6 Books All Creative Types Need to Read

Rachel Khong is a novelist and writer, and as of January 2018, the founder of an arts and letters-focused work and event space here in San Francisco called The Ruby. It's a place for fellow creative women and nonbinary people to gather and have discussions, often over food. And a big part of those discussions is, of course, books and works by women. Here are some titles Khong and others at The Ruby have been thinking and talking about, as well as some work by members (there are too many talented authors to list here!), with blurbs from Khong herself.

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

This book has been the talk of the The Ruby. Among other things, it’s inspired me to go on longer walks. Odell puts it best: “To capitalist logic, which thrives on myopia and dissatisfaction, there may indeed be something dangerous about something as pedestrian as doing nothing: escaping laterally toward each other, we might just find that everything we wanted is already here.”

Meander, Spiral, Explode by Jane Alison

There’s more than one way to tell a story and Jane Alison looks at some of the other ways: patterns in narrative that mimic natural forms. We zoom in, in particular, on texts that meander, spiral, and explode. Ruby member and writer Nichole LeFebvre worked with Jane on this book, and we’re excited to discuss it with her (and Jane, via video) soon.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

We’re reading Trust Exercise in our Authors of Color book club. Listen to this if you like teenage drama, if you like crazy shifts in perspectives. I don’t want to spoil anything; just read it. Susan Choi is a master.

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin

Written by Ruby member Chia-Chia Lin, this is a beautifully and confidently written imagistic novel about an immigrant family in Alaska. You might cry! I sure did.

The Astrological Grimoire by Shewolfe and Beatrix Gravesguard

Shewolfe and Beatrix Gravesguard are two brilliant Ruby members and collaborators. This is a handbook of sorts, if you’re curious about astrology but need your hand held. They are excellent hand-holders.

The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang

I recently described Esmé Weijun Wang’s first novel as “one of the best books about incest there is.” I’m pretty sure it’s true! I might be biased, but Ruby member Esmé is one of the smartest and certainly chic-est authors writing today. Seek out her essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias, too.

Also available as an audiobook.

See Rachel Khong’s list originally on Scribd.

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