Bookseller at Ravenna
Alyson is the newest member of the Ravenna team. She shelves political science, true crime, travel, and gardening/craft books. She loves fiction, creative nonfiction, contemporary poetry, and graphic novels. When she's not reading or at the bookstore, she likes to cook with her friends, spend time with her family, and take naps with her cats.
Heather Christle is extremely good at gently reminding us of things we know but don't verbalize often enough. Even the observation that crying is the first thing we ever do helps to reframe an activity that most of us don't actively enjoy. I appreciate this book because it treats crying with nuance: not simply glorifying it as cathartic, or focusing on the discomfort in crying. Unsurprisingly, this book is often sad, but also scientific, oddly funny, and sweet.
Saeed Jones's memoir is my favorite fall book so far. Expanded from an essay (entitled How Men Fight For Their Lives) he originally published on The Rumpus in 2012, How We Fight For Our Lives exposes intersections of racism and homophobia in moments of intensity as well as moments of quiet. Jones lets the reader know him--his vulnerability is at the forefront as he details his coming of age, his relationship with his mother, and his understanding of the world and how to survive in it. I read it in one sitting.
Kaminsky's poems are meant to be read aloud, specifically by the poet himself (if you're not familiar, I would highly recommend looking up videos of his readings on YouTube). However, these poems, especially with their small illustrations, are equally beautiful on the page. This book is at once political and personal--Kaminsky introduces empathy to a desolate setting and tells the story of a community under military occupation through careful focus on a few intimate moments.