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New Reads for the Rest of Us for January 2019

Welcome to New Reads for the Rest of Us for January 2019!

Sorry this month’s is so late – I have had something in the works that I was focusing on and that I can now share:

Starting this month, I will be contributing a regular column to the Ms. Magazine blog! It will focus on the production, access, use, and preservation of knowledge by women and girls around the world. I will share women’s projects and initiatives that focus on information, literacy, indigenous knowledge, and more. And of course, I will share books and book reviews. If you like Reads for the Rest of Us, you’re gonna love this! 

I think that these monthly lists will remain on my site but I am going to see how the Ms. column goes and adjust as necessary. Many (most?) of my book reviews will be on the Ms. blog but I would like to continue to update this site. We’ll see what I can do. Thanks for your continued support! But onto this month’s list…

With these monthly lists, I aim to amplify the books written by those who are historically underrepresented including, but not limited to: womxn, women of color, women from the Global South, women who are Black, Indigenous, dis/abled, queer, fat, immigrants, Muslim, sex-positive, and more. My lists meant to be intersectional, feminist, and trans-inclusive. I also want to highlight books by gender non-conforming people (who may or may not be described by the term “womxn”).

If you’d like to learn more about which books I focus on, see my Review Policy. These are just guidelines and I reserve the right to include (or not!) any books I see fit. I usually add to this list as I learn of others; if you have a suggestion, please share it in the comments below!

So here’s the New Reads for the Rest of Us for January 2019 list. There are so many great titles here, which will you read??

 

Daughters of 1968: Redefining French Feminism and the Women’s Liberation Movement by Lisa Greenwald (@Daughtersof1968)

January 1

Tags: History, feminism, France, women writers

University of Nebraska Press, 415 pages

“Finally! In her remarkable book on the history of French feminism after World War II, Lisa Greenwald restores overlooked feminist activists of the 1950s and 1960s to their rightful place. Embedding them in their changing historical context, Greenwald follows feminism through upheaval and fracture after 1968, exploring both the unresolved dilemmas and the profound changes feminists brought about.”–Sarah Fishman, associate dean for undergraduate studies, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston

 

Dear Jane by Marina Delvecchio (@Marinagraphy)

January 3

Tags: Greece, women writers, #OwnVoices, adoption, suicide, coming of age

Black Rose Writing, 172 pages

Dear Jane is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful exploration of what it means to not only find the pieces of yourself, but to put them back together.”–Sara Lunsford, author of Sweet Hell on Fire

 

 

Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and Transpacific Exchange Shaped American Reform by Marilyn Lake

January 7

Tags: History, politics, Australia, women writers

Harvard University Press, 320 pages

“Progressive reform will never look the same again. Marilyn Lake definitively shows how turn-of-the-century Australian reformers helped shape American political culture and the great extent to which Australians and Americans shared a mindset steeped in settler colonialism. This book’s evidence of their ‘subjective affinities’ is transformative.”–Nancy F. Cott, Harvard University

 

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America by Ibi Zoboi (@ibizoboi)

January 8

Tags: #OwnVoices, YA, short stories, coming of age, women writers, Black women

Balzer + Bray, 407 pages

“A poignant collection of stunning short stories by Black, rock star authors.”–Booklist (starred review)

“A breath of fresh air…nuanced and necessary.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

 

An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex by Siddharth Dube

January 8

Tags: India, LGBTQ, memoir, #OwnVoices, sex work

Atria, 384 pages

“An Indefinite Sentence bears witness to the long struggle against homophobia; it is also a vital, up to date record of gay rights and AIDS relief activism worldwide. Its rich perspective makes clear that anyone who still thinks criminalising sex work is an effective strategy to uphold human dignity needs to read this moving, impressive and necessary book.”–Preti Taneja, Desmond Elliot Prize winner for We That Are Young

 

Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden

January 8

Tags: YA, historical fiction, women writers, Black women

Bloomsbury YA, 272 pages

“Seeks to illuminate ‘an often-neglected aspect of black history: the black middle class and black aristocracy of the past.’ The rich descriptions of people and life in early America will fascinate readers as the book introduces them to this widely overlooked population in history.”–Booklist

 

It Was All a Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America by Reniqua Allen 

January 8

Tags: African American, class, women writers, #OwnVoices

Nation Books, 400 pages

“Reniqua Allen strikes a fine balance between the personal histories of ambitious Black millennials and the systems in place that threaten their mobility. With acute detail to their location, background, and motive, Allen’s sharp journalistic skills are center stage, crafting reportage, cultural commentary, and personal anecdotes into a thought-provoking book that will add to our discussions about race, capitalism, education, and self-actualization.”–Morgan Jerkins, author of This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America

 

McGlue: A Novella by Ottessa Moshfegh

January 8

Tags: Novella, women writers,

Penguin Group (USA), 160 pages

“… a splashy new edition … Moshfegh’s first book introduces the kind of character, in all his psychological wildness and vivid grotesquerie that her others are known for, and readers will be more than intrigued.”–Booklist

 

 

Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (@sschweblin)

January 8

Tags: Short stories, women writers, Argentina, fantasy

Riverhead Books, 240 pages

“Surreal, disturbing, and decidedly original.”–Library Journal, starred review

“Schweblin once again deploys a heavy dose of nightmare fuel in this frightening, addictive collection…canny, provocative, and profoundly unsettling.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy: A Reluctant Royals Novella by Alyssa Cole (@AlyssaColeLit)

January 8

Tags: Black women, LGBTQ, romance

Avon Impulse, 106 pages

“When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.”–Description

 

Sugar Run: A Novel by Mesha Maren (@MeshaMaren)

January 8

Tags: Lesbian, women writers, debut, family

Algonquin Books, 321 pages

“Just plain grittily gorgeous . . . you will feel every word.”–Library Journal, starred review

“Maren’s impressive debut is replete with luminous prose that complements her cast of flawed characters.”–Publishers Weekly

 

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd)

January 8

Tags: Feminism, women writers, race, Black women

The New Press, 224 pages

“This book is essential for anyone who wants to think deeply about race, feminism, and culture.”–BookRiot

“To say this collection is transgressive, provocative, and brilliant is simply to tell you the truth. Thick is a necessary work and a reminder that Tressie McMillan Cottom is one of the finest public intellectuals writing today.”–Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

 

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris)

January 8

Tags: Memoir, #OwnVoices, women writers, politics, Black women

Penguin, 336 pages

“From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country.”–Description

 

The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by Julie Yip-Williams

January 8

Tags: Health, memoir, #OwnVoices

Random House, 304 pages

“Everything worth understanding and holding on to is in this book. . . . A miracle indeed.”–Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place and Tell Me More

“A beautifully written, moving, and compassionate chronicle that deserves to be read and absorbed widely.”–Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

 

Wanderer by Sarah Léon (Author), John Cullen (Translator)

January 8

Tags: LGBTQ, debut, translation, women writers

Other Press, 209 pages

“Léon perfectly measures out past and present to reach a satisfying and intimate crescendo.”–Booklist

“[A] staggering debut…Léon’s innovative blending of events across time and her delicate emotional precision make for a bewitching, immersive experience.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

The Water Cure: A Novel by Sophie Mackintosh (@fairfairisles)

January 8

Tags: Dystopian, coming of age, women writers, feminism

Doubleday, 243 pages

Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

“A gripping, sinister fable!”–Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Virgin Suicides in this dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men.”–Description

 

We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai

January 8

Tags: YA, biography, women writers, activism

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 224 pages

“Comprising the bulk of the book are urgent, articulate first-person stories from displaced or refugee young women whom Yousafzai has encountered in her travels, whose birthplaces include Colombia, Guatemala, Syria and Yemen. … The contributors’ strength, resilience, and hope in the face of trauma is astounding, and their stories’ underlying message about the heartbreaking loss of their former lives and homelands (and the resulting “tangle of emotions that comes with leaving behind everything you know”) is profoundly moving.”–Publishers Weekly

 

GLQ at Twenty-Five edited by Marcia Ochoa and Jennifer DeVere Brody

January 10

Tags: LGBTQ, women writers, #OwnVoices

Duke University Press Books, 182 pages

“The journal GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies is where queer theory has defined and transformed itself. On the occasion of the GLQ’s twenty-fifth anniversary, the editors, authors, and readers of the journal commemorate its impact on the field.”–Description

 

Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design by Bess Williamson (@besswww)

January 15

Tags: Disability, women writers, design, US history

NYU, 304 pages

“This illuminating and thoughtful overview of the evolution of accessible design in the U.S. between the end of WWII and the late 1990s is a strong introduction to the topic…Williamson skillfully connects design concepts to changing social narratives; this work should reward readers interested in either topic.”–Publishers Weekly

 

Adèle: A Novel by Leila Slimani

January 15

Tags: Family life, women writers, psychology, addiction, Paris

Penguin Books, 240 pages

“No man would have dared write what she did. It’s an extraordinary first novel.”–Alain Mabanckou, author of Black Moses

“Eminently relatable . . . Artful, edgy . . . An unflinching exploration of female self-sacrifice and the elusive nature of satisfaction.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

The Ashford Place by Jean Copeland (@jeaniecopes)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance

Bold Strokes Books, 260 pages

“Now with her plan for a short, uncomplicated stay in Danville foiled by the growing mystery and her undeniable feelings for Ally, Belle must decide whether to stick with her original plan for a clean getaway back to the Connecticut shore or to follow her heart’s lead.”–Description

 

A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland by DaMaris Hill (@damarishill )

January 15

Tags: Poetry, women writers, Black women, incarceration

Bloomsbury Publishing. 192 pages

“DaMaris B. Hill writes the poetry of the bound black woman across the ages in this haunting, powerful collection. What you will read here is not just poetry, though. This book offers an education. This book bears witness. This book is a reckoning.”–Roxane Gay

 

Emily’s Art and Soul by Joy Argento

Tags: LGBTQ, romance, women writers

Bold Strokes Books

“When Emily meets Andi Marino she thinks she’s found a new best friend, just the right kind of fun and caring person to keep her from spending every weekend alone. So when Emily discovers she’s a lesbian and wants to explore her feelings for women, Andi seems like the perfect social guide. Except Emily doesn’t know that Andi has been attracted to her from the start and is fast falling in love with her. Caught up in exploring her sexuality, will Emily see the only woman she needs is right in front of her?”–Description

 

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay 

January 15

Tags: Debut, women writers, literary fiction, India, #OwnVoices

Grove Press, 448 pages

“A ghastly secret lies at the heart of Madhuri Vijay’s stunning debut, The Far Field, and every chapter beckons us closer to discovering it….The Far Field chafes against the useless pity of outsiders and instead encourages a much more difficult solution: cross-cultural empathy.–Madeline Day, Paris Review

“Remarkable…an engrossing narrative… Vijay’s stunning debut novel expertly intertwines the personal and political to pick apart the history of Jammu and Kashmir.”–Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (@Roshani_Chokshi)

January 15

Tags: YA, historical, fantasy, women writers

Wednesday Books, 400 pages

“Chokshi delivers a thrilling, gritty new fantasy set in an alternate nineteenth century Paris… Chokshi shines as a master storyteller in her newest novel; the setting, world building, plot, and conflict are all staggering. However, the elements that perhaps shine the most are the history, riddles, mysteries, and science, woven together in a world brimming with power and magic.”–Booklist, Starred Review

 

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (@danijshapiro)

January 15

Tags: Memoir, women writers, family, #OwnVoices

Knopf, 250 pages

A Washington Post, Vulture, Bustle, Real Simple, PopSugar, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2019 and an Apple Books Best of January 2019

“Fascinating… With thoughtful candor, [Shapiro] explores the ethical questions surrounding sperm donation, the consequences of DNA testing, and the emotional impact of having an uprooted religious and ethnic identity. This beautifully written, thought-provoking genealogical mystery will captivate readers from the very first pages.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

Music City Dreamers by Robyn Nyx (@robyn_nyx)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance, women writers

Bold Strokes Books, 292 pages

When Heather and Louie “meet at the Bluebird Café, sparks fly. But Heather knows what being an out lesbian in Nashville would do to her career. Louie isn’t willing to be anything other than exactly who she is. Thrust together to work with Country royalty, they must figure out how to be Music City dreamers without losing themselves and, ultimately, each other.”–Description

 

My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir by Tia Torres

January 15

Tags: Memoir, women writers, essays, animals, #OwnVoices

William Morrow, 240 pages

“Torres does vital, admirable work, and fans of her show as well as animal lovers in general will enjoy these warm-hearted recollections.”–Booklist

 

 

Ordinary is Perfect by D. Jackson Leigh (@djacksonleigh)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance, women writers

Bold Strokes Books, 226 pages

“Atlanta marketing superstar Autumn Swan’s world is anything but simple. Constantly plugged in to what’s trending on social media, it’s her job to keep her clients ahead of the competition. When her favorite cousin dies suddenly, she finds herself the owner of a modest country home, guardian to a sullen, tomboyish ten-year-old, and neighbor to an intriguing woman who isn’t as ordinary as she appears.”–Description

 

Royal Court by Jenny Frame (@jennyframe91)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance

Bold Strokes Books, 290 pages

“When a threat to the Queen Consort emerges, Quincy and Holly clash over the best way to protect her. As the fiery passion they can’t deny begins to melt Quincy’s heart, Holly must decide how much of her own she is willing to risk.”–Description

 

Spiral of Silence: A Novel by Elvira Sánchez-Blake (Author), Lorena Terando (Translator)

January 15

Tags: Latinx, women writers, Colombia, historical fiction, #OwnVoices

Curbstone Books 2, 272 pages

“Sánchez Blake’s novel gives both a face and a voice to a segment of the population that has been largely overlooked and undervalued in not only official historical documentation but also . . . literary production . . . [it] represents a noteworthy step forward in the breaking of the silence that has long entrapped half the Colombian population.”–Michelle Sharp, Multiple Modernities: Carmen de Burgos, Author and Activist

 

Unmarriageable: A Novel by Soniah Kamal (@SoniahKamal)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, family, literary fiction, women writers, Pakistan, #OwnVoices

Ballantine, 352 pages

“A rollicking good ride . . . The opulent landscape of Pakistan’s moneyed (and unmoneyed) social elite is exactly the kind of modern update Pride and Prejudice needs. This is one of those books that is hard to put down.”–SJ Sindu, author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies

 

You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories by Kristen Roupenian (@KRoupenian)

January 15

Tags: #MeToo, #OwnVoices, women writers, short stories

Gallery/Scout Press, 240 pages

“If you think you know what this collection will be like, you’re wrong. These stories are sharp and perverse, dark and bizarre, unrelenting and utterly bananas. I love them so, so much.”–Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award Finalist and author of Her Body and Other Parties

 

Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich (@yelenamoskovich)

January 17

Tags: LGBTQ, Ukraine, #OwnVoices, Wisconsin, women writers, Prague, romance

Serpent’s Tail, 256 pages

“Written with the dramatic tension of Euripidean tragedy and the dreamlike quality of a David Lynch film, Virtuoso is an audacious, mesmerising novel of love in the post-communist diaspora.”–Description

 

 

Sourpuss: A Dark Comedy by Merricat Mulwray (@merricatmulwray)

January 20

Tags: Humor, debut, women writers

Haigh 38 Press, 277 pages

“In the style of a ’90s dark comedy flick, Merricat Mulwray’s debut brings an insightful and humorous perspective to the reckless behavior college students perpetually get away with. Mallory, herself a flawed heroine, is backed by a self-serving cast of athletes, party girls, townies, and fraternity brothers so hilariously dark that the book will leave you wondering if anyone ever gets what they deserve.”–Description

 

Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum by Eva A. Mendes and Meredith R. Maroney

January 21

Tags: Gender, health, women writers

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 208 pages

“With expertise and deep empathy, Eva Mendes and Meredith Maroney amplify the diverse voices of people on the autism spectrum. In exploring sexual orientation and gender, alongside other aspects of personal identity, the authors demonstrate and model respect for the humanity of autistic adults and teens. An important and timely read!”–Hillary Hurst Bush, PhD, Staff Psychologist and Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

 

The Reflective Workbook for Partners of Transgender People: Your Transition as Your Partner Transitions by D.M. Maynard

January 21

Tags: Transgender, health, relationships

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 336 pages

“Providing support and guidance for partners of trans people, this workbook offers them a safe space to explore their own wants and needs. With advice on legal, financial and sexual matters, it is a must have for all trans partners.”–Description

 

Working with Trans Survivors of Sexual Violence: A Guide for Professionals by Sally Rymer and Valentina Cartei

January 21

Tags: Transgender, violence, women writers

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 184 pages

“This excellent book, based in extensive service provision experience and academic expertise, should be a touchstone for sexual violence organisations, scholars and anyone interested in understanding the challenges transgender survivors face. On highly politicised terrain, Rymer and Cartei have managed to create an accessible, evidence-based and practical text which will be appreciated by many.” Alison Phipps, Professor of Gender Studies, Sussex University

 

Careful What You Wish For by Jackie Calhoun

January 22

Tags: Wisconsin, LGBTQ, romance, #OwnVoices

Bella Books, 252 pages

“Determined to make it on her own, Chelsea picks herself up and starts to rebuild her life. She attempts to reconnect with her daughters, edits books for a lesbian press, and finds a part-time job. Along the way, she makes friends and falls in love. Will she manage to create a meaningful new life without losing those she loved and left? Does she get a second chance at happiness?”–Description

 

Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar by Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung

January 22

Tags: Myanmar (Burma), women writers, #OwnVoices, politics, economy

University of Wisconsin Press, 320 pages

“Required reading for students and professionals interested in political economy, development, aid, society, and culture in Myanmar and Southeast Asia, and within and beyond the field of Asian studies. Original and exciting.”–Maitrii Aung-Thwin, National University of Singapore

“Particularly exciting is Thawnghmung’s attention to deference, noncompliance, accommodation, and participation in perpetuating the status quo.”–Ken MacLean, Clark University

 

Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution by Helen Zia 

January 22

Tags: China, immigration, women writers, history, #OwnVoices

Ballantine Books, 528 pages

“Zia’s portraits are compassionate and heartbreaking, and they are, ultimately, the universal story of many families who leave their homeland as refugees and find less-than-welcoming circumstances on the other side. I read with a personal hunger to know the political and personal exigencies that led to those now-or-never decisions, for they mirror the story of my own mother, who also left on virtually the last boat out of Shanghai.”–Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club

 

Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America by Elise Hooper

January 22

Tags: Historical fiction, creative biography, women writers, photography

William Morrow, 384 pages

“Historical fiction fans will gobble up Hooper’s novel and be left with the satisfied feeling that they have lived through much of the twentieth century with Dorothea Lange.”–Publishers Weekly

 

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (@stepville)

January 22

Tags: Poverty, women writers, #OwnVoices, parenthood, work

Hachette Books, 288 pages

Forbes, Most Anticipated Books of the Year

“What this book does well is illuminate the struggles of poverty and single-motherhood, the unrelenting frustration of having no safety net, the ways in which our society is systemically designed to keep impoverished people mired in poverty, the indignity of poverty by way of unmovable bureaucracy, and people’s lousy attitudes toward poor people… Land’s prose is vivid and engaging… [A] tightly-focused, well-written memoir… an incredibly worthwhile read.”–Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger: A Memoir

 

Rising Above by Genevieve Fortin (@kenefief)

January 22

Tags: LGBTQ, romance

Bella Books, 226 pages

“Ana and Melodie would gladly keep staying out of each other’s way, but Mother Nature has other plans. Trapped inside the inn when a strong storm surge hits the beach community, they’re forced to come together to face the terrifying event and its aftermath. Can they rise above their conflicting beliefs and let their attraction take the lead?”–Description

 

The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson (@jodie_GeorgiaNY)

January 29

Tags: Trans, memoir, #OwnVoices, Black women, family, parenthood

Ballantine Books, 352 pages

“A courageous and poetic testimony on family and the self, and the learning and unlearning we must do for those we love. In her stunning and moving debut, Jodie Patterson offers us all a blueprint for what it means to be a champion for our children and encourage us to be bold enough to let our babies lead the way, especially when we don’t have answers. Required reading for every parent, and anyone who has ever been parented.”–Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty

 

Disrupt-Her: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman by Miki Agrawal (@twinmiki)

January 29

Tags: Business, feminism, #OwnVoices, women writers

Hay House Inc., 296 pages

“Miki’s book Disrupt-Her is a one-of-a-kind manifesto that takes you by the hand, energetically pulls you away from societal preconceptions, and pushes you toward a life and world of possibility and abundance where you will shout, ‘YES!! I CAN DO ANYTHING!’ Miki lived through all the ups and downs of being a Disrupt-her and emerges with this book and perspective of life that is vulnerable, POWERFUL and contagious. She was born to write this book. Get it and it will change your life.”–Radha Agrawal, founder and CEO of Daybreaker.com and author of Belong

 

The Falconer: A Novel by Dana Czapnik (@danaczapnik)

January 29

Tags: Debut, women writers, coming of age, literary fiction

Atria Books, 288 pages

“Smart, tough, an extraordinary athlete, Lucy Adler teeters, zealous and baffled, on the cusp of womanhood. Dana Czapnik’s frank heroine has a voice, and a perspective, you won’t soon forget. The Falconer is an exhilarating debut.”–Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl and The Woman Upstairs

 

House of Stone: A Novel by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (@NovuyoRTshuma)

January 29

Tags: Politics, literary fiction, women writers, debut, Zimbabwe, #OwnVoices

W. W. Norton & Company, 400 pages

“Tshuma writes in an arresting and trenchant prose that shows a gifted artist at work.”–NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names

“Novuyo Tshuma writes with an equal commitment to Joycean formal inventiveness and political conscience, and the result is absolutely thrilling.”–Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

 

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (@Sabina_Writer)

January 29

Tags: LGBTQ, Islam, coming of age, YA, family, women writers, Bangladesh

Scholastic Inc., 336 pages

“With an up-close depiction of the intersection of the LGBTQIA+ community with Bengali culture, this hard-hitting and hopeful story is a must-purchase for any YA collection.”–School Library Journal, starred review

“This book will break your heart and then, chapter by chapter, piece it back together again. A much-needed addition to any YA shelf.”–Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi

 

Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets by Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones)

January 29

Tags: Black women, feminism, #OwnVoices

Beacon Press , 224 pages

Reclaiming Our Space is an invaluable contribution to long-overdue conversations about race, gender, and intersectionality in America. Feminista Jones combines empathy and wisdom with intellectual rigor and historical analysis to explain clearly and compellingly the central role that Black feminists play in the fight for democracy and social justice.”–Soraya Chemaly, director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project and author of Rage Becomes Her

 

The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan (@HalaNAlyan)

January 29

Tags: Poetry, women writers, LGBTQ, Middle East, #OwnVoices, Palestine

Mariner Books, 96 pages

“Mapping a year of change, Hala Alyan uses wit, metaphor, and powerful imagery in this collection of deeply intimate and truth-telling poems. Her words brave through gender, love, marriage, family, and displacement. They unsettle the hyphen between Palestinian and American. These stunning poems endure the unendurable, illuminating both the powerlessness of pain and the relentless courage of love. Listen for her lyrical heart: letters, prayers, and portraits. Listen for what overlooks and fires free.”–Aja Monet, author of My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter

 

We Shall See the Sky Sparkling by Susana Aikin (@Susana_Aikin)

January 29

Tags: Debut, women writers, historical fiction, Russia

Kensington, 416 pages

“Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.”–Description

 

 

The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers by Bridgett M. Davis 

January 29

Tags: Memoir, history, Black women, #OwnVoices, coming of age, Detroit

Little, Brown and Company, 320 pages

“Novelist Davis honors her mother in this lively and heartfelt memoir of growing up in the 1960s and ’70s Detroit…This charming tale of a strong and inspirational woman offers a tantalizing glimpse into the past, savoring the good without sugarcoating the bad.”–Publishers Weekly

 

So there’s the New Reads for the Rest of Us for January 2019 list – What are you reading this month??

 

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Best Reads (and Book Gifts) for the Rest of Us - 2018

Best Reads (and Book Gifts) for the Rest of Us – 2018

This year I set out to read only books by womxn and focused on #OwnVoices books by BIPOC, TGNC, LGBTQ, and international writers.  

I’m on track to read 50 titles and have really enjoyed most of them. I even read a few by men (still #OwnVoices) that I would recommend (you can read those reviews here, here, and here).

In this post, I want to share with you my favorites, by womxn, just in time for gift-giving season! All of these would be great ideas to give to your friend or family member who enjoys reading #OwnVoices.

First, my favorite book of the year:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Best Reads (and Book Gifts) for the Rest of Us - 2018

One of the first books I read this year, Freshwater blew my expectations away and set a high bar for my reading during the rest of 2018. Complex and unique, this coming of age story is set against a backdrop of Nigerian spirituality and tradition. With strong themes of gender, sex, relationships, identity, health, violence, and more, Akwaeke Emezi shares their journey and I am here for it.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Friends who enjoy literary fiction, creative memoirs, or symbolic and layered stories; queer or TGNC friends; those who like reading African writers and just magnificent writing.

And to round out the Top 5:

Best Reads (and Book Gifts) for the Rest of Us - 2018A Little in Love with Everyone by Genevieve Hudson

I adore this little book! I’ve read it three times already; it is my book girlfriend. It just really resonated with my own experiences in many ways and I dig Genevieve Hudson’s writing style. The book is genre-defying in that it is part history lesson, part memoir, part biography, part book review, part manifesta, and all homage to Alison Bechdel.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Writers, readers who enjoy memoir, creative friends, lesbian friends, fans of Alison Bechdel’s work.

 

Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

I didn’t write reviews of these books (yet?) but LOVED them. I am skeptical that I could write reviews that could do them justice. I was so ready for the (often very different) tones of these books. Juxtaposing them makes sense to me; I feel both – sometimes in the same day.

Gift Black Queer Hoe to readers who like poetry, readers who don’t like poetry, fans of spoken word, queer friends, your best girl friend from waaay back who is apologetically strong and takes no shit. Also consider pairing this with José Olivàrez’s Citizen Illegal, which is equally amazing.

Gift Heart Berries to friends who enjoy creative memoir, poetic writing, and deep or emotional books; those looking to hear Indigenous womxn’s voices; those who don’t mind books that make them cry.

 

Best Reads (and Book Gifts) for the Rest of Us - 2018Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

This is a beautifully written book; Ingrid Rojas Contreras is just a fantastic storyteller. Her characters are fully and meticulously developed and I felt invested in them, their lives, and their survival. It inspired me to learn more about Colombia, its past and present, especially regarding womxn’s roles and rights.  An amazing debut based on the life the author.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Friends who enjoy historical fiction, creative memoirs, rich character and plot development, coming of age stories. Those looking for Latina/x voices and great writing will not be disappointed.

 

And the remainder of the Top 10:

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

I read this book very early in the year and was excited by its brave girl lead characters. This alone is reason enough to read the book but I knew it was important to push myself past the initial awe at this story of strength and resiliency. When I did, I experienced an even deeper story of multidimensional characters navigating their lives and attempting to balance tradition with self-realization.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Those who like international stories, stories of resilience and friendship; friends with girl children; those who appreciate rich characters and holistic plots.

 

Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

Despite the premise of the book, I found this one fun! One of the strengths of Heng’s writing – and there are many – is her commitment to detail. Her ability to describe this near-future world is rivaled only by her presentation of it; while she is descriptive in her storytelling, Heng also trusts her reader to put the various pieces together.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Those who enjoy dystopian and speculative fiction and books that make you wonder what you would do in that situation; those who like family dramas, strong character development, and unique plots.

 

Unpologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers

I haven’t reviewed this one (yet?) but it is an amazing resource. Accessible and pragmatic, the book explains the Black Queer Feminist (BQF) framework and provides examples of it at work.

Gift to: Your activist friends and your academic friends;  your friend who runs a local non-profit org doing imperative, yet largely invisible, work for amazing, yet largely invisible, people in the community;  you funder friends (with a card stuck inside the cover of your friend who runs the non-profit).

 

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

This is another one that I loved and didn’t review. Another one that I honestly got stuck trying to figure out how to do it justice. This book was not written for me and I am sure some of the nuances were lost. But it was one of the most important reads of the year for me. It deserves a second and third reading.

Gift to: Busy readers who dig powerful, witty short stories with meaning; those who enjoy really good writing; readers who like literary fiction with sharp corners.

 

Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists by Naomi Klein

While Naomi Klein’s book explores only one facet of the effects of Maria on Puerto Rico – disaster capitalists setting their sights on Puerto Rico in its vulnerable post-Maria state – it is an imperative issue to address. Only a brief (although necessary) introduction, the book offers a firm foundation to understanding disaster capitalism, the shock doctrine phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico was susceptible to more than just hurricane damage when Maria struck.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Anyone interested in Puerto Rico, the effects of colonialism, capitalism, and/or natural disasters, or the empowerment of local people to lead the efforts of rebuilding how they see fit.

 

Honorable mentions:

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

I hadn’t planned to read this one but when I received a copy from the publisher at a conference, I couldn’t help but race through this short but powerful work that feels like having a meaningful and candid conversation with a girlfriend.

Gift to: Queer or TGNC friends, accomplices who appreciate reading #OwnVoices books, friends who like reading memoirs, friends who want to understand more of the nuances of gender identity and non-comformity to established binary norms.

 

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

This was the biggest surprise of the year for me. I knew it was going to be good but as one who doesn’t read reviews before I pick up a book, I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected turns, the complex lead characters, and the surprising plot twists.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Those who enjoy historical fiction, engaging or epic plots, full character development, and underdog stories; science-y, adventurous, or fantastical friends.

 

And last, but certainly not least: 

When a Bulbul Sings by Hawaa Ayoub

I wouldn’t have known about this book if it wasn’t for the author herself reaching out to me and I am so glad she did! This is a case of self-publishing that succeeds. Based on Hawaa Ayoub’s own life experiences, this book is a brave retelling of a girl’s coming of age against a backdrop of forced child marriage in Yemen.

Read my review here!

Gift to: Friends who like creative memoirs, stories from international authors, tales of resilience and family drama; those who are passionate about gender equality and interested in understanding (or resisting) traditional gender roles; those who appreciate detailed character and setting development.

 

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

What were your favorite reads of 2018?

 

This post contains affiliate links; I write what I like.

Review of Before She Sleeps

From Reluctance to Rebellion: A Review of Bina Shah’s BEFORE SHE SLEEPS

Green City in South West Asia is lush, modern, and hi-tech – a model of beauty and prosperity. The air is clean. Women are provided for and protected. There are good citizenship classes and robotic doormen.

Green City also has DNA security scanners. It has assigned marriages and women must take multiple husbands. As “the mothers of the new nation,” they are responsible for repopulating society and kept constantly pregnant. And if they break the rules as laid out in the “Handbook for Female Citizens,” there are harsh punishments – including “elimination.”

This is the world described in Bina Shah’s intriguing new dystopian novel, Before She Sleeps.

Bina Shah

The author, Bina Shah.

What first attracted me to this novel was its cover. It is alien-futuristic and I envisioned AI robots and flying cars everywhere. But it also gave me a sense of being someone down low to the ground, looking up at the new world from the depths.

Before she sleeps by Bina Shah

I wondered if the underground was somehow going to play a part in the story – and indeed it does.

Because also in this world, there lives a group of women who refuse to capitulate to the new rules of forced marriage and childbearing. These women live underground only venturing out at night to provide a secret service to men – and it’s not the one you think.

These women don’t provide men with sex, but with intimacy. These women touch men, listen to men, hold men as they fall asleep; they give men the individual closeness they are desperately craving in this world. And although this allows the women to avoid the life of a wife, there is still a steep price to pay.

Throughout the book I wondered: is that price worth it?

What does freedom mean to me? What would I be willing to give up for it?

And were any of the women in Green City or its underground truly free?

“I don’t like the idea of being the sandpaper to smooth a man’s rough edges, but it’s better than being an entire nation’s incubator.”

Before She Sleeps has been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, and rightfully so. The premises regarding women are very similar, wherein men hold all the power, despite the necessity of the women in sustaining life.

“Girls and women in Green City were required to have public profiles that men could peruse before applying for a Wife.”

What sets this novel apart from others in this genre is its grounding in South Asian and Muslim cultures and its commentary on some of the patriarchal traditions of those cultures.

Shah refers to these identities in a variety of ways throughout the book and makes statements on customs that oppress many Pakistani and Muslim women today, such as veiling practices and gender selection. These markers add tremendous value and yet are subtle enough to not affect the universality of the story.

While its getting increasingly difficult to shine amongst the growing field of feminist dystopian novels, Shah offers a valuable example of what will keep this genre fresh: stories that offer readers a relevant themes of resistance to patriarchal futures based on varying cultures, religions, identities, and other perspectives.

While the feminist in me appreciated the anti-patriarchal messaging of the book, I have to admit that the lesbian in me was like: “Wait. Where are all my queers?!”

via GIPHY

Even though the “Gender Emergency” is mentioned repeatedly throughout the book, I felt it needed more development. There is no mention of people who are gender nonconforming, nonbinary, trans, queer, gay or otherwise. Where did they all go? Even the handbook only refers to “females.” The two or three times that the possibility of a man’s sexual relationship with another man is mentioned, it is framed by violence and shame – definitely not the portrayals we need reproduced.

I wanted to hear more about the Gender Emergency, the HPV that mutated and caused the decline of women, and the “Perpetuation scheme,” which was supposed to address the disparity. I also wondered what was happening in the rest of the world, outside of South West Asia. Some history was explained – there were references to the “Final War,” the three waves, nuclear winter – but if more developed, these details would’ve made a strong book even better.

Overall Shah’s writing is solid and she is adept at switching between voices of her characters. While this style may seem disjointed to some readers, I felt that it added to the overall feelings of volatility and imbalance of the world Shah built.

Despite some shortcomings, this is a satisfying and engaging novel that offers a nuanced take on the growing feminist dystopian genre. I look forward to reading more by Bina Shah.

This is a quick read that I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in speculative or dystopian writing, fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, and those with an interest in feminist literature, international writers, and/or women writers of color.

Find Bina Shah online at http://www.binashah.net/ and on Twitter @BinaShah.

Summary:

Title: Before She Sleeps
Author: Bina Shah
Publisher: Delphinium Books
Pages: 280 pages
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Tags: Pakistan, feminism, dystopian, women writers
My Rating: Recommended

Content information: Talk of rape, suicide

 

To learn more:

BINA SHAH – The Rebel Who Writes by Rabia Mushtaq for Mag the Weekly

Kirkus review

Publisher’s Weekly review

Technology and Terror Fill Bina Shah’s Dystopian Society in “Before She Sleeps” by Rachel Fogle De Souza for BookTrib

 

This post contains affiliate links. All reviews are honest and my own. Thanks to Bina Shah, Delphinium, and NetGalley for a complimentary ARC!

15 Must-Reads for the Rest of Us – 2018 – Part II

15 Must-Reads for the Rest of Us – 2018 – Part II

Is it the middle of JULY already?? It’s hard to believe, but here we are.

I’ve read quite a bit this year, including 8 of 12 of the books on my Must-Reads for the Rest of Us Part I list. Well, the second half of the year is upon us and here is the Must Reads for the Rest of Us 2018, Part II!

On Part I, I stuck to fiction but on Part II, I had to make a few exceptions. There are some exciting new nonfiction titles coming out by the end of the year, to be sure.

I can’t include everything I am interested in on this list so, as usual, I prioritize debut books written by womxn, authors of color, Black women, queer and gender noncomforming authors, authors from the Global South, and other authors of historically marginalized populations. They are listed below by the month in which they will be released.

You’ll see some books left off of this list that you might think should be on it. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to or won’t read them, it just means that they are often written by white women and/or have gotten a lot of attention on other outlets and I wanted to focus on ones you may not have heard about yet by historically underrepresented populations. Think: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, Open Me by Lisa Locascio, The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg, Transcription by Kate Atkinson, and others. One could include Michelle Obama’s memoir in this but I don’t care, I cannot wait to read it and so added it to this list!

Which of the following will you read?

 

Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah (@BinaShah)

August 7

Tags: Dystopian, women writers, Pakistan, Muslim women

Delphinium, 256 pages

“A haunting dystopian thriller…Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale won’t want to miss this one.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Check out Bina Shah’s website, https://thefeministani.com/, which is full of amazing writing on Pakistan, feminism, and more.

You can read my review here!

 

Assata Taught Me: State Violence, Mass Incarceration, and the Movement for Black Lives by Donna Murch

August 14

Tags: Black Lives Matter, Black women, women writers, feminism, politics, race, incarceration

Haymarket Books, 200 pages

“Black Panther and Cuban exile, Assata Shakur, has inspired multiple generations of radical protest, including our contemporary Black Lives Matter movement. Drawing its title from one of America’s foremost revolutionaries this collection of thought-provoking essays by award-winning Panther scholar Donna Murch explores how social protest is challenging our current system of state violence and mass incarceration.

Assata Taught Me offers a fresh and much-needed historical perspective on the fifty years since the founding of the Black Panther Party, in which the world’s largest police state has emerged.”–Description

 

Severance by Ling Ma

August 14

Tags: Humor, women writers, debut

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pages

“A biting indictment of late-stage capitalism and a chilling vision of what comes after . . . [Ma] knows her craft, and it shows. [Her protagonist] is a wonderful mix of vulnerability, wry humor, and steely strength…. Ma also offers lovely meditations on memory and the immigrant experience. Smart, funny, humane, and superbly well-written.”–Kirkus, starred review

“Embracing the genre but somehow transcending it, Ma creates a truly engrossing and believable anti-utopian world. Ma’s extraordinary debut marks a notable creative jump by playing on the apocalyptic fears many people share today.”–Booklist, starred review

 

Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century by Barbara Ransby (@BarbaraRansby)

August 17

Tags: Women writers, nonfiction, Black women, Black Lives Matter, #OwnVoices

University of California Press, 240 pages

“I can imagine no more perfect example of the dedicated scholar/activist than Barbara Ransby. She now offers us an analysis of the Movement for Black Lives, and its historical continuities and ruptures, that reflects both her considerable skills as a historian and her rich experience as an activist. This book passionately urges us to adapt the radical and feminist versions of democracy that will move us forward.”–Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

 

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac)

August 28

Tags: Queer, Black women, women writers, politics, race, #OwnVoices

Beacon Press, 184 pages

“Charlene Carruthers is a powerful organizer, radical thinker, paradigm-shifter, and one of the most influential political voices of her generation. Anyone seriously interested in the struggle for Black liberation in this country needs to listen carefully to what she has to say.”–Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement and Making All Black Lives Matter

 

She Would Be King: A Novel by Wayétu Moore (@Wayetu)

September 11

Tags: Liberia, magical realism, women authors, historical fiction, debut

Graywolf, 312 pages

“In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.”–Description

 

She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak by Azeenarh Mohammed (@xeenarh), Chitra Nagarajan (@chitranagarajan), and Rafeeat Aliyu (@rafeeeeta)

September 12

Tags: Queer, Nigeria, Black women, women authors, trans, #OwnVoices

Cassava Republic Press, 340 pages

“This stirring and intimate collection brings together 25 captivating narratives to paint a vivid portrait of what it means to be a queer Nigerian woman. Covering an array of experiences – the joy and excitement of first love, the agony of lost love and betrayal, the sometimes-fraught relationship between sexuality and spirituality, addiction and suicide, childhood games and laughter – She Called Me Woman sheds light on how Nigerian queer women, despite their differences, attempt to build a life together in a climate of fear.”–Description

 

Washington Black: A novel by Esi Edugyan

September 18

Tags: Historical fiction, adventure, literary, women writers

Knopf, 352 pages

“Washington Black is nothing short of a masterpiece. Esi Edugyan has a rare talent for turning over little known stones of history and giving her reader a new lens on the world, a new way of understanding subject matter we arrogantly think we know everything about. This book is an epic adventure and a heartfelt tale about love and morality and their many contradictions. I loved it.”–Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird

Read my review here!

 

A Rebel in Gaza: Behind the Lines of the Arab Spring, One Woman’s Story by Asmaa al-Ghoul and Selim Nassib with Mike Mitchell (Translator)

October 16

Tags: Palestine, Gaza, memoir, biography, #OwnVoices

DoppelHouse Press, 224 pages

“Asmaa al-Ghoul is a Palestinian journalist who grew up in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. Her book offers a rare view of a young woman coming into her own political and secular beliefs amidst the region’s relentless violence and under Israeli occupation…A Rebel in Gaza is Asmaa’s story as told to Franco-Lebanese writer Selim Nassib over the course of the “Arab Spring” through meetings, phone calls, Skype, and even texts during the siege of Gaza in 2014…”

Ghoul was given the prestigious Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women’s Media Foundation and is described by The New York Times as a woman ‘known for her defiant stance against the violations of civil rights in Gaza.'”–Description

My review of this title is forthcoming!

 

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim (ed.) (@guidetoglo)

October 30

Tags: Literary, essays, Black women, women writers, #OwnVoices

Ballantine Books, 224 pages

“An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature. Contributors include Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and Barbara Smith (Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology).”–Description

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama)

November 13

Tags: Women writers, Black women, memoir, #OwnVoices

Crown, 400 pages

“In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.”–Description

 

All the Lives We Never Lived: A Novel by Anuradha Roy

November 20

Tags: India, women writers, family, literary, #OwnVoices

Atria, 288 pages

“[Roy] is a writer of great subtlety and intelligence, who understands that emotional power comes from the steady accretion of detail….[All the Lives We Never Lived] does not directly refer to #MeToo or the macho hyper-nationalism of today’s India. But in its portrayal of power structures, it is part of those very contemporary political conversations. It is also a beautifully written and compelling story of how families fall apart and of what remains in the aftermath.”–Kamila Shamsie, The Guardian

 

The Houseguest: And Other Stories by Amparo Dávila with Matthew Gleeson (Translator) and Audrey Harris (Translator)

November 20

Tags: Women writers, short stories, Mexico, literary, translation, #OwnVoices

New Directions, 144 pages

“Filled with nightmarish imagery (“Sometimes I saw hundreds of small eyes fastened to the dripping windowpanes”) and creeping dread, Dávila’s stories plunge into the nature of fear, proving its force no matter if its origin is physical or psychological, real or imagined.”–Publishers Weekly

“The work of Amparo Dávila is unique in Mexican literature. There is no one like her, no one with that introspection and complexity.”–Elena Poniatowska

 

My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite

November 20

Tags: Nigeria, Black women, women writers, debut, humor, #OwnVoices

Doubleday, 240 pages

“Who is more dangerous? A femme fatale murderess or the quiet, plain woman who cleans up her messes? In My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite answers that question with an original and compelling debut. I never knew what was going to happen, but found myself pulling for both sisters, as I relished the creepiness and humor of this modern noir.”–Helen Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of American Housewife

Read my review here!

 

Revolution Sunday by Wendy Guerra with Achy Obejas (Translator)

December 4

Tags: Cuba, women writers, thriller, Latinx

Melville House, 208 pages

“A novel about glamour, surveillance, and corruption in contemporary Cuba, from an internationally bestselling author–who has never before been translated into English.”–Description

My review of this title is forthcoming!

 

What is on your reading list for the rest of the year? Which books are you most excited about?

 

This post contains affiliate links. 

Review of Suicide Club

A Life Well Lived: A Review of Rachel Heng’s SUICIDE CLUB

Would you want to live forever?

In her debut novel Suicide Club, Rachel Heng reaffirms the notion of “be careful what you wish for” and challenges her readers to reflect upon the price they would pay for immortality.

RachelHeng

The author, Rachel Heng.

We live in a world where the quest for long life is a multimillion dollar industry. In Heng’s near future setting, people live for hundreds of years. But at what cost?

In this engaging story, Lea Kirino is a successful woman with the potential to live forever. By all accounts, she has a profitable career, a loving relationship, a comfortable apartment.

They burst out laughing. Todd laughed too, right on cue. Their laughter was rich and cascading, a golden ribbon unfurling through the party, making people turn to look, people who were until then perfectly secure of their position in life but at that moment felt something was missing. (page 7)

Lea follows all of the suggested guidelines for nutrition (juicing), exercise (low impact, including no running), and avoiding stress (even too much smiling causes unwanted wrinkles).

It wasn’t often, these days, that things broke anymore. Everything was toughened, reinforced, enhanced. You really had to try to break something. (page 132)

Then one day, she sees her estranged father on the street and it changes everything. Lea begins to question being a “lifer” as she is confronted by the divergent and illegal ideas of her father and the mysterious Suicide Club.

The Suicide Club is made up of people who challenge the status quo that immortality – and the price one pays for it – is a worthwhile goal. The members are committed to exercising autonomy and control over the course of their lives: to eat what they want, live how they please, and die how (and when) they choose.

“Something has to change. In being robbed of our deaths, we are robbed of our lives.” (page 2)

Lea begins to question everything; everything she thought was true and right. Heng challenges her readers to consider issues of longevity but also family relationships, wealth and consumption, and what truly makes life worth living – and dying. For me, it brought up contemplation about the right to die with dignity and autonomy, though not specifically taken on in the book.

One of the strengths of Heng’s writing – and there are many – is her commitment to detail. Her ability to describe this world is rivaled only by her presentation of it; while she is descriptive in her storytelling, Heng also trusts her reader to put the various pieces together. She takes her time and brings the reader into Lea’s world day by day. The result is a dynamic, multidimensional setting and intriguing characters that set the stage for the readers’ reflections.

Lea felt a heaviness in her lower back, as if the weight of all their problems, all their pain, had crept into her body, wrapped itself around the base of her spine, settled there. Calcified, anchored, immovable. (page 274)

Suicide Club is a thought-provoking novel perfect for readers who like dystopian or speculative fiction that makes you think. I was both entertained and intrigued by the book; it held my interest throughout. With characters you will relate to and a story that will draw you in, Suicide Club is one of the strongest debuts of the year.

Find Rachel Heng online at https://www.rachelhengqp.com/ and on Twitter @rachelhengqp.

For further reading:

Summary:

Suicide Club by Rachel HengTitle: Suicide Club: A Novel About Living
Author: Rachel Heng
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 352
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
My Rating: Highly Recommended

 

Suicide Club


 

Content information (potential spoilers):
Animal cruelty pages 100-103; several descriptions and discussions of suicide; bullying and violence pages 177-181; self-harm page 98; descriptions of sickness, hospitalization, dying, and death; family estrangement and death; sex pages 278-280; murder.

Disclosures:
I received an advance reader’s edition of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Henry Holt, Declan Taintor, and Rachel Heng.
This review contains affiliate links. Please support independent booksellers! 

New Reads for the Rest of Us – July 2018 Releases

My new book release lists are undergoing a name change!

Welcome to New Reads for the Rest of Us for July 2018.

I updated the title to better represent my purpose for these lists. You’ll be able to read more about this soon in a new post and an updated values statement but for now, just know that I will continue to offer you all the latest titles by womxn writers. (You might also notice that I added additional info about each title including tags and page counts.)

Essentially, I aim to amplify the books written by those who are historically underrepresented including, but not limited to: women of color, women from the Global South, women who are black, indigenous, disabled, queer, fat, immigrants, Muslim, sex-positive, and more. My lists are intersectional, feminist, and trans-inclusive. I also want to highlight books by gender non-conforming people (who may or may not be described by the term “womxn”).

So here’s July’s list! There are so many great titles here, which will you read??

 

I Remember Nelson Mandela by Vimla Naidoo and Sahm Venter (eds.)

July 1

Tags: South Africa, women writers, biography, #OwnVoices, Black women, Mandela

Jacana Media, 224 pages

“The idea to gather the memories of those who served Madiba into a book came from an understanding that most people in South Africa, and those around the world, knew him as an icon; as a public figure. It was important to me that the stories of those close to him be published so that fifty years from now, even a hundred years from now, when future generations want to know who Nelson Mandela was, they would not only be told the story of the head of state, but they would be able to read the story of a human being with a caring heart and generous soul.“–Mrs. Graça Machel

 

Without a Country by Ayse KulinWithout A Country by Ayse Kulin, Kenneth Dakan (translator) 

July 1

Tags: Historical fiction, World War II, Turkey, Jewish women, women writers

Amazon Crossing, 316 pages

“World War II scattered families across the globe, with only the luckiest remaining together in their new homes. In this poignant, timely novel, we meet the Jewish scientists who move from Germany to Istanbul to develop their vision of the world’s best universities. Based on the true story of neuropathologist professor Philipp Schwartz, Without a Country tells the story of one family’s migration, with all the challenges and triumphs of laying down roots in a new land.”–Gabriella Page-Fort (editor)

My review of this book is coming soon!

 

Marriage Divorce Distress in NE Brazil by MedeirosMarriage, Divorce, and Distress in Northeast Brazil: Black Women’s Perspectives on Love, Respect, and Kinship by Melanie A. Medeiros

July 2

Tags: Brazil, women writers, black women

Rutgers University Press, 222 pages

“Using an intersectional approach, Marriage, Divorce, and Distress in Northeast Brazil explores rural, working-class, black Brazilian women’s perceptions and experiences of courtship, marriage and divorce. In this book, women’s narratives of marriage dissolution demonstrate the ways in which changing gender roles and marriage expectations associated with modernization and globalization influence the intimate lives and the health and well being of women in Northeast Brazil. Melanie A. Medeiros explores the women’s rich stories of desire, love, respect, suffering, strength, and transformation.”–Description

 

When a Bulbul Sings by Hawaa Ayoub (@HawaaAyoub ‏)

July 2

Tags: Child marriage, Yemen, #OwnVoices, debut, women writers

Hawaa Ayoub, 402 pages

Hawaa Ayoub, author of When a Bulbul Sings, has experienced the traumas of forced child-marriage first hand. She hopes to raise awareness through writing about child-marriage.

This is a story about the inequality, injustice and violations of human rights millions of girls around the world face due to their gender when forced or entered into underage marriage as child brides.”–Description

 

Detroit Project by Dominique MorisseauThe Detroit Project: Three Plays by Dominique Morisseau

July 3

Tags: Plays, Michigan, black women, #ownvoices, women writers

Theatre Communications Group, 240 pages

Detroit ’67 is Morisseau’s aching paean to her natal city. . . . A deft playwright, Morisseau plays expertly with social mores and expectations. She also reframes commonplace things so that we see them in new light.”–StarTribune on Detroit ’67

“A deeply moral and deeply American play, with a loving compassion for those trapped in a system that makes sins, spiritual or societal, and self-betrayal almost inevitable.”–The New York Times on Skeleton Crew

 

Dont Let Them See Me Like This by Jasmine GibsonDon’t Let Them See Me Like This by Jasmine Gibson

July 3

Tags: Black women, poetry, women writers

Nightboat, 96 pages

“In Don’t Let Them See Me Like This, Jasmine Gibson explores myriad intersectional identities in relation to The State, disease, love, sex, failure, and triumph. Speaking to those who feel disillusioned by both radical and banal spaces and inspired/informed by moments of political crisis: Hurricane Katrina, The Jena Six, the extrajudicial executions of Black people, and the periods of insurgency that erupted in response, this book acts as a synthesis of political life and poetic form.”–Publisher description

 

Empress by Ruby LalEmpress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan by Ruby Lal

July 3

Tags: India, women writers, history

WW Norton and Co., 336 pages

“An enchanting evocation of the brilliant Mughal Empire and a tender tribute to India’s first female leader. Lush and sensuous, a jewel box of a book.”–Rosalind Miles, author of Who Cooked the Last Supper? The Women’s History of the World

“This is an outstanding book, not only incredibly important but also a fabulous piece of writing. Here, India’s greatest empress is reborn in all her fascinating glory in a luminescent account of her life and times. Ruby Lal has written a classic―one of the best biographies to come out this year and certainly the best ever of Nur Jahan.”–Amanda Foreman, author of The World Made by Women

 

Every Body Has a Story by Beverly GologorskyEvery Body Has a Story by Beverly Gologorsky

July 3

Tags: Fiction, political, poverty, women writers

Haymarket, 320 pages

“What a book! Gologorsky is at her best, weaving a tapestry of the lives of very real people, people whose lives deserve her care, her unsparing eye, and her compassion. Here is a story that cuts to the core of the way things are, and the way they can — all of a sudden — become. You heart might be ripped out by this book, but it will get placed back inside with a larger capacity to love and beat on — what a book, indeed.”–Elizabeth Strout, author of My Name is Lucy Barton and Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge

 

Great Flowing River by Chi Pang YuanThe Great Flowing River: A Memoir of China, from Manchuria to Taiwan by Chi Pang-yuan

July 3

Tags: China, women writers, memoir, Taiwan, history

Columbia University Press, 480 pages

The Great Flowing River is one of the great memoirs of modern China. Telling the story of one woman’s odyssey through the twentieth century, this is not just a deeply moving account of Chi Pang-yuan and her family, but a window into how the Chinese people came through the trauma of war and turmoil, and created a new set of civilized values in their aftermath.”–Rana Mitter, author of Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945

“This is a memoir of epic proportions. Chi’s work is a testimony of this tremendous historical period that is the long twentieth century for the Chinese and the Taiwanese peoples. The English translation of this epochal memoir is most certainly significant.”–Letty Chen, author of Writing Chinese: Reshaping Chinese Cultural Identity

 

Idiophone by Amy FusselmanIdiophone by Amy Fusselman (@AmyFusselman)

July 3

Tags: Feminism, memoir, essays, art, women writers

Coffee House Press, 132 pages

“This small and beautiful book about feminism and motherhood and art is perfect for those of us who like thinking outside of the box when we’re looking for something lovely to read.”–Vulture

“. . . Fusselman bounds with great dexterity from theme to theme—covering topics including addiction, motherhood, gender, and art—until she has transformed the traditional essay into something far wilder and more alive.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

It All Falls Down by Sheena KamalIt All Falls Down by Sheena Kamal 

July 3

Tags: Thrillers, Michigan, Canada, women writers

William Morrow, 336 pages

“Last year author Sheena Kamal introduced readers to Nora Watts in what Kirkus called ‘a searing debut’ in their starred review for The Lost Ones. […] Now Kamal returns with her highly-anticipated follow-up, It All Falls Down and the brilliant, fearless, deeply flawed Nora Watts is back and in deadly trouble…”–Publisher’s description

“Kamal laces her narrative with a palpable melancholy, effectively capturing the urban decay of Detroit while emphasizing the vibrancy and hope of the people who inhabit it. An explosive finale…sets the stage for more to come from this complicated, flawed, and utterly enthralling heroine. A stunning, emotionally resonant thriller.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred)

 

Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lin Darrow

July 4

Tags: Queer, pansexual, bisexual, genderqueer, urban fantasy

Less Than Three Press, ebook (30k words)

“In Temperance City, the streets are ruled by spelled-up gangsters, whose magic turf wars serve as a constant backdrop to civilian life. With magic strictly regulated, Eli Coello—whip-smart jewelry salesman by day, sultry torch singer by night—has always found it advantageous to hide his magical affinity for ink.

All that goes up in smoke the day Eli is forced to use his magic to foil a jewelry heist, and in doing so unwittingly catches the eye of Duke Haven, leader of the fire-flinging Pyre gang. Seeing a useful asset, Duke promptly blackmails Eli into providing unregistered spellwork.

Duke needs Eli’s ink-magic to help him pull a dangerous con against a rival gang. As the heist comes together, Eli finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the Temperance underworld—and, perhaps most dangerously, to Duke himself.”–Description

 

Slay in Your LaneSlay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

July 5

Tags: Black women, women writers, Britain, inspirational

Fourth Estate/Harper Collins, 368 pages

  • Elle’s 12 addictive books you have to read to get through in 2018
  • Metro’s best new books you have to get through in 2018
  • BBC’s hotly anticipated debut authors for 2018

“Arguably the book for 2018”–Arifa Akbar, Observer

The long-awaited, inspirational guide to life for a generation of black British women inspired to make lemonade out of lemons, and find success in every area of their lives.

Love War Stories by Ivelisse RodriguezLove War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez

July 10

Tags: Puerto Rico, Latinx women, debut, #ownvoices, short stories, women writers

Feminist Press, 200 pages

“Wise, ferocious, and beautifully executed, these tales trace the tangled roots of trauma and desire.”–Patricia Engel, author of The Veins of the Ocean

“An insightful look into girlhood, race, and the wounds of growing up, Love War Stories is a searing collection. Rodriguez has a rare gift for describing the minutiae of contemporary life, the heartaches as well as the dangers, without flinching.”–Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore

 

Marginalized Majority by Onnesha RoychoudhuriThe Marginalized Majority: Claiming Our Power in a Post-Truth America by Onnesha Roychoudhuri 

July 10

Tags: Politics, social justice, non-fiction, women writers

Melville House, 224 pages

“For too long, a privileged, pale, male minority have long claimed to speak for America. But as Onnesha Roychoudhuri shows, they are in fact profoundly out of touch with a society that’s increasingly progressive and diverse. This book is a clear-eyed pep talk for those who stand on the brink of despair and a welcome reminder that a new, true majority has the potential to rise up and change the world.”–Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform

“We have the numbers, strength, and vision to beat back the resurgent right and set a new people’s agenda. But it won’t happen until we start telling new stories about change, shedding the tired ones that have silenced and demoralized us. This book is a daring intervention to get us back in the game—and a witty, delightfully personal meditation on collective power.”–Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything

 

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa MoshfeghMy Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh 

July 10

Tags: Humor, women writers

Penguin Press, 304 pages

“Moshfegh has a keen sense of everyday absurdities, a deadpan delivery, and such a well-honed sense of irony that the narrator’s predicament never feels tragic; this may be the finest existential novel not written by a French author. . . . A nervy modern-day rebellion tale that isn’t afraid to get dark or find humor in the darkness.”–Kirkus, starred review

 

 

New Poets of Native NationsNew Poets of Native Nations by Heid E. Erdrich (@HeidErdrich) 

July 10

Tags: Poetry, Native American women, #ownvoices, women writers

Graywolf Press, 304 pages

New Poets of Native Nations gathers poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations to present the extraordinary range and power of new Native poetry.–Description

“This collection is a breathtaking, wide-ranging work of art. . . . It is a modern classic.”–BuzzFeed

 

Occasional Virgin by Hanan alShaykhThe Occasional Virgin by Hanan al-Shaykh

July 10

Tags: Arab women, women writers, humor, friendship, #ownvoices

Pantheon, 240 pages

“Novelist and memoirist al-Shaykh delivers an elegant story of a friendship that is anything but easy. . . . [The] novel is full of quiet regrets as it speaks gracefully to the challenges of friendship, challenges that threaten to drive the two women apart but that, in the end, instead strengthen their bond. Another winning book by one of the most distinguished Arabic-language writers at work today.”–Kirkus Reviews
 
“Lebanese-born, Cairo-educated, and London-based, al-Shaykh writes piercingly about Middle East upheaval and especially women in the Arab-Muslim world. Somewhere along the French Riviera, two young women from Beirut—Muslim-raised Huda and Christian-raised Yvonne—reflect on their tumultuous lives and struggles with work and love.”–Library Journal

 

Ocean of Minutes by Thea LimAn Ocean of Minutes: A Novel by Thea Lim (@thea_lim)

July 10

Tags: Debut, dystopian, immigration, women writers

Touchstone, 320 pages

[T]he novel oscillates between the present and future—a jarring juxtaposition that’s equally touching and heartbreaking… Lim’s writing shines brightest when she’s ruminating on time, memory, and love… A beautiful debut exploring how time, love, and sacrifice are never what they seem to be.–Kirkus

Lim’s enthralling novel succeeds on every level: as a love story, an imaginative thriller, and a dystopian narrative.–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

Poisoned City by Anna ClarkThe Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

July 10

Tags: Michigan, non-fiction, politics, environment, women writers

Metropolitan Books, 320 pages

“The story of the Flint crisis is disturbing enough even if one knows only a few details. But the entire case, as laid out by Anna Clark, is enraging. Clark has sifted the layers of politics, history, and myopic policy to chronicle the human costs of this tragedy. Flint is not an outlier, it’s a parable – one whose implications matter not just to a single municipality but to every city in the country and all who live in them.”–Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

“Anna Clark’s book on the Flint water crisis rises to a great challenge: it sacrifices neither complexity nor moral clarity. And by etching this story’s outlines in decades of racist neglect, it is not just a splendid work of journalism. It is a genuine contribution to history.”–Rick Perlstein, author of The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

 

Suicide Club by Rachel HengSuicide Club: A Novel About Living by Rachel Heng (@rachelhengqp)

July 10

Tags: Speculative fiction, debut, dystopian, women writers

Henry Holt and Co., 352 pages

“Fans of modern speculative fiction and readers who love stories that warn us to be careful what we wish for will be enthralled by Heng’s highly imaginative debut, which deftly asks, “What does it really mean to be alive?”–Library Journal, starred review

“In exquisitely crafted prose, Rachel Heng gives us a startling look at a version of the world that seems simultaneously wild and plausible. Heng is a bold new talent and a writer to watch.”–Liz Moore, author of Heft and The Unseen World

You can read my review now!

 

What We Were Promised by Lucy TanWhat We Were Promised by Lucy Tan (@citizenofspace)

July 10

Tags: China, #ownvoices, women writers

Little, Brown and Co., 336 pages

“What We Were Promised is a big beautiful novel. Lucy Tan’s dazzling debut grapples with the persistence of the past, the inevitability of the present, and the difficulty of balancing individuality with community.”–Hannah Pittard, author of Visible Empire and Listen to Me

“Tan’s talent as a storyteller clearly shines through her strong plot lines and characterization; readers will want to know more about each well-crafted player in the story . . . . A novel of class, culture, and expectations; readers who enjoyed works like Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians will likely find Tan’s surprising and down-to-earth tale an entertaining read.”–Library Journal

 

Relating Worlds of RacismRelating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness by Philomena Essed, Karen Farquharson, et al. 

July 13

Tags: Europe, whiteness, race, women writers

Palgrave Macmillan, 436 pages

This international edited collection examines how racism trajectories and manifestations in different locations relate and influence each other. The book unmasks and foregrounds the ways in which notions of European Whiteness have found form in a variety of global contexts that continue to sustain racism as an operational norm resulting in exclusion, violence, human rights violations, isolation and limited full citizenship for individuals who are not racialised as White.–Description

 

Baby Teeth by Zoje StageBaby Teeth: A Novel by Zoje Stage (@zooshka)

July 17

Tags: Thriller, women writers, family

St. Martin’s Press, 320 pages

“Tightly plotted, expertly choreographed…. Stage palpably conveys Suzette’s fear, anger, frustration, and desperation while exploring the deleterious effects that motherhood can have on one’s marriage and self-worth. …Stage fuses horror with domestic suspense to paint an unflinching portrait of childhood psychopathy and maternal regret.”–Kirkus (starred)

“Stage’s deviously fun debut takes child-rearing anxiety to demented new heights. Stage expertly crafts this creepy, can’t-put-it-down thriller into a fearless exploration of parenting and marriage that finds the cracks in unconditional love.”–Publishers Weekly (starred)

I included this one just because… I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

 

Bad Girls by Alex De CampiBad Girls by Alex de Campi and Victor Santos

July 17

Tags: Cuba, graphic novels, women writers

Gallery 13, 224 pages

“[A] fierce thriller….de Campi delivers a script packed with righteous femme fatales full of wit and moxie…[and her] masterful writing is punctuated by the coolness of Santos’s block shading artwork and moody coloring; simplistic and reminiscent of the pop art style of the 1950s. Readers will revel in this fast-paced noir, embracing both its elegant period detail and pulpy genre roots.”–Publishers Weekly

“Cuba before the fall has long been a subject of interest in [the crime] genre….[and] Alex de Campi and Victor Santos…both partake of this long tradition and turn it on its head….The gorgeous colors and clean lines of this graphic novel complement the stylish storytelling, for a noir comic not to be missed.”–CrimeReads

 

Crux by Jean GuerreroCrux: A Cross-Border Memoir by Jean Guerrero (@jeanguerre)

July 17

Tags: Immigration, Mexico, family, women writers, memoir, debut, #ownvoices

One World, 352 pages

Crux is everything I want in a memoir: prose that dazzles and cuts, insights hard-won and achingly named, and a plot that kept me up at night, breathlessly turning pages. Jean Guerrero has a poet’s lyrical sense, a journalist’s dogged devotion to truth, and a fast and far-reaching mind. This is a book preoccupied with chasing—that is one of its harrowing pleasures—but, like all great memoirs, it is ultimately a story about the great trouble and relief of being found.”–Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me

“Jean Guerrero has done excellent reporting from the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. Now she examines the more mysterious borders of family history and that unknown region of the heart. You will be moved by Crux—this book is powerful and true.”–Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway

 

Death of Truth by Michiko KakutaniThe Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump by Michiko Kakutani (@michikokakutani)

July 17

Tags: Politics, history, women writers

Tim Duggan Books, 208 pages

“This is the book I would have written—but only if I had had a brilliant grasp of literature, politics, and history, and the ability to weave them together in a uniquely original way. The Death of Truth goes indelibly to the dark, dark heart of what is ailing our democracy as no recent book has done.”–Graydon Carter

“Kakutani’s The Death of Truth is politically urgent and intellectually dazzling. She deftly goes behind the daily headlines to reveal the larger forces threatening democracy at home in America, and elsewhere around the globe. The result is a brilliant and fascinating call-to-arms that anyone who cares about democracy ought to read immediately.”–Jane Mayer

 

Gender Equality in Primary Schools by Helen GriffinGender Equality in Primary Schools: A Guide for Teachers by Helen Griffin

July 19

Tags: Education, gender, women writers

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 216 pages

“An increase in the number of transgender children…means that all primary schools need to ensure they are safe environments respectful of all genders. This book draws on the ‘Gender Respect Project’, which identified the need to address gender stereotyping and gender-based violence with children and young people.

The book is full of lesson plans, case studies, clear guidance and recommended actions as well as further reading and resources. Extending beyond awareness of other genders, this book provides a framework for a gender equality approach in the classroom, and empowers children to think critically about gender and to respect themselves and others.”–Description

 

Raising Rosie by LohmanRaising Rosie: Our Story of Parenting and Intersex Child by Eric and Stephani Lohman (@erlohman)

July 19

Tags: Intersex, family

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 192 pages

“When their daughter Rosie was born, Eric and Stephani Lohman found themselves thrust into a situation they were not prepared for. Born intersex – a term that describes people who are born with a variety of physical characteristics that do not fit neatly into traditional conceptions about male and female bodies – Rosie’s parents were pressured to consent to normalizing surgery on Rosie, without being offered any alternatives despite their concerns.

Part memoir, part guidebook, this powerful book tells the authors’ experience of refusing to have Rosie operated on and how they raised a child who is intersex. […] This uplifting and empowering story is a must read for all parents of intersex children.”–Description

 

How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia ArthursHow to Love a Jamaican: Stories by Alexia Arthurs (@AlexiaArthurs)

July 24

Tags: Jamaica, Caribbean, black women, #ownvoices, coming of age, short stories, women writers

Ballantine Books, 256 pages

“I am utterly taken with these gorgeous, tender, heartbreaking stories. Arthurs is a witty, perceptive, and generous writer, and this is a book that will last.”–Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

“Stylistically reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s Paradise, this successful debut will appeal to readers of literary and Caribbean fiction.”–Library Journal

 

JELLO Girls by Allie RowbottomJELL-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom (@allierowbottom)

July 24

Tags: Family, suicide, business, feminism, memoir, women authors, #ownvoices

Little, Brown and Co., 288 pages

“This is more than a book: it’s a phenomenon. It kept me up nights with its urgency and insistence, following Rowbottom, in her masterfully clear-eyed grief, on the hunt for understanding and explanation. JELL-O GIRLS is a heart-wrenching confession, an exacting cultural history and an important and honest feminist story for right now.”–Aja Gabel, author of The Ensemble

“Allie Rowbotton is a talent not to be overlooked! I love this book with all my heart. I couldn’t put down this strangely sparkling cultural and family history.”–Porochista Khakpour, author of Sick

 

Motherhood Across Borders by Gabrielle OliveiraMotherhood Across Borders: Immigrants and Their Children in Mexico and New York by Gabrielle Oliveira (@GabrielleMRO)

July 24

Tags: Immigration, women writers, family

NYU Press, 272 pages

Motherhood across Borders is a vivid and engaging ethnography about how mothers, grandmothers, caregivers, and children fare when they are divided by, but also connected despite, the U.S.-Mexico border. Focusing on the voices of those directly impacted—people of all ages, across generations, and in both Mexico and the United States—Oliveira provides an intimate portrayal of the ways that motherhood, and caregiving more generally, is shifting in transnational context.”-Deborah A. Boehm,author of Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation

 

Name Me a Word by Meena AlexanderName Me a Word: Indian Writers Reflect on Writing by Meena Alexander (ed.)

July 24

Tags: Indian, women writers, writing, #ownvoices

Yale University Press, 440 pages

Name Me a Word is an indispensable guide for readers of Indian writing, animating the powerful impulses of the country’s famous writers and introducing the multiple voices that have gone into the making of the most important literature of our time.”–Simon Gikandi, Princeton University
“This ambitious collection conveys the astonishing and reflective literary vitality in modern India. Alexander guides the reader through this vast area with her well-written and illuminating headnotes for each writer in turn.”–Margery Sabin, Wellesley College

 

Pretend We Live Here: Stories by Genevieve Hudson (@genhudson )

July 24

Tags: Queer, short stories, home, women writers

Future Tense Books, 148 pages

“In Pretend We Live Here, characters bleed and breathe with a caustic energy that dares the reader to keep pace as they are taken from the Deep South to Western Europe and back again. Genevieve Hudson is a new, coming-of-age voice that spotlights rural America, injecting it with a queer freshness that makes her writing impossible to forget.”–Jing-Jing Lee, author of How We Disappeared

Hudson’s A Little in Love With Everyone has been one of my favorite books of the year thus far, so I am super excited to read her latest! My review of this title is forthcoming.

July 24

Tags: Sports, Muslim women, memoir, #ownvoices, coming of age, women writers

Hachette Books, 288 pages

  • Named one of TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People
  • The first female Muslim American to medal at the Olympic Games
  • The first woman in hijab to compete for the United States in the Olympics

“Proud is the inspiring story of how Ibtihaj rose above it all with grace and compassion. She provides an unflinching and honest portrayal of how she managed to stay true to herself and still play by the rules. A coming-of-age story, a hero’s journey, and a moving memoir from one of the nation’s most influential athletes.”–Description

 

Uncommon Girls by Carla GrantUncommon Girls by Carla Grant

July 26

Tags: Memoirs, women writers, queer, trans, family, #ownvoices

Bedazzled Ink Publishing, 260 pages

“It is increasingly evident that Eliot is not only autistic, but is also an uncommon girl. Eliot’s mother, Carla, recounts their journey down an unfamiliar path riddled with dismissive medical consultations and mental health referrals to clinics with epic waiting lists. Eliot transitions to Ella, with ambitions of being a trophy wife. Her parents attempt to set limits but Ella, in a typically teenage way, resists anything she deems as trying to squelch her true feminine self. Ella is ‘outed’ repeatedly by teachers she trusted and stops attending school. Carla’s rage morphs into a motivating sense of injustice and she engages in a successful campaign for her child’s civil rights. Carla and Ella are not superheroes, they are just a couple of uncommon girls determined to leave a bumpy road a little smoother for the next travelers.”–Description

 

Other Please SpecifyOther, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology by D’Lane Compton (@drcompton), Tey Meadow (@dr_tey), and Kristen Schilt

July 27

Tags: Queer, sociology, #ownvoices

University of California Press, 352 pages

Other, Please Specify illustrates and celebrates the intellectual courage and honesty that are indispensable to truly advance sociology as a discipline and a profession. These deeply engaging and insightful voices will inspire the reader to embrace sociological research without fear and to nurture an academic life with genuine freedom and authenticity.”–Gloria González-López, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin

“A testament to the power of collaboration, this bracing and timely collection brings together rigorously self-reflexive, politically committed work by a rising generation of queer, trans, feminist, and anti-racist scholars.”— Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania

 

Queering Urban JusticeQueering Urban Justice: Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto by Jinthana Haritaworn, Ghaida Moussa, et al. 

July 27

Tags: Queer, LGBTQ, Canada

University of Toronto Press, 240 pages

“The volume describes city spaces as sites where bodies are exhaustively documented while others barely register as subjects. The editors and contributors interrogate the forces that have allowed QTBIPOC to be imagined as absent from the very spaces they have long invested in.”–Description

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas ContrerasFruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (@ingrid_rojas_c)

July 31

Tags: Debut, #ownvoices, Colombia, mystery, coming of age, Latinx, women of color, women writers

Doubleday, 320 pages

“A coming of age story, an immigrant story, a thrilling mystery novel, thoroughly lived and felt—this is an exciting debut novel that showcases a writer already in full command of her powers.  Make room on your shelves for a writer whose impressive debut promises many more.”–Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

“When women tell stories, they are finally at the center of the page. When women of color write history, we see the world as we have never seen it before. In Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras honors the lives of girls who witness war. Brava! I was swept up by this story.”–Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

You can read my review now!

 

Incendiaries by RO KwonThe Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon (@rokwon)

July 31

Tags: Korea, extremism, #ownvoices, debut, women writers

Riverhead Books, 224 pages

The Incendiaries probes the seductive and dangerous places to which we drift when loss unmoors us. In dazzlingly acrobatic prose, R. O. Kwon explores the lines between faith and fanaticism, passion and violence, the rational and the unknowable.”–Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You

“One of those slim novels that contains multitudes, R.O. Kwon’s debut novel shows how unreliable we are as narrators when we’re trying to invent — and reinvent — ourselves.”–Vulture

 

Study in Honor by Claire ODellA Study in Honor: A Novel (The Janet Watson Chronicles) by Claire O’Dell (@ClaireOdell99) 

July 31

Tags: Black women, queer, mystery, feminism, women writers, series

Harper Voyager, 304 pages

  • A selection in Parade’s roundup of “25 Hottest Books of Summer 2018”
  • A Paste Magazine’s Most Anticipated 25 books of 2018 pick
  • A Medium’s Books pick for We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018 list

“A Study in Honor is a fast-moving, diverse science-fictional Holmes and Watson reinterpretation set in near future Washington DC. As a deliciously intersectional makeover of a famous literary duo it’s enormously satisfying. Clean, clear, and vastly enjoyable.”–Nicola Griffith, Lambda Literary award-winning author of So Lucky

Now, I want to point out that Claire O’Dell is a pseudonym for Beth Bernobich, a middle-aged white woman from Connecticut. Despite the accolades I’ve read about Bernobich’s previous works, I honestly am not sure how I feel about a (straight?) white woman writing black queer women (don’t @ me!). That being said, she is writing queer black women sleuths, a feminist take on Sherlock Holmes they say, so I am not mad about it (yet?). I am very interested in learning more about the author and the inspiration behind this series. I am cautiously optimistic… how do you all feel about this?

 

What books are you most excited for in July?? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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