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Jia Tolentino

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Jia Tolentino is a Canadian-born American writer and editor. She is a staff writer for The New Yorker. She has previously worked as deputy editor of Jezebel and a contributing editor at The Hairpin. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Pitchfork.
23 books on the list
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Minor Feelings
An Asian American Reckoning
by Cathy Park Hong (Feb 24, 2020)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: artbiography
A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged exploration of the psychological condition of being Asian American, by an award-winning poet and essayist Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achi...
Jia Tolentino
Mar 06, 2020
I read Minor Feelings in a fugue of enveloping recognition and distancing flinch. The question of lovability, and desirability, is freighted for Asian men and Asian women in very different ways - and Minor Feelings serves as a case study in how a feminist point of view can both deepen an inquiry and widen its resonances to something like universality.     source
The Longing for Less
Living with Minimalism
by Kyle Chayka (Jan 20, 2020)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: self-helpartbiography
"More than just a story of an abiding cultural preoccupation, The Longing For Less peels back the commodified husk of minimalism to reveal something surprising and thoroughly alive." -Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing "Thoughtful and absorbing . . . A superb outing from a gifted young critic that will spark joy in many readers." - Kirkus Rev...
Jia Tolentino
Jan 27, 2020
The Longing for Less, a new book by the journalist and critic Kyle Chayka, arrives not as an addition to the minimalist canon but as a corrective to it. Chayka aims to find something deeper within the tradition than an Instagram-friendly aesthetic and the “saccharine and pre-digested” advice of self-help literature. Writing in search of the things that popular minimalism sweeps out of the frame—the void, transience, messiness, uncertainty—he surveys minimalist figures in art, music, and philosophy, searching for a minimalism of ideas rather than things.     source
The Testaments
The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood (Sep 09, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictiondystopian
When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her--freedom, prison or death.With The Testaments, the wait is over.Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female ...
Jia Tolentino
Sep 05, 2019
The book may surprise readers who wondered, when the sequel was announced, whether Atwood was making a mistake in returning to her earlier work. It seems to have another aim as well: to help us see more clearly the kinds of complicity required for constructing a world like the one she had already imagined, and the world we fear our own might become.     source
Pachinko
by Min Jin Lee (Nov 13, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fiction
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister pas...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 03, 2019
I'm in awe of this book and the way it combines a 19th-century novel's powers of submersion with a blazingly contemporary sense of ethics. I was basically gasping as I read this saga of an ethnically Korean family in Japan - desperate to know what happened next, overwhelmed with love and sorrow.     source
This book is also recommended by
Barack Obama
Slow Days, Fast Company
The World, The Flesh, and L.A. (New York Review Books Classics)
by Eve Babitz (Aug 29, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionbiographyshort-storiescontemporaryhumor
No one burned hotter than Eve Babitz. Possessing skin that radiated its own kind of moral laws, spectacular teeth, and a figure that was the stuff of legend, she seduced seemingly everyone who was anyone in Los Angeles for a long stretch of the 1960s and 70s. One man proved elusive, however, and so Babitz did what she did best, she wrote him a book...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 03, 2019
At some level I'll spend my whole life wishing that I'd ever really lived, if just for a little while, the way Babitz did in Los Angeles in the 1960s and '70s. No one writes about pleasure, recklessness, and evanescence better. This book is like a night with perfect velocity; a lavender sunrise; a pharmacological whisper that you can do this forever and never die.     source
Mrs. Bridge
by Evan S. Connell (Jan 04, 2010)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fiction
In Mrs. Bridge, Evan S. Connell, a consummate storyteller, artfully crafts a portrait using the finest of details in everyday events and confrontations. With a surgeons skill, Connell cuts away the middle-class security blanket of uniformity to expose the arrested development underneaththe entropy of time and relationships lead Mrs. Bridge's three ...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 03, 2019
I have joined the small but growing ranks of fanatical proselytizers for this slim masterpiece of a novel about a Kansas City housewife. It's one of the funniest, subtlest, most perfectly paced, and most existentially terrifying things I've ever read.     source
The Emperor's Children
by Claire Messud (Jun 25, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictioncontemporary
The Emperor's Children is a richly drawn, brilliantly observed novel of fate and fortuneabout the intersections in the lives of three friends, now on the cusp of their thirties, making their wayand notin New York City.Friends at Brown University, Marina, Danielle, and Julius are still looking to make their marks as they approach their 30s. Marina l...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 03, 2019
As a treat to myself, I reread this 500-page novel every summer, and every time I feel totally swallowed up in it, as if the book were soaking me with golden light. There's so much pleasure in the plotting, the emotional acuity, the satire, the language itself. It also makes the best use of September 11 of any work of fiction I've ever read.     source
Gravity and Grace
by Simone Weil (Nov 11, 2002)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: spiritualreligionphilosophy
Gravity and Grace was the first ever publication by the remarkable thinker and activist, Simone Weil. In it Gustave Thibon, the farmer to whom she had entrusted her notebooks before her untimely death, compiled in one remarkable volume a compendium of her writings that have become a source of spiritual guidance and wisdom for countless individuals....
Jia Tolentino
Aug 03, 2019
Many lines from Weil's first published book are lodged in me forever. "You could not be born at a better time than the present, when we have lost everything." Also: "The simultaneous existence of opposite virtues in the soul — like pincers to catch hold of God.     source
Stories of Your Life and Others
by Ted Chiang (Jul 04, 2002)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionscience-fictionshort-stories
Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov's SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the m...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 03, 2019
When I first read this book, I was on an airplane, and I had a strange sensation: How could my brain and my heart be unfolding into a thousand different dimensions while my body is trapped in Seat 14C? Reading Chiang's sci-fi feels like witnessing a miracle of applied grace.     source
This book is also recommended by
Meltem Demirors
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
A Novel
by Ocean Vuong (Jun 03, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fiction
Poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling.On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born a history...
Jia Tolentino
Jun 03, 2019
Vuong uses language to conjure wholeness from a situation that language has already broken, and will continue to break; loss and survival are always twinned. The structural hallmarks of Vuong’s poetry—his skill with elision, juxtaposition, and sequencing—shape the novel.     source
Afterglow
by Eileen Myles (Sep 11, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: memoir
Prolific and widely renowned, Eileen Myles is a trailblazer whose decades of literary and artistic work "set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match" (New York Review of Books). This newest book paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a beloved confidant: the pit bull called Rosie. In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litt...
Jia Tolentino
Oct 20, 2017
Afterglow is a wry, gorgeous, psychedelic effort to plumb the subject of dog-human partnership - which, in its generic form, is the subject of many cheesy movies and bumper stickers ('Who Rescued Who?') but which, with Myles and Rosie, appears as an exceptional power struggle, a thought experiment about the limits of consciousness, creativity, and love. There is a destabilising, unrelenting directness in Myles’s writing, and Afterglow is like the Just Kids of dog books: a punk devotional, shot through with a sort of divine attention to material reality and a poet’s associative leaps.     source
Sour Heart
Stories
by Jenny Zhang (Apr 30, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionshort-stories
A sly debut story collection that conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City--for readers of Zadie Smith, Helen Oyeyemi, and Junot DiazA fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 14, 2017
Jenny Zhang’s astounding short-story collection, Sour Heart, combines ingenious and tightly controlled technical artistry with an unfettered emotional directness that frequently moves, within single sentences, from overwhelming beauty to abject pain. The collection’s organising theme is familial love that warps a person beyond all recognition: specifically, a type of immigrant devotion with a power that is both creative and entropic, and which affects its recipients in idiosyncratic ways.     source
Who Is Rich?
A Novel
by Matthew Klam (Jul 03, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fiction
Every year, Rich Fischer leaves his family behind to teach a class on cartooning at an annual week-long summer arts conference. Amy ODonnell is a student in narrative painting, the mother of three, married to a brutish Wall Street titan who runs a multi-billion dollar private equity fund. Rich and Amy met at the conference a year ago, shared a mome...
Jia Tolentino
Jul 07, 2017
A gem within the canon of infidelity literature. One of the nicest and saddest things about Who Is Rich? is the way that Klam goes all in on the pathos of feeling completely unwanted—a state that has become native to Fischer both professionally and in bed. In the world of Who Is Rich? everything is embarrassing and beautiful.      source
Made for Love
A Novel
by Alissa Nutting (Jul 02, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: self-helphumorpsychologyfiction
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 BY GQ PopSugar NPR Huffington Post Electric Literature The New Yorker CHOSEN AS A 2017 BEST SUMMER READ PICK BY Publishers Weekly New York Magazine Buzzfeed Refinery29 Vulture Nylon From the exciting and provocative writer of Tampa, a poignant, riotously funny story of how far some will go for loveand how ...
Jia Tolentino
Jul 04, 2017
These days, in certain corners, it’s something akin to a truism that every woman is a warrior, a badass, a queen. It is, for that reason, a profound relief to meet Hazel, the passive, hapless, magnificently abject protagonist of Alissa Nutting’s deranged new comic novel. I loved Hazel immediately, the way I love drunk women who instigate alarmingly personal conversations in bar bathrooms. She is the rare literary heroine in whose company it would be a pleasure to absolutely wreck my life.     source
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
The Official Playscript of the Original West End Production
by J.K. Rowling (Jul 24, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in Londons West End on July 30, 2016.It was always diff...
Jia Tolentino
Aug 08, 2016
Finally, a New Harry Potter Story Worth Reading     source
Pond
by Claire-Louise Bennett (Jul 10, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictioncontemporary
Immediately upon its publication in Ireland, Claire-Louise Bennett's debut began to attract attention well beyond the expectations of the tiny Irish press that published it. A deceptively slender volume, it captures with utterly mesmerizing virtuosity the interior reality of its unnamed protagonist, a young woman living a singular and mostly solita...
Jia Tolentino
Jul 11, 2016
What moves the reader forward is the sense the stories convey of a real-time psychological fabric: the reader experiences the narrator’s world at the same pace she does, a thing chopped up into irregular units organised by vague questions and obscurely coloured moods.     source
Gold Fame Citrus
A Novel
by Claire Vaye Watkins (Oct 03, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionpoliticsdystopian
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Vanity Fair, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Refinery 29, Men's Journal, Ploughshares, Lit Hub, Book Riot, Los Angeles Magazine, Powells, BookPage and Kirkus Reviews The much-anticipated first novel from a Story Prize-winning "5 Under 35" fiction writer....
Barbara the Slut and Other People
by Lauren Holmes (Aug 01, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: humorlawfictionshort-stories
Named a Best Book of 2015 by NPR, "Bustle," "Gawker," "Lit Hub," "Book Riot," "Pure Wow," and"Publisher's Weekly" Holmes trains a precise lens on the millennial generation s mixed bag of manners, mores, and machinations In [these] beautifully brazen stories, worlds collide in fresh, imaginative ways. "Elle" A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut ...
Jia Tolentino
Sep 09, 2015
One of the things I hate about contemporary fiction is that the stakes always seem really high. Some people will be going to the coffee shop and it will be unbearably emotional. This collection, there literally are no stakes. Their emotional range is so minimal and it’s like, ‘Thank God someone is writing like this'.     source
Barbarian Days
A Surfing Life
by William Finnegan (Apr 25, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: memoirtravelbiographyadventure
“Reading this guy on the subject of waves and water is like reading Hemingway on bullfighting; William Burroughs on controlled substances; Updike on adultery. . . . a coming-of-age story, seen through the gloss resin coat of a surfboard.” —Sports IllustratedBarbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing ...
Jia Tolentino
Sep 09, 2015
That one, I only let myself read 10 pages at a time because I did not want it to end. It’s so good. Surfing seems so anti-verbal and he is so minutely good at explaining it.     source
This book is also recommended by
Barack ObamaPaul Graham
The Story of the Lost Child
Neapolitan Novels, Book Four
by Elena Ferrante (Aug 31, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionhistorical-fictionchildren
Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; lifes great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the womens friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood...
Love and Other Ways of Dying
Essays
by Michael Paterniti (Mar 02, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: referencetravel
In this moving, lyrical, and ultimately uplifting collection of essays, Michael Paterniti turns a keen eye on the full range of human experience, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of everyday people. In the seventeen wide-ranging essays collected for the first time in Love and Other Ways of Dying, he brings his full literary powers to bear, p...
Battleborn
Stories
by Claire Vaye Watkins (Aug 05, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionshort-stories
Winner of the 2012 Story Prize Recipient of the 2012 American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Foundation Award A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" fiction writer of 2012 Like the work of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Richard Ford, and Annie Proulx, Battleborn represents a near-perfect confluence of sensibility and setting, and the intro...
Tapping the Source
A Novel
by Kem Nunn (Jun 18, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Tags: fictionthriller
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST Kem Nunns surf noir classic is a thrilling plunge into the seedy underbelly of a Southern California beach townthe inspiration for the film Point Break.People go to Huntington Beach in search of the endless parties, the ultimate highs, and the perfect waves. Ike Tucker has come to look for his missing sister and for the...
Jia Tolentino
Sep 09, 2015
It’s like True Detective, but all coked-out, Venice Beach, early ‘80s.     source