We’re asking different writers, artists and others to share some of their current favorites. This week we feature picks from Nina Shen Rastogi who spends her time zigzagging around the editorial and tech industries. Currently a senior community manager and strategist with Kindle, she was previously the VP of Content for Figment, a reading and writing community for teens that was acquired by Random House. She’s been a columnist and blogger for Slate, an editor of graphic novels and Shakespeare texts, and a very verbose recapper of Game of Thrones. She was a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and is a proud supporter of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Tweet at her at @ninashen.
1. Kim-An Lieberman’s In Orbit (2014)
2. Bonnie Raitt’s Bonnie Raitt (1971)
3. Laura Mvula’s Sing to the Moon (2013)
One exception to my no-new vinyl rule is this fantastic jazz/soul album. It’s whirlingly orchestral stuff; just layers and layers of gorgeousness. (Someone dubbed it “gospeldelia.”) But Mvula’s also great at simple, elegant torch songs. You can sample both ends of the spectrum by listening to the album’s wall-of-sound opener “Like the Morning Dew” and then checking out her Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.
4. Wave, Sonali Deraniyagala
A bit of a cheat, since I’m actually in the middle of this now, but it’s shattering. A book like this makes the world seem like science fiction. Deraniyagala lost her parents, husband, and two young sons in the 2004 tsunami while on vacation in Sri Lanka, and in this memoir she manages to capture the raw and monstrous aspects of her grief in cool, sharp prose. Like Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, this is a book that astonishes you once with the facts of its narrative and then again when you consider the odds of a trauma this unbelievable happening to a narrator this skilled.
5. “In the Name of Love,” Miya Tokumitsu