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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
Cathy Park Hong - Feb 25, 2020
Goodreads Rating
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
Kyle Chayka - Jan 21, 2020
Goodreads Rating
"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." -...
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
Margaret Atwood - Sep 10, 2019
Goodreads Rating
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
Min Jin Lee - Nov 14, 2017
Goodreads Rating
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
Also recommended by
Barack Obama
Slow Days, Fast Company
The World, The Flesh, and L.A. (New York Review Books Classics)
Eve Babitz - Aug 30, 2016 (first published in 1977)
Goodreads Rating
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 b...
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
Evan S. Connell - Jan 05, 2010 (first published in 1955)
Goodreads Rating
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 surgeon’s skill, Connell cuts away the middle-class security blanket of uniformity to expose the arrested development underneath—the entropy of time and relationships lead Mrs. Bridge's thre...
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
Claire Messud - Jun 26, 2007 (first published in 2006)
Goodreads Rating
The Emperor's Children is a richly drawn, brilliantly observed novel of fate and fortune—about the intersections in the lives of three friends, now on the cusp of their thirties, making their way—and not—in New York City.Friends at Brown University, Marina, Danielle, and Julius are still looking to make their marks as they approach their 30s. Marin...
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
Simone Weil - Nov 12, 2002 (first published in 1947)
Goodreads Rating
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
Ted Chiang - Jul 05, 2002
Goodreads Rating
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
Also recommended by
Meltem Demirors
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
A Novel
Ocean Vuong - Jun 04, 2019
Goodreads Rating
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 histor...
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
Eileen Myles - Sep 12, 2017
Goodreads Rating
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 by Jenny Zhang
Who Is Rich? by Matthew Klam
Made for Love by Alissa Nutting
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes
Barbarian Days by William Finnegan
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
Love and Other Ways of Dying by Michael Paterniti
Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn