During the final week of every month, we, the Paperback Paris team, come together to share our thoughts on the best books we read this month.
See the list below to find out which books made the cut for our Staff Picks this January!
Carliann Rittman’s January 2018 Pick: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hanif Abdurraqib
“Anyone who knows me knows I love Hanif Abdurraqib‘s writing because it combines all the things I love about the world into one: a really smart, insightful, intentional writer making use of the culture in which they exist. I used to read his essays for MTV regularly, and so when I found out he was coming out with a collection of essays, I was thrilled. I can confirm that it was everything I wanted and more. It’s a brilliant collection of essays that are sort of about pop culture, but also just use that as a tool to talk about and look at the world we live in. For example, an essay titled “Carly Rae Jepsen Loves You Back.” An essay titled “Rumours and the Currency of Heartbreak.” Scattered quotes by Pete Wentz, The Weeknd, Alan Iverson, and Future. It truly feels like magic to read.”
Paris Close’s January 2018 Pick: Go Home!, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
“When I first blurbed this book at the inception of 2018, I knew it would be something sumptuous and unique. I like trusting my gut feelings. Reading Go Home! — the first anthology expression of British-Japanese-Chinese-American story-teller, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan — was, for lack of ampler descriptors, an unbelievably overwhelming experience. Within every domestic ritual lies an uprising against Asian erasure and the decorous and often too-white insignia of American allegiance. With or without their knowledge, however, these fearless stories, so clearly saturated with uncertainty, grace, and blood, exorcise any trace of humiliation or unbelonging.”
Melissa Ratcliff’s January 2018 Pick: White Chrysanthemum, Mary Lynn Bracht
“White Chrysanthemum is unlike most World War II-era historical fiction novels in that it focuses on the Asian Pacific. Wartime atrocities occurred outside of Europe, a fact that is often absent from the history curriculums taught in U.S. schools, including college-level courses. Mary Lynn Bracht shattered my expectations of historical fiction, providing an account that was well researched, historically accurate and incredibly well-written. Although many readers will shy away from the graphic content, through Hana, Bracht tells the story of countless women that were forced into sexual slavery during World War II. At the same time, she offers a lesson in Korean culture, language, and tradition through the story of the haenyeo, female divers that had independence in an otherwise occupied country. Bracht’s debut novel shows incredible promise and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”