Everyone's favorite bad feminist, Roxane Gay, is this month's Book of the Month guest judge! If you haven't heard about Book of the Month, or if you're just curious about which books you have to choose from in June, I've got all the details — plus a Q&A with Roxane Gay — below. Happy reading!
Book of the Month is a subscription box service offering month-to-month, quarterly, and yearly plans. Each month, Book of the Month's judges select five "books that are truly worth reading." A member may then choose which of those books she'd like to receive as part of her subscription, and Book of the Month will send a hardcover copy right to her doorstep, with a shelf card from the selecting judge. Additional titles may be added for $9.99 more, and shipping is always free.
This month, the judges have made some pretty badass selections, not that that's out of the ordinary. Previous choices have included The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan, The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, and All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage, among others.
Also, if you're a nonfiction fan like myself, consider this a friendly reminder that, while I haven't named anything other than novels so far, Book of the Month often includes memoir and microhistory among its selections.
Here are the Book of the Month judges' picks for June.
Shrill by Lindy West, chosen by Joel Stein
In her first book, the prolific feminist Lindy West uses this essay collection to lay out an argument in defense of women's anger and self-definement.
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, chosen by Morgan Jenkins
The Vacationers author Emma Straub returns with a sharp, witty novel about former college bandmates who are shaken out of their fortysomething complacency when their children reach adulthood.
The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel, chosen by Roxane Gay
Reina feels guilty for the crime that earned her brother a death sentence. After his execution, she moves to a small town where no one knows her name, where she meets an exile who helps her begin to heal.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, chosen by Liberty Hardy
This thriller from Fargo creator Noah Hawley revolves around a plane crash that kills several affluent and influential figures, leaving behind an unemployed artist and an incredibly wealthy four-year-old.
Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend, chosen by Alexander Chee
After reconnecting with an old friend, a spinster working for the Office of Naval Intelligence enters into an arranged marriage with a fellow operative and sets off on a spirited — and covert — adventure to the Galápagos Islands.
Roxane Gay is the author of Bad Feminist , an essay collection, and Hunger, a forthcoming memoir. Her works of fiction — which include An Untamed State — often focus on stories from the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora.
Here's what she has to say about writing and the Kardashians.
You tweet about the Kardashians a lot. What about them fascinates you?
"My interest in the Kardashians is fairly new. Ever since Blac Chyna infiltrated the dynasty and flipped the script on how the family operates and uses the media, I've just wanted to know more. It's also intriguing to see how people who are famous for being famous make that work in the longer term. Everything about them is consumeristic and aspirational. I cannot look away."
You’ve written an adult novel, a collection of essays, and a memoir, and you have a short story collection and a Young Adult novel on the horizon. Your work encompasses so many forms and genres, even bouncing between fiction and nonfiction. What about switching between all of these avenues appeals to you? What do you get out of writing fiction versus nonfiction? What is your favorite genre or form to write?
"I just love to write and I am not going to ever constrain myself by thinking I can only work in one genre. The only genre I don't write is poetry. I'm simply not good at that and it's fine. There's a lot of amazing poetry out in the world that I get to enjoy. Working across different genres allows me to grow as a writer and it keeps me engaged in the work. In fiction, I get to control the world and write into that world as I see fit. In nonfiction, I get to comment on the world as it is and imagine the better place it could become. My favorite genre to write is fiction which is and will always be my first love."
Images: Courtesy of Book of the Month