May Reading Recommendations

Read the books that our May readers (Jessica Gross, Leah Johnson, Halimah Marcus, & KC Trommer) are inspired by right now

A shot from our last reading at Elsa Bar in July of 2018. Photo by Keira Chang.

A shot from our last reading at Elsa Bar in July of 2018. Photo by Keira Chang.


The Vegetarian

by Han Kang
Recommended by Jessica Gross

Why Jessica loves it:

“I have now read this novel three times — twice in order to teach it — and, if anything, my attraction to it grows each time. The story is told in three parts, each offering a different character's perspective on the central character, Yeong-hye, who remains a cipher. How well can we know another's mind? My students think it's wild, and I agree.”

Read it >

This was the body of a beautiful young woman, conventionally an object of desire, and yet it was a body from which all desire had been eliminated. But this was nothing so crass as carnal desire, not for her—rather, or so it seemed, what she had renounced was the very life that her body represented.
— Han Kang, The Vegetarian


by Kiese Laymon
Recommended by Leah Johnson

Why Leah loves it:

I haven't been able to stop thinking about "Heavy" since I read it earlier this year. The way the book manages to reckon with violence—both emotional and physical—has given me a new framework for understanding and discussing the ways that I have been hurt by—and in turn hurt—the black women around me over the course of my life. It is a magnificent piece of work and I couldn't suggest it more highly.”

Read it >

Trust Exercise

by Susan Choi
Recommended by Halimah Marcus

Why Halimah loves it:

“Trust Exercise expanded my view on what fiction can be and what it can be about. The porousness between reality and fiction is an active tension in any writer's life. Choi makes that tension generative to the novel's story.”

Read it >

Remember the impossible eventfulness of time, transformation and emotion packed like gunpowder into the barrel. Remember the dilation and diffusion, the years within days. Theirs were endless; lives flowered and died between waking and noon.
— Susan Choi, Trust Exercise


by Jamaica Kincaid
Recommended by KC Trommer

Why KC loves it:

“Since I first read it years ago, I have loved Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy. Kincaid's lucid, elegant prose and her willingness to allow her characters to live through difficult emotions make her a writer I am always happy to read. I love that the protagonist is a young woman conversant in and unafraid of her rage.”

Read it >


Meet these women and hear their own stories.

Join us on May 14, 2019 7pm-9pm at Elsa Bar in Brooklyn for an inspiring reading event that raises essential funds for the Women’s Freedom Fund. Jessica, Leah, Halimah, & KC will all read about a time they made their point.