privilege is tied to race and class, brothers navigating strained relationships, parents and children disappointing each other. Brinkley shows both the great beauty and ugliness of humanity — but always with empathy — and captures the ways in which our world is defined and divided by power. A LUCKY MAN so real and alive, much like its characters, that you’ll be eager to read whatever Brinkley writes next.
EYE LEVEL by Jenny Xie
US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Hererra chose Jenny Xie as the winner of the Academy of American Poets’ 2017 Walt Whitman Award, and it’s easy to see why in her debut collection EYE LEVEL. Xie’s poems take us on a journey to new places (Vietnam, Cambodia, even a Greek island) in such vivid detail that you’ll feel as if you really traveled, as well as to new questions about immigration, identity, and loneliness. How do we really find home? What do we lose when we leave? Reading EYE LEVEL feels like taking a trip with someone who truly sees you, and the world, as it is.
LOOK ALIVE OUT THERE by Sloane Crosley
By the time you’re done reading Sloane Crosley’s delightful new essay collection LOOK ALIVE OUT THERE, you’ll feel like you’ve made a new best friend — and an extraordinarily witty friend at that. Even when Crosley writes about climbing volcanoes in Ecuador or making a cameo appearance on Gossip Girl (as herself!), she is always refreshingly honest and relatable. But beyond being hilarious (trust me, you’ll be literally laughing out loud throughout), she also writes with deep insight about modern human life. Look alive out there, because this book will make you feel it.
THE MERRY SPINSTER by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
If you’ve ever wished that fairytales were darker and more like horror stories, well, you’re in luck, because the short story collection THE MERRY SPINSTER delivers just that — your favorite classic tales retold to be more unsettling and sometimes even downright disturbing. (You’ll especially love these if you followed Ortberg’s “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” column on the Toast). Remember The Velveteen Rabbit and The Little Mermaid? Well now you certainly won’t forget them, AND you’ll be scared (don’t say I didn’t warn you). Ortberg’s writing is snarky and clever, and the whole collection is delightfully mischievous, so be prepared — you’re in for a treat.