Books

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Vertical stack of 10 books, including Long Bright River, Housemates, Come & Get It, Disability Intimacy, and more

The best books I’ve read so far in 2024: BSR Book Week editor’s picks

Top picks from the editor’s bookshelf

Sometimes I think books are the only thing keeping me sane(ish). Fiction, nonfiction, memoir, a new lens on Jane Austen, anti-marriage manifestos, and more: here are top recommendations from my own bookshelf as we celebrate BSR Book Week 2024.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Previews 5 minute read
Close-up on two black square bookshelf cubbies crammed with different books by local authors.

Discover books by BSR authors (2024 edition)!

In honor of BSR Book Week, find out if your favorite BSR writer is an author, too.

BSR writers are also memoirists, poets, novelists, scholars, and so much more! Discover their books and order a copy to add to your shelves.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Previews 9 minute read
Book cover. Title above on a pale background; an ancient circular music score appears below in black and red.

Music and the Idea of a World, by Peter Kalkavage

The meaning of music, from the Greeks to the 20th century

A background in music theory will serve readers well in this trenchant and insightful tour of music throughout history: its meaning and function, and how it helps us understand the many worlds we live in. Gail Obenreder reviews.
Gail Obenreder

Gail Obenreder

Reviews 4 minute read
Book cover. On a peach background, the word “being” arcs over the word “work”, with a painting of a single reaching arm below

Being Work, edited by Dorothy Dubrule

An intriguing look at performance artists in art galleries

More and more, artists worldwide are incorporating a performance-art element in their galleries. This slim, eminently readable collection brings us the voices of these unique performers. Gail Obenreder reviews.
Gail Obenreder

Gail Obenreder

Reviews 4 minute read
Book cover: title at top over an illustration of a vinyl record, and da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man playing a guitar below.

Rock Music, Authority and Western Culture, 1964-1980, by James A. Cosby

The arc of rock

Civilization has always had its discontents, but few things reflect the spirit of resistance like rock music. In this intriguing survey, local author James A. Cosby tackles a socio-political history of rock and roll. Rob Laymon reviews.
Rob Laymon

Rob Laymon

Reviews 4 minute read
Close-up on 12 square black shelf cubbies crammed with all types of books, some new and some worn.

Welcome to BSR Book Week 2024, running June 2-8

Here's everything you need to know to celebrate Book Week with us.

Do you love books? We do, too! Philly's literary scene is an important part of our cultural scene, and we spotlight it in our annual BSR Book Week. Learn more here!
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Previews 2 minute read
Book cover. Title appears over a textured, impressionistic oil painting of a stark landscape where water reflects the sky.

The Homeless, by Stefan Żeromski; translated by Stephanie Kraft

A Polish classic appears in English for the first time

In this classic Polish novel, newly translated into English, a young working-class doctor argues that doctors should not just treat diseases but try to prevent them in poor factory workers’ cruel industrial landscape. Helen Walsh reviews.
Helen Walsh

Helen Walsh

Reviews 3 minute read
Book cover: title over drawing of a rowhouse decorated with a giant snake, frog, bird, and bugs, with an alligator out front

Sink: A Memoir, by Joseph Earl Thomas

A unique look at growing up in Frankford

Philly author Joseph Earl Thomas’s fierce and unusual memoir, Sink, follows his boyhood in 1990s Frankford, where fiction, fantasy, and reality collide. Krista Mar reviews.
Krista Mar

Krista Mar

Reviews 3 minute read
Book cover: Title in red superimposed on a vintage black & white photo of a baseball team below industrial smokestacks.

Work, Fight or Play Ball: How Bethlehem Steel Helped Baseball Stars Avoid World War I, by William Ecenbarger

America’s pastime sheds new light on our 20th-century history

What did Major League Baseball have to do with World War I? In this surprising history of baseball, American industry, and the US military, William Ecenbarger sheds new light on a little-known but fascinating piece of history. Kimberly Haas reviews.

Kimberly Haas

Reviews 4 minute read
Book cover. Rich, abstract swirls of white, blue, and green paint evoke a tree and a galaxy.

Mystic Orchards, By Jonathan Koven

Poems for the heart and mind, the way dreams can feel real

The second poetry collection from Philly-based poet Jonathan Koven mirrors the orchard of its title, as we wander the grounds, admire the trees, and sink our teeth into the fruit. Jordan Cameron reviews.
Jordan Cameron

Jordan Cameron

Reviews 2 minute read