Book picks similar to
Even the Milky Way is Undocumented by Amy Shimshon-Santo


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Worldly Things


Michael Kleber-Diggs - 2021
    Moments suffused with love--teaching his daughter how to drive; watching his grandmother bake a cake; waking beside his beloved to ponder trumpet mechanics--couple with moments of wrenching grief--a father's life ended by a gun; mourning children draped around their mother's waist; Freddie Gray's death in police custody. Even in the refuge-space of dreams, a man calls the police on his Black neighbor.But Worldly Things refuses to "offer allegiance" to this centuries-old status quo. With uncompromising candor, Kleber-Diggs documents the many ways America systemically fails those who call it home while also calling upon our collective potential for something better. "Let's create folklore side-by-side," he urges, asking us to aspire to a form of nurturing defined by tenderness, to a kind of community devoted to mutual prosperity. "All of us want," after all, "our share of light, and just enough rainfall."Sonorous and measured, the poems of Worldly Things offer needed guidance on ways forward--toward radical kindness and a socially responsible poetics.

The Bad Wife Handbook


Rachel Zucker - 2007
    Formally innovative and blazingly direct, The Bad Wife Handbook cross-examines marriage, motherhood, monogamy, and writing itself. Rachel Zucker's upending of grammatical and syntactic expectations lends these poems an urgent richness and aesthetic complexity that mirrors the puzzles of real life. Candid, subversive, and genuinely moving, The Bad Wife Handbook is an important portrait of contemporary marriage and the writing life, of emotional connection and disconnection, of togetherness and aloneness.

Permanent Damage: Memoirs of an Outrageous Girl


Mercy Fontenot - 2021
    She predicted the Altamont disaster when reading the Rolling Stones' tarot cards at a party and left San Francisco for the climes of Los Angeles in 1967 when the Haight 'lost its magic.'Miss Mercy's work in the GTOs, the Frank Zappa-produced all-female band, launched her into the pages of Rolling Stone in 1969. Her adventures saw her jumping out of a cake at Alice Cooper's first record release party, while high on PCP, and had her travel to Memphis where she met Al Green and got a job working for the Bar-Kays. Along the way, she married and then divorced Shuggie Otis, before transitioning to punk rock and working with the Rockats and Gears. This is her story as she lived and saw it.Written just prior to her death in 2020, Permanent Damage shows us the world of the 1960s and 1970s music scene through Mercy's eyes, as well as the fallout of that era--experiencing homelessness before sobering up and putting her life back together. Miss Mercy's journey is a can't miss for anyone who was there and can't remember, or just wishes they'd been there.

A Tree or a Person or a Wall: Stories


Matt Bell - 2016
    A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of forgetfulness. The story of Red Riding Hood is run through a potentially endless series of iterations. A father invents an elaborate, consuming game for his hospitalized son. Indexes, maps, a checkered shirt buried beneath a blanket of snow: they are scattered through these pages as clues to mysteries that may never be solved, lingering evidence of the violence and unknowability of the world. A Tree or a Person or a Wall brings together Bell's previously published shorter fiction--the story collection How They Were Found and the acclaimed novella Cataclysm Baby--along with seven dark and disturbing new stories, to create a collection of singular power.

Meteoric Flowers


Elizabeth Willis - 2006
    These poems are allusive and tough. While they celebrate the pleasures of the natural world--mutability, desire, and the flowering of things--they are compounded by a critical awareness of contemporary culture. As we traverse their associative leaps, we discover a linguistic landscape that is part garden, part wilderness, where a poem can perform its own natural history. Divided into four cantos interrupted by lyrics and errata, Meteoric Flowers mirrors the form of Erasmus Darwin's 18th-century scientific pastorals. In attending to poetry's investigative potential, Willis shifts our attention from product to process, from commodity to exchange, from inherited convention to improvisational use.

You Only Get Letters from Jail


Jodi Angel - 2013
    From picking up women at a bar hours after mom’s overdose to coveting a drowned girl to catching rattlesnakes with gasoline, Angel's characters are motivated by muscle cars, manipulative women, and the hope of escape from circumstances that force them either to grow up or give up. Haunted by unfulfilled dreams and disappointments, and often acting out of mixed intentions and questionable motives, these boys turned young men are nevertheless portrayed with depth, tenderness, and humanity. Angel’s gritty and heartbreaking prose leaves readers empathizing with people they wouldn't ordinarily trust or believe in.

F: Poems


Franz Wright - 2013
    / In writing. / I signed my name. / It’s death’s move.” As he considers his mortality, the poet finds a new elation and clarity on the page, handing over for our examination the flawed yet kneeling-in-gratitude self he has become. F stands both for Franz, the poet-speaker who represents all of us on our baffling lifelong journeys, and for the alphabet, the utility and sometimes brutality of our symbols. (It may be, he jokes grimly, his “grade in life.”) From “Entries of the Cell,” the long central poem that details the loneliness of the single soul, to short narrative prose poems and traditional lyrics, Wright revels in the compensatory power of language, observing the daytime headlights following a hearse, or the wind, “blessing one by one the unlighted buds of the backbent peach tree’s unnoted return.” He is at his best in this beautiful and startling collection.

Death of Dreams


Shruti Agrawal
    It is deep dive into emotions, empathy, acceptance, healing and insights into a different perspective towards life. The book embraces you in silence and stillness of thoughts. The book is an attempt to connect to souls, to reflect upon them, unbiased and together embrace a new beginning and a beautiful journey called life.

A Little Book of Love and Companionship


Ruskin Bond
    

The Tiny Journalist


Naomi Shihab Nye - 2019
    The collection is inspired by the story of Janna Tamimi, the "Youngest Journalist in Palestine," who at age 7 began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests using her mother's smartphone. Nye draws upon her own family's roots in a West Bank village near Tamimi's hometown to offer empathy and insight to the young girl's reporting. Long an advocate for peaceful communication across all boundaries, Nye’s poems in The Tiny Journalist put a human face on war and the violence that divides us from each other.

I Don't Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom


Kim Korson - 2015
    Because really, does everyone have to be happy?Aside from her father wearing makeup and her mother not feeling well (a lot), Kim Korson’s 1970s suburban upbringing was typical. Sometimes she wished her brother were an arsonist just so she’d have a valid excuse to be unhappy. And when life moves along pretty decently--she breaks into show business, gets engaged in the secluded jungles of Mexico, and moves her family from Brooklyn to dreamy rural Vermont—the real despondency sets in. It’s a skill to find something wrong in just about every situation, but Kim has an exquisite talent for negativity. It is only after half a lifetime of finding kernels of unhappiness where others find joy that she begins to wonder if she is even capable of experiencing happiness.In I Don’t Have a Happy Place, Kim Korson untangles what it means to be a true malcontent. Rife with evocative and nostalgic observations, unapologetic realism, and razor-sharp wit, I Don’t Have a Happy Place is told in humorous, autobiographical stories. This fresh-yet-dark voice is sure to make you laugh, nod your head in recognition, and ultimately understand what it truly means to be unhappy. Always.

Milk and flowers


Puppy Kaur - 2019
    Yum! I hope you like it.

Men and Apparitions


Lynne Tillman - 2018
    I name us Picture People because most special and obvious about the species is, our kind lives on and for pictures, lives as and for images, our species takes pictures, makes pix, thinks in pix. What is behind the human drive to create, remake, and keep images from and of everything? What does it mean that we now live in a -glut of images?- Men and Apparitions takes on a central question of our era through the wild musings and eventful life of Ezekiel Hooper Stark, cultural anthropologist, ethnographer, specialist in family photographs. As Ezekiel progresses from a child obsessed with his family's photo albums to young and passionate researcher to a man devastated by betrayal in love, his academic fascinations determine and reflect his course, touching on such various subjects as discarded images, pet pictures, spirit mediums, the tragic life of his long-dead cousin the semi-famous socialite Clover Adams, and the nature of contemporary masculinity. Kaleidoscopic and encyclopedic, madcap and wry, this book showcases Lynne Tillman not only as a brilliantly original novelist but as one of our most prominent thinkers on culture and visual culture today.

Another Place You've Never Been


Rebecca Kauffman - 2016
    Or perhaps you have been shocked by the irrefutable phenomena of coincidence, when your life intersects with another’s in the most unlikely way. In gripping prose marked by stark simplicity, Another Place You’ve Never Been by debut novelist Rebecca Kauffman explores the intersection of human experience amidst the minutiae of everyday life.In her mid-thirties and living in Buffalo, NY (where she is originally from), Tracy spends most days at the restaurant where she works as a hostess, despite her aspirations of a career that would make use of her creative talents. Tracy’s life is explored not only though her own personal point of view, but also through the viewpoints of other characters, wherein Tracy may only make a peripheral appearance or even emerge at different periods in her life.Kauffman subtly exposes the lives of these characters — alongside the presences of spiritually mysterious Native American figures that appear throughout — and gradually reveals the true purposes of both as their paths intersect.

Lost Daughter: A Daughter's Suffering, a Mother's Unconditional Love, an Extraordinary Story of Hope and Survival.


Nola Wunderle - 2013
    I hadn't slept properly for weeks. All of us had been waiting for this moment for months. Our fourth child was soon to arrive ...This is the story of 18-year-old Kartya Wunderle, one of 64 babies flown out of Taiwan in the early 80s. Babies stolen from their mothers or sold by their families and adopted out to unsuspecting overseas parents. At 15, Kartya began to use heroin in an attempt to take away the pain of not knowing who she was and where she came from. Her distraught parents watched their beautiful daughter slowly slip away from them, spiralling towards a tragic and almost inevitable conclusion. Out of desperation and fired by an unconditional love for her daughter, Nola Wunderle resolved to find Kartya's birth mother and change the ending to Kartya's story. An amazing search for one woman in a country of 22 million began. The result was nothing short of miraculous, and made Kartya a national hero in her homeland. Lost Daughter is a moving testament to the power of love and the strength of the human spirit, one that will humble and inspire all who read it.