Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief [Beginners Welcome] by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner

Inspired by the website that the New York Times hailed as “redefining mourning,” this book is a fresh and irreverent examination into navigating grief and resilience in the age of social media, offering comfort and community for coping with the mess of loss through candid original essays from a variety of voices, accompanied by gorgeous two-color illustrations and wry infographics.

At a time when we mourn public figures and national tragedies with hashtags, where intimate posts about loss go viral and we receive automated birthday reminders for dead friends, it’s clear we are navigating new terrain without a road map.

Let’s face it: most of us have always had a difficult time talking about death and sharing our grief. We’re awkward and uncertain; we avoid, ignore, or even deny feelings of sadness; we offer platitudes; we send sympathy bouquets whittled out of fruit.

Enter Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner, who can help us do better. Each having lost parents as young adults, they co-founded Modern Loss, responding to a need to change the dialogue around the messy experience of grief. Now, in this wise and often funny book, they offer the insights of the Modern Loss community to help us cry, laugh, grieve, identify, and—above all—empathize.

Soffer and Birkner, along with forty guest contributors, reveal their own stories on a wide range of topics including triggers, sex, secrets, and inheritance. Accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn illustrations and witty “how to” cartoons, each contribution provides a unique perspective on loss as well as a remarkable life-affirming message.

Brutally honest and inspiring, Modern Loss invites us to talk intimately and humorously about grief, helping us confront the humanity (and mortality) we all share. Beginners welcome.

Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling

Alyce’s mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch’s mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she’s been sealed off from — a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she’ll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother’s past.

But as her journey continues, another war rages: a hidden war of the supernatural, of the living and the dead. Good and evil are blurred, and nobody’s motives can be trusted. And Alyce finds herself thrown unwillingly into the conflict. Struggling to understand her own powers, she is quickly drawn into a web of secret, lies, and dark magic that could change the fate of the world she is just coming to know.

Ico: Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe

When a boy named Ico grows long curved horns, his fate has been sealed-he is to be sacrificed in the Castle in the Mist. But in the castle, Ico meets a young girl named Yorda imprisoned in its halls. Alone they will die, but together Ico and Yorda might just be able to defy their destinies and escape the magic of the castle.

The novelization of the hit video game of the same name, Japan’s leading fantasist Miyuki Miyabe has crafted a tale of magic, loss, and love that will never be forgotten.

Arch Enemy [Looking Glass Wars #3] by Frank Beddor

The Heart Crystal’s power has been depleted, and Imagination along with it. The people of Wonderland have all lost their creative drive, and most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers. But at least the vicious Redd Heart seems to be similarly disabled. Amazingly, she is attempting to team up with her enemy, Alyss, in order to reclaim Wonderland from King Arch. Alyss might have no choice but to accept Redd’s overtures, especially when she begins to receive alarming advice from the caterpillar oracles…

The Dead Roam the Earth: True Stories of the Paranormal from Around the World by Alasdair Wickham

Do you believe in ghosts? From incubi in Sumatra to exorcism in Sudan to spirits in our own backyard, The Dead Roam the Earth explores the fascinating variety—and uncanny similarity—of supernatural encounters in every corner of the planet, providing chilling accounts of real-life ghost sightings, haunted places, poltergeists, possessions, Mothmen, demons, witchcraft, ritualistic killings, and much more.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.

Silent Hill: The Terror Engine by Bernard Perron

Silent Hill: The Terror Engine, is both a close analysis of the first three Silent Hill games and a general look at the whole series. Perron situates the games within the survival horror genre, both by looking at the history of the genre and by comparing Silent Hill with such important forerunners as Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil. Taking a transmedia approach and underlining the designer’s cinematic and literary influences, he uses the narrative structure; the techniques of imagery, sound, and music employed; the game mechanics; and the fiction, artifact, and gameplay emotions elicited by the games to explore the specific fears survival horror games are designed to provoke and how the experience as a whole has made the Silent Hill series one of the major landmarks of video game history.

The Alchemist’s Daughter by Katharine McMahon

Raised by her father in near isolation in the English countryside, Emilie Selden is trained as a brilliant natural philosopher and alchemist. In the spring of 1725, father and daughter embark upon their most daring alchemical experiment to date—attempting to breathe life into dead matter. But when Emilie—against her father’s wishes—experiences the passion of first love, she is banished to London, where she soon discovers she knows nothing about human nature—or her own family’s complicated past. So begins her shocking journey to enlightenment.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he’ll retrieve that star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life.

What to Do When You Meet Cthulhu [A guide to surviving the Cthulhu Mythos] by Rachel Gray

Providing insight into the famed Cthulhu mythos of H. P. Lovecraft as well as the countless mythical threats that creep among Earth’s population, this comprehensive handbook explores the transdimensional beings, subterranean creatures, and fantastical beasts that lurk in the corners of time. From encounters with Barnabas Marsh and Wilbur Whateley to dangerous seaside communities, this witty exploration covers the multitude of imaginary dangers, escape options, and chances of survival when confronting these horrors. Shoggoths, Nightgaunts, ghouls, and Cthulhu all have ventured into popular culture in the form of cuddly toys, but as this entertaining overview proves, these monsters are not so warm and fuzzy when met face-to-face, face-to-muzzle, or face-to-tentacles. Authoritative and hilarious, this “survival guide” sheds light on the mysterious and often unimaginable world of Cthulhu.