Books on GIF #78 — Choose My Next Review!


Welcome to the latest edition of Books on GIF, the animated alternative to boring book reviews.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently went on a book-buying binge with a bunch of gift cards. Since it's taking me longer than expected to finish 'The Story of the Lost Child,' which I promised Maggie (happy birthday, Mags!) I'd review ASAP, I wanted to ask for your help to prioritize this batch of new books.

I've created a poll where you can vote on the book you want me to read next. I'll announce the winner on Twitter on Monday, April 16, and the review will appear Sunday, April 22. The Ferrante review will run next week, on April 15.

Make sense?

Some of you may remember 'Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay,' also by Elena Ferrante, won the last time we did this, beating out 'Pachinko' by Min Jin Lee by just one vote. So every vote counts!

But enough talk!

'How Should a Person Be?' by Sheila Heti

I found this book in the Barnes & Noble on Court Street in a section off to the side called 'The New Vanguard,' or something. The grouping included books I'd reviewed previously, including'The Vegetarian'by Han Kang,'Transit'by Rachel Cusk and'Her Body and Other Parties'by Carmen Maria Machado. I respect all those books, so I figured I'd pick this one up. I know absolutely nothing about it, but I was attracted to this line on the back cover that describes it as 'by turns loved and reviled.' If you want to know where I'll land on that spectrum: Vote here!

'Moses, Man of the Mountain' by Zora Neale Hurston
Really excited to read this classic! I've wanted to read Hurston for a while, so I was pleased to find this book at the Strand. It's a retelling of the story of Exodus, and I was attracted to it because I love biblical retellings. I haven't done one since 'A Time for Everything' by Karl Ove Knausgaard. The back cover describes 'Moses, Man of the Mountain' as a 'very human story told with great humor, passion, and psychological insight.' Want to see this review first? Vote here!

'The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion' by Margaret Killjoy
I found this book among the staff recommendations at the Strand. June, the employee who recommended it, described it as being about LGBT squatters who summon a demon to protect them, and then things go awry because that's what happens when you summon demons. I thought, 'Thank you, June. That kind of intensity really speaks to me.' The back cover describes the book as 'a dropkick-in-the-mouth anarcho-punk fantasy.' I'm not sure what that means, but I'm excited to find out! Vote here!

'Homesick for Another World' by Ottessa Moshfegh
Another one from 'The New Vanguard.' I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of Moshfegh before seeing this book in Barnes & Noble, but I was intrigued immediately by this collection of short stories. First, it has a flying saucer on the cover. Then, when I flipped it over, the stories were described as 'eerily unsettling,' 'almost dangerous' and 'delightful and funny.' And then it says the book will 'scorch you like a blowtorch.' Wow! Now I'm seeing her name everywhere as book bloggers I admire gear up for her new novel. Want me to read this? Vote here!

'Trick' by Domenico Starnone
You may remember that last year I reviewed Starnone's 'Ties,' and really liked it. I'm excited to read this latest book from him, which, like 'Ties,' was translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri. The inside flap describes it as 'a stylish drama about ambition, family, and old age that goes beyond the ordinary and predictable.' Sounds interesting! Want to learn more? Vote here!

'Salvage the Bones' by Jesmyn Ward
I've been looking forward to reading Ward's work for a while now, so when I saw this book under 'The New Vanguard' banner, I grabbed it right up. According to the back cover, a storm is coming to a Mississippi town, and the characters have to grapple with it and various other issues including dead dogs and teen pregnancy. This novel won a National Book Award and is described by The New York Times as 'smartly plotted' and 'voluptuously written.' Should I read it first? Vote here!

That's the list!

Here's the link to the poll. Please go and: 

Support Books on GIF!
As a way to say thank you for supporting BoG, I've made bookmarks. If you'd like one for yourself, or a bunch to give to friends or your book club, shoot me a note, and I'll speed them along. It's got the BoG logo on the front and Lola on the back. Here's a GIF!
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Next Sunday, and the weeks ahead: As I said, I'm still working my way through 'The Story of the Lost Child' by Elena Ferrante, and you'll receive that review next week. The following Sunday will be the review of the book chosen by you. As always, if you've got a bestseller, a classic or a forgotten gem you want me to review,shoot me an emailanytime.

If you missed last week's edition, here's my review of 'The Good Earth' by Pearl S. Buck.

Want to discuss this or any other book? Hit me up on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Goodreads. Here's an archive of my reviews.

Thanks for reading, and thanks especially to Donna for editing this newsletter!

Until next time,