Maggie's picks

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Homegoing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101971062
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Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

The story of two half-sisters at the beginning of the slave trade in Ghana, one sold into slavery and one married to a British officer, Homegoing is a story propelled forward by its characters. Following eight generations up to the present day, Gyasi covers a wide spectrum of experience for both African Americans and the Ghanese, painting each character as wholly rounded and individual.

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The Vegetarian Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101906118
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Published: Hogarth Press - August 23rd, 2016

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, this little novel is as bewitching as it is unsettling. When Yeong-Hye decides to stop eating meat, her husband, brother-in-law and sister all attempt to exert their dominance over her. What follows is a grotesque exploration of violence and obsession. I think about this book often.

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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250081438
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Published: Flatiron Books - August 29th, 2017

Prepare for a stunning exploration of art, work and motherhood that says everything you’re never supposed to say about maternal sacrifice. Joan Ashby, already a literary giant in her twenties, vows never to interrupt her work with marriage or children. And yet, she finds herself married young and unexpectedly pregnant soon after, smothering her ambition and adopting the role of mother – a role that cannot fully satisfy her. Reminiscent of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening but much more hopeful, this novel devastated me with its gorgeous prose. I already can’t wait to see what Cherise Wolas will do next.

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062362599
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Published: Harper - June 13th, 2017

Caution: This is not a weight-loss memoir. This is a memoir about taking up space as a fat woman of color - often more space than you are "allowed." This is a memoir of trauma, of the ways Gay's boyd has suffered by her own hands and the hands of others. This is "a memoir of her body" - of all the things that have been done to it and the things it can do, its weaknesses and strengths. This book moved me. I hope it moves you.

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Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375714573
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Published: Pantheon Books - June 1st, 2004

he first of two volumes, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is Satrapi's memoir of her girlhood, set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. Told through Satrapi's unique illustrations and spirited voice, Persepolis is a work of hilarity, honesty and heartbreak.

P.S. - Watch the film when you're done with both volumes!

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Another Brooklyn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062359995
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Published: Amistad Press - May 30th, 2017

Set in 1870s Brooklyn, Woodson's exploration of four young black girls from childhood to womanhood reads like a long jazz set feels. The novel is immersive and contemplative, told in beautifully crafted prose, but much like good jazz, there is something unsettling, restless and painful bubbling just underneath the surface.

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Free Men Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062407580
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Published: Harper Perennial - February 14th, 2017

I am convinced that Katy Simpson Smith is one of Mississippi's next great contributions to the literary world. Set in 1788, this novel traces the narratives of 3 seemingly disparate men bound by a murder - an abused white man, an escaped slave, and a Creek warrior - as well as the French tracker sent to capture them. An exploration of the complicated nature of American identity, this novel broke my heart in the best way possible.