Olds’s spontaneous and thematically inconsistent recollection of events sacrifices an even flow between poems to obtain an authentic and unfiltered glimpse into her mind. But without access to Olds’s mind, “Arias” requires multiple readings to offer more than just this glimpse.


Little did I know that “Trust Exercise” would utterly betray me, leading me to question not only the establishment, but my own sense of self as a reader.

Sarah Salman

Deliciously cult-ish, dark and surprisingly touching, “The Family Upstairs” subverts the traditional mystery-thriller, blending together multiple genres.


One might even say Equi’s attention to sonic detail brings us back to the “good old days” of poetry, before technology got in the way, but that would be cliched and dismissive of the leaps and bounds we have made since then — a lesson that perhaps Equi herself could learn.

Emily Yang

In other words, this book has, in a roundabout way, both the digressiveness and the energy of her novels. The essay form also seems like something of a touchpoint for some of the stories here, in that Smith frequently eschews conflict, plot, and even character development in favor of scene, texture, and voice.

Su Hwang

People watching, the search for cultural identity and the subtleties of growing up in the city gracefully intertwine as Su Hwang offers her upbringing to the reader in her poetry collection “Bodega.” Born in Korea shortly before immigrating to New York City, Hwang uses her experiences to develop

Jo Chang

But, even if this novel is an easy read, it is not a wholly superficial one. It could have been written very poorly, especially in regards to character portrayal.


Amid the many themes with which this novel grapples, at its core it is a coming-of-age novel about a young girl who must venture out into an unforgiving world alone.

Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones’s “How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir” takes an unflinching look back at a past version of himself; in doing so examining the degrading, paradoxical situations thrust upon gay Black men.

Benedek Totth

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived for my meeting with Benedek Totth. It’s difficult to guess an author’s personality from their work, and doubly so when the work is like Totth’s. The Hungarian author’s 2014 debut, “Dead Heat,” was recently translated into English by Ildikó Noémi Nagy.