Since I've begun a regular column over at Ms. Magazine, I've been posting the Reads for the Rest of Us that I am most excited about there. Reads for the Rest of Us here used to be everything I found being published by women that I could find. Over at Ms., I've shortened the list due to time and space limits. Well, you've told me that while you love the Ms. lists, you also miss my more comprehensive lists, so I have decided to reinstate them here!
They'll be a bit different from those I used to post as I won't be able to take as much time to describe them fully; I'll need to leave that to my Ms. column. Instead, I'll just compile a quick and dirty list of covers with links for you to browse! So here's May's list!
Let me know what you think in the comments below. What are you reading this month?
Tags: Girls, Japan, literature, media
Tags: LGBTQ, queer, Minnesota, short stories, poetry
Tags: Poetry, Middle Eastern, women writers, violence
Tags: Women writers, fatphobia, memoir, humor
Tags: Climate change, women writers, policy
Tags: Literary criticism, women writers, Caribbean, music
Tags: Women writers, history, Canada, essays
Tags: Women writers, parenthood, friendships, debut
Tags: History, women writers, financial, business, African American
Tags: Lesbian, women writers, YA, thriller, vampire
Tags: Graphic novels, women writers, LGBTQ, harassment
Tags: Women writers, race, African American, fatphobia, embodiment, history
Tags: YA, mental illness, LGBTQ, loss, women writers
Tags: Historical fiction, family, women writers, Japan, literary
Tags: Technology, Indigenous, Central America, essays, women writers
Tags: YA, LGBTQ, debut, humor, women writers, romance
Tags: LGBTQ, women writers, romance, graphic novel
Tags: Africa, women writers, essays, literary
Tags: Memoir, music, women writers
Tags: Fantasy, Latinx, women writers, trilogy, YA, action
Tags: Immigration, India, women writers, family, contemporary
Tags: Romance, women writers, YA, music, humor
Tags: Women writers, Asian American, romance, contemporary
Tags: Debut, immigration, Alaska, family, rural, Asian American, Taiwan
Tags: YA, family, coming of age, parenthood, Latinx
Tags: History, African American, essays, race, women writers, anthropology
Tags: LGBTQ, India, women writers, sex work, feminism
Tags: Print culture, African American, essays, women writers
Tags: YA, coming of age, romance, women writers, Latinx, humor
Tags: Debut, China, Asian American, short stories, women writers, immigration
Tags: Poetry, women writers, race, violence, parenthood, Asian American
Tags: Poetry, US debut, LGBTQ, Spanish, love
Tags: Indigenous, community, women writers, futurity
Tags: Debut, women writers, fantasy, YA, romance
Tags: YA, romance, humor, women writers, Indian American
Tags: Fantasy, women writers, YA
Tags: Thrillers, fantasy, women writers, YA, Own Voices, loss
Tags: Indigenous, women writers, storytelling, research
Tags: Lesbian, women writers, romance, contemporary
Tags: Sports, women writers, Latinx, history
Tags: Lesbian, women writers, mystery, LGBTQ
Tags: YA, romance, women writers, LGBTQ, humor
Tags: LGBTQ, women writers, YA, family, coming of age
Tags: YA, music, violence, women writers
Tags: Plays, women writers, African American, social justice
Tags: Literary, women writers, debut, race, mystery, African American
Tags: Literary criticism, children's literature, women writers, Afrofuturism, fantasy
Tags: Transgender, feminism, women writers, politics
Tags: Lesbian, romantic, feminism, YA, women writers, harassment, humor
Tags: Hinduism, women writers, India, technology, history, religion
Tags: Japan, romance, humor, women writers, YA
Tags: Siblings, loss, YA, women writers
Tags: Debut, women writers, LGBTQ, mystery, thriller, romance, YA
Tags: History, African American, women writers, race, economics
South Africa in 1976 was boiling over with racial tension and discrimination. With the system of apartheid in full swing, Black South Africans endured pass laws limiting their mobility, segregated services, shameful educational systems, and undeserved, extreme violence on a daily basis. This is the backdrop for Arushi Raina’s powerful novel When Morning Comes.
The author, Arushi Raina.
Black South Africans defied the oppression of apartheid at every turn. Perhaps the most intense resistance events occurred in Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg. The main characters of When Morning Comes are four very different young people who become entwined in turmoil as networks of students secretly plan to protest discriminatory educational policies. One of Arushi Raina’s strengths as a writer is how effortlessly she weaves South African history into an intriguing and entertaining coming-of-age narrative. The Soweto Uprising in 1976 was one of the most violent and tragic events in South Africa’s history and Raina’s historical novel teaches the reader about this turbulent history in a way that is gripping and personal.
I was excited to read this book because of my love for South Africa. As a youth, I followed apartheid resistance movements closely in the media and was always struck by the fact that in South Africa, people my age were fighting and dying for the freedoms I took for granted every day. As an adult working on my doctorate, I was able to travel to this beautiful country many times as I was researching libraries in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. During these travels, I was able to visit many sites of historical significance, including the site where the uprising took place. The time I have spent in South Africa has given me some of my fondest — and most challenging — memories.
When Morning Comes provides a vivid portrayal of this explosive era in South African history. It is an engaging narrative of friendship, loyalty, and political resistance. Well-written and descriptive, Arushi Raina creates multidimensional characters challenged to make decisions beyond their years. It should spark interest in readers to learn more about the apartheid era of South Africa’s history, as well as speak to those who recognize parallels to today’s world. Highly recommended.
Title: When Morning Comes Author: Arushi Raina Publisher: Jacana Media Pages: 232 pages Publication Date: April 1, 2018 Tags: South Africa, women writers, YA, historical fiction, friendships, coming of age, #OwnVoices My Rating: Highly recommended
Welcome to the October 2018 New Reads for the Rest of Us!
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 October 2018 New Reads for the Rest of Us list. These lists are getting long; I may have to start dividing them up! There are so many great titles here, which will you read??
Tags: Memoir, Native American (Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes), women writers, family, adoption, #OwnVoices
University of Nebraska Press, 352 pages
“One Salish-Kootenai woman’s journey, this memoir is a heart-wrenching story of finding family and herself, and of a particularly horrific time in Native history. It is a strong and well-told narrative of adoption, survival, resilience, and is truthfully revealed.”–Luana Ross (Bitterroot Salish), codirector of Native Voices Documentary Film at the University of Washington and author of Inventing the Savage
Tags: Women writers, memoir, Native American (Crow Creek Sioux), education, Indian studies
University of Nebraska Press, 232 pages
“As a Native intellectual and a Dakota intellectual, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn constructs indigeneity as well as her own life while deconstructing U.S. settler-colonialism. She is one of the world’s experts on the subject area, which gives the subjective text a solid foundation. The book is beautifully written, poetic, lyrical, a signature style. It is truly a brilliant work.”–Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, winner of the American Book Award
“Lorna has travelled around the world to produce this collection of illustrations of street art in urban landscapes. Visiting London, Bristol, Helsinki, Berlin, Cairo, Bethlehem, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Christchurch, Melbourne, Painted Cities demonstrates how the architecture shapes the unique street art in each city and tells the story of the painters and people who live there.”–Description
“Fiction. Latinx Studies. Women’s Studies. Translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana. A fairy tale run amok, The Taiga Syndrome follows an unnamed female Ex-Detective as she searches for a couple who has fled to the far reaches of the earth.”–Description
Tags: Memoir, women writers, politics, Kenya, history
Potomac Books, 288 pages
“Prudence Bushnell’s name is not household familiar—but it should be. She was at the center of one of the most infamous terrorist attacks on American people and property in history. And she was a woman in the highest ranks of the State Department when such a thing was rare. She tells her story with integrity and intelligence—and gives lessons on leadership based on life experience.”–Barbara Kellerman, James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School
Tags: Adoption, Korea, family, women writers, memoir, #OwnVoices
Catapult, 240 pages
An Indies Introduce Pick
The Rumpus, What to Read When You’ve Made It Halfway Through 2018
The Millions, Most Anticipated in the Second Half of 2018
“In her memoir, All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung takes the qualities that make her writing sing―warmth, inquisitiveness, and deep personal investment in the words she types―and turns them inward. Her debut is an investigation into her past in which she aims to leave no stone―or emotion―unturned.”–Shondaland
“The artful, profound, and sometimes funny stories Gay chose for the collection transport readers from a fraught family reunion to an immigration detention center, from a psychiatric hospital to a coed class sleepover in a natural history museum. We meet a rebellious summer camper, a Twitter addict, and an Appalachian preacher—all characters and circumstances that show us what we ‘need to know about the lives of others.'”–Description
“Lively, compelling . . . the raw, informal approach to the subject matter will highly appeal to young people who crave understanding and validation . . . This highly readable and vital collection demonstrates the multiplicity of ways that mental health impacts individuals.”–Kirkus Reviews
Tags: Memoir, women writers, immigration, Latinx, #OwnVoices
Atria, 336 pages
“Candid and emotionally complex, Grande’s book celebrates one woman’s tenacity in the face of hardship and heartbreak while offering hope to other immigrants as they ‘fight to remain’ and make their voices heard in a changing America. A heartfelt, inspiring, and relevant memoir.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Reyna Grande’s A Dream Called Home is a moving memoir about building a family, becoming a writer, and redefining America. Writers in need of inspiration should read this book.”–Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Sympathizer
Tags: Dance, history, feminism, women writers, biographies
Counterpoint, 336 pages
“Zemeckis has once again given us a fascinating history of entertainment, a bold story of two brave women and the origins of the fan dance. A page-turning time machine to another era. Don’t miss it.”–Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
Footprints in the Dust: Nursing, Survival, Compassion, and Hope with Refugees Around the World by Roberta Gately
Tags: Women writers, globalization, politics, activism
Pegasus Books, 304 pages
“Roberta Gately calls herself nurse, a humanitarian aid worker, and a writer. To that list I would add hero. Her willingness to step outside herself, to see and feel the pain of others is as inspiring as it is admirable. Gately nimbly uses tools of a novelist to tell this story, and as a result, the people she writes about spring fully to life in our imaginations. Here is a book filled with compassion, wisdom and yes, grace. Read it and weep.”–Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The House on Primrose Pond
Tags: Nonfiction, politics, Black women, women writers, #OwnVoices
“For Colored Girls is basically part history book and part biography but wholly significant. I’m so glad this book exists because the stories of these 4 women, who were instrumental in so many moments of history needed to be told. I’m honored that we can take a sip of their life tea in this way, because what they’ve done and been a part of are the watershed moments of this nation’s contemporary politics. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s super juicy. The transparency of The Colored Girls as they tell their stories, is admirable. Thank you for showing Black girls and women, that we too belong in the rooms we’re in.”–Luvvie Ajayi, New York Times-bestselling author of I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual
“A true spiritual seeker must eventually search inside her own self. This Zainab Salbi does with great consistency and courage in Freedom Is an Inside Job. Sharing her discoveries with determination and resolve, she demonstrates what is possible for anyone who sincerely desires to be part of a new imagination for changing the world.”–Alice Walker,author of The Color Purple and The World Will Follow Joy
“Good and Mad is Rebecca Traister’s ode to women’s rage—an extensively researched history and analysis of its political power. It is a thoughtful, granular examination: Traister considers how perception (and tolerance) of women’s anger shifts based on which women hold it (*cough* white women *cough*) and who they direct it toward; she points to the ways in which women are shamed for or gaslit out of their righteous emotion. And she proves, vigorously, why it’s so important for women to own and harness their rage—how any successful revolution depends on it.”–BUZZFEED
“Readers of all ages, across the globe and socioeconomic spectrum, can find an icon to look up to within these pages. Filled with strength, this collection is incredibly inspiring and will instill in teens a take-charge attitude and powerful mind-set.”–School Library Journal, Starred Review
Tags: Violence, Illinois, addiction, #OwnVoices, women writers
“A riveting, raw, and brutally honest portrayal of a roller-coaster street life fueled by gang violence and drug addiction; a real page-turner that sucks you in from the get-go and takes you on an adventure you can only imagine in your wildest dreams. Awe-inspiring and nothing short of a miracle, Bianca is a force to be reckoned with and an unlikely heroine and role model. She has proved that nothing is impossible and it’s never too late.”–Vera Ramone King, author of Poisoned Heart
“Microaggressions are brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership (e.g., race, gender, culture, religion, social class, sexual orientation, etc.). These daily, common manifestations of aggression leave many people feeling vulnerable, targeted, angry, and afraid. How has this become such a pervasive part of our social and political rhetoric, and what is the psychology behind it?”–Description
Tags: Black women, poetry, women writers, #OwnVoices
Atria, 256 pages
“Presented in both English and Spanish, Alice Walker shares a timely collection of nearly seventy works of passionate and powerful poetry that bears witness to our troubled times, while also chronicling a life well-lived.”–Description
“This book is truly special. Not only do the authors present the problems, but they also offer potential solutions and inspirational tools that are so crucial in driving the conversation forward. Their charming tone combined with the incisively detailed breakdown of all the ways in which the patriarchy affects women make Unladylike a must-read.”–Morgan Jerkins, author of This Will Be My Undoing
Tags: Violence, education, women writers, #OwnVoices, Florida, journalism
Crown Books for Young Readers, 272 pages
“A journalistic look at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and the fight for gun control–as told by the student reporters for the school’s newspaper and TV station.”–Description
“To fight for her future, she must first discover the magic of her past
Once great and powerful sorcerers, the Amasiti were hunted to the brink of extinction by the Hir and his followers. For four hundred years, their legacy faded from memory waiting for the hope of Aferi to be renewed…
In the Land of Yet
At the edge of the Forbidden Forest
A young woman lives alone.”–Description
The Broadcast 41 is a must-read book for media scholars who want to understand the historical origins of entertainment media as a powerful reinforcer of sexism, racism and classism in American culture.–Caroline Heldman, Associate Professor of Politics, Occidental College
Tags: Native American, YA, romance, race, #OwnVoices, women writers
Candlewick Press, 304 pages
“New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.”–Description
“The Long Term is a powerful collection of voices, curated and edited by a powerful line-up of veteran organizers and radical thinkers. The writers in this collection make a compelling and eloquent case against ‘the prison nation’ and give us a glimpse of the resistance and the alternatives that are already in the works.”–Barbara Ransby, historian, writer, activist and Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Tags: Debut, women writers, queer, short stories, women of color
“White Dancing Elephants is a searing and complex collection, wholly realized, each piece curled around its own beating heart. Tender and incisive, Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a surgeon on the page; unflinching in her aim, unwavering in her gaze, and absolutely devastating in her prose. This is an astonishing debut.”–Amelia Gray, author of Isadora
“Gender and racial politics were at the center of the 2016 US presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Contributors to the volume examine the ways that gender and racial hierarchies intersected and reinforced one another throughout the campaign season.”–Description
“How do you imagine trans liberation while living in a cis world? On My Way To Liberation follows a gender nonconforming body moving through the streets of Chicago. From the sex shop to the farmers market, the family dinner table to the bookstore, trans people are everywhere, though often erased. Writing towards a trans future, H. Melt envisions a world where trans people are respected, loved and celebrated every day.”–Description
Tags: Lesbian, queer, US history, literary criticism, women writers, feminism
University of North Carolina Press, 241 pages
“In this essential study of southern literature, Jaime Harker uncovers the complex networks of affiliation, sometimes antagonistic and sometimes loving, that shaped southern lesbian feminism, and the rich literary archive that women in these networks produced. A must-have for any reader.”–Michael Bibler, Louisiana State University
Tags: Gender, anthropology, women writers, nonfiction
Polity, 120 pages
“Taking on the long brewing battle between true democracy and the pervasive ‘ghost’ of patriarchy, this compact book exists in a category of its own. The voices of its authors are accessible, incisive and engaging – the perfect book to launch almost any conversation about our current socio-political times.”–Jill Gentile, author, Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire
Tags: Humor, essays, Black women, women writers, #OwnVoices
Plume, 336 pages
“Phoebe Robinson brings her infectious charm and utterly delightful sense of humor to her second essay collection, Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay. From body image to contemporary feminism to our culture of overwork, Robinson offers deft cultural criticism and hilarious personal anecdotes that will make readers laugh, cringe, and cry. Everything may indeed be trash but writing like this reminds us that we’re gonna make it through all the terrible things with honesty, laughter, and faith.”–Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
Tags: Translation, women writers, Portugal, historical fiction, literary fiction, queer
AmazonCrossing, 205 pages
“In Your Hands is another work in the fine tradition of European literature. Told from a definite feminist perspective it focuses on the inner feelings of its principal characters, each a finely drawn and vital woman as they navigate the turbulent times of twentieth-century Portugal.”–Writers & Readers Magazine
“By forcefully interrogating the problematic notion of the Rainbow Nation, and by daring to address the broken promise of an ANC in dire need of strong leadership, Memoirs of a Born Free is a must read—a book that reveals just how inadequate political freedom without socio-economic freedom truly is.”–Independent Online (South Africa)
Tags: Music, Black women, women writers, #OwnVoices, memoirs
Atria Books, 272 pages
“Tina Turner—the long-reigning queen of rock & roll and living legend—sets the record straight about her illustrious career and complicated personal life in this eye-opening and compelling memoir.”–Description
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 368 pages
“[T]ruly intersectional and…a useful guide for activists inspired by this work…A smart, honest, and comprehensive education on movement building and menstrual rights.”–Kirkus, starred review
“If you’re looking for a way to turn your anger about gender inequality into action, this book is a must read. You’ll learn a great deal about menstrual inequities and the intersectional impacts created because of our failure to address them. This is a how-to handbook on what you can do to change that.”–Former state Senator Wendy Davis
“Most writers hide in memoirs, sharing little real stories. With generous openhearted honesty, courage, and compassion, Soloway invites us to hear true stories. They share the difficult painful revelations, triumphs, and failures. Listening to them, readers laugh, cry, love, and most important, learn.”–bell hooks
Tags: Nonfiction, work, women writers, Black women, US history
Univ Of Minnesota Press, 176 pages
“Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off is an exploration of the lives of African American domestic workers in cities throughout the United States during the mid-twentieth century. With dry wit and honesty, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor relates the testimonies of maids, cooks, child care workers, and others as they discuss their relationships with their employers and their experiences on the job.”–Description
Tags: YA, Islam, racism, family, identity, women writers
HarperCollins, 320 pages
“Mafi tackles the life of an American Muslim teenager in the wake of 9/11 in this visceral, honest novel. Shirin’s captivating story opens a window onto a different narrative than the one typically dominating airwaves after 9/11. Rich characters, incisive writing, and a powerful story will thrill readers.”–Booklist (starred review)
What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde and Elizabeth Jane Clark Wessel (Translator)
Tags: Literary fiction, family, women writers, translation, Iran
Mariner Books , 208 pages
“I read this ferocious novel in one sitting, enthralled by the rage of its narrator. Nahid confronts her own suffering with dark humor and noisy honesty, while taking aim at a patriarchal tradition that expects her to be silent.”–Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
Tags: Education, women writers, Chicago, US history, #OwnVoices
“…Ewing gives direct voice to those served by those schools often dismissed as failing. What she finds is that these schools are often among the last working institutions in neighborhoods which have been systematically stripped of everything else. Mixing history, sociology, and even memoir, Ghosts in the Schoolyard is an important addition to any conversation about the future of public schools and those they were designed to serve.”–Ta-Nehisi Coates
Tags: Politics, Chicago, US history, women writers, education
University of North Carolina Press, 344 pages
“This is a brilliant and necessary expose of a collision that we all know too little about. Using Chicago as a case study, Elizabeth Todd-Breland shares the devastating collision between Black community-based education reformers and corporate education reformers since the 1960s. Black education organizing comes alive–and fights on and on against all odds–in this expertly framed and vividly told book.”–Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award winning author of Stamped from the Beginning
“Wedding bells are ringing for Kat Morehart―just not her own. When the church she works for refuses to let a gay couple marry in the sanctuary, she aims to make it up to them by offering her home as the perfect venue. Caterer Wendy Archer enjoys the business Kat directs her way and their friendship even more. As they work together to create the perfect setting for the wedding, Kat and Wendy struggle to fight what simmers between them.”–Description
Tags: Lesbian, women writers, science fiction, romance
Bella Books, 304 pages
“What is terrorizing a nature preserve near a small town in rural Idaho? Half the town believes it’s the Lake Lowell Ghost and the rest are convinced it’s a diabolical beast. With no end in sight, they need help. Can two women work together when one faces east toward logic and the other faces west toward the realm of impossibility? In an age where science and facts rule, blind trust can be a lot to ask of anyone.”–Description
“The Mental Load, a feminist comic by Emma, takes readers on a journey of awakening that is at once delightfully whimsical and frustratingly serious. The graphic stories take aim at the way women’s unpaid caregiving and labor is invisible, undervalued and expected at home, and how it shapes and limits their experiences and career trajectories at work. An eye-opening gem.”–Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist, author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play when No One has the Time
Tags: China, women writers, short stories, #OwnVoices
“With insight, compassion, and clarity, May-lee Chai vividly illustrates the reverberations of migration―both physical and psychological; between countries, cities, and generations; and within families and individuals. You won’t forget these characters.”–Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers, finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction
“As an unapologetic fan of a great rom-com, This is Kind of an Epic Love Story gave me all I was looking for, including the one thing that’s challenging to find—a beautiful LGBTQ love story. Kheryn’s novel is hopeful, romantic, and everything my gay heart needed!”–Angelo Surmelis, author of The Dangerous Art of Blending In
Welcome to New Reads for the Rest of Us for September 2018!
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 New Reads for the Rest of Us for September 2018. There are so many great titles here, which will you read??
“The intensity and desire of youth, with the wisdom of wild imagination, fill these wonderful stories by Chau. This unforgettable, stellar debut kept surprising me with fantastical turns, and sharp, unsettling insights.”–Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
Tags: Black women, politics, women writers, #OwnVoices, essays
SUNY Press, 314 pages
“Black Women in Politics offers a new perspective on Black women as political actors. Jordan-Zachery and Alexander-Floyd have assembled a stellar group of essays that speak to the broad experiences and concerns of Black women as political actors. Together, the essays present a compelling story of what we learn when we center Black women’s voices in policy debates, democratic theory, and notions of political leadership.”–Wendy Smooth, The Ohio State University
Tags: Dis/abilities, women writers, #OwnVoices, memoir, queer
“Having pushed her wheelchair past two hundred alligators, Lambert has written a brilliant and necessary account of a wise and triumphant life as a writer, activist, kayaker, lesbian lover, birder, and survivor of polio. I’m in awe of her gifts.”–Carolyn Forché, author of The Country Between Us
“Claiming the B in LGBT strives to give bisexuals a seat at the table. This guidebook to the history and future of the bisexual movement fuses a chronology of bisexual organizing with essays, poems, and articles detailing the lived experiences of bisexual activities struggling against a dominant culture driven by norms of monosexual attraction, compulsory monogamy, and inflexible notions of gender expression and identity.”–Description
“… cleverly structured and an intriguing concept.”–Jenny Barry, BooksPlus
“From the very beginning, the strain between Kafka and Brod is hugely entertaining. Brod is anti-social and prefers his own company, just like the best of Kafka’s characters.”–Rohan Wilson, award winning author of The Roving Party and To Name Those Lost
Tags: Queer, women writers, speculative fiction, gender, short stories
Twelfth Planet Press, 396 pages
“All of the familiar tropes of mad science and the creation of artificial life get turned on their heads in the most gloriously feminist way in Mother of Invention. It turns out when the person who’s Playing God is female, the story suddenly gets a lot more interesting.”–Charlie Jane Anders
Tags: Native American, short stories, oral history
University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition, 510 pages
“The collection is masterfully constructed, reflecting Lottie Lindley’s distinctive narrative voice in Okanagan and in English. At once a carefully annotated documentation of the Okanagan language as well as a record of history, culture, and land, the book is a testament to the power of narrative in Okanagan and a wonderful gift to future generations.”–Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, associate professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria
Tags: Canada, poverty, memoir, women writers, #OwnVoices, family
Véhicule Press, 240 pages
“People don’t leave the Point, even if they move far away. Or at least that’s how it seems to journalist Kathy Dobson. Growing up in the 1970s in Point St. Charles, an industrial slum in Montreal, she sees how people get trapped in the neighborhood. In this sequel to the highly praised With a Closed Fist, Dobson shares her journey of trying to escape from what was once described as the toughest neighborhood in Canada.”–Description
“After a tough childhood and a brief and bruising career as a boxer, Jordan McAddie isn’t sure she has anything left to offer in a relationship. Desperately trying to make a difference, she focuses on becoming a social worker and helping street kids find their way. But someone is targeting her kids, luring them to an underground political group whose protests are becoming increasingly more provocative and dangerous.
When Ali Clarke – Jordan’s first love and first broken heart – walks back into her life and becomes intertwined with the youth boxing program, Jordan is torn between past and present. Dedicated to keeping her kids safe, Jordan fights old fears that she will never be good enough, while trying to believe she might have a future with Ali.”–Description
“This is the extraordinary tale of how a few American-Yazidis in Washington, DC, mobilized a small, forgotten office in the American government to intervene militarily in Iraq to avert a devastating humanitarian crisis. While Islamic State massacred many thousands of Yazidi men and sold thousands more Yazidi women into slavery, the U.S. intervention saved the lives of 50,000 Yazidis.”–Description
Tags: India, Tibet, Afghanistan, biography, women writers, history
Bedazzled Ink Publishing, 260 pages
“As a child, Sudha Johorey witnessed the horrific events that followed the partition of India into two bitter rival nations. Sudha was a feminist before her time, a pioneer in rural education, a seeker of the divine, a true Renaissance woman. Susan Murphy had the opportunity to accompany Sudha Johorey to Dharamsala in 2005, where they were afforded a private audience with the Dalai Lama, who encouraged Murphy to write Sudha’s amazing story.”–Description
Tags: Journalism, politics, #OwnVoices, women writers
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 192 pages
“April’s experience, knowledge, and judgment are on full display in this book. She understands the political process at the highest levels and has never been afraid to ask the tough questions off-record or with the eyes of the world on her or when her courage and mettle have been put to the test. All of these skills come together in a compelling volume that blends her insights with the very questions that we should all be confronting at this unique moment in history.”–Thurgood Marshall, Jr.
“Virginia Woolf is one of the world’s most famous writers, and a leading light of literary modernism and feminism. During the 1920s she had a passionate affair with a fellow author, Vita Sackville-West, and they remained friends until Virginia’s death in 1941. This double biography of two extraordinary women examines their lives together and apart.”–Description
Tags: Arts, photography, women writers, #OwnVoices, South Africa, Black women
Aperture, 212 pages
“Zanele Muholi (born in Umlazi, Durban, South Africa, 1972) is a visual activist and photographer, cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, and founder of Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual media.”–Amazon
“This is the long-awaited monograph from one of the most powerful visual activists of our time. The book features over ninety of Muholi’s evocative self-portraits, each image drafted from material props in Muholi’s immediate environment.”–Description
Tags: Women writers, thriller, contemporary women, translation
Coffee House Press (reprint), 264 pages
“A compassionately written portrait of urban loneliness and the human impulse to belong.”–Kirkus
“Guadalupe Nettel’s After the Winter is a dazzling excavation of the glimmering particularities of consciousness, and how a collision of fates can transform our inner worlds. This taut, atmospheric novel is an ode to the complicated heartbreak of loving what will forever be just out of reach.”–Laura van den Berg
“Brutally and uncompromisingly honest, Sisonke’s beautifully crafted storytelling enriches the already extraordinary pool of young African women writers of our time. Sisonke, a child of the Struggle, revisits the metamorphosis of the value system embraced by the liberation movements and emerges as a powerful free spirit, nurtured by its resilient core values.”–Graça Machel
Tags: Black women, women writers, poetry, queer, debut, #OwnVoices
Haymarket Press, 120 pages
“Black Queer Hoe is a refreshing, unapologetic intervention into ongoing conversations about the line between sexual freedom and sexual exploitation. Women’s sexuality is often used as a weapon against them. In this powerful debut, Britteney Black Rose Kapri lends her unmistakable voice to fraught questions of identity, sexuality, reclamation, and power, in a world that refuses Black Queer women permission to define their own lives and boundaries.”–Description
“Unflinching in its direct view of an ongoing tragedy, this important novel will open discussions about human rights and violence against women and girls worldwide.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Nigerian author Nwaubani [paints] beautiful portraits of the joy, hope, and traditions experienced by this girl, her friends, and family with the same masterful strokes as the ones depicting the dreadful agony, loss, and grief they endure. A worthy piece of work that superbly and empathetically tells a heartbreaking tale.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Tags: Health, feminism, women writers, memoir, queer
Skyhorse Publishing, 264 pages
“A feminist breast cancer memoir of medical trauma, love, and how she found the strength to listen to her body.”–Description
“Guthrie’s refreshing femininity doesn’t fit the familiar cancer narrative. Informed by both the nuances of queer identity and a women’s health journalist’s insider knowledge, this memoir is a welcome punk rock to breast cancer’s pink-washing. Unflinching, eloquent, and richly intimate, Flat has shaken me, inspired me, prepared me for what could happen.”–Angela Palm, author, Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here
“The personal pronoun I has brinks on all sides, over which you can fall and become anyone and no one. Isako Isako deeply explores these soaring and dangerous precipices of identity through the magnetic voice of a Japanese-American internment camp survivor who is both an individual and collective, a citizen and a prisoner, broken and healing. Mia Ayumi Malhotra has written a brilliant and searing debut.”–Maria Hummel
Tags: Pakistan, women writers, #OwnVoices, violence, memoir, activism, feminism
Random House, 224 pages
“Khalida Brohi understands the true nature of honor. She is fearless in her pursuit of justice and equality.”–Malala Yousafzai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“Khalida Brohi’s moving story is a testament to what is possible no matter the odds. In her courageous activism and now in I Should Have Honor, Khalida gives a voice to the women and girls who are denied their own by society. This book is a true act of honor.”–Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org
“Each tale is a soulful testament to the endurance of the human spirit and reminds readers that they are not alone in their search for self. An unflinchingly honest book that should be required reading for every young person in America.”–Kirkus, starred review
“An invaluable collection of snapshots of American society.”–VOYA, starred review
Tags: Friendship, coming of age, women writers, contemporary women
Simon & Schuster, 304 pages
“At once a subtle critique of the pressures of living in a modern Asian metropolis; a record of the swiftness and ruthlessness with which Southeast Asia has changed over the last three decades; a portrait of the old juxtaposed with the new (and an accompanying dialogue between nostalgia and cynicism); an exploration of the relationship between women against the backdrop of social change; and, occasionally, a love story—all wrapped up in the guise of a teenage coming-of-age novel. . . . Teo is brilliant.”–The Guardian
Tags: Dystopian, family, women writers, Indigenous Australian (South Coast Noongar), debut
Small Beer Press, 320 pages
“Claire G. Coleman’s Terra Nulllius is an arresting and original novel that addresses the legacy of Australia’s violent colonial history. . . . Coleman’s punchy prose is insistent throughout, its energy unflagging. Terra Nullius is a novel for our times, one whose tone is as impassioned as its message is necessary.”–Stella Prize Judges’ Report
Tags: Sports, women writers, Black women, memoir, #OwnVoices
Edge of Sports [reprint ed.], 288 pages
“Wyomia Tyus may not be as well known as Wilma Rudolph or Billie Jean King, but her athletic accomplishments and life story are equally captivating, as related in this remarkable and inspiring memoir…This deeply moving book by one of our greatest athletes makes indelible statements about integrity, growing up black in the South, social activism, gender equality, and inclusion.”–Booklist (starred review)
“Few scholars have explored the collective experiences of women living in the inner city and the innovative strategies they develop to navigate daily life in this setting. The Grind illustrates the lived experiences of poor African American women and the creative strategies they develop to manage these events and survive in a community commonly exposed to violence.”–Description
“Hilariously funny as well as profoundly unsettling . . . will keep readers hooked and laughing, if a bit uncomfortably, from Page 1 until the shocking ending.”–Kirkus
“Full of suspense, social satire, and deliciously dark humor, #FashionVictim gives ‘killer wardrobe’ a whole new meaning. I couldn’t put it down.”–Alison Gaylin, USA Today Bestselling Author of If I Die Tonight
“An urgent book for our times. When immigrant voices are being silenced, when immigrant families are being torn apart, when immigrant youth are being denied their right to dream of a better future, this book inspires us to see, to listen, and to understand. Above all, it celebrates the tenacity and resilience of a community whose stories are, without any doubt, part of the American experience.”–Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
“This whiplash-inducing chronicle of how a nation that just a few short years ago elected its first black president now finds itself in the throes of a deceitful and craven effort to rip this most essential of American rights from millions of its citizens.”–Booklist
“A ripped-from-the-headlines book . . . Anderson is a highly praised academic who has mastered the art of gathering information and writing for a general readership, and her latest book could not be more timely.”–Kirkus
“If Ordinary People is about compromise, it is also about how we live today and, refreshingly, Evans shows this through the prism of black and mixed-race identities, conjuring an urban milieu that is middle-class and non-white…. [This novel] has universal appeal in its reflections on love and yet carries a glorious local specificity…. It could easily be reimagined for the screen, though the film would not capture the sheer energy and effervescence of Evans’s funny, sad, magnificent prose.”–Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
“The revelatory memoir by former ‘poster girl for Scientology’ Michelle LeClair about her defection from the Church, her newly accepted sexual identity, and the lengths to which Scientology went to silence it.”–Description
“How many women cry when angry because we’ve held it in for so long? How many discover that anger turned inward is depression? Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her will be good for women, and for the future of this country. After all, women have a lot to be angry about.”–Gloria Steinem
Tags: Biography, true crime, women writers, history
Ecco, 320 pages
“A tantalizing, entertaining true-life detective and literary story.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Spine-straightening. . . . Weinman’s sensitive insights into Horner’s struggle play in stunning counterpoint to her illuminations of Nabokov’s dark obsession and literary daring, and Lolita’s explosive impact.”–Booklist
Tags: Liberia, magical realism, women writers, historical fiction, debut
Graywolf, 312 page
“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
Tags: Memoir, violence, race, politics, women writers, #OwnVoices
Atria / 37 INK, 256 pages
“Lucy, in the face of tragedy, turned her sorrow into a strategy, and her mourning into a movement.”–Hillary Clinton
“What awes me about Lucia is not simply the fact of having endured the loss of a child in the manner she did, but her sheer strength of character, which has allowed her to turn that loss into our gain. Lucia has taken it as her mission to live beyond the pain of her loss and to prevent more of our children from meeting at those crossroads.”–Ta-Nehisi Coates, New York Times bestselling author of Between the World and Me
“Timely and promising, Pan-African American Literature will make a major and distinctive contribution to African American studies, cultural studies, and American literary studies.”–Michele Elam author of The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millennium
Tags: Feminism, gender, Black women, women writers
Duke University Press Books, 304 pages
“Imani Perry’s Vexy Thing is a strong and confidently argued statement for a kind of feminism that attends in new ways to how logics of gender domination are part of wider logics of domination—how regimes of gender must be considered under a lens that also makes visible austerity and neoliberalism, hypermedia and the security state. Vexy Thing expands our notions of what a feminist critic can do while giving the reader a real sense of an important intellectual at work.”–Sara Ahmed, author of Living a Feminist Life
If anyone is curious about the depth and scope of the sociocultural and psychological experiences and profiles of young African American women then this book should be kept close by for use as a reference and a resource. With a wealth of interesting material and a clear and accommodating, yet sufficiently rigourous, framework, anyone who studies these pages will come out a richer person.–Joseph Trimble, Western Washington University
“When Estrella organizes a protest against the treatment of tejanos in their town of Monteseco, Texas, her whole family becomes a target of ‘repatriation’ efforts to send Mexicans ‘back to Mexico’–whether they were ever Mexican citizens or not. Dumped across the border and separated from half her family, Estrella must figure out a way to survive and care for her mother and baby brother. How can she reunite with her father and grandparents and convince her country of birth that she deserves to return home? There are no easy answers in the first YA book to tackle this hidden history.”–Description
“Megan Falley’s much-anticipated fourth collection of poetry shocks you with its honesty: whether through exacting wit or lush lyrical imagery. It is clear that the author is madly in love, not only with her partner for whom she writes both idiosyncratic and sultry poems for, but in love with language, in love with queerness, in love with the therapeutic process of bankrupting the politics of shame. These poems tackle gun violence, toxic masculinity, LGBTQ* struggles, suicidality, and the oppression of women’s bodies, while maintaining a vivid wildness that the tongue aches to speak aloud.”–Description
“L. Nichols, a trans man, artist, engineer and father of two, was born in rural Louisiana, assigned female and raised by conservative Christians. Flocks is his memoir of that childhood, and of his family, friends and community, the flocks of Flocks, that shaped and re-shaped him. L.’s irresistibly charming drawings demonstrate what makes Flocks so special: L.’s boundless empathy.”–Description
“This is a gem of a book! Organized around Howard Zinn’s fascinating diary of events during 1963, Robert Cohen’s account provides fresh information about how Zinn’s time at Spelman College (1956–63) converged with the contentious process of change in Atlanta, across the South, and on the Spelman campus. In recovering this formative chapter in Zinn’s biography, Cohen tells the story of a generation of black college women on the front lines of the freedom struggle.”–Patricia Sullivan author of Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement
Tags: Literary fiction, Nigeria, friendship, family, women writers
Interlink Pub Group, 376 pages
“The Bead Collector is centered around a dialogue between two women, but radiates out through family and society and the political realm in Nigeria to form a vast, rich dialogue, one, ultimately, between tradition and progress. Sefi Atta has crafted yet another stunning novel, a deeply compelling, illuminating story of personal and national identity in a time of great transition.”–Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds
“The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish begins with a reunion between two sisters and their estranged, artist father. An unlikely intimacy grows out of this unusual situation, and we’re shuttled into a strange, beautiful history of this complex, passionate family, a history which involves young love, the Civil Rights movement, and an enduring obsession. I was completely mesmerized by Katya Apekina’s thrilling, heartfelt debut. Funny, suspenseful, touching, and totally unexpected, I dare you not to love it as much as I did. Apekina has talent and heart to spare.”–Anton DiSclafani, National Bestselling author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
“Dr. Fleming offers a straight-no-chaser critique of our collective complicit ignorance regarding the state of race in the United States . . . . This book will leave you thinking, offended, and transformed.”–Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator
Tags: Memoir, entertainment, women writers, family
Grand Central Publishing, 416 pages
“In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words–about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.”–Description
Tags: Queer, women writers, Black women, biography
Beacon Press, 256 pages
“I have always admired the brilliant Lorraine Hansberry. Now I treasure her even more. Imani Perry’s magnificently written and extremely well researched Looking for Lorraine reclaims for all of us the Lorraine Hansberry we should have had all along, the multifaceted genius for whom A Raisin in the Sun was just the tip of the iceberg. Though Hansberry’s life was brief, her powerful work remains vital and urgently necessary. One can say the same of this phenomenal book, which hopefully will lead more readers to both Hansberry’s published and unpublished works.”–Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I’m Dying
Tags: Immigration, women writers, #OwnVoices, YA, memoir, Mexico, drugs
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 240 pages
“A remarkable true story from social justice advocate and national bestselling author Julissa Arce about her journey to belong in America while growing up undocumented in Texas… Julissa’s story provides a deep look into the little-understood world of a new generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today–kids who live next door, sit next to you in class, or may even be one of your best friends.”–Description
“With this epic work of grand chronological sweep, brilliantly illuminating the idea of truth in the history of our republic, Lepore reaffirms her place as one of one of the truly great historians of our time.”–Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University
“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
September 20 (Kindle ed., hardcover coming in October)
Tags: Women writers, history
Cassell, 224 pages
“To say this series is ’empowering’ doesn’t do it justice. Buy a copy for your daughters, sisters, mums, aunts and nieces – just make sure you buy a copy for your sons, brothers, dads, uncles and nephews, too.”–Independent
“There is no better landing place for our grief, our love, and our hopes for a better tomorrow than poems. They vibrate with an urgency that defies the dead and enlivens the future. But Othered is more than a collection of poetry; it is proof positive that becoming one’s true self is still the most revolutionary act that any human being can undertake. Randi M. Romo shows us how it’s done–with courage, great care, and community.” – James Lecesne, Co-Founder of the Trevor Project
“Blindsided follows Eli as she leads Carla, a local real estate agent, through an election for Key West city mayor. At first, the campaign process appears easy. Despite their differences, the two women work well together. But as time progresses, they face countless obstacles: the Bubba system in the Keys, discrimination from both supporting and opposing forces, and their rapidly intensifying relationship. While Carla starts to doubt her decisions, Eli struggles to find her place in the Keys and in Carla’s budding campaign.”–Description
“With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories.”–Description
“By day, Natalie Marshall is the Thorns Ladies’ Social Club’s perfect concierge: resourceful, observant, immaculate. But she turns her phone off when the night concierge arrives, and then she’s Nat: the raunchy lead singer of Vertical Smile—notorious for lewd lyrics and sexually-charged performances.”–Description
Tags: Immigration, essays, women writers, #OwnVoices, Latinx
Gallery Books, 336 pages
“From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.”–Description
“A Blade So Black delivers an irresistible urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland . . . but it’s not the Wonderland you remember. Debut author L.L. McKinney delivers an action-packed twist on an old classic, full of romance and otherworldly intrigue.”–Description
“June Eric-Udorie is a powerhouse. . . . who has assembled a stellar lineup of writers, putting a bold challenge to the idea of a unified feminism.”–Book Riot, “New Feminist Books That Offer Us Ways Forward”
“In these twelve remarkable stories, the reader journeys from the remotest inner reaches of Alaska to deceptively calm suburban neighborhoods to a research station at the bottom of the world. Yet Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s true territory is the wild, uncharted expanse of the heart. A wise and wonderful collection.”–Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiesta
“From Antarctica to suburbia to the ancient past and a post-apocalyptic future, these tales of kick-ass women adventurers and survivor girls are big-hearted, breathtaking, and profound. Reading Lava Falls is like meeting an animal in the wild: I was rapt, unable to turn away, with no idea what would happen next.”–Micah Perks, author of What Becomes Us
“Old Futures explores the social, political, and cultural forces feminists, queer people, and people of color invoke when they dream up alternative futures as a way to imagine transforming the present. Lothian shows how queer possibilities emerge when we practice the art of speculation: of imagining things otherwise than they are and creating stories from that impulse. Queer theory offers creative ways to think about time, breaking with straight and narrow paths toward the future laid out for the reproductive family, the law-abiding citizen, and the believer in markets. Yet so far it has rarely considered the possibility that, instead of a queer present reshaping the ways we relate to past and future, the futures imagined in the past can lead us to queer the present.”–Description
Tags: Graphic novel, erotica, science fiction, women writers, romance
Limerence Press, 120 pages
“For comics fans who dream optimistically about the future, the diverse cast and sex-positive, cooperative storyline combine into a utopian vision.”–Publishers Weekly
“Humans may be living in space now, but our same old problems with love, sex, and communication are timeless. Full of family, friendship, and love, Cabrera, Aguirre, and Mirk’s vision of the post-apocalypse looks pretty damn appealing to me.”–Erika Moen
Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and this is where her remarkable debut novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, takes place.
In a time when Pablo Escobar, infamous drug lord and head of one of the most dangerous criminal families in the world, was at the height of his power, seven year old Chula and her family enjoy relatively safe lives. That is until Chula’s curiosities about their new maid, Petrona, get the better of her. Petrona and Chula develop an unlikely and heartfelt friendship despite their differences.
The author, Ingrid Rojas Contreras.
Chula lives with her sister and parents who enjoy carefree lives, aside from Chula’s father often traveling for work. But Petrona goes home to a very different world when she leaves the safety of working for Chula’s family. Petrona and her family live in a poor, guerrilla-held area of the city which is unprotected from the car bombs and kidnappings which occur more frequently as the story progresses.
“I knew that there was no gate surrounding the invasiones where Petrona lived, no iron locks on the doors, no iron bars on the windows. When I asked Petrona how she and her family stayed safe, she laughed. Then because I was embarrassed she shrugged her shoulders. She thought for a moment then said, ‘There’s nothing to lose.’ Five syllables.”
The differences between the lives of Petrona and Chula are stark; Petrona’s life is a mystery that Chula feels driven to uncover, despite the dangers. Their relationship is illustrative of the real challenges that inequalities in class and socioeconomic status can often pose.
When I began reading this book, it was these differences in the main characters and their situations that most interested me. I knew there was more lurking just underneath the surface. I appreciated that Fruit of the Drunken Tree had me questioning: What makes a family? What can friendships overcome? What would I sacrifice for others? For safety? For love?
As I read further, the layers of the book had me reflecting on the toll violence plays in societies in general, but especially on women and girls. Women are often forced to make impossible choices in times of war and violence; girls, in turn, carry incredible burdens of fear and responsibility much bigger than themselves.
“Cassandra was biting her nails. She said she could outsmart the guerrillas if they ever tried to kidnap her. She was, after all, first in her class… ‘My history teacher says most guerrilleros haven’t gone past the fourth grade, and I’m in fifth.’
My eyes widened as I turned to look out the window. I was in third.”
I didn’t know much about Colombia or Pablo Escobar before reading the book. It is not necessary for the reader to have this background but the book did pique my interest in learning more about Colombia’s history, language, and culture. [Of course I did some research and have included some links below.]
Essentially, during the time the story takes place, violent conflict in Colombia had already been raging for decades. Right-wing paramilitaries began fighting against the existing left-wing revolutionary rebels; the drug trade and cartels, like the one led by Pablo Escobar, added another layer to an already deadly situation. Despite the seemingly safe existence that many middle- and upper-class Colombians lived at the time, the fighting was never far from the minds or realities of many.
“My Barbie, Lola, had been the boss of guerrillas in Putumayo, but her men revolted against her and chopped her up and left her for dead in a jungle. She had a red bandana around her forehead and penciled-in bags under her eyes.”
It is so compelling to me that Escobar, like many other larger-than-life men throughout history, was hated by some but still loved by others, even considered a Robin Hood-style savior. He was a magnetic yet terrifying figure who evaded capture for many years.
Around this time, I also came across a new television show, Dark Tourist, in which the host traveled to Colombia to explore Escobar tourist attractions there, of which there are many. In one segment, with one of Escobar’s closest henchmen, the host goes on a tour of La Catedral, the prison at which Escobar was held for a year – that Escobar himself built (!).
Photo of La Catedral by Tom Griggs
It may be shocking for some to think that anyone would want to tour this site but it illustrates people’s fascination with charismatic, narcissistic, and often, evil figures. Rojas Contreras is especially skilled in portraying this dynamic and other seemingly incongruous facets of life and relationships.
This becomes more impressive when you learn that this book is based on experiences of Rojas Contreras’ life and people she knew. How she is able to take her own experiences of being a girl growing up in Colombia and construct a powerful story with such universal meaning is a true testament to her skill as a writer.
So what is a Drunken Tree and how does it tie in to this story? Well the Drunken Tree, called Borrachero in Colombia, is a tree with beautiful flowers and fruit that hang down from its branches. It has a sweet smell but is deadly poisonous. For years, the fruit has been ground into a drug that causes extreme confusion, a dangerous lack of judgement, and according to Rojas Contreras, “…it takes your free will away.”
A Borrachero tree in Colombia (Shutterstock).
In the book, one of these trees stands in the backyard of Chula’s home and her mother warns her about spending too much time too close to it. The tree is a symbol of how sometimes the most beautiful things can be the most haunting and dangerous; it encourages the reader to reflect upon friendships, intentions, and trust.
Bottom line: Ingrid Rojas Contreras is just a fantastic storyteller. Her characters and the plot are fully and meticulously developed while the perspectives of the story switch seamlessly between Chula and Petrona. I felt invested in the characters, their lives, and their survival. This is one of Rojas Contreras’ true strengths.
The result is a full, rich tapestry of authentic interactions and emotions both among the characters and with their reader. Fruit of the Drunken Tree is an outstanding debut; if you appreciate raw yet flavorful storytelling, robust storylines, or Latinx literature, I highly recommend it.
This post contains affiliate links; quotes are based on the advanced reader’s copy (ARC) and may or may not be reflected in the final copy of the book. Thanks to NetGalley, Doubleday, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras for the complimentary ARC! My reviews contain my own honest feedback.
Here’s a roundup of the new books being released in May that I am most excited about, by and/or about women of color, LBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, gender non-conforming people, feminists, and womxn from other historically underrepresented and underserved communities.
If you are curious 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’ll probably add to this list as I learn of others; if you have a suggestion, please place it in the comments below!
Awu’s Story by Justine Mintsa and Cheryl Toman (Translator)
“At the dawn of the twenty-first century, villages in the Fang region of northern Gabon must grapple with the clash of tradition and the evolution of customs throughout modern Africa. With this tension in the background, the passionate, deft, and creative seamstress Awu marries Obame, after he and his beloved wife, Bella, have been unable to conceive. Because all three are reluctant participants in this arrangement, theirs is an emotionally fraught existence. Through heartbreaking and disastrous events, Awu grapples with long-standing Fang customs that counter her desire to take full control of her life and home.
Supplemented with a foreword and critical introduction highlighting Justine Mintsa’s importance in African literature, Awu’s Story is an essential work of African women’s writing and the only published work to meditate this deeply on some of the Fang’s most cherished legends and oral history.”–Amazon
“Megan Condis addresses the most important and contentious controversies in gaming culture at present. Her writing argues strongly against the groups who have tried to undermine the diversity arising in games and provides a passionate insight into these events, linking them with wider cultural shifts in Western society.”–Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Staffordshire University
“Fierce, fun, and fascinating. Condis writes with a journalist’s ear and an academic’s eye, getting to the core of what drives men’s behavior online, in games, and throughout digital culture.” –Derek A. Burrill, author, Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture
“The world has changed. Scientists warned it would happen.
Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.
Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.”–description
“From Michelle Knight-Cleveland kidnapping survivor and #1 NYT bestselling author of Finding Me-comes an inspirational book about healing and resilience, on the five-year anniversary of her escape.”–Amazon
“The story of an incredibly brave and resilient young woman and of a spirit that refused to be crushed, even through the worst time.”–The Daily Mail
“I have never felt as seen, understood, or spoken to as I did when I read Little Fish. Never before in my life. Casey remains one of THE authors to read if you want to understand the interior lives of trans women in this century.”–Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl
“There is a dark place most novels don’t touch. If you’ve ever been there, maybe you know how exhilarating it can be to read a book like this, a book that captures the darkness so honestly, so accurately, that you can finally begin to let it go. Fearless and messy and oozing with love, Little Fish is a devastating book that I don’t ever want to be without.”–Zoey Leigh Peterson, author of Next Year, For Sure
“Nour’s family constantly endures hardship. . . but her young, honest voice adds a softer, coming-of-age perspective to this story of loss, hope, and survival. . . This imaginative yet very real look into war-torn Syria is a must.”–Booklist, starred review
“Debut novelist Joukhadar gracefully balances the gritty, often horrific truth of the refugee’s plight with the lyrical near-fairy tale she has created….A wise, vibrantly told story for a wide range of readers, particularly relevant now.”–Library Journal
“In smart, determined, and vigilant Romy, Kushner, an acclaimed writer of exhilarating skills, has created a seductive narrator of tigerish intensity… This is a gorgeously eviscerating novel of incarceration writ large…Rooted in deeply inquisitive thinking and executed with artistry and edgy wit, Kushner’s dramatic and disquieting novel investigates with verve and compassion societal strictures and how very difficult it is to understand each other and to be truly free.”–Booklist, Starred Review
“A searing look at life on the margins…This is, fundamentally, a novel about poverty and how our structures of power do not work for the poor, and Kushner does not flinch…gripping.”–Kirkus Reviews
“In this incandescent debut memoir, Cinelle Barnes forges memories of her family’s downfall with tumultuous Filipino history. Like the storm in its title, Monsoon Mansion immerses us in the darkest waters of memory, stirring up unbearably brutal childhood events with lyrical prose and searing imagery, forming a woven tale that is both delicate and electric. This book assures us that even when we lose those things that give shape to our humanity—our roots, culture, and family—we can go on to devise a new way of being.”–Susan Tekulve, author of In the Garden of Stone
I just finished this book and if you like creative non-fiction and memoirs, you would enjoy this one. More complete review coming soon!
“This inquiry into the modern woman’s moral, social and psychological relationship to procreation is an illumination, a provocation, and a response―finally―to the new norms of femininity, formulated from the deepest reaches of female intellectual authority. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Sheila Heti has broken new ground, both in her maturity as an artist and in the possibilities of the female discourse itself.”–Rachel Cusk, author of Outline and Transit
Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.–Amazon
Vogue, “10 of the Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018” * Harper’s Bazaar, “10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018” * Elle, “21 Books We’re Most Excited to Read in 2018” * Boston Globe, “25 books we can’t wait to read in 2018” *Huffington Post, “60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” * Hello Giggles, “19 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” * Buzzfeed, “33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018”
“From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it.”–Amazon
“Clearly written and timely, this book will interest not only current and future business executives but also would-be-whistle-blowers and corporate watchdogs.”–Publishers Weekly
“Debut novelist Kuang creates an ambitious fantasy reimagining of Asian history populated by martial artists, philosopher-generals, and gods […] This is a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang’s career.”–Publishers Weekly
“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year […] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.” — Booknest
“A fiercely loving and tender tribute to Marcia Gay Harden’s mother, remembering for her and for us what Alzheimer’s has stolen, filling those darkened holes with compassion, acceptance, beauty, and love. I savored every page and didn’t want it to end.–Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Every Note Played
“Poignant, beautiful . . . . Replete with emotionally resonant scenes, humor, and tales of Harden’s own journey as an actor, The Seasons of My Mother is both inspirational and devastating, a touching tribute to a remarkable woman.”–Booklist
Book description: Strut, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s second book of poetry (her first was Karma’s Footsteps), emerges from an intense engagement with contemporary issues of crucial importance in our historical moment—ranging from global warming, genocide, capitalism, and racism to sexism, slut-shaming, slavery, and mental illness—in creative ways that facilitate dialogue.This is a work about struggle, survival, injustice, transcendence, and love. Strut explores themes of ancestry, survival, sensuality, and acceptance of self. This book celebrates the gorgeousness of life even as it bears witness to the ugliness that accompanies, and often seems to permeate, the human experience.
“Debut author Davis takes an unflinching approach to racism, religion, emotional abuse, and mental illness. Tiffany’s circumstances are nightmarish, but the narrative isn’t weighed down, in large part because of her integrity, passion, and refusal to be self-pitying.”–Publishers Weekly
“Davis’ debut novel is an honest, funny, and captivating examination of race, socio-economics, mental health, and family…A dynamic and honest coming-of-age novel with universal appeal that will especially speak to black girls questioning their place in the world.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Welcome to Lagos doesn’t just give us a glimpse of Nigeria, it transports us there. Onuzo’s storytelling is masterful, her characters are irresistible, and her voice is astounding in its subtle power. Onuzo stands on the shoulders of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and from her perch offers her own fresh, but assured, view.” –Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom
“Chloe Schwenke’s Self-ish offers an intelligent, thoughtful look at the complex journey that is gender transition, illuminating aspects of gender transition―such as the difficulties of job hunting, the process of forming and renegotiating friendships, and the intersection of trans identity and Quaker religious practice―that haven’t received much attention in memoirs or the media.”–Joy Ladin, author of Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders
“The essays in Against Memoir remind us how pleasure, pain, wisdom, and delight come from the ground up, by and through the body, and in this case, a body unapologetically firing all her desires, pleasures, fears, and dreams like lightning. A hardcore delight, a queer blood song picking the scab off the skin of culture.”–Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan
“An entrancing collection of irreverent and flamboyant essays.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade–abducted from Africa on the last “Black Cargo” ship to arrive in the United States.
“A primer and an inspiration for anyone looking to make their mark during these times of change and uncertainty.”–Juhu Thukral, human rights lawyer and inaugural speaker, Anita Hill Lecture Series
“A must-read for anyone interested in race, gender, class, American political development, the Civil Rights Movement, and the power of social change.”–Christina M. Greer, PhD, associate professor of political science at Fordham University
“A beautifully woven historical saga wrapped in a page-turning mystery, Shadow Child explores time, memory and identity,shedding new light on the lives of Japanese-Americans, and how trauma can be its own kind of inheritance. Not since Housekeeping has there been a pair of sisters so intricately linked as Hana and Kei, or settings that imprint so firmly on the mind, from the internment camps of WWII to the hidden caves and tropical waters of Hawaii. This is a stunning story of sisterhood and survival, of healing and forgiveness, and how we find our true selves in each other.”–Hannah Tinti, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Thief and The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
“National Book Critics Circle finalist Rizzuto blends historical fiction and mystery into a haunting examination of identity and family in this perfect book club choice.”–Library Journal (starred review)
“A compelling mystery, a grimly funny fantasy, and a genuinely touching story of friendship.”–Booklist
“Undead Girl Gang is a YA mash up of ‘The Craft’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ with a Latina protagonist…the best mix of ’90s girl power culture, compelling magic and creepy circumstances—all rolled together for the best kind of murder mystery.”–Bustle.com
May 9 (hardcover), May 15 (paperback), Kindle out now
“Come for the insight into the circle of friends that first resolved around James Baldwin, then shifted orbit to revolve around Maya Angelou. Stay because you’re enraptured by the candid, passionate woman narrating from the periphery. This is an intimate look at an inner circle of Black writers, scholars, and glamazons moving through the middle of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, told with bold tenderness by a woman who grew up in their company, under their gaze.”–Alice Randall, author of Ada’s Rules and The Wind Done Gone
“A necessary contribution to the conversation on gender liberation. Dahlqvist masterfully moves between storytelling and frameworking how stigma holds menstruators back globally, while offering tangible solutions to many of these problems. A must read.”–Kiran Gandhi, musician, activist, and free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon
“Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and take action against the global consequences of menstrual shame, stigma, and taboo. An insightful and inspiring read that will challenge you to think and behave differently.”–Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect
“Aja Gabel’s powerful debut offers a sensitive portrait of four young musicians forging their paths through life: sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes in harmony, but always inextricably linked by their shared pasts.”–Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere
“Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom.”–Library Journal (starred review)
“Wonderful…. The four characters are individually memorable, but as a quartet they’re unforgettable.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Friendship as Social Justice Activism brings together academics and activists to have essential conversations about friendship, love, and desire as kinetics for social justice movements. The contributors featured here come from across the globe and are all involved in diverse movements, including LGBTQ rights, intimate-partner violence, addiction recovery, housing, migrant, labor, and environmental activism.”–IndieBound
“Uproarious advice and never-before-seen color photos from drag queen extraordinaire Bianca Del Rio.
A collection of biting advice filled with vibrant photos from Bianca’s twisted universe, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio will shock you and keep you laughing. But be warned: it is not for the faint of heart!”–Amazon
Buzzfeed’s #1 Book to Read this Spring
A Best Book of the Month at The Washington Post, Bustle, and Chicago Review of Books
“Morrow’s debut is ambitious and insightful, raising questions about memory, trauma, and humanity. The novel is at its best when it presents Elsie at her most human, forcing the real ones around her to reckon with what her personhood means for theirs.”–Publishers Weekly
“In the world of Bethany C. Morrow’s imaginative and gloriously written first novel, MEM, a memory might have a life of her own. This novel imagines an alternate past where memories can be extracted and turned to flesh, a premise that unfolds with intrigue and wisdom from this writer’s fertile imagination. Don’t miss this exciting debut that will change the way you think about memories.”–Tananarive Due, American Book Award and British Fantasy Award winner
“This thought-provoking thriller examines issues such as abuse, gentrification, and the marginalization of people of color with nuance and sensitivity. The narrative deftly moves back and forth between past and present, building to a devastating conclusion. A spellbinding, profoundly moving choice for YA collections.”–School Library Journal (starred review)
“Jackson doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to the pain of abuse and the ramifications of turning a blind eye. It’s a frank, devastating read filled with real and flawed characters, and it’s a story that needs to be read.”–Booklist
“In this sharp, funny, and timely collection of personal essays, veteran video blogger and star of MTV’s Decoded Franchesca Ramsey explores race, identity, online activism, and the downfall of real communication in the age of social media rants, trolls, and call-out wars.”–Amazon
“This superbly edited collection will introduce many readers to a more versatile and accomplished Gwendolyn Bennett than they have known before. It includes the unpublished political poetry that extends her range and impact, making her a key figure of the 1930s.”–Cary Nelson, author of Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945
“Angela Garbes maps the strange void at the heart of American parenting-the ways we simultaneously deify, infantilize, and erase mothers-and then pours herself into that void with indefatigable curiosity and resounding compassion. Like a Mother is a deeply-researched history of human reproduction; it is a jewel-bright memoir; it is hard science beautifully translated; it is funny; it is intersectional; it will crack you open and fill you with awe. Required reading for mothers, and double-required for everyone else.”–Lindy West, author of New York Times bestseller Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
“Women all over Iran risked imprisonment and even their lives and safety to post pictures. Alinejad’s stories of her illustrious career as a groundbreaking journalist challenging the Islamic Republic make for a fascinating narrative.”–Publisher’s Weekly
“[Masih’s] descriptions of life as a journalist and activist will captivate readers interested in Iran, international affairs, gender equality, and human rights.”–Booklist
As You Like It, Volume II of the Gerald Kraak Anthology: African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality
“These stories take up space; they are big and heavy and weighty and solid. These stories make no apologies. The sentences you will find on these pages are not afraid. They move from the brutal and the bloody to the melodic and the lyrical. They are crisp and controlled then suddenly they melt; sweetly, seductively.”–Sisonke Msimang
Tags: Biography, South Africa, women writers, #OwnVoices, Black women
Jacana Media, 230 pages
“This book reminds us that before 1990 conditions on the ground meant that a determined union supporter such as Ndlovu could pay with her life for being a militant organiser. The new South Africa was not won cheaply.”–William Freund, Professor Emeritus of Economic History, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Tags: Women writers, Africa, South Africa, debut, Black women, #OwnVoices
Jacana Media, 200 pages
“An Image in a Mirror is a richly told and deeply intimate African story about the becoming of two young women, who are, the same as much as they are different. When the sisters, at the age of twenty-two, finally cross their respective worlds to meet, how mirrored will each feel about the other?”–Description
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Shobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighteris an intense story of survival and sisterhood.
And so much more.
Set in India against a backdrop of a strict caste system, arranged marriages, and harsh poverty, the two main characters of Rao’s poetic story develop an unlikely friendship that proves to be an enduring constant on which they build the strength needed to endure the violence and powerlessness they experience. 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.
The book begins with a story about a temple in the village of Indravalli and the old childless woman who was responsible for growing the trees whose wood was used to build it. Referring to the trees as her children, the old woman is complimented on her good fortune to have so many sons. At this, with “her eyes on fire,” the woman quickly gives the correction that the trees are not her sons but her daughters. This story and its subtle emphasis on fire, wholeness, and the girl-child sets the tone for the book and these recurring themes.
As the book continues, the reader witnesses Rao’s distinct talent for detailed descriptions of the surroundings of her main characters, Poornima and Savitha. She offers us a vibrant, albeit stark, picture of life in Indravalli and the ever-present gender inequities women face. Both characters experience trauma that forces them apart and drastically changes the trajectories of their lives.
There was a door, she remembered, a hidden one. Where all her treasures lay. And it remained closed, through the tea stall and the concrete room and the drugs, through the men and the men and the men. And it was through this door that the words found their way.
In her book, as in her BookPage “Behind the Book” article, Rao challenges her reader to reflect upon what a girl is worth.
A brown girl. A poor girl. A disabled girl. An uneducated girl. An ugly girl.
A girl in Khayelitsha, South Africa. A girl in Aleppo, Syria. A girl in Indravalli, India.
What is she worth, anyway? And why should we care?
Throughout Girls Burn Brighter, we must keep these questions in our minds. We must answer them honestly, then interrogate and re-interrogate those answers as well as our biases to get to the truth. The truth may be uncomfortable and unexpected. But to go through this process by reading this book and others like it, is one place to begin to explore the worth of girls. To see their light, their wisdom, their energy, their complexities, their fire, their spirit burning brighter.
“How can you build unshakable confidence and resilience in a world still filled with ignorance, inequality, and discrimination? The Queer and Transgender Resilience Workbook will teach you how to challenge internalized negative messages, handle stress, build a community of support, and embrace your true self.”–IndieBound
“I love An American Marriage, and I’m so excited for this book to be in the world. Tayari’s novel is timely, thoughtful, and beautifully written. Reading it, I found myself angry as hell, laughing out loud, choking up and cheering. A gem of a book.” – Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming
“An American Marriage is a stunning, epic love story filled with breathtaking twists and turns, while bursting with realized and unrealized dreams. Skillfully crafted and beautifully written, An American Marriage is an exquisite, timely, and powerful novel that feels both urgent and indispensable.” – Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory
“Beard has taken a project of momentous impact and injected a human element into it. […] This is approachable, intelligent, and highly satisfying historical fiction.” – Booklist starred review
“Fans of historical fiction will devour this complex and human look at the people involved in the creation of the atomic bomb. A fascinating look at an underexplored chapter of American history.” – Kirkus
“I fell head-over-heels with the darkly lush world of The Belles. A book to read when you want to be transported somewhere dangerous and beautiful, where nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound.” – Megan Shepherd, New York Times bestselling author of The Madman’s Daughter series, The Cage series, and the forthcoming Grim Lovelies
“The Belles is a powerful discussion about the cost of beauty and what we are willing to do for it. Dhonielle Clayton creates a world both lush and dark, with prose so delectable you will savor every word.” – Zoraida Cordova, author of Labyrinth Lost, The Circle Unbroken, and The Vicious Deep series
“The Body Is Not an Apology is a gift, a blessing, a prayer, a reminder, a sacred text. In it, Taylor invites us to live in a world where different bodies are seen, affirmed, celebrated, and just. Taylor invites us to break up with shame, to deepen our literacy, and to liberate our practice of celebrating every body and never apologizing for this body that is mine and takes care of me so well. This book cracked me open in ways that I’m so grateful for. I know it will do the same for you.” – Alicia Garza, cocreator of the Black Lives Matter Global Network
In this powerful exposé, Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang reveals how Silicon Valley got so sexist despite its utopian ideals, why bro culture endures despite decades of companies claiming the moral high ground (Don’t Be Evil! Connect the World!)–and how women are finally starting to speak out and fight back. – Amazon
“Oloomi’s rich and delightful novel… crackles throughout with wit and absurdity… [Call Me Zebra] is a sharp and genuinely fun picaresque, employing humor and poignancy side-by-side to tell an original and memorable story.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“This fierce meditation, a heady review of literature and philosophy as well as a love story, is a tour de force from the author of Fra Keeler that many will read and reread.” – Library Journal
“An arresting exploration of grief alongside a powder keg of a romance.” – Booklist
“Combining historical insight with inspiring argument, Deeds not Words reveals how far women have come since the suffragettes, how far we still have to go, and how we might get there. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to explore one of the most central and pressing conversations of our time.” – Amazon
“Lest you forget that Zadie Smith’s output encompasses several masterful careers, please allow Feel Free, her new collection of essays, to remind you…Incisive and often wry…these pieces are as relevant as can be. They are reminders of how much else there is to ponder in this world, how much else is worth our time, and how lucky we are to have Smith as our guide.” – Vanity Fair
“An elegant, moving, thoughtful meditation on grief, friendship, healing, and the bonds between humans and dogs.” – Buzzfeed
“Quietly brilliant and darkly funny… [The Friend is] rigorous and stark, so elegant—so dismissive of conventional notions of plot—it hardly feels like fiction. Breathtaking both in pain and in beauty; a singular book.” – Kirkus, starred review
“Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small… What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined.” – Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
“An inspirational journey through black fashion in America from the twentieth century to the present, featuring the most celebrated icons of Black style and taste.
One of the few surveys of Black style and fashion ever published, How to Slay offers a lavishly illustrated overview of African American style through the twentieth century, focusing on the last thirty-five years.” – Amazon
“Slutever is a funny, surprising, and ultimately enlightening book. Karley Sciortino is a natural-born killer of outmoded ways of thinking about love, sex, and personal agency. Generation slut has found a thoughtful, articulate voice.” – Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. (Co-author of Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships)
“[A] witty, deep memoir [that] digs into the power and the glory of female friendships…Where to start unpacking the good news that Kayleen Schaefer broadcasts in her timely, nimble, essential memoir…Every page of this book has something valuable to impart about the necessity of fostering female bonds and tending them with the same care we give to our relationships with family, spouses, and children.” – Elle
“A bold refusal to submit to stereotype.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Fiercely argued and solidly grounded, this an excellent primer on understanding and resisting the common distortions about Appalachia’s past and present.” —Anthony Harkins, author, Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon
“[An] immensely readable suffragette epic, with its full cast of the charismatic stars, character actors and the vast chorus who bravely and ingeniously dedicated–and risked–their lives to achieve the first modern, militant struggle in twentieth-century political theatre…” – Rachel Holmes, author of Eleanor Marx: A Life
“Sophfronia Scott has written a book of truth and grace. Clear-sighted in every way, Love’s Long Line has much to teach us about family, about the challenges the world gives us, about the journeys we make toward forgiveness. This is a book for the mind and the soul.” – Lee Martin, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Bright Forever
“Built is a terrific book–a necessary reminder of the wonderful human ingenuity behind the world’s greatest engineering projects, from Roman aqueducts to London’s magnificent Shard, which stands on foundations designed by the author herself. Lively, informative and exciting, Built will inspire readers of every stripe.” – Erica Wagner, author of Chief Engineer
“Roma Agrawal’s Built is a book about real engineering written by a real engineer who can really write.” – Henry Petroski, author of The Road Not Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure
“Melissa Dahl provides a fascinating (and often hilarious) examination of the underdiscussed feeling of awkwardness. Her practical, penetrating insights reveal that understanding what’s ‘cringeworthy’ can help us understand ourselves better–and create happier lives.” –Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies
“In her mind-blowing debut, Emezi weaves traditional Igbo myth that turns the well-worn narrative of mental illness on its head, and in doing so she has ensured a place on the literary-fiction landscape as a writer to watch . . . Emezi’s brilliance lies not just in her expert handling of the conflicting voices in Ada’s head but in delivering an entirely different perspective on just what it means to go slowly mad. Complex and dark, this novel will simultaneously challenge and reward lovers of literary fiction. A must-read.” – Booklist starred review
“Stunning. Kim Fu explores the lifelong ripple effects of tragedy, writing with wit, heart and precision. A cast of characters both flawed and fascinating. I was utterly transfixed by this book.” – Katrina Onstad, bestselling author of Everybody has Everything
“The characters in Kim Fu’s dark, deftly woven fable align and disperse like planets, bound in their separate orbits to a shared, definitive moment in time. Fu traces those orbits with a master astronomer’s care and observation, mapping in clear and rich prose a hidden universe of girlhood and becoming” – Michelle Orange, author of This Is Running for Your Life
“If you’ve ever wondered if all those Disney movies you watched as a kid really screwed up your adult life, this one is for you. Described by the author as “a self-help book for people who hate self-help books” Jen Kim’s Love And . . . is a hilarious and eye-opening journey through your muddled past relationships as well as Kim’s own, as she looks at the science and psychology behind why we love (or, you know, don’t) in the ways that we do. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.” – Bustle
“Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride–or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia–the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances–one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.”–IndieBound
A story about groundbreaking Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, this debut was described by Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow: “Written with the urgent tenderness of a love letter, this soaring novel is a heart-breaker and heart-mender at once—a gorgeous tribute to the brave and brilliant poet remembered in its pages.”
“This confessional self-help guide explores the complex emotional truth of what it’s like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. Activist author Marissa LaRocca’s revelatory tale includes her struggle with her secrets, including sexuality, and how she emerged as an outspoken advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues.”–IndieBound
“Lorena Hickok is a woman who found love with another lost soul, Eleanor Roosevelt. And love is what this book is all about: It suffuses every page, so that by the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves.” – Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue
“A powerful, in-depth exploration of the work of black female activists between 1920 and 1960.” — The Root
“Keisha Blain has dug deeply into twentieth-century history to reveal the personal and political lives of African diaspora women determined to Set the World on Fire as they walked a fine line between leading and adhering to the black nationalist dictate of masculine leadership. Drawing upon a range of materials, including FBI files, personal letters, newspapers, and federal census records, Blain details every step of these women’s organizing efforts and their pan-African visions.”–Ula Taylor, author of The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam
“So rich they read like dreams—or, more often, nightmares—the nine stories in Sachdeva’s otherworldly debut center upon the unforgiving forces that determine the shape of our lives. . . . A strikingly unified collection, with each story reading like a poem, or a fable, staring into the unknowable. . . . They are enormous stories, not in length but in ambition, each an entirely new, unsparing world. Beautiful, draining—and entirely unforgettable.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The nine stories in Sachdeva’s intriguing debut collection raise challenging questions about human responses to short-circuited desires. . . . These inventive stories will challenge readers to rethink how people cope with thwarted hopes.” – Publishers Weekly
“A most promising and original young writer.”–Ursula K. Le Guin
“I’m looking forward to the collection . . . everything I’ve read has impressed me–the past and future visions in ‘Delhi’, the intensity of ‘Thirst’, the feeling of escape at the end of ‘The Tetrahedron’…”–Niall Harrison, Vector (British Science Fiction Association)
..”.the first writer of Indian origin to make a serious mark in the SF world … she writes with such a beguiling touch of the strange.”–Nilanjana Roy, Business Standard
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. – Amazon
“After decades of art collecting, prominent Washington D.C.-based activist, philanthropist, and founder of the august Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Peggy Cooper Cafritz had amassed one of the most important collections of work by artists of color in the country. But in 2009, the more than three hundred works that comprised this extraordinary collection were destroyed in the largest residential fire in Washington, D.C. history. The pioneering collection included art by Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Yinka Shonibare, Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Carrie Mae Weems, among many others. This beautifully illustrated volume features 200 of the works that were lost, along with works that she has collected since the fire, as well as important contributions by preeminent curators and artists.”–IndieBound
In ancient China, history, vengeance, and murder collide for a female sleuth.
At thirteen, investigative prodigy Huang Zixia had already proved herself by aiding her father in solving confounding crimes. At seventeen, she’s on the run, accused of murdering her family to escape an arranged marriage. Driven by a single-minded pursuit, she must use her skills to unmask the real killer…and clear her name. – Amazon
“A writer candidly confronts her personal truth in her quest for transformation, transcendence, and redemption.”–Kirkus Review
“Actress and playwright Tina Alexis Allen’s audacious memoir unravels her privileged suburban Catholic upbringing that was shaped by her formidable father–a man whose strict religious devotion and dedication to his large family hid his true nature and a life defined by deep secrets and dangerous lies.”–IndieBound
“Powerful and heart-wrenching, Krystal Sital’s beautifully written memoir, Secrets We Kept, details her family history on Trinidad, as her grandmother and mother finally unleash their voices to uncover the brutal truth of who her grandfather truly was.”
– Jean Kwok, author of Mambo in Chinatown and Girl in Translation
“Discriminating Sex will threaten some, infuriate others. Nonetheless, Sueyoshi’s scholarship as well as the ingenuity of her narrative is sure to astonish as she demonstrates that Euro-American views of gender/sexuality–both their own and of people of color–are imaginaries formed in a crucible of desire, fear, and power.”–Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, author of Japanese American Resettlement through the Lens: Hikaru Carl Iwasaki and the WRA’s Photographic Section, 1943-1945
“Kasai explores the horrors of slavery and its legacy in this gothic tale that tingles on the verge of psychological horror. For readers of African American literary fiction and dark, surreal stories.”–Library Journal
“Kirsten Imani Kasai’s multi-period tale, The House of Erzulie, is a fascinating and surreal look into troubled minds. Both Isidore’s and Lydia’s grip on reality spins in and out of control; they experience visions, besotted compulsions, and self-mutilation as the veil between their worlds becomes increasingly tattered and their lives take parallel turns. Ms. Kasai’s settings are lush, and her sometimes-brutal tale is compulsive stuff (though squeamish readers beware!), even when her reader is left unsure of reality. I rarely say that I can’t put a book down, but The House of Erzulie left me besotted too. Highly recommended.”–Historical Novel Society
Freedom’s Dance provides a photographic and textual overview of the social, aid and pleasure club (SAPC) parade culture in New Orleans, tracking its origins in African traditions and subsequent development in Black New Orleans culture. Containing over 175 photographs by Eric Waters, Freedom’s Danceoffers the first complete look at the SAPC Second Line tradition, ranging from ideological approaches to the contributions of musicians, development of specific rituals by various clubs, and parade accessories such as elaborately decorated fans and sashes. – Amazon
From the award-winning entrepreneur, culture leader, and creator of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK movement comes an inspiring and beautifully designed book that pays tribute to the achievements and contributions of black women around the world.
Fueled by the insights of women of diverse backgrounds, including Michelle Obama, Angela Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Misty Copeland Yara Shahidi, and Mary J. Blige, this book is a celebration of black women’s voices and experiences that will become a collector’s items for generations to come. – IndieBound
“Known for her wide-ranging feminist writing about everything from princess culture to breast cancer, Orenstein presents a collection of her essays that are both striking and timely.”–New York Times Book Review)
“The real strength of this collection is Orenstein’s beautiful interweaving of personal stories with politics and her writings on/about politics…. She enriches her readers’ understanding of abortion laws, breast cancer, body image, pornography, and other timely issues in specific yet open-ended and complex ways.”–Library Journal, starred review
“A Girl Like That is unlike any YA book I’ve ever read: a fascinating and disturbing glance into the gender discrimination and double-standards as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl in Saudi Arabia. It raised awareness for me, and is certain to inspire discussion and raise questions about equality, justice, and basic human rights.” – Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT Bestselling Author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time
“Is it wrong that I wanted to underline every single word in this book? Simmons brilliantly crystallizes contemporary girls’ dilemma: the way old expectations and new imperatives collide; how a narrow, virtually unattainable vision of ‘success’ comes at the expense of self-worth and well-being. Enough As She is a must-read, not only for its diagnosis of the issues but for its insightful, useful strategies on how to address them.” – Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex
“If not you, then who? If not now, then when? We need more women to speak up and make their voices heard. Young women have valuable experiences and perspectives. We need you in this fight.” Senator Elizabeth Warren, from a Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance
“I know what it means to work really hard to conceal the pain, struggle, and heartache in one’s life, to appear ‘fine’ just for the sake of other people. Because the reality of my life might have made others momentarily uncomfortable, I’d hide my own discomfort. It’s a hard habit to break and one that women have become adept at, one that is reinforced in the way our society treats, talks about, and engages with women who are ill or struggling. Thank you, Michele, for freeing us from the burden of being fine and shining a light on all the hidden pain women have been working so hard to conceal.” – Nora McInerny, podcast host for Terrible, Thanks for Asking and author of It’s Okay to Laugh
“…a nonfiction book of deeply personal essays by marginalised people operating at the intersection of feminism, witchcraft, and resistance to summon power and become fearsome in a world that would prefer them afraid. With contributions from twenty witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels, BECOMING DANGEROUS is a book of intelligent and challenging essays that will resonate with anyone who’s ever looked for answers outside the typical places.” – Fiction & Feeling
Uncertain of the exact release date but pre-order yours soon!