Sonia's Ten Books I’d Like to Grab a Beer With

My friends are fond of saying that I talk about books as if they’re people. “That’s ridiculous,” I always tell them. “Now sit down, there’s this hilarious new release in YA I want you to meet.” People or not, books have personalities. Some are classy. You dress up, take them out to dinner, maybe head to a gallery opening or the symphony. Others are outdoorsy--always up for a hike or a trip down to the beach. And then there are some books, a few of my all-time favorites among them, that you just want to meet up with after work for a quick pick-me-up. So, let’s say books were people. Here are ten I’d be grabbing that beer with.


 

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Honored Guest (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781400095520
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - November 8th, 2005

One of my favorite story collections from one of my favorite writers, Honored Guest combines the best of Williams’s dark, quirky sensibility with highly original plotlines, settings, and characters. Taxidermists and neurotic gardners, frustrated teenagers and budding gun nuts all make an appearance in this stunning exploration of life, death, and the consequences of obsession. 


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Whip Smart: The True Story of a Secret Life Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780312583781
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - July 19th, 2011

Whip Smart is the amazing first memoir from the NY-based writer/low-key goddess Melissa Febos which chronicles both her struggles with addiction and her time as a professional dominatrix. Funny, smart, and deeply felt, Febos offers a measured and compassionate view of sex work in this stunning, vulnerable portrait of her youth.


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Soft Science Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781938584992
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alice James Books - April 2nd, 2019

Franny Choi ‘yr weird gay aunt’ goes above and beyond with her second collection. Anchored by a series of Turing-test poems, the book explores the interstices of sexuality, race, gender, and technology. Choi innovates not only with content, but also with form, pressing language to its limits in this beautiful book.


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In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781644450031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - November 5th, 2019

We all loved Machado’s debut story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, but her much-anticipated first memoir is a beer-book in its own right. Haunting and innovative, this beautifully written book details the abuse Machado suffered at the hands of her first girlfriend through the lens of a diverse range of cultural tropes.


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Severance: A Novel Cover Image
By Ling Ma
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250214997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 7th, 2019

I wouldn’t feel right without working some sci-fi into this list. But Ling Ma’s 2018 novel Severance isn’t about your garden-variety zombie apocalypse. Set in a reimagined version of the recent past, Ma’s novel explores office culture, consumer capitalism and intimacy as the world around her Bible-designing protagonist descends into chaos after the outbreak of a mind-obliterating illness known as Shen Fever. A fun and refreshing read for sci-fi newbies and old hats alike.


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Virgin: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781571315007
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - February 20th, 2018

Funny, tender, and wholly original, Sotelo uses an array of innovative linguistic tools and images in order to explore race, gender, truma, sex, and how goshdarn hard it can be to write decent poetry. Regardless of the difficulty, however, Sotelo’s poems go above and beyond, making for a stunning debut collection one of out very own UH CWP grads.


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My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525522133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

If you told me you were going to write a novel about a woman who sleeps for a year, I’d call you crazy. That Moshfegh not only pulls it off, but pulls it off so amazingly well is a testament to her skill as a fiction writer. By turns hilarious, vicious, and heartbreaking, this voice-driven novel about the vicissitudes of privileged youth is impossible to put down.


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Bad Feminist: Essays Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062282712
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 5th, 2014

At this point, Gay’s remarkable 2014 essay collection has become a classic of contemporary nonfiction.Gay’s wit and sincerity pulls her readers into her confidence, investigating the complexities of popular media, life’s realities, and modern gender politics. Reading this book is like sitting down and dishing with a best friend. After all, who doesn’t feel like a bad feminist sometimes?


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You Da One Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781934819678
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Noemi Press - July 15th, 2017

Named for Rihanna’s hit song, Tamayo’s daring multidisciplinary collection circles around her return to her native Colombia after leaving the country behind as a young child. Smart and provocative, YOU DA ONE reassembles and reappropriates the language and tropes of the Internet in order to reckon with self, past, heritage, and the long shadow of injustice.


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No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780743299411
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 6th, 2008

This debut story collection from the hideously multi-talented Miranda July will forever be my bar-buddy for its unique combination of wit, quirk, and devastating sincerity. July’s distinctive voice and sensibility breathes life into the strange worlds of her protagonists, following them through surreal encounters with peep-shows, secret crushes, and, in one remarkable story, beloved author Madeleine L’Engle.


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