Word by Word by Kory Stamper

a book about how dictionaries are made and the stubborn, chaotic, ever-changing English language. Stamper is funny and frank, denouncing most “grammar” as the preferences of a few dead white men and constantly making room for English to change its meaning and functionality (irregardless is now in the dictionary) without bitterness.

“Humanity sets up rules to govern English, but English rolls onward, a juggernaut crusting all in its path.”

Rating: 8.5/10

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

This book was so compelling I threw out my whole newsletter so I could write about it instead (& it will be waiting for you in your inbox tomorrow morning.) it’s poetry & memoir & philosophy all in one, all about the color blue, and about a lot more than that.

“Sometimes I worry that if I am not moved by a blue thing, I may be completely despaired, or dead. At times I fake my enthusiasm. At others, I feel I am incapable of communicating the depth of it.”
Rating: 10/10

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

THIS BOOK ROCKED MY WORLD!!! Sheila Heti’s voice and her themes are definitely not for everyone, but if you like poetic, mostly plotless, and memoir-tinged writing you might like this. (if you aren’t sure message me, I can tell you.) this book is her journey to deciding if she wants to be a mother, “whether I want kids is a secret I keep from myself.” I read it furiously in one day, and I’m pretty sure I underlined 85% of it.

“Having children is nice. What a great victory to be not-nice. The nicest thing to give the world is a child. Do I ever want to be that nice?”

Rating: 10/10

I’ll Tell You In Person by Chloe Caldwell

Started reading this at 8 last night and came up for air, disoriented, 5 hours later. It’s a series of personal essays that make you wonder why you ever denounced the person essay. Maybe Chloe’s the only one who should really be writing them. She talks about friendships & small mistakes & big mistakes & the general chaos of being in your 20s.

It’s been a while since I read something and had to sit there for a few minutes and just feel it, but her essay The Music & The Boys was Striking. Anyways, I liked this book, can you tell?
Rating: 9/10

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

I know I’ve already talked a little on here about the ways I Was Told There’d Be Cake (Crosley’s first book) changed my life, but it really did. I read the whole thing in an afternoon, looking up and around after each one, shocked that you could write like this and actually publish it. Was Sloane Crosley pulling the wool over our collective eyes? Alas, she wasn’t. She’d just served to crack the door a little wider to a genre that is now fully saturated, the humorous and relatable, poignant but winking, personal essay.

I liked these. A few of them were really incredible, and one I got halfway through and skipped to the end. This collection is written more confidently, less set-ups for jokes, more authentic story-telling.

“Anything for a change of scenery, anything for no distractions. Anything for the ideal conditions. We become increasingly particular about our conditions until part of us can’t help but think of all the work we’d get done if only we were buried alive.”

Rating: 8/10