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This experimental novel weaves Cha's own experiences with her mother, Joan of Arc, and Yu Guan Soon into a series of reflections and images that will absolutely sear themselves into your brain. It might be the most important book I've ever read.
If you have ever been interested in building a new world, you should read this book. Especially if you ever felt like you couldn't find a way forward.
Weird fiction is fraught, mired in a legacy of racism courtesy of HP Lovecraft. The best of it is evocative in ways that most literature only dreams of being, though, and The House on the Borderland is easily the best of it.
Mexican Gothic immediately unseated House of Leaves as my favorite haunted house novel of all time. Shades of Perkins-Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper color this tale of post-Revolutionary Mexico, where the legacy of colonialism meets some weird mushrooms and a compelling mystery.
Yoon Ha Lee takes military science fiction and interrogates it as thoroughly as Paul VerHoeven's Starship Troopers. From abusive command structures to what a calendar would even mean in an interstellar society, he leaves no stone unturned. And it's fun?
He might be most famous for the madeleine, but Proust's real strength is in describing beauty beautifully. From painting to music to flowers, it's hard not to fall in love with his objects of aesthetic appreciation.
Rigorous and personal. Powerful, poetic, and absolutely unyielding when it comes to analyzing the way prisons actually work in our society. It's not pretty.
Whimsical and prophetic aren't adjectives usually associated with 19th-century Russian Literature, but Gogol's not your average novelist. Plus it's the best way to learn about the origins of capitalism this side of reading Marx!
Young Adult Arthuriana might be the least sexy phrase in English, at least to me. And yet. Cooper manages to take that concept and make it sing.
This will teach you more about US history than any textbook.
Whether it spirals you off into a journey through Alton Brown, Harold McGee and Herve This or just teaches you how to salt your pasta water and not burn a steak, SFAH won't just improve your cooking, it'll help you understand the kitchen in a new way.
Gender, class, and race intertwine in a beautiful love story set against the backdrop of truly alien worlds. It's not a perfect book, and it's all the more affecting for that.