Seeing this play in Chicago two years ago pushed all my buttons - moved me emotionally, challenged me intellectually, made me laugh, cry, and awed me with its insanely imaginative examination of the changing nature of the American family. A bold, ambitious, but still very human work for our times, this is my favorite new play of the decade.
It's not often that a thrilling page turner also gives you a new way of seeing the world. Written in the simple language of fairy tales, but with layers of complexity underneath, The Child Finder joins the ranks of Room, The Lovely Bones, and Tideland as a book that looks through a child's eyes into very dark places, and shines a light on the power of imagination to help us cope, to heal, to survive.
That rare marvel, a book that manages to be an astounding feat of imagination and a heartbreaking character study at the same time. This book will thrill you with its invention and make you ache with its sad, beautiful meditation on life, mortality and what makes us human.
If you want an honest, unvarnished look at the difficult process of bringing a new play to the stage, this book is for you. Made up of interviews with people in productions of Angels in America both large and small, (including local cast members from the 2012 production in Saint Louis!), this is a fascinating inside view of one of the most audacious and influential American plays of the 20th century, just in time for its return to Broadway this spring.
My favorite book this year by a long shot. A towering epic that charts the intersecting paths of nine very different individuals whose lives are touched by trees, and their halting, often misguided attempts to imagine a narrative where humans aren't always at the center. Full of crystalline prose, unforgettable characters, and impressive depth - If you found yourself captivated by The Hidden Life of Trees or Lab Girl, you will devour this!
Inspiring and heartbreaking in equal measure, Indecent is a decades-spanning epic that never loses its sense of intimacy or its focus on how one small moment on stage can change someone's life. Drawing from both European tragedy and Yiddish vaudeville, Paula Vogel creates a raucous celebration of the wonderful, dangerous act of showing the humanity in people our culture doesn't want to acknowledge.
Not your standard artist biography, this book speaks in the hushed tones of an intimate conversation. Darrieussecq weaves historical scholarship with literary memoir to create a personal experience with this extraordinary painter who showed her age more of the world - and of herself- than it had dared to see before. A quiet, meditative gem.
The book that first explained me to myself. Serano's history as both a scientist and punk musician shine through, marrying a methodical approach and precise language to a fearless, defiant attitude that both challenges and enlightens. Ground zero for trans-inclusive feminist theory and a stirring defense of femininity in a culture that constantly belittles it.