Rachel read Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link:
Now out in paperback, this collection of short stories is totally spooky, clever and haunting. Even if you don't consider yourself a fan of fantasy or sci-fi, these stories will still charm you. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's not so much the vampire mythology that hooks you as it is the characters, the writing and how real it feels and yet, yeah, there's magic in it.
Eric read Wax Poetics #19:
There's no better evidence that the hip-hop generation can age with dignity than Wax Poetics -- and after a few "themed" issues, with #19 they return to the variety that makes them such a great publication. The sumptuously detailed interviews dealing with such artists as Dr. Alimantado, Joe Bataan, and Azymuth are all lovingly conducted and rendered. As a Baltimorean, I wished the oral history of Baltimore club were a little more substantial, but as an introduction to the genre for the casually curious, it still works well. Wax Poetics has a unique perspective, as it's a magazine for omnivorous music lovers by omnivorous music lovers that assumes that its readers became omnivorous music lovers through hip-hop and then worked their ways backward in time -- but you won't be lost if you didn't follow that pattern of exploration, since discussion of the hip-hop genre is generally kept to the margins. But best of all, it's that rare magazine about record collecting that fetishizes the ecstatic grooves encoded within some of those those vinyl slabs -- and the people that made them!! -- more than the physical records themselves (or the prices they command on ebay).
Lauren read I like You by Amy Sedaris:
I've been waiting for this book forever and snatched it up the very minute it came in. In case you don't already know, Amy Sedaris(of Strangers With Candy fame) is a very funny lady. This is a book about how to have fun above all. Sedaris gives so many great ideas for theme parties like Blind Dates and Out of Town Guests. She also tackles grieving and a party for the elderly. All are done with a little bit of humor but it works for her.
The pictures are great, the recipes are good, and the books is tons of fun. You don't have to be good at entertaining to throw a party Amy's way.
Benn read Let Me Finish by Udo Grashoff:
Some of us are voyeurs, praying off of the despair of others as if they are watching some reality TV show. I just read LET ME FINISH, a collection of suicide notes because I realize I am one such person. I admit that I got a perverse thrill seeing these words of desperation in the form of 45 letters left behind, some clearly insane, some surprisingly rational. And while editor, Udo Grashoff, provides some much needed context for the notes, his introduction reads more like a rationalization of how this book isn't exploitative so much as informative. I still think it's exploitative. But it also gave me ideas. Terrible ideas. Tell them all it was an accident. Please remember, dear R, this is not a reflection of my feelings for you. I have simply come to realize there is no place for me in this world anymore.
Okay, just kidding.