Craig Morgan Teicher's The Trembling Answers, Chen Chen's When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, Christian Barter's Bye-Bye Land, and Christine Kitano's Sky Country all made The Brooklyn Rail's list of the Best Books of 2017.
Brooklyn Rail Books Editor Joseph Salvatore (author of To Assume a Pleasing Shape, BOA Editions, 2011) introduced his top 25 list of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction books by describing how the stories we tell ourselves sustain and define us during times of turmoil and change, noting that:
"Of all the story forms the most political is literature. For it travels in the stealthiest of vessels: books. Unlike screens and stages, the human imagination, once word-encountered, never again reads a sentence the same way twice. Repeated readings become recursive events, subversive actions that deepen or even change meaning. Books offer us the alchemy of infinite interpretation."
Each of the BOA titles included in The Brooklyn Rail's list offers a unique encounter with words and imagination. NewPages described Teicher's The Trembling Answers as "art that transcends the political and economic stirrings of our day." Harvard Review praised how the verses in Chen's National Book Award-longlisted When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities "appeal to our sense of touch, while making difficult affections, queerer strivings, and confrontations with power all the more palpable." BOA Intern Jackie S. celebrated the "truths that aid humanity in empathy and understanding"Barter's Bye-Bye Land. Foreword Reviews lauded how Kitano's Sky Country captures the painful experiences of Japanese-American and Korean-American immigrants during the 20th century, reminding readers how "immigrants are the best of us."
Salvatore encourages readers to seek out the books on The Brooklyn Rail's Best Books list for themselves—"to purchase, to read, to support, to share"—explaining:
"I chose books from small, independent presses, those houses we so desperately need and are so lucky to have. I chose from lesser-known authors, in some cases, the untweeted-about, the unawarded, the uncelebrated, the unincluded, the unagented. I chose novellas and chapbooks and limited runs from presses that may not be here next year. I chose those books from this past year that, in my opinion, best teach us how we will live, how we will love, how we will struggle, how we will endure."
The Trembling Answers, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, Bye-Bye Land, and Sky Country are all on sale now in the BOA Bookstore.