Javi is an Autistic queer bookseller, who has an undying love for BTS and spooky things. You can find them huddled over the young adult fiction and children's graphic novels section, endlessly maintaining its cluttered chaos. When they're not bookselling, you can find them learning Korean, crafting, or playing with their cats Lynx (pictured above) and Moth.
An oldie but goodie. I love anything Rumiko Takahashi writes and has been a part of my childhood without me knowing it (people are most familiar with Inuyasha, which I watched secretly when I was 8 because it was too violent). But Maison Ikkoku is near and dear to my heart. It’s a slice-of-life manga about a landlord named Kyoko, who takes care of a boarding house filled with eccentric and lovable people. She meets Godai, a resident at the boarding house, who’s trying to pass his college entrance exams while falling in love with Kyoko. The book revolves around the importance of community and the slow-burn romance between Kyoko and Godai (who are, by far, my favorite fictional couple), with funny moments scattered throughout. It is wonderful wonderful wonderful.
Perfect book for those who are curious about the birdwatching world. Birdwatching as a hobby entails patience and time, waiting for the sounds of rustling leaves and whisper songs. And though it’s already a mindful hobby, Joan argues that we can be slower when it comes to observing birds, either from your backyard or walking in your neighborhood. She dedicates a chapter per bird, giving us insight and information from the bird expert themselves. Then comes the ‘slow birding’ itself, with reflection questions and activities to hone in on your observational skills when watching birds and how they behave. It’s been my favorite companion while I birdwatch from my balcony or at my local park.
The cover caught your eye, didn’t it?Here’s the rundown: Trans kids fight a cult in a post-apocalyptic world. Here’s a little more: queer rage, religious trauma, “eat your oppressors”, body horror elucidating the trans experience, visceral and atmospheric descriptions of body mutilation and gore, gender dysphoria, and religious zealots trying to destroy the world. This story is for anyone who has felt queer, trans, or autistic rage, the kind of rage from being told you shouldn’t exist because the system told us so. Despite all its dark moments, it is powerful and hopeful, with completely unforgettable characters that make you feel like they are your found family.
Emily is nothing but raw and honest about her experiences in the modeling industry and its exploitations towards women's bodies. It reads like a non-linear journal and self-study, where you can tell she's only just realizing the ebb and flow of her place in the modeling world, yet struggling to arrive at any answers to why and how to navigate it. Her writing is refreshing and direct, like a journalist working tirelessly to come to conclusions -- only she realizes that she might not ever find them as long as patriarchy lives.
This novel tugs at your heartstrings. It surrounds a community pool, used by an eclectic group of swimmers. Upon reading the first couple of pages, you find out that a crack has been found on the bottom of the pool floor. Anxiety rises, reactions are tense, and you begin to feel the panic between the pool members. Is it going to crack open? Will they fall into a sinkhole while doing their peaceful laps? The novel takes a different turn in the second half, that both aches and encapsulates. I can’t say anymore about the book without spoiling it, but if you want to experience a collective emotional rollercoaster, I highly recommend picking this up.
A short and sweet novel about a boy named Yunjae, who was born Alexithymia, a condition that makes it hard for him to feel extreme emotions such as fear or anger. As he starts high school, he is met with tragedy that causes him to struggle with his own grief and what it looks like for him. Soon after, he meets Gon, the troublemaker of his class. Gon is everything Yunjae doesn’t like and understand, but the polar opposites soon build a bond that allows Yunjae to explore his emotions at an intimate level with a newfound friend. At times this book is heartwarming and other times difficult, but it is indeed worth the read.
Dystopian, sci-fi inflicted short stories, with moody feminist speculations about technology, gender, queer identity, violence... Written 30 years ago but only published this last year! What a privilege to read a time-capsule, yet be absolutely terrified at the realization that her foreshadowings were not far off from coming true. I will forever hold love and grief for Izumi.
Think of this book as The Secret History meets The Craft, coming together to make one epic and spooky young adult novel. It takes place at an all-girls boarding school, where a twisted history of dark magic blankets its prestigious reputation. We follow the life of Felicity Morrow, an ex-witch who is trying to navigate through the death of her girlfriend. After a year of being away from school due to her grief, she comes back ready to graduate highschool, but finds herself living in the same room she was in during her darkest years. She then realizes that history, no matter how awful it is, indeed repeats itself. It is a must read for anyone who loves gothic thrillers.
A book to tread through lightly and with care. A true story of Tillie’s adolescent life, Spinning resonates with anyone who has felt unseen through what we’ve been told are our ‘prime’ years of life. Tillie grapples with her complicated love/hate relationship with figure skating and what it means to be queer in a sport that feels hetero-cis-normative, and so she falls in love with the idea of leaving in order to pursue what she truly loves. It is beautiful yet heartbreaking to sit beside Tillie unraveling trauma she never spoke of. I will forever feel lucky to live in the same lifetime as her.
Becky Chambers steeps us her best home-grown tea in this sweet and tender little book. Told through Dex, a tea monk wanting to escape modern life, and Mosscap, a robot fascinated with learning about their world, this story is a glimmer of hope in our never-ending uncertainty about the future of our world.
Magical, funny, charming and with a sharp dose of nostalgia, Tamaki is all sorts of wonderful at bringing each story and their characters to life, whether told in 2 panels or 8. I found myself laughing out loud while getting punched in the gut reading each one. Highly recommend digesting each comic -- there's always something to resonate with. You will not regret reading about these magical, goofy, loveable, angsty teeangers.
This is one of those rare moments where it is best to go into a book completely blind. The reading experience is a strange sort of catharsis, leaving you to grieve while sighing with relief.
This small but mighty book is a palette cleanser for those who are rusty when it comes to short stories. We are thrown into the lives of Black women navigating themselves through the difficulty of religion and sexuality. Each short story has the complete potential of being a full length novel, and although we experience the characters for a short time, you are left wanting more. These short stories are intimate, personal and a religious experience.
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.
I can't even begin to describe the beauty of this book. It is the most beautiful graphic novel I have ever read. It is so seamless in the way Trung Le Nguyen talks about queer identity, the complexity of family, and love. From a first glance, it is a simple story of love, told through his own experience and his love for reading fairy tales. But once you finish reading, it keeps running in your mind, and suddenly you are unearthing the hundreds of experiences you read through. I feel like it is SO difficult to weave so many different themes with drawings and few words, but it was executed to perfection. I feel so lucky to have experienced this graphic novel, and you will absolutely not regret picking this gem up.
Everything about this delightful little book is perfect. From the art, the colors, the world and the characters that inhabit it. From page 1, you are welcomed with big, open friendly arms. You feel so immersed in the story, you start to notice the slight scent of tea brewing. It is packed with messages, telling us to pursue our passions and take care of ourselves and others. Highly, highly recommend.
This is one of the few books I frequently visit, like a good friend who I haven't seen in a long time, and we just sit down and drink tea together. It is a highly researched but deeply personal memoir about having bipolar disorder, and the fears that surface upon being diagnosed. She shares her downfalls and the coping skills she learned for them. It is a beautiful journey of finding balance, accepting the long-windedness of recovery, and the magic and familiarity of feeling good, after spending a long time being nostalgic for it.
I saw the title and instantly knew I wanted to read it. I'm a homebody by nature, and Cassandra Calin told me there's nothing wrong with that. Her collection of comics are comforting, funny (literally made me laugh out loud), and relatable. She makes the mundane moments seem exciting and reflective, reminding us that we don't need to be out in the world in order to have grand experiences. It is a perfect companion and reassurance for homebodies everywhere.
Let's talk about being neurodivergent in a world that caters to neurotypical folks! Jenara Nerenberg was diagnosed with Autism when she was an adult. After years of being misdiagnosed herself, she was shocked to see what little research had been done about neurodivergency in women, since they are often misdiagnosed with a mood disorder or for being 'hormonal'. So, what did she do? She did her own research and wrote a book. this book reassured me of my own neurodivergency and how to survive in a world that isn't accessible to those who are neurodivergent. Neurodivergence is an actual superpower, and we deserve to be heard and seen! This book is essential for those on, off, and in between the spectrum of neurodivergency.
Oh, Murderbot. This short book is full of whirlwind experiences from the perspective of a socially awkward robot named Murderbot. Although it was designed to kill, it hacked its own government module and became fully self-aware. While on a mission with a group of eccentric scientists, Murderbot finds itself in 2 situations: 1) it really just wants to be alone and watch its soap operas and 2) they encounter something dark and mysterious, and it is up to them to figure it out. Readers will relate to the socially-awkwardness of Murderbot, but be completely drawn to the mystery surrounding the dark situations encountered. It is so compelling and addicting!
This is the book that got me into the romance genre and opened a whole new world for me. I also didn't realize how much of a sucker I am for the enemies-to-lovers trope -- and The Hating Game perfected it.
Lucy Hutton comes from a small independent book publisher. Josh comes from a big-boss corporate book publisher. Their publishing houses merge, and competition arises between the two. When a promotion opens up, they set their eyes on it, and will do anything to take each other down. However, once interacting outside of work, they realize they aren't so different as they thought they were. Their work lives may be different, but they are personally and intimately similar to one another. And our only job as the reader is to watch these two fall in love and grow for one another.
This book is very queer and dear to the heart. With moments reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice (without being too similar), Written in the Stars is a rom-com, set in Seattle, all about opposites attract. Elle is sweet and passionate, a believer in all things astrology and magic. Darcy is factual and passionate. Their first date goes horrendous and awkward. But to get their families off their backs, they both agree to fake their relationship, just until they stop harassing them about their love lives. However, true feelings form... and the rest you'll just have to read! It is truly the lightest read and guaranteed to get you out of a reading slump.