Return to flip book view

Bookseller's Choice - Leigh

Page 1

Bookseller’s ChoiceUse the arrows on either side of the page to flip through the magazine.The book covers are clickable, and will take you to the book on our website: ebbooksellers.comFeel free to download & share the magazine!•••1About Leigh’s Choices:“I usually read with no end to my appetite and no category in mind; fiction, essays, memoirs, poetry, history… anything with writing that grabs me and draws me in. These days, I'm listening to a lot of audiobooks and rereading old favorites. I’ve also been spending far more quality time with visual arts books, at home and in the shop. In this collection are books I’ve found affirming, comforting and inspiring -- over my life, but especially in the past year -- and a selection of forthcoming books I’m excited to read in the next six months.”

Page 2

2Joan MitchellSFMoMA & Yale University PressThis gorgeous printed cloth-over-board cover serves as the perfect doorway into scholarly text, literary essays by Paul Auster and Eileen Myles among others, gatefolds with detailed illustrations of Joan Mitchell’s paintings, and much more. It’s a masterful retrospective that covers her career from 1950s New York abstraction to huge multipanel works, sketchbooks, poem paintings, and her cultural connections to music. Just blew me away. The Longing for Less: Living with MinimalismKyle ChaykaIf you’re decluttering, sparking joy, cleansing, dieting, and finding yourself unsatisfied, I would recommend this deep dive into the joys we can find in minimalism in art, music, and architecture. Kyle Chayka’s essays on the commodification of minimalism are splendid! They offer context, thoughts on the intention behind the movement, and reveal some possible impacts of the consumer trend for wanting less. He also has three (three!) newsletters on entertainment, media and journalism, and original essays in progress that never fail to impress. This 2018 monograph on the work of Luchita Hurtado was the first ever published, in her 98th year on earth! She’d been living, working and painting for nearly a century before she got mainstream recognition. I find her story and her art really inspiring. This collection includes essays and interviews about and with her, and a biographical timeline in the back. Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be RebornSerpentine Galleries & Koenig BooksBauhaus artist Anni Albers is most well known for her masterful large scale weavings. This monograph features one that was commissioned for the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico City, not seen in public since 1989, along with other prime examples of Albers’ work that honors and references traditional craftways. With essays on Bauhaus craft and Latin American art and culture, Camino Real serves as a wonderful introduction, or a great gift for a fan. Anni Albers: Camino RealAnni Albers

Page 3

3The Copenhagen TrilogyTove DitlevsenAlso available as three individual paperback editions, this is a masterwork of memoir, following Tove from her childhood into adult life. She captures with striking honesty the difficulty of living up to competing roles as woman, writer, wife and mother -- not to mention the struggles of mental illness and addiction -- in mid twentieth century Denmark. She’s described by fellow Danish writer Dorthe Nors (another favorite) as “the Billie Holiday of poetry, accessible, complex, and simple all at the same time. There’s a special mournful sweetness in the earlier poems that belongs to the girlish. Later, her prose turned the dreams and disappointments of life as a woman inside out.”MeanMyriam GurbaMemoir blended with true crime blended with poetry and politic and humor. Myram really fucking did it here, the form is so fluid and so groundbreaking. “Being mean isn’t for everybody. It’s best practiced by those who understand it as an art form. These virtuosos live closer to the divine. They’re queers.” I read this trilogy as it came out originally, waiting in intense anticipation between books! I recommend getting all three together and staying in for however long it takes you. As in much of Jemisin’s work, the world-building takes you somewhere totally different without sacrificing the relevance of the social relationships and development of characters within. Empathy, magic, wonder, grief, all of humanity wrapped up in earth-shakingly powerful storytelling. The Cost of LivingDeborah LevySecond in a series of three short memoirs --this one tracks Levy’s endeavor to take herself and her writing seriously again after divorcing her husband at fifty. Moving into a drafty new apartment with her daughter, with no dedicated space to write, she pushes herself to do the necessary work. The Broken Earth TrilogyN. K. Jemisin

Page 4

4A Memory Called EmpireArkady MartineA gripping political thriller, wrapped in a masterpiece of worldbuilding, nestled inside a basket full of commentary on the importance of individual legacy to empire. Imagines a future-human colonisation of the wider universe much like Byzantium, with Earth its Constantinople. I can't get over how fun this book was to read!Milk FedMelissa BroderAh, the particular joy of finding bodily pleasure after a long period of self denial. Milk Fed draws it out so well you can almost taste it, and does it with Melissa Broder's trademark combo of insight, humor, discomfort and sexiness. *chef's kiss*This lush and well-researched imagining of St. Hilda of Whitby is an epic adventure, a coming-of-age, a history lesson and a bit of a romance. And then there’s the importance of vigilance, focus, and patterns (manmade and natural) to Hild’s “magic”. Hild is the King’s cousin, the King’s seer, and a witch, depending on who’s looking. But at the start, she’s a grieving girl who learns out of necessity to measure the expectations and reactions of the powerful people around her. A truly extraordinary novel.Hild: A NovelNicola GriffithDeliciously creepy, morally ambiguous, scientifically interesting (and scary), and a page turner! Evelyn and Martine make for an unforgettable duo in this drama that will make you consider the “nature vs nurture” debate in an entirely new way. The Echo WifeSarah Gailey

Page 5

5Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the TempleHilma af KlintOnly the second installment in an overwhelming seven volume complete catalog of the works of Hilma af Klint! Her Paintings for the Temple Series is the most famous of her work. It consists of almost two hundred pieces that are colorful, abstract, biomorphic, visual translations of her own systems of spiritual connection. Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray For LoveYayoi KusamaThis is an intensely personal book, based on the exhibition at David Zwirner New York in 2019. Includes tons of new paintings, sculptures, and Infinity Mirror Rooms, but my favorite part is how much original WRITING is here. Poetic remembrances paired with photographs of the artist over time grant us access to her unique and magnificent creative mind. Organized into three parts (The Cosmos, Higher Beings, and Practitioners), this small but mighty book covers occult and mystical subjects in art through human history. Along with sharply reproduced illustrations on matte pages, it includes biographical information on artists and their philosophical and historical contexts. Sparks curiosity and inspiration!The Art of the Occult: A Visual Sourcebook for the Modern MysticS. ElizabethTruly GRAND rooms. There is nothing like this kind of luxury decoration, sometimes flamboyant, sometimes understated, to make me stare longingly at my own familiar walls and reimagine what my space could be. None of this is really achievable or easy to scale down for a Bay Area apartment. It’s pure, delicious, fantasy.The Lives of Others: Sublime Interiors of Extraordinary PeopleSimon Watson

Page 6

6Catherine Lacey is one of my absolute favorite writers. She translates loneliness onto the page in magical ways, and cuts up culture mercilessly. Despite its seriousness, PEW is a joy to read, and as usual with Lacey, prescient. Absurd comedy, devastating sadness, and raunchiness beyond compare are what you get from the stories of Megg, Mogg, Owl and their crowd, dealing with real-world problems of addiction, depression, and witch/familiar power dynamics in relationships. Seeds & Stems is a collection of fragments previously only available in zines, on promotional material, and in weird corners of the internet. My fave so far is a one-color spread of Megg & Werewolf Jones’ band practice, which includes a true banger called "Winter Trauma."Confessions of the FoxJordy RosenbergPew By Catherine LaceyNow available in paperback! Lydia Millet's every sentence is a perfect little razor. This novel hit me hard when I first read it, and upon second read, settled right in to my heart. Hilarious, visionary, and unsettling to the max, with its priorities in all the right places. Shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2020. Someday she’ll win.A Children’s BibleLydia MilletA gift of a novel! love, sex, transness, queerness, piracy, and anti-colonialists fighting corporate overseers and cops. Radical energy on every page. It’s so smart, and so sexy, and such a fun read.Seeds and StemsSimon Hanselmann

Page 7

7The Body is Not an ApologySonya Renee TaylorThis revised and expanded edition of Sonya Renee Taylor’s breakthrough book on radical self-love includes an introduction by Ijeoma Oluo. There’s also a new companion workbook (see below). Both of these books are essentials.Big GirlMeg ElisonFrom the PM Press Outspoken Authors Series, one of my favorite local writers brings an intoxicating and tense mix of rage and humor to the ongoing cultural treatment of women’s bodies as public commodities. Features short stories, a novella and an illuminating interview with Meg.Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat PhobiaSabrina StringsThis impeccably put together study gathers articles, art, and journalism from the enlightenment era to now, and posits that modern fat phobia--especially as it relates to Black women--isn’t about health, but about using the body to validate race, class, and gender prejudice.What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About FatAubrey Gordon I LOVE AUBREY GORDON! Whether it’s her twitter feed (@yrfatfriend), her funny and affirming podcast (Maintenance Phase - on the junk science behind fad diets and wellness scams) or this wonderful book. Her humor and insight are invaluable.

Page 8

8The Body Keeps the ScoreBessel van der KolkA breakthrough book on the connections between body and mind in the study and experience of post traumatic stress and trauma more broadly. With case studies from all ages and experiences, and an eye on biology and psychology, van der Kolk uses his decades of research to lay out a critical but hopeful look at the treatment of trauma and mental health crises in the United States.UndrownedAlexis Pauline GumbsAlexis Pauline Gumbs uses metaphor, observation, and her poetic sensibility to relate how marine mammals respond to ecological and social crises with changes we could make as society. Bringing this mode of thought into my day-to-day has made me more curious, open, and aware of life around me, and I hope anyone who picks it up can take something similar away. It’s a beautiful meditative read. Building a Life Worth LivingMarsha M. LinehanMarsha Linehan used her own experience of emotional lability, suicidality and self-harming behaviors to create Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a program that not only helps many people today, but gave her life meaning. After years of ineffective treatments and stays in hospital, she made a promise to herself that if she could pull herself out of hell, she’d spend the rest of her life working to help others get out as well. She was also one of the first western practitioners to incorporate mindfulness into therapeutic approaches. A fascinating and inspiring story.

Page 9

9Bina unfurls like a one-sided conversation -- confession, mystery. It’s complex, strange, challenging, entertaining. This dark comedic voice is everything to me right now. Ghost WallSarah MossThe impact of this novelette is so much bigger than one might expect from 130 pages. It’s short, precise, and fully formed. Moss addresses the dangers of obsessive cultural isolation and nationalism, while winding a parable of daughterhood and coming of age that is complex, bewitching and terrifying in moments. Ghost Wall is a book for all times, but, it seems, especially for ours.Hot StewFiona MozleyA stunning follow-up to Elmet, Mozley’s 2017 Booker finalist. One building in Soho stands against the tide of gentrification -- Precious and Tabitha are the center of this story, a couple living in the garret apartment above the egalitarian brothel where both have worked. As Agatha, a comically evil developer, tries to eject inhabitants and fully sanitize the neighborhood, she comes up against an almost mycorrhizal network of characters who draw upon a deep sense of community and belonging to fight back. I love this book. It’s specifically London here, but we could write a similar story about any changing neighborhood in the Bay Area. The Complete Patrick MelroseEdward St. AubynThe Patrick Melrose cycle is some of the finest, funniest writing I’ve ever encountered merged with tense, ugly, deeply aristocratic British horror. I’ve never so much enjoyed reading about truly hateable characters as here. St. Aubyn’s style of writing (& Patrick’s way of speaking) are like a warm and cozy blanket of dark humor and cynicism. Bina: A Novel in WarningsAnakana Schofield

Page 10

Women in AbstractionChristine MacelEuripides’ Trojan Women: A ComicAnne Carson, Rosanna BrunoA collaborative project from classicist and poet Carson with the art of Bruno -- I’ve been growing tired of “graphic adaptations” recently, but this one caught my eye. Human characters are rendered as animals (reminiscent of Maus) and the stark, textured black and white seems a suitably solemn illustrative style for a classic drama of war’s effects on humanity.(New Directions, May 4)With TeethKristen ArnettArnett’s stories and novels (and twitter presence) are charming, funny, sometimes scary, always meaningfully entertaining. Her newest is the story of two mothers dealing with their sometimes frighteningly difficult young son. Moving and tender, at the same time as it chills & thrills(Riverhead, June 1)Based on an exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this is an incredible overview of the often overlooked roles of women in 20th Century Abstract art, covering painting, dance, performance, photography, film… all kinds of media. I’ve only seen a few interiors, but I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this one.(Thames & Hudson, May 11)available to pre-order now!A Room of Her OwnRobyn LeaA sure-to-be beautiful study of the homes and lives of a collection of creative women. Twenty philosophers, rebels, and artists from across the globe share the spaces they’ve made for themselves. Images rom Robyn Lea, an Australian photographer, author, and director.(Thames & Hudson, June 8)