Kristen Arnett is the New York Times best-selling author of the debut novel Mostly Dead Things (published by Tin House in 2019, and now available in paperback!). In a recent interview with Literary Arts’ Amanda Bullock, Arnett shared some books that she has been reading–and loving–lately. Her picks are below.
LISTEN to their interview in this episode of Long Distance from Literary Arts’ The Archive Project.
Wow, No Thank You.
by Samantha Irby
From Penguin Random House: From Samantha Irby–beloved author of New York Times bestseller We Are Never Meeting in Real Life–a rip-roaring, edgy and unabashedly raunchy new collection of hilarious essays.
The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby’s new life. Wow, No Thank You. is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.
by Chelsea Bieker
From Catapult: Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places. It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O’Connor’s Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own.
Here for It
by R. Eric Thomas
From Penguin Random House: From the creator of Elle’s “Eric Reads the News,” a heartfelt and hilarious memoir-in-essays about growing up seeing the world differently, finding unexpected hope, and experiencing every awkward, extraordinary stumble along the way.
Here for It will resonate deeply and joyfully with everyone who has ever felt pushed to the margins, struggled with self-acceptance, or wished to shine more brightly in a dark world. Stay here for it—the future may surprise you.
by Ada Limón
From Milkweed Editions: From National Book Award finalist Ada Limón comes The Carrying—her most powerful collection yet. Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance.
In this collection, heart is on full display. The Carrying follows the hard-won truth of what it means to live in an imperfect world.
I Know You Know Who I Am
by Peter Kispert
From Penguin Random House: Throughout this striking debut collection we meet characters who have lied, who have sometimes created elaborate falsehoods, and who now must cope with the way that those deceptions eat at the very fabric of their lives and relationships.
In I Know You Know Who I Am, Kispert deftly explores deception and performance, the uneasiness of reconciling a queer identity with the wider world, and creates a sympathetic, often darkly humorous, portrait of characters searching for paths to intimacy.
One D.O.A., One on the Way
by Mary Robison
From Counterpoint Press: Enter Eve. Based in New Orleans, she’s a location scout for a movie production company and complacently married to Adam. “Now you know,” she says. “Our names really didn’t bother me that much until the mail started arriving addressed to ‘Adam and Eve Broussard.’” He’s just been diagnosed with a grave illness and gone back to the palatial family home where his parents reside. It’s all just fine with Eve–or so she tells herself at the beginning…
“Robison’s minimalism is more like a slap in the face: it’s short, it stings, and you wonder who in tarnation did that to you.” —The New York Times
“Poems have always been a place for questions for me. Not answers. And I have a lot of questions these days. One of the reasons I’ve felt so connected to poetry throughout the years is because it’s the only art form that has breath built into it. And I need that breath now. I need that breath so much. So, yes, it is a refuge for me. Absolutely.”Ada Limón