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Groff’s latest novel is spectacular. Following the 25-year marriage of Lotto and Mathilde, the book is incredibly smart, entirely engrossing and full of completely unexpected twists.
Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates’s meditation on what it means to be black is powerful and thought provoking--and should be considered essential reading for everyone.
United States poet laureate Herrera is best described as expansive, tackling subjects that are deeply personal and staunchly political in verses filled with both laughter and rage. Especially poignant is “Almost Livin’ Almost Dyin’,” which is dedicated to Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
A photographer as accomplished as she is controversial, Sally Mann has written an excellent memoir that is unfiltered, gripping and informative. She spends lots of time describing the ethics behind her art, including her often-criticized decision to publish haunting nude photographs of her young children.
In this hilarious antidote to sappy “live your best life” tomes, the father-daughter team behind F*ck Feelings makes an awfully strong case for putting doing good over feeling good. In other words, don’t let “negative” emotions like anger and fear get in the way of your day-to-day life. Refreshing.
Writer and actress Kaling is back after 2012’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? with another laugh-out-loud-funny look at her life, mostly in the years since landing her own TV show. It’s super-quick and very light, with anecdotes about hair extensions and giving out candy to her classmates in the hopes of making friends.
Funny, informative and mouthwatering, Tacopedia is an all-you-need-to-know guide to--you guessed it--the humble taco. Expect a history of the tortilla in Mexican culture, as well as recipes for tacos with chinicuiles (savory caterpillar worms) and every kind of salsa imaginable.
A gorgeous graphic biography of Pablo Picasso, Birmant’s text and Oubrerie’s illustrations clock in at a whopping 348 pages and cover everything from Picasso’s childhood poverty to his unlikely rise to fame and the ways in which his notoriety affected his relationships with other bohemians, such as painters Georges Braque and Henri Matisse.
The final book in the enigmatic Italian writer’s Neapolitan Novels does not disappoint. Bridging six decades in the friendship of Lila and Elena, Ferrante sucks you into the girls’ stories and completely immerses you in the lives of everyone around them. Absolutely epic.
Talk about hype. Hallberg’s sprawling portrait of New York City in the 1970s has been the talk of the literary world since the author earned an unprecedented advance of almost $2 million. The final product is ambitious and intricate and, yes, 944 pages long.
Is there anything worse than having a great conversation with a group of cool, smart, in-the-know people and not being able to contribute? Well, yes, there are definitely worse things, but the situation is uncomfortable nonetheless. We’re here to help.
Even if you don’t read these 12 fantastic books from 2015 in their entirety, at least arm yourself with a tidbit or two about the year’s buzziest books.
Next step? Fake glasses.
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