Staff Picks November 10, 2020

Tentacle by Rita Indiana, translated by Achy Obejas (And Other Stories, 2018) 

Aru’s pick: "Queer. Santeria. Time Travel. Acilde, a trans man, finds himself traveling through different moments in Dominican history using various avatars in order to stop an ecological collapse. Rita Indiana’s first science fiction novel confronts machismo, anti-Blackness, sex, and climate justice, all through a queer spiritual lens. The weaving of the ancient Yoruba tradition and new technologies shines throughout the whole book, causing my lil SpaceNDN heart to glow. Achy Objeas does an excellent job in translating culture and society, refusing to translate just the right words maintaining the novel's integrity." 

This Planet is Doomed by Sun Ra (Kicks Books, 2011)

Carlos’s pick: "I used to keep this book on my person at all times, and it was my go-to travel/ toilet/ bedtime stories book. A small, unassuming compilation of poetry from the Sun Ra Music Archive, these poems resonate extra hard for me these days. Repetitive like an incantation, Sun Ra takes readers a great distance from the chaos of this world, to alternate landscapes and planes, where we can all look back on the world we live in with somber odium."

Gordon Matta-Clark: FOOD (Walter König, 2001) 

Kyle’s pick: "FOOD was a restaurant founded by artists Gordon Matta-Clark, Carol Goodden, and Tina Girouard in 1971 on Prince Street in Soho. The artists negotiated the lease out from a struggling Puerto Rican restaurant named Comidas Criollas and opened a casual, affordable, weird, food-as-art concept restaurant. The menu changed every day and it kinda worked like a co-op where artists would work there in between exhibitions. While FOOD seemed successful, I feel sad for Comidas Criollas. Reading this, I daydream of opening a combo of both restaurants in future NYC. ¿Por qué no los dos?"

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, translated by Magda Bogin (Alfred A. Knopf, 1985)

Minahil’s pick: "Reader, I am only 50 pages in. But it’s already devastating and beautiful and horrifying. There is a death in the first 50 pages. And I felt the intensity of the pain the deceased loved one’s experience so viscerally. Not in a sad way...I’m not sad as I read it. Just fully immersed and totally in the moment. Allende’s first work, the one that catapulted her to fame—an expansive novel following three generations of the Trueba family." 

The Service Porch by Fred Moten (Letter Machine Editions, 2016)

Sunny’s pick: "We recently wrapped up a 6-week-long abolitionist reading group with Che Gossett and on the last meeting, Fred Moten joined to answer questions and generally muse on what he’s been thinking about. It was a really profound conversation, and I’ve found myself returning to his earlier poems and collected writings. The Service Porch is somber, lyrical, and very tender. It feels like time slows down a little when I sit down with this book, and it’s been so helpful in thinking through this week’s implosion of joy and slow violence."  

Neotenica by Joon Oluchi Lee (Nightboat Books, 2020) 

Teline’s pick: "Lee writes about a family made through arranged marriage, but their kinship is somehow less important than other things. Neotenica cuts into the instability of relationships and their expectations, femininity, and dogs. It’s also definitely some sort of window into what it’s like being sexy and Asian in the Bay Area. I’d read it if you’d like something playful."

How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith (Potter Craft, 2007) 

Xavier’s pick: "A few years ago, I saw Esther speak about her bookbinding practice at The Firecracker Press in St. Louis, and was enamored by the author’s wit and enthusiasm surrounding the craft at hand. This DIY guide has been remarkably important as I begin to develop bookbinding practices of my own, and unravel the conceptual nature of narrative structures that deviate between structural forms."


* indicates required