Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

Much praise has been given to Jones' debut novel, The Prophets, and every bit of it is deserved. At the heart of the story are Isaiah and Samuel, two young men who have found sanctuary in each other, despite being enslaved on the plantation known as Empty. Their love creates a sort of spiritual radiance unmatched on Empty, and seems to bring out the hope, curiosity, and ire of everyone around them, enslaved and free.
 
Jones' writing is beautifully intimate. While the story pulled me in right away, I found myself slowing down to soak in the spiritual depth of his words.

Picked by Maggie

Thapp is a storyteller in the way she visualizes the human experience of feeling emotions. Through her use of soft color palettes and minimalist art, she captures how it feels to grow with the seasons. Her words are rich with comfort, yet sting with familarity. It is a book to sit by your bedside table and to go back to with each passing year in order to reassure of our everchanging experiences with our emotions.

Picked by Javi

This book is a concise and easy-to-understand primer on fascism, and for me was the perfect introduction to reading political science. It helped me get my bearings in a genre that up until now always intimidated me. In the best possible way, it left me with so many questions. It is not a tome on the history of fascist regimes or a manifesto on how to uproot the fascist model. Instead it is the ignition to keep reading to answer those questions, and the foundation to do so confidently.

Picked by Jessie

Starting off as a novel about two Korean adoptee best friends in search of their birth parents, the book makes some wild left turns and becomes a North Korean political satire of sorts (!?). Somehow, this quirky book pulls off being both a poignant exploration of identity and family while featuring some of the most bizarre characters and situations. This is one of the more unpredictable books I've read in quite some time.

Picked by Kalani

Happy National Poetry Month! Space Struck is a lovely collection. I read this book after listening to a podcast featuring the poet, in which Lewis's voice and presence were so unique that I felt I had to read their written work, just to see how this would translate to the page. The way the poems deal with nature, especially, is really satisfying. Nature is a complicated and cruel character in its own right. Each poem is clever, understated, tight, a little funny, and often sad.

Picked by Alyson

We all need this book right now. A Psalm for the Wild- Built is a comforting story that lets you escape for a while into a hopeful future paved by human compassion. Science fiction collides with self-discovery and wilderness expedition with two vibrant, though unlikely paired, characters: a tea monk and a nature-loving robot. Their journey is philosophical as well as physical, full of  conversations about purpose, meaning, and human nature. It left me reflecting on my own relationship with those things, but with a profound sense of optimism about it all! I found some peace reading this book, and you will too.

Picked by Jessie

A wonderful collection of poems, and an intimate look into being indigenous in a nation that violently stifles her family's identity as well as their bodies. Despite grief and bitterness, she weaves in threads of joy and hope. Her poems about her brother best encapsulate this feeling.
Natalie Diaz is a Mojave woman enrolled in the Gila River Indian Tribe. Check out her first collection of poems, When My Brother Was An Aztec, if (like me) you can't get enough!

Picked by Jessie

Blacktop Wasteland bolts out of the gate with a first chapter that is propulsive and unrelenting. Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a getaway driver, who has been trying to get out of the life, but overwhelming debts pull him back in. Cosby has raced to the top of the list of thriller writers to watch with this novel. Besides being a top notch crime novel, Blacktop Wasteland also weaves in issues of race and poverty without feeling preachy. You could wait for the paperback, but I wouldn't advise it.

Picked by Mark B.

In Halfway Home, Miller recounts the stories of men and women, who have served their time in the U.S. correctional system, and upon their release have fulfilled all the legal requirements, but are still kept on the fringes of society, struggling to find employment and housing at every turn. Miller weaves legal history into the personal stories, filling in the details of mass incarceration in this country. But this is also a very personal story for Miller, who recounts his own family's struggles with the legal system, and whose father and brothers have both been in and out of cages throughout their lives. It's the personal element to these tales and Reuben Miller's empathy with his subjects that makes this book so affecting.

Picked by Mark B.