Book cover, a corset with a green ribbon around itHer Body and Other Parties: Stories (Graywolf Press, 2017) by Carmen Maria Machado is a stunning short story collection that weaves together elements of science fiction, psychological horror, and dark comedy. I was glued to this book from the very first story—Machado’s characters navigate dangerous worlds, communicate with ghosts, and grapple with dread. Her Body and Other Parties is currently on the 2018 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize Shortlist and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. According to Deadline, FX has just secured the rights to a TV series based on the book, billing it as a “feminist Black Mirror with fairy tale themes,” which sounds spot-on. Available to check out from multiple CUNY libraries, including Hunter and BMCC. Robin Davis


Book cover, with a window open to blue skies with cloudsBlue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds by Lauren Slater (Little, Brown, 2018). Slater traces the history of psychopharmacology over the last century via nine drugs/treatments, from Thorazine to deep brain stimulation. She incorporates the decades-long experiments with treatments for her own depression, though this is more a collection of micro-histories than a memoir. It’s a journey of uses, misuses, trials and missteps, as well as the changing medical and popular attitudes towards various drugs and towards psychotherapy and other non-chemical treatments. There’s just enough science to satisfy the curious layperson interested in the workings of the brain; she describes what happens to rats on certain drugs but is most interested in addressing the human element. Available to check out from multiple CUNY libraries, including KBCC and QBCC. Kathleen Collins


Book cover, with a sad-looking young boy. There is also a National Book Award Finalist sticker.Hey, Kiddo (Graphix, 2018) is a moving graphic novel by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. This is a departure from Krosoczka’s usual work, which includes the Lunch Lady series and other children’s literature. Raised partly by his single mother, who is a drug addict, and mostly by his grandparents, Krosoczka retreated into art as a way to cope with his turbulent family life. The memoir follows him as he becomes a young adult, blossoms as an artist, tracks down his father, and reckons with his mother’s addiction, stints in rehab, and fatal overdose. This graphic novel is pegged as appropriate for ages 12–18, but adults will find it an absorbing, charming, and complex read, too. Available to check out from KBCC. Robin Davis


Book cover, with a microphone and empty stoolA Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman (translation Knopf, 2017). A cocktail of stream of consciousness, jokes and tears in one glass. One evening of a stand-up comedy act by one man is described in almost 200 pages. Are you laughing at the man or with the man because he has no tears anymore? Did he plan this evening or is he improvising on the spot? This book is not a light read although it is impossible to put it down until you read it all. Available to check out from multiple CUNY libraries, including Baruch and Hunter. Maria Kiriakova


More from the Fall 2018 newsletter