Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Porter’s inventive novel follows a father and his two sons as they cope with the loss of their wife and mother. The family receives help from an unlikely source: a crow, who also serves as one of the books’ three narrators. In fable-like, spare prose, Porter explores grief with a blend of myth, realism, and humor. You can find copies of Grief is the Thing with Feathers on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
GRIFFIN (like the monster)
Jerusalem by Alan Moore
I am about halfway through Alan Moore’s Jerusalem: man, does he love to talk. And I love to hear him talk, so I continue the pilgrimage. Jerusalem is worldbuilding at its best! Divided into three books, Moore introduces and establishes his earthly world, the Boroughs, then builds an entire second world over it introducing Michael Warren, a young child who has just died and is learning of the afterlife. Michael is important enough that the Angels, builders in a higher level of existence, have fought giant battles over his death. Structurally the plot is simple, but wrapped around by layer after layer of narrative; ghosts of the Boroughs from prehistoric times to the present, generational lives in detail, an afterlife with three levels of existence, each with its own rules and every detail wrung from Moore’s prodigious imagination. Like a long roller coaster ride passing through history, dimensions and the London cityscape headed for almost anywhere. Gotta go read! You can find copies of Jerusalem on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
I am and will always be a fan of ancient mythology and of Neil Gaiman, however what makes this title great is not Gaiman’s signature dive into fantastical realities (which is still happening, though on a more restrained level), but his charming and conversational way of allowing characters (both hero and villain) to speak for themselves — also, his really enjoyable spotlights on badass women in the Norse mythos. This quick, really fun read serves as a great primer and leaves me itching to know even more about the nine worlds destined for Ragnarok. You can find copies of Norse Mythology on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City by Javier Auyero (Editor), Lo Wacquant (Afterword by)
I’m currently reading Invisible in Austin, a collection of narrative nonfiction describing marginalized lives in Austin, and put together at UT by sociologist Javier Auyero and many of his graduate students. Each chapter follows a different city dweller engaged in an occupation characterized by vulnerability. Whether that vulnerability be wage theft, stiffed tips, drugged drinks, getting robbed by a fare or getting fined out of existance by the state, the folks in the book have positive attitudes at odds with their lived experience, and have skills and commitments to their professions at odds with their level of received compensation. This book is essential reading for any and all who occupy the silicon city on a hill. We’ll be discussing it at the Uncomfortable Reads Book Club here at the store on Tuesday, May 23rd, at 7 PM in BookPeople’s Cafe! You can find copies of Invisible in Austin on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.