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New Reads for the Rest of Us for January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

January 1

Tags: History, feminism, France, women writers

University of Nebraska Press, 415 pages

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

 

Dear Jane by Marina Delvecchio (@Marinagraphy)

January 3

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

Black Rose Writing, 172 pages

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

 

 

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

January 7

Tags: History, politics, Australia, women writers

Harvard University Press, 320 pages

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

 

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

January 8

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

Balzer + Bray, 407 pages

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

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

 

 

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

January 8

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

Atria, 384 pages

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

 

Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden

January 8

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

Bloomsbury YA, 272 pages

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

 

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

January 8

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

Nation Books, 400 pages

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

 

McGlue: A Novella by Ottessa Moshfegh

January 8

Tags: Novella, women writers,

Penguin Group (USA), 160 pages

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

 

 

Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (@sschweblin)

January 8

Tags: Short stories, women writers, Argentina, fantasy

Riverhead Books, 240 pages

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

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

 

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

January 8

Tags: Black women, LGBTQ, romance

Avon Impulse, 106 pages

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

 

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

January 8

Tags: Lesbian, women writers, debut, family

Algonquin Books, 321 pages

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

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

 

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

January 8

Tags: Feminism, women writers, race, Black women

The New Press, 224 pages

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

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

 

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

January 8

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

Penguin, 336 pages

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

 

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

January 8

Tags: Health, memoir, #OwnVoices

Random House, 304 pages

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

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

 

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

January 8

Tags: LGBTQ, debut, translation, women writers

Other Press, 209 pages

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

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

 

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

January 8

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

Doubleday, 243 pages

Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

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

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

 

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

January 8

Tags: YA, biography, women writers, activism

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 224 pages

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

 

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

January 10

Tags: LGBTQ, women writers, #OwnVoices

Duke University Press Books, 182 pages

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

 

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

January 15

Tags: Disability, women writers, design, US history

NYU, 304 pages

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

 

Adèle: A Novel by Leila Slimani

January 15

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

Penguin Books, 240 pages

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

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

 

The Ashford Place by Jean Copeland (@jeaniecopes)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance

Bold Strokes Books, 260 pages

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

 

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

January 15

Tags: Poetry, women writers, Black women, incarceration

Bloomsbury Publishing. 192 pages

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

 

Emily’s Art and Soul by Joy Argento

Tags: LGBTQ, romance, women writers

Bold Strokes Books

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

 

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay 

January 15

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

Grove Press, 448 pages

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

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

 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (@Roshani_Chokshi)

January 15

Tags: YA, historical, fantasy, women writers

Wednesday Books, 400 pages

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

 

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

January 15

Tags: Memoir, women writers, family, #OwnVoices

Knopf, 250 pages

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

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

 

Music City Dreamers by Robyn Nyx (@robyn_nyx)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance, women writers

Bold Strokes Books, 292 pages

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

 

My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir by Tia Torres

January 15

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

William Morrow, 240 pages

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

 

 

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

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance, women writers

Bold Strokes Books, 226 pages

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

 

Royal Court by Jenny Frame (@jennyframe91)

January 15

Tags: LGBTQ, romance

Bold Strokes Books, 290 pages

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

 

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

January 15

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

Curbstone Books 2, 272 pages

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

 

Unmarriageable: A Novel by Soniah Kamal (@SoniahKamal)

January 15

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

Ballantine, 352 pages

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

 

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

January 15

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

Gallery/Scout Press, 240 pages

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

 

Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich (@yelenamoskovich)

January 17

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

Serpent’s Tail, 256 pages

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

 

 

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

January 20

Tags: Humor, debut, women writers

Haigh 38 Press, 277 pages

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

 

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

January 21

Tags: Gender, health, women writers

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 208 pages

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

 

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

January 21

Tags: Transgender, health, relationships

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 336 pages

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

 

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

January 21

Tags: Transgender, violence, women writers

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 184 pages

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

 

Careful What You Wish For by Jackie Calhoun

January 22

Tags: Wisconsin, LGBTQ, romance, #OwnVoices

Bella Books, 252 pages

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

 

Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar by Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung

January 22

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

University of Wisconsin Press, 320 pages

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

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

 

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

January 22

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

Ballantine Books, 528 pages

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

 

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

January 22

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

William Morrow, 384 pages

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

 

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

January 22

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

Hachette Books, 288 pages

Forbes, Most Anticipated Books of the Year

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

 

Rising Above by Genevieve Fortin (@kenefief)

January 22

Tags: LGBTQ, romance

Bella Books, 226 pages

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

 

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

January 29

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

Ballantine Books, 352 pages

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

 

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

January 29

Tags: Business, feminism, #OwnVoices, women writers

Hay House Inc., 296 pages

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

 

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

January 29

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

Atria Books, 288 pages

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

 

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

January 29

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

W. W. Norton & Company, 400 pages

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

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

 

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

January 29

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

Scholastic Inc., 336 pages

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

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

 

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

January 29

Tags: Black women, feminism, #OwnVoices

Beacon Press , 224 pages

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

 

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

January 29

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

Mariner Books, 96 pages

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

 

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

January 29

Tags: Debut, women writers, historical fiction, Russia

Kensington, 416 pages

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

 

 

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

January 29

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

Little, Brown and Company, 320 pages

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

First, my favorite book of the year:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

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

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

Read my review here!

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

And to round out the Top 5:

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

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

Read my review here!

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

 

Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

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

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

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

 

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

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

Read my review here!

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

 

And the remainder of the Top 10:

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

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

Read my review here!

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

 

Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

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

Read my review here!

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

 

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

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

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

 

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

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

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

 

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

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

Read my review here!

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

 

Honorable mentions:

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

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

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

 

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

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

Read my review here!

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

 

And last, but certainly not least: 

When a Bulbul Sings by Hawaa Ayoub

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

Read my review here!

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

 

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

What were your favorite reads of 2018?

 

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

New Reads for the Rest of Us for December 2018

New Reads for the Rest of Us for December 2018

Welcome to New Reads for the Rest of Us for December 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 are the New Reads for the Rest of Us for December 2018. There are so many great titles here, which will you read??

Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics by Nazia Kazi (@NaziaKaziTweets)

December 1 (Kindle)

Tags: Islam, women writers

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 168 pages

Nazia Kazi’s Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics is a devastating critique of the prevailing ways that Americans talk about Muslims, especially liberals who apparently mean well. Kazi makes her case elegantly and persuasively; her frustration is palpable and engaging. Anyone who thinks they have something worthwhile to say about Islamophobia in the United States should read this book first.–Arun Kundnani, New York University

Revolutionary Masculinity and Racial Inequality: Gendering War and Politics in Cuba by Bonnie A. Lucero

December 1

Tags: Masculinity, Cuba, politics, gender, war

University of New Mexico Press, 360 pages

“One of the most paradoxical aspects of Cuban history is the coexistence of national myths of racial harmony with lived experiences of racial inequality. Here a historian addresses this issue by examining the ways soldiers and politicians coded their discussions of race in ideas of masculinity during Cuba’s transition from colony to republic.”–Description

Tides of Revolution: Information, Insurgencies, and the Crisis of Colonial Rule in Venezuela by Cristina Soriano

December 1

Tags: Venezuela, women writers, colonialism, nonfiction

University of New Mexico Press, 336 pages

“This is a book about the links between politics and literacy, and about how radical ideas spread in a world without printing presses. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Spanish colonial governments tried to keep revolution out of their provinces.”–Description

Decolonizing Academia: Poverty, Oppression and Pain by Clelia O. Rodríguez

December 3

Tags: Education, women writers, colonialism

Fernwood Books Ltd, 150 pages

“Poetic, confrontational and radical, Decolonizing Academia speaks to those who have been taught to doubt themselves because of the politics of censorship, violence and silence that sustain the Ivory Tower. Clelia O. Rodríguez illustrates how academia is a racialized structure that erases the voices of people of colour, particularly women.”–Description

International Surrogacy as Disruptive Industry in Southeast Asia by Andrea Whittaker

December 3

Tags: SE Asia, health, reproductive freedom, women writers

Rutgers Univ Press, 244 pages

“An original, comprehensive, and eye-opening account of the unprecedented growth of commercial surrogacy in Southeast Asia. By focusing on the industry’s multiple stakeholders—particularly Thai surrogates who have gestated babies for Australian intended parents—Whittaker writes with ethnographic sensitivity and compassion, while at the same time critiquing the “disruptive industry” within which surrogacy takes place.  A must-read for those interested in globalization, biotechnology, and reproductive justice.”–Marcia Inhorn author of Cosmopolitan Conceptions: IVF Sojourns in Global Dubai
December 4
Tags: Short stories, women writers, family, historical fiction
Counterpoint, 448 pages
“A young German Jewish refugee in England in the 1940s, a resident of India for two dozen years, and a New Yorker from the mid-1970s until her death in 2013, Jhabvala triangulated her three adopted cultures in the 17 enthralling stories gathered in this sterling retrospective collection.  . . . Jhabvala was a spellbinding short story writer of fluid empathy, exceptional cross-cultural insight, and abiding respect for unconventional love . . . This is a richly captivating, revelatory, and important collection.”–Booklist (starred review)

 

Feminist Accountability: Disrupting Violence and Transforming Power by Ann Russo

December 4

Tags: Feminism, women writers

NYU Press, 280 pages

“As a feminist organizer, I’ve been waiting for this collection of essays for years. How do we address and transform violence in non-punitive ways? Ann Russo offers a compelling analysis of how a praxis of accountability can guide us toward some answers to this question. As a scholar-activist, Russo’s insights are drawn from both theory and practice. She has tried on and tried out the ideas she espouses in community with others. The essays are beautifully written and accessible to all. Feminist Accountability is a must read for anyone interested in community accountability practices, anti-violence organizing and transformative justice.”–Mariame Kaba, Founder of Project NIA

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by Tracey Richardson (@trich7117)

December 4

Tags: Lesbian, romance

Bella Books, 250 pages

“Ellie Kirkland is at loose ends―and not for the first time. Resistant to following the path her parents insist on, she’s been trying out careers like she’s trying on outfits at Banana Republic. Now that her dream of being a journalist is over, Ellie must begin again. And the woman who crushed that very dream is the very woman who just might hold the key to Ellie’s future.”–Description

Revolution Sunday by Wendy Guerra and Achy Obejas (Translator)

December 4

Tags: Cuba, women writers, thriller, Latinx

Melville House, 208 pages

“Arresting, an explosive portrait of loneliness and isolation. Thick with the atmosphere of… Havana on the cusp of the Cuban thaw, the novel reads like the world’s most poetic anxiety dream, vibrant and stifling. Demanding and unforgettable.”–Kirkus (starred)

Where There’s a Will by Virginia Hale

December 4

Tags: Lesbian, romance

Bella Books, 276 pages

“As their friendship blossoms, Beth’s unspoken desire to sell remains the single wedge keeping them apart. Will asking for what she needs cost Beth a chance at a life with Dylan? Perhaps the richest inheritance of all may be a second chance.”–Description

Graceful Woman Warrior: A Story of Mindfully Living In The Face Of Dying by Terri Luanna da Silva with Laurie O’Neil and Marisa Alegria da Silva

December 5

Tags: Health, death, women writers, memoir

“Diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at 37, artist Terri Luanna da Silva’s example of living and dying with grace and integrity is an inspiration-not only for the dying, but for anyone aspiring to live with greater mindfulness and authenticity.”–Lauren Mackler, best-selling author of Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life

Postfeminist War: Women in the Media-Military-Industrial Complex by Mary Douglas Vavrus

December 10

Tags: Military, feminism, women writers

Rutgers Univ Press, 256 pages

“That women are increasingly on the front lines of war since 9/11 may not surprise readers of this book, but the many ways that women are symbolically enlisted in the promotion and perpetuation of endless global conflict certainly will. This well-written and timely book is essential for students and scholars alike to understand the PR strategies employed to curry favor for war, even as the public sours on American militarism. Unveiling the constructions and contradictions of a kinder, gentler post-feminist war mythology offers all of us a pathway to become ethical witnesses to war narratives, in the hope of ending war and its inhumane consequences.”–Robin Andersen author of A Century of Media: A Century of War

Fire on the Water: Sailors, Slaves, and Insurrection in Early American Literature, 1789-1886 by Lenora Warren (@Lenora_DW)

December 14

Tags: History, literary criticism, women writers

Bucknell University Press, 170 pages

“The book’s topic is superb: the role of black sailors, particularly enslaved or emancipated black sailors, has been woefully understudied. In locating both revolutionary potential and abolitionist inspiration in the insurrectionary activity of black sailors, Warren provides a fresh, exciting new unit of analysis for scholars and students of American literary history. I cannot stress enough how vital and necessary the topic is, and how overlooked it has been.”–Hester Blum, Pennsylvania State University and President of the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists)

Liberating Hollywood: Women Directors and the Feminist Reform of 1970s American Cinema by Maya Montañez Smukler

December 14

Tags: Feminism, film, US history

Rutgers Univ Press, 275 pages

“A counterintuitive feminist history of the new Hollywood that convincingly challenges widely held assumptions about the boys’ club movie brat auteur renaissance. In Liberating Hollywood, Maya Montanez Smukler is remarkably attentive to the industrial as well as sociopolitical histories that made such a new women’s cinema and such a suddenly liberated Hollywood possible.”–Jon Lewis, author of Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles

Modern Spanish Women as Agents of Change: Essays in Honor of Maryellen Bieder edited by Jennifer Smith

December 14

Tags: Spain, history

Bucknell University Press, 248 pages

“This book is a beautiful tribute to Maryellen Bieder, an important and significant scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish narrative by women. The essays in this book—by scholars and writers of several different generations who are also highly esteemed in the same and other areas—expand and continue Bieder’s research to new horizons.”–Sandra J. Schumm author of Mother and Myth in Spanish Novels

African Immigrant Families in the United States: Transnational Lives and Schooling by Serah Shani

December 15

Tags: Africa, Ghana, immigration, women writers, education

Lexington Books, 186 pages

“This beautifully written book elucidates the educational trajectories of immigrant children as they confront rigid American systems of race and class, and it documents how parents rely on the ‘network village,’ a transnational network of fellow Ghanaians in New York and Ghana, to provide academic and other types of support and resources for their children. This superb ethnography will appeal to readers interested in immigration and education, anthropology of education, and African diaspora cultural studies.–Lesley Bartlett, University of Wisconsin

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean by Luisa Marcela Ossa, Debbie Lee-DiStefano

December 15

Tags: Latinx, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, essays

“The essays collected this book by Ossa and Lee-Distefano present a formidable addition to Latin American, African, and Asian studies—where the fields converge in vigorous and well-researched conversation with one another.”–Sheridan Wigginton, California Lutheran University

Brooklyn On My Mind: Black Visual Artists from the WPA to the Present by Myrah Brown Green 

December 15

Tags: Art, women writers, New York, US history

Schiffer, 272 pages

“This new resource assembles 129 Black artists and their magnificent works, highlighting their important contributions to art worldwide. Beginning with the Brooklyn-based artists active during the Works Progress Administration years and continuing with artists approaching their prime today, the collection spans 80 years of art. From highly publicized artists to rising talent, each is tied to Brooklyn in their own way.”–Description

Crime and Violence in the Caribbean: Lessons from Jamaica by Sherill V. Morris-Francis, Camille A. Gibson, Lorna E. Grant

December 15

Tags: Caribbean, violence, women writers, essays

Lexington Books, 256 pages

“This book provides an excellent historical overview of crime and violence in the Caribbean. The contributors identify and present many of the forces that contribute to this phenomenon.”–Zelma Henriques, John Jay College

Gender and Environment in Science Fiction by Bridgitte Barclay, Christy Tidwell

December 15

Tags: Science fiction, gender, environment

“This book delivers shrewd analyses of a wonderful and quirky range of SF texts. Barclay and Tidwell situate the project brilliantly, and the collection as a whole will illuminate familiar texts anew and add unfamiliar stories to your high-priority reading and screening queues.”–Andrew Hageman, Luther College

Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism by Msia Kibona Clark (@kibona), Loy Azalia (@LoyAzalia), Phiwokuhle Mnyandu (@DrMnyandu)

December 15

Tags: Essays, women writers, #OwnVoices, Africa, African American

Lexington Books, 316 pages

“The essays [in this book] represent a wide spectrum of experiences and viewpoints central to the bicultural Africans/Black experience. The contributors offer poignant and grounded perspectives on the diverse ways race, ethnicity, and culture are experienced, debated, and represented. All of the chapters contribute more broadly to writings on dual identities, and the various ways bicultural Africans/Blacks navigate their identities and their places in African and Diaspora communities.”–Description

The Question of Class in Contemporary Latin American Cinema by María Mercedes Vázquez Vázquez

December 15

Tags: Latinx, women writers, film, class

Lexington Books, 222 pages

“This book offers a theoretically rich survey of directors and films that found international notoriety as well as those that have been little known outside Latin America. It examines the history, institutions, contexts, and practices that have reshaped Latin American cinema under neoliberalism, and it does so in an impressive, intellectually rigorous manner.”–Cacilda M. Rêgo, Utah State University

Twentieth Century Forcible Child Transfers: Probing the Boundaries of the Genocide Convention by Ruth Amir

December 15

Tags: Women writers, family

Lexington Books, 308 pages

“A well-researched report about the horror of ‘legal’ child abduction by the state, which deems itself the savior that will elevate the children of what it deems inferior cultures to it’s notion of ‘civilized’ heights. Slay their children, or rob them of their cultural heritage by removal, the end result is genocide!”–Daniel N. Paul, Mi’kmaw Elder

Women of the 2016 Election: Voices, Views, and Values edited by Jennifer Schenk Sacco

December 15

Tags: Politics, women writers, essays

Lexington Books, 246 pages

“This fascinating collection of essays provides a rich overview of women’s multiple and diverse contributions to U.S. presidential campaigns. The book’s focus on individual women with prominent roles in the 2016 election reflects an innovative approach that illustrates superbly the complicated and varied ways that gender is at play in contemporary electoral politics.”–Susan J. Carroll, co-author of A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Presence Matters, Rutgers University

Women, Social Change, and Activism: Then and Now by Dawn Hutchinson, Lori Underwood

December 15

Tags: Activism, essays, women writers

Lexington Books, 110 pages

“Through the study of local and global activism, Women, Social Change and Activism: Then and Now engages scholars interested in the artistic, economic, educational, ethical, historical, literary, philosophical, political, psychological, religious, and social dimensions of women’s lives and resistance.”–Description

The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawai’i and the Early United States by Noelani Arista (@Noeolali)

December 17

Tags: Hawaiʻi, politics, US history, women writers, Native American

University of Pennsylvania Press, 312 pages

The Kingdom and the Republic challenges some of our most basic assumptions about native Hawaiʻi, the encounters between natives and foreigners, and the processes of colonization, upending our expectations of who, in Hawaiʻi, had law and governance, and who was encountering whom.”–Rebecca McLennan, University of California, Berkeley

One-Dimensional Queer by Roderick A. Ferguson

December 17

Tags: Queer, nonfiction, people of color

Polity, 200 pages

One-Dimensional Queer is as clear an account as you could hope to encounter of how race and sexuality came to be understood as separate formations in US history. The resultant mainstreaming of LGBT cultures has been disastrous in terms of seeing our way out of the current crisis we inhabit. Offering solutions as well as critique, Ferguson’s book is destined to be a crucial part of any library of liberation.”–Jack Halberstam, Columbia University

29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz (@MelissadelaCruz)

December 18

Tags: Romance, women writers, humor

Inkyard Press, 400 pages

“A refreshingly modern love story, 29 Dates serves up a funny and heartfelt rom-com about finding love and figuring out life on your own terms.”–Maurene Goo, author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love by Heather Demetrios (@HDemetrios)

December 18

Tags: YA, essays, relationships

Henry Holt and Co., 256 pages

“Eighteen young adult novelists . . . respond to letters from real teenagers in this timeless and breathtakingly honest collection.”–Booklist, starred review

“A masterful combination of painful honesty, gentle encouragement, and irreverent humor.”–Kirkus Reviews

The Disasters by MK England (@GeektasticLib)

December 18

Tags: Queer, YA, sci fi, debut, #OwnVoices

Harper Teen, 368 pages

“Much to recommend: nonstop cinematic action, strong feminist messages, and great diversity of characters.”–ALA Booklist

“An action-packed, entertaining blend of space hijinks, humor, and romance.”–Kirkus Reviews

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard (@wendydheard)

December 18

Tags: Debut, thriller, women writers

MIRA, 304 pages

“This dark, gritty thriller keeps the pages turning, making this a solid pick for readers who enjoy a trip through an unstable mind, such as in Caroline Kepnes’s You.”–Library Journal

Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal by Alexandra Natapoff (@ANatapoff)

December 31

Tags: Women writers, criminal justice

Basic Books, 352 pages

“This important book completely upends the criminal justice conversation. Natapoff documents dark truths about the misdemeanor process-how it forces the innocent to plead guilty, how it disregards basic legal rights, and how it inflicts deep injustice. Her insights inspire both outrage and innovation. Punishment Without Crime provides a terrific new understanding of a flawed criminal system, and it offers a much-needed path toward the fair and just criminal system America deserves. A necessary book for our times.”–Barry Scheck, cofounder of the Innocence Project

I’ll add more titles as I find them. What are you reading this month??

This post contains affiliate links.

October 2018 New Reads for the Rest of Us

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??

 

Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption by Susan Devan Harness 

October 1

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

 

In Defense of Loose Translations: An Indian Life in an Academic World by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

October 1

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

 

Painted Cities: Illustrated Street Art Around the World by Lorna Brown

October 1

Tags: Art, women writers

Head of Zeus, 128 pages

“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

 

The Taiga Syndrome by Cristina Rivera Garza (@criveragarza)

October 1

Tags: Women writers, folklore, Latinx

Dorothy, a publishing project; 128 pages

“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

 

Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings by Prudence Bushnell

October 1

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

 

When a Bulbul Sings by Hawaa Ayoub (@HawaaAyoub)

October 1

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

Hawaa Ayoub, 416 pages

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

My review of this title will be coming soon!

 

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung (@nicole_soojung)

October 2

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 Best American Short Stories 2018 edited by Roxane Gay (@rgay)

October 2

Tags: Short stories, women writers

“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

 

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health by Kelly Jensen (@veronikellymars)

October 2

Tags: Health, women writers, YA, depression

Algonquin Young Readers, 240 pages

“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

 

A Dream Called Home: A Memoir by Reyna Grande (@reynagrande)

October 2

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

 

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies: Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them by Scarlett Curtis (@scarcurtis)

October 2

Tags: Feminism, #OwnVoices, essays

Ballantine Books, 384 pages

“Brilliant, hysterical, truthful, and real, these essays illuminate the path for our future female leaders.”–Reese Witherspoon

“As a feminist who loves pink, I give this brilliant book of essays an enthusiastic ‘YES.’”–Mindy Kaling

 

The Feud of the Fan Dancers: Sex, Scandal, and the Showgirl by Leslie Zemeckis (@LeslieZemeckis)

October 2

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

October 2

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

 

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, and Minyon Moore

October 2

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

288 pages

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

 

Freedom Is an Inside Job: Owning Our Darkness and Our Light to Heal Ourselves and the World by Zainab Salbi

October 2

Tags: Women writers, self help

Sounds True, 184 pages

“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

 

Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History by Sam Maggs (Author), Jenn Woodall (Illustrator)

October 2

Tags: History, women writers, feminism, friendship

Quirk Books, 273 pages

“An impressively researched and fascinating compendium of history’s greatest gal pals.”—Booklist 

 

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister (@rtraister)

October 2

Tags: Feminism, politics, anger

Simon & Schuster, 320 pages

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

 

History vs Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don’t Want You to Know by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams

October 2

Tags: Women writers, YA, biography

Feiwel & Friends, 144 pages

“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

 

In Deep: How I Survived Gangs, Heroin, and Prison to Become a Chicago Violence Interrupter by Angalia Bianca (@AngaliaBiancawith Linda Beckstrom

October 2

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

 

Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications by Gina C. Torino et al.

October 2

Tags: Race, women writers, psychology, education

Wiley, 400 pages

“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

 

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (@TillieWalden)

October 2

Tags: Graphic novels, women writers, queer, science fiction

First Second, 544 pages

“Phenomenal . . . Utterly mesmerizing . . . A remarkable, stunning comic.”–Booklist (starred review)

“Both gently romantic and heartbreaking, the story ultimately celebrates love and the importance of chosen family. An affirming love story.”–Kirkus

 

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker

October 2

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

 

Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan (@amanlyant)

October 2

Tags: Thriller, short stories, contemporary women, women writers

Coffee House Press, 224 pages

“There’s plenty of darkness and a sprinkling of magic, and these strange, flinty, cigarette-stained narratives speed by, offering lots of surface tension and compelling deeper passions.”–The Guardian

 

Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space by Cristen Conger (@CristenCongerand Caroline Ervin (@TheCarolineErv)

October 2

Tags: Trans, feminism, women writers, gender

Ten Speed Press, 288 pages

“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

 

We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists edited by Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner

October 2

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

 

The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I) by Cerece Rennie Murphy (@CereceRMurphy)

October 4

Tags: Fantasy, folklore, romance, women writers

LionSky Publishing, 198 pages

“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: Women and the Anti-Communist Blacklist by Carol A. Stabile

October 9

Tags: Women writers, history, media

Goldsmiths Press, 320 pages

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

 

The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin edited by Lisa Yaszek

October 9

Tags: Science fiction, women writers, short stories

Library of America, 475 pages

“Make no mistake: The quality of the stories here is unassailable.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith (@CynLeitichSmith)

October 9

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: Resisting Life Sentences Working Toward Freedom edited by Alice Kim, Erica Meiners, Jill Petty, Audrey Petty, Beth E. Richie, and Sarah Ross

October 9

Tags: Essays, human rights, crime, incarceration

Haymarket, 250 pages

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

 

Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism by Nadya Tolokonnikova (@tolokno)

October 9

Tags: #OwnVoices, women writers, activism

HarperOne, 256 pages

“With its stellar mix of personal experience and hard-won advice, Tolokonnikova’s guide is sure to fuel social movements for years to come.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker (@cam_acker)

October 9

Tags: Black women, contemporary women, women writers, short stories, Washington DC

The Feminist Press at CUNY, 248 pages

“Camille Acker navigates the lives of young African American girls and women in Washington, DC with humor, heart, and grace. I loved these stories.”–Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

“A devastating and subtle portrayal of what it is to be black and female in America: the ache, the rage, the sorrow, the unending will to rise.”–Shobha Rao, author of Girls Burn Brighter

 

White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswar (@chayab77)

October 9

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

 

Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 Us Presidential Election edited by Christine A. Kray, Tamar W. Carroll, and Hinda Mandell

October 10

Tags: Politics, US history, feminism

University of Rochester Press, 336 pages

“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

 

On My Way To Liberation by H. Melt (@HMeltChicago)

October 18 (ebook, paperback out now!)

Tags: Trans, poetry, queer, #OwnVoices

Haymarket Books, 28 pages

“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

 

The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon by Jaime Harker (@jaimeharker)

October 15

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

 

Why Does Patriarchy Persist? by Carol Gilligan (@CarolGilligan1and Naomi Snider

October 15

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

 

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson (@dopequeenpheebs)

October 16

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

 

Gender: Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture by Lee Airton (@LeeAirton)

October 16

Tags: Gender, queer, trans, family

Adams Media, 240 pages

“An authentic and accessible guide to understanding—and engaging in—today’s gender conversation.”–Description

 

In Your Hands by Inês Pedrosa and Andrea Rosenberg (Translator)

October 16

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

 

Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the New South Africa by a Member of the Post-apartheid Generation by Malaika Wa Azania 

October 16

Tags: South Africa, memoir, race, women writers

Seven Stories Press, 240 pages

“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)

 

My Love Story by Tina Turner

October 16

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

 

Period Power by Nadya Okamoto

October 16

Tags: Health, YA, women writers

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

 

Riddance: Or: The Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children by Shelley Jackson

October 16

Tags: YA, coming of age, horror, women writers

Black Balloon Publishing, 512 pages

“Not only an incredible yarn but a delightfully strange, wondrously original, and dazzlingly immersive gothic love letter to storytelling.”–Booklist

 

She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy by Jill Soloway

October 16

Tags: Memoir, women writers, queer, trans, gender, entertainment, #OwnVoices

Crown Archetype, 256 pages

Read my review!

“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

 

Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor

October 16

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

 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (@TaherehMafi)

October 16

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)

October 16

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

 

Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side by Eve L. Ewing (@eveewing)

October 22

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

 

A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago Since the 1960s by Elizabeth Todd-Breland (@EToddBreland)

October 22

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

 

Kat’s Nine Lives by Laina Villeneuve

October 23

Tags: Lesbian, women writers, romance

Bella Books, 278 pages

“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

 

Lex Files by Celeste Castro

October 23

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

October 23

Tags: Graphic novel, feminism, women writers

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

 

Paper Gods: A Novel of Money, Race, and Politics by Goldie Taylor

October 23

Tags: Black women, women writers, politics, mystery

All Points Books, 336 pages

“A moving and unflinching portrait of a city and its many layers of power…Taylor has created a hero we see all too rarely: black, female, powerful.” —Tim Teeman, Senior Editor of The Daily Beast

 

Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories by May-Lee Chai (@mayleechai)

October 23

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

 

Family Trust: A Novel by Kathy Wang (@bykathywang)

October 30

Tags: Family, literary, women writers

William Morrow, 400 pages

“A wicked and witty send up of Asian-American Silicon Valley elite, a delightful debut that Jane Austen would have approved of.”–Micah Perks, author of What Becomes Us

“Astute…[Wang] brings levity and candor to the tricky terrain of family dynamics, aging, and excess [and] expertly considers the values of high-tech high society.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (@thebestjasmine)

October 30

Tags: Romance, women writers

Berkley, 336 pages

“There is so much to relate to and throughout the novel, there is a sharp feminist edge. Loved this one, and you will too.”–Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

 

This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender (@kheryncasey)

October 30

Tags: YA, romance, queer, queer writers

Balzer + Bray, 304 pages

“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

 

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves edited by Glory Edim (@guidetoglo and @wellreadblkgirl)

October 30

Tags: Literary, essays, Black women, women writers

Ballantine Books, 224 pages

“A brilliant collection of essential American reading . . . smart, powerful, and complete.”–Min Jin Lee, author of the National Book Award finalist Pachinko

 

Hope you find something of interest on the October 2018 New Reads for the Rest of Us – What will you be reading this month?

 

This post includes affiliate links but I write what I like. 

A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACK

A Review of Kevin Powell’s MY MOTHER. BARACK OBAMA. DONALD TRUMP. AND THE LAST STAND OF THE ANGRY WHITE MAN.

This year I have committed to reading and reviewing books mainly by womxn writers but when I received an advanced proof of Kevin Powell’s latest book, My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man., I decided to make an exception.

Despite Kevin Powell having authored 12 previous books, this is the first one of his I am reading. I initially encountered Powell during his time on The Real World in the 90s and kept loose tabs on his writing career since. I have enjoyed some of his essays in Vibe and other outlets throughout the years so was excited to read this new book.

A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACK

The author, Kevin Powell.

The book is a collection of 13 of Powell’s articles and blog posts from the last couple of years. The essays are cogent reminders and reflections of events from pop culture to politics, from Tupac and Prince, to gender and masculinity, to mental health and police brutality, all through the eyes of Kevin Powell.

And Powell doesn’t let us forget who he is: born and raised by a single mom in impoverished Jersey City, no father figure, university dropout, drunk, suicidal, and burnt out by 30 and against all odds now a sober and accomplished writer, committed activist, and desired speaker who has visited all 50 states and 5 of 7 continents. While overcoming the barriers he has is impressive, if there’s any part of Powell’s writing that loses me, it is this slip into self-indulgence that sometimes occurs; Powell has a way of inserting himself and his experiences into almost any subject he writes about.

Part of this, I believe, is just his writing style; people write about things they know and things that resonate with them. It may also be that Powell is still working through past transgressions – his own and others’ – and this is his way of making sense and making amends. Because these essays were originally published as stand-alone pieces, it is understandable that he would provide context in each one.

In the end, I found this quirk of Powell’s to be a minor distraction against the overall strength and passion of this writing. In fact, there are times when the confessional style really works, such as in “JAY-Z and the Remaking of His Manhood. Or, the Crumpled and Forgotten Freedom Papers of Mr. Shawn Carter,” where Powell strives to understand manhood and gender-based violence through the relationships of his mother and father, Beyoncé and JAY, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

On the whole, I really dig Kevin Powell’s writing and certain elements really resonate with me. One is the variety of styles with which he is willing to experiment, be it a conversational blog style as in “Why is Baltimore Burning?,” a letter format as in “Letter to a Young Man” and “A Letter to Tupac Shakur,” or an impassioned essay like his “Will Racism Ever End? Will I Ever Stop Being a Ni**er?”

A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACK

Powell published his autobiography in 2015.

I appreciate the repetition, timing, and poetic phrasing in his work which is reminiscent of the cadence of his heroes Malcolm X or Muhammad Ali, or of the musical qualities of Black preachers I heard one chilly Sunday morning in Alabama. I covet the pure and unabashed passion with which Kevin Powell writes. He’s not afraid to show his sensitivity which gives me hope for the future of (cishet men’s) writing. I also appreciate Powell’s ability to write broadly and deeply about a subject, taking his time to display his detailed and thorough understanding, while still making it accessible to the general public.

There is usually a lot of meat to what Powell writes. He ties personal experiences in with his subjects; he refers to other events, current and historical, and he weaves in music, art, politics, and more so that his pieces can feel like experiences. The essay, “Hamilton, OJ Simpson, Orlando, Gun Violence, and What the 4th of July, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas and Baton Rouge Police Shootings Mean to Me,” is so much more than a summary of his experience attending the play Hamilton on Broadway and what it meant to him. And there is a paragraph (pages 146-147 in the advanced proof copy) in his piece about JAY-Z’s album 4:44 that is the epitome of how I wish I could pen a review. Powell not only entices you to understand where he is coming from on a topic, but he challenges you to critically reflect on where you stand on it and why.

It probably won’t be surprising that one of the essays I most enjoyed is entitled, “Re-defining Manhood: Harvey Weinstein and How his Toxic Manhood is our Toxic Manhood, too.” In this piece, Powell takes responsibility for his own transgressions – that time he pushed a former girlfriend into a bathroom door – and explains how male privilege takes hold of boys early on and subsequently develops into ubiquitous notions of toxic manhood as they grow up. He discusses the #MeToo movement and how actions of men like Harvey Weinstein, men like Kevin Powell, and all men, can harm and wound women in ways that must end and can only end when men take action to help support women and fight against sexual violence and harassment.

And this, finally, is where I believe real change must start, with me, with Harvey Weinstein, with all men: a willingness to listen to the voices of women and girls, and a willingness to take ownership of our behavior, to say we are sorry, that we want to learn, that we want to heal and do better and be better (page 222).

Throughout the book, Powell doesn’t shy away from the exploration of his own manhood and calls on others to do the same.

Until the final essay of the book, Powell mentions the current president of the US only briefly in several of the essays, despite his name being included in the book title. I found this essay, after which the book is named, one of the most intriguing. He begins with an honest yet delicate reflection on his mother, his absent father, how the two fell in love, and how the history of violence and mistreatment of Blacks in the US has shaped the present. He goes on to explore politics and the presidency of Barack Obama as well as how this systemic oppression makes change infuriatingly slow in this country. All of this led to the election of current administration which, while a tragedy, is by no means a surprise to black and brown people of the US.

Because this is not really about the American people, this is really about a system that is built to protect a few at the expense of the rest of us (page 266).

Now it is incumbent upon all of us to work towards permanent change which, according to Powell, won’t come without people being as outraged by injustices done to others as they are when they are done to themselves. It won’t come until we begin to follow the leadership of Black women and women of color; it won’t come until White women admit to and challenge our own racial and class privilege; it won’t come until we all rethink how we view and treat women, people of color, poor people, LGBTQ people. This essay is the best example of why Powell calls this book “the autobiography of America” (page 261).

Kevin Powell’s latest book is a collection of reflective and impassioned essays from a veteran observer and chronicler of music, politics, race, gender, and current events. It will appeal to wide audiences and may be most enjoyably read in multiple sittings so the reader can digest and reflect upon each piece. Individual readings could readily be assigned in special topics or intro courses covering race, and other sociocultural issues, politics, and gender and women’s studies. This book is recommended.

You can find Kevin Powell online at http://www.kevinpowell.net/ and on Twitter @kevin_powell

Summary:

A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACKTitle: My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man.
Author: Kevin Powell
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 304 pages
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Tags: Race, gender, current events, music
My Rating: Recommended

 

 

My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man.



For more information:

Kevin Powell on Growing Up in Poverty

Kevin Powell: Fatherhood, Manhood, #MeToo, Dr. King, and Bobby Kennedy – 6/17/18

Kevin Powell’s Memoir Will Crush You by Dave Zirin for The Nation – Sept 30, 2015

Appreciating Bobby Kennedy’s Stunning Transformation by Kevin Powell for History – June 1, 2018

Hip-Hop Historian Kevin Powell Reflects on Relationship With Tupac Shakur, 20 Years After His Death by Andres Tardio for Billboard – Sept 13, 2016

Race and ‘The Real World’ by Clay Cane for The Root – March 26, 2013

 

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

Quotes refer to the Advance Uncorrected Proof and may or may not reflect the final version of the book. Many thanks to Kevin Powell and Atria Books for the ARC.

August Reads fir the Rest of Us

New Reads for the Rest of Us for August 2018

Welcome to New Reads for the Rest of Us for August 2018!

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

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 are the New Reads for the Rest of Us for August 2018! There are so many great titles here, which will you read??

 

Born To Kwaito: Reflections on the Kwaito Generation by Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu

August

Tags: South Africa, music, #OwnVoices, debut

Jacana/Blackbird, 225 pages

Born to Kwaito revisits history as told through the vibrant lens of Kwaito, which is more than just music. Kwaito presented a new unbridled expression of Black South African youths. It carried the political significance of Black South Africans deciding to take a moment to enjoy themselves and the promise of their freedom.”–Description

 

True North by Ali Spooner

August

Tags: Lesbian, women writers, #OwnVoices, series, romance, adventure

Affinity Rainbow, 155 pages (ebook)

“Cam’s story continues as the Gator Girlz business continues to thrive under her leadership, but will self-doubt jeopardize her relationship when Bugsy reveals the family moonshine business to an unsuspecting Luce?

Will a devastating injury to Sandy end her career as a gator hunter or will it open a door to love?

Join the St. Angelo family for a third adventure to find out more about life, loving and family in Bayou Country.”–Description

 

Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley (@DawnEQuigley)

August 2

Tags: YA, family, coming of age, #OwnVoices, women writers

North Dakota State University Press, 264 pages

“I absolutely love how Quigley captures the distinct Turtle Mountain accent and, more importantly, the gentle lessons on tribal traditions the grandparents give, along with some truly humorous moments!”–Denise K. Lajimodiere, enrolled citizen, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, author of Stringing Rosaries: Stories from Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School Survivors

 

Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar

August 4

Tags: Mystery, crime, women writers, India, debut

Penguide Books, 326 pages

“A remarkable whodunit that’s as sharp as it is concise. Brar enhances her taut murder mystery with an engaging setting that effectively incorporates the local culture. The smart, believable denouement will have readers looking forward to Brar’s next endeavor.”–Kirkus Reviews

“A literary mystery saga that includes far more depth and psychologicaland cultural insights than your typical murder mystery’s scenario.”–D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

 

Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah (@BinaShah)

August 7

Tags: Dystopian, women writers, Pakistan, Muslim women

Delphinium, 256 pages

Read my review here!

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

“This dystopian novel from one of Pakistan’s most talented writers is a modern-day parable, The Handmaid’s Tale about women’s lives in repressive Muslim countries everywhere. “–Description

 

Contemporary Feminist Research From Theory to Practice by Patricia Leavy and Anne Harris

August 7

Tags: Feminism, women writers, research

Guilford Press, 302 pages

“A good introduction to feminist research methodology that grounds the reader in history and theory and then moves to actual research practice, thoroughly covering the types of research that feminists are doing today. I appreciate the inclusion of contemporary digital practices, which are very important currently.”–Stacie Craft DeFreitas, PhD, Department of Social Sciences, University of Houston–Downtown

 

The Court Dancer: A Novel by Kyung-Sook Shin and Anton Hur (Translator)

August 7

Tags: Korea, women writers, #OwnVoices, literary, historical fiction

Pegasus, 336 pages

“A gorgeous epic that seamlessly combines history and fiction to create a hybrid masterpiece. The court dancer’s latest journey west should command substantial, eager audiences.”–Booklist (starred)

 

If They Come for Us: Poems by Fatimah Asghar (@asgharthegrouch)

August 7

Tags: Poetry, Pakistan, Muslim, #OwnVoices, debut, women writers

One World, 128 pages

“Fatimah Asghar’s work isn’t simply some of the most innovative poetry I’ve read; page after page, the book weaves productive ambiguity, textured explorations of the body, and lyrical precision into a work that is somehow just as much a mammoth book of short stories, an experimental novel, and a soulful memoir. I’m not sure this nation is deserving of such a marvelous, sensual, and sensory book, but I know we needed this. We so needed this.”–Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Long Division

 

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim (@crystalhanak)

August 7

Tags: Korea, family, literary, women writers, war, debut

William Morrow, 432 pages

“An unforgettable story of family, love, and war set against the violent emergence of modern Korea.”–Gary Shteyngart

“A gripping, heartrending tale of the birth of modern Korea filtered through the prism of an intimate love story. In fresh, often astonishing prose, Kim brings her characters to life: complicated, flawed, and hard not to fall in love with. A strikingly original work.”–Jessica Shattuck

 

Judas: How a Sister’s Testimony Brought Down a Criminal Mastermind by Astrid Holleeder

August 7

Tags: Memoir, women writers, crime, #OwnVoices, family, Netherlands

Mulholland Books, 416 pages

“Written while awaiting her brother’s trial, Holleeder’s engrossing story reads like the last will and testament of a dead woman walking.”–Publishers Weekly

“A harrowing, courageous account of murder and family…riveting, sensational, unforgettable.”–Kirkus (Starred Review)

 

Temper: A Novel by Nicky Drayden (@nickydrayden)

August 7

Tags: South Africa, speculative,women writers, magical realism

Harper Voyager, 400 pages

“[Drayden] excels at making every twist and turn of the plot meaningful to the story. Moreover, the world-building is deliciously lush and complex. “–Booklist (starred review)

“Drayden is an amazing writer and deft plotter. The twists are unexpected and never feel contrived, just as the novel explores real-world issues without sounding preachy.”–Library Journal

 

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (@efie41209591)

August 7

Tags: Zimbabwe, women writers, literary, #OwnVoices, historical fiction

Graywolf Press, 304 pages

“A searing novel about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe, by one of the country’s most notable authors.

In This Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga returns to the protagonist of her acclaimed first novel, Nervous Conditions, to examine how the hope and potential of a young girl and a fledgling nation can sour over time and become a bitter and floundering struggle for survival.”–Amazon

 

Dreamers: How Young Indians Are Changing the World by Snigdha Poonam (@snigdhapoonam)

August 13

Tags: India, women writers, #OwnVoices

Harvard University Press, 288 pages

“A brilliant dive into the seething psyche of India’s small-town youth: a mayhem of sexuality, sentimentality, and insatiable hunger for success―at whatever price.”–Sunil Khilnani, author of The Idea of India

“Diligently reported and crisply written, Dreamers is an eye-opening guide to India’s troubling present―and future. No recent book has so astutely charted the treacherous Indian gap between extravagant illusion and grim reality.”–Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger

 

This Time by S.W. Andersen (@SW_Andersen)

August 13

Tags: Lesbian, women writers, romance, paranormal, #OwnVoices

SW Anderson Books, 232 pages

“Some people believe love transcends time and space…
Neuropsychologist Dr. Contessa “Tess” Kenner isn’t one of them…

Free spirited artist Elena Jake, on the other hand, wants to fall in love with the woman of her dreams—quite literally… Will these two souls rediscover an epic love? Or are they destined to forever be star-crossed lovers? This paranormal romance is a must read for every true romantic who believes true love knows no bounds.”–Description

 

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

August 14

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

Haymarket Books, 200 pages

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

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

 

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk with Jennifer Croft (Translator)

August 14

Tags: Translation, women writers, Poland, short stories, literary, magical realism

Riverhead, 416 pages

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize

“An indisputable masterpiece…Punctuated by maps and figures, the discursive novel is reminiscent of the work of Sebald. The threads ultimately converge in a remarkable way, making this an extraordinary accomplishment.”–Publisher’s Weekly (starred)

“A magnificent writer.”–Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize-winning author of Secondhand Time

 

Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes and Emma Ramadan (Translator)

August 14

Tags: Sisters, contemporary women, women writers, gender, feminism

The Feminist Press at CUNY, 245 pages

“An intoxicating pop-trash plot of stolen identity that reveals the brutal and hilarious rules of gender—the high-octane philosophy beach read of the summer.”–Joanna Walsh, author of Worlds from the Word’s End

“Virginie Despentes had me in a headlock the whole time I was reading: she’s a feminist Zola for the twenty-first century.”–Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City

 

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua (@vanessa_hua)

August 14

Tags: China, immigration, family, debut

Ballantine Books, 304 pages

“Splits ‘the Chinese immigrant story’ into a kaleidoscopic spectrum, putting faces to the many groups who come to America. Vanessa Hua’s debut is an utterly absorbing novel about the ruthless love of parenthood and the universal truth that sometimes family runs deeper than blood alone.”–Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You

“Illuminates the lives of her characters with energy, verve, and heart. Hua tracks the minutest emotional terrain of these characters while simultaneously interrogating the cultural and economic forces that shape their worlds.”–Emma Cline, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls

 

Severance by Ling Ma

August 14

Tags: Humor, women writers, debut

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pages

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

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

 

The Story of H: A Novel by Marina Perezagua

August 14

Tags: Literary, thrillers, historical fiction, women writers, debut

Ecco, 304 pages

“Marina Perezagua is an exciting new voice, one of the best of the new generation of Spanish writers.”–Salman Rushdie

“Rich with symbolism and recurring motifs, the story folds in on itself like origami. . . This thought-provoking novel charting the aching distance between the heart and tongue gives voice to the mutability and resilience of the human spirit.”–Booklist

 

You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar (@virgietovar)

August 14

Tags: Women writers, feminism, health, fat positivity

The Feminist Press at CUNY, 136 pages

Read my review here!

“Long-time body positive writer, speaker and activist Virgie Tovar is gifting brown round girls the book we’ve been hungry for.”–Mitú

“In this bold new book, Tovar eviscerates diet culture, proclaims the joyous possibilities of fat, and shows us that liberation is possible.”–Sarai Walker, author of Dietland

“Tovar’s words provide crucial guidance, clarity, and support for all those who champion universal body liberation.”–Jessamyn Stanley, author of Every Body Yoga

 

Racial Ecologies by Leilani Nishime and Kim D. Hester Williams (eds.)

August 15

Tags: Race, women writers, women of color, Black women

University of Washington Press, 288 pages

“The authors in this wonderful volume make an utterly compelling case for why ecological discussions can no longer be taken seriously if they do not center race, indigeneity, and coloniality. This is a powerful and important book that should be read by everyone concerned with how to understand and address the ecological crisis that is upon us.”–Claire Jean Kim, professor of political science and Asian American studies, University of California, Irvine

 

Dance and the Arts in Mexico, 1920-1950: The Cosmic Generation by Ellie Guerrero

August 16

Tags: Mexico, women writers, art, dance, history, nonfiction

Palgrave Macmillan, 210 pages

“This is a solid contribution to the academic field of postrevolutionary culture and art in Mexico. […] This well-researched book rethinks the postrevolutionary canon by using new theoretical tools and incorporating little-known cultural processes.”–Jorge Quintana-Navarrete, Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies, Dartmouth College

 

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

August 17

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

University of California Press, 240 pages

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

 

The Air You Breathe: A Novel by Frances de Pontes Peebles

August 21

Tags: Brazil, women writers, #OwnVoices, friendship, historical, literary, coming of age

Riverhead, 464 pages

“Although this novel is set during the 1930s in Brazil, the tale between two friends remains timeless…Each page is as intoxicating as the characters themselves; the perfect read for a long weekend or day off.”–Fashion Week Online

“Samba music and its allure beats beneath this winding and sinuous tale of ambition, memory, and identity…Peebles’ detailed and atmospheric story is cinematic in scope, panoramic in view, and lyrical in tone.”–Kirkus, STARRED review

 

Brazil: A Biography by Lilia M. Schwarcz and Heloisa M. Starling

August 21

Tags: Brazil, women writers, nonfiction, #OwnVoices, history

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 800 pages

“A thoughtful and profound journey into the soul of Brazil . . . The Brazil that emerges from this book is, indeed, a fascinating, complex, multicolored, contradictory and challenging organism, more like a living being than a political, cultural and geographical entity.”–Laurentino Gomes, Folha de São Paulo

 

Poso Wells by Gabriela Alemán with Dick Cluster (Translator)

August 21

Tags: Ecuador, translation, women writers, feminism, humor, magical realism, #OwnVoices, debut

City Lights Publishers, 128 pages

Poso Wells explores the dichotomy between the new and old worlds of Ecuador through an exciting noir about missing women, corrupt politicians, and a journalist’s attempt to unravel the secrets of the infinitely labyrinthine cityscape of Poso Wells. This is an exciting debut translation of a celebrated Ecuadorian author, and one that should lead to more translations of her work.”–Ely Watson, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore (Madison, WI)

 

Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism by Barb Cook and Dr. Michelle Garnett

August 21

Tags: Autism, women writers

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 288 pages

“Barb Cook and 14 other autistic women describe life from a female autistic perspective, and present empowering, helpful and supportive insights from their personal experience for fellow autistic women.”–Description

 

The Third Eye by Jenna Rae

August 21

Tags: Lesbian, thriller, women writers

Bella Books

“For a long time, Captain Brenda Borelli has had it all―a devoted girlfriend, a dedicated partner, loyal friends and a fulfilling career. Her world seemed perfect. But somehow it all fell apart. While she was busy investigating crimes, the things she valued most just slipped away. […] As if solving the murder isn’t enough, trying to figure out whether she wants to start over with her old lover―or explore the possibilities with a potential new one―might prove to be the most difficult task of all.”–Description

 

Virginia Woolf, the War Without, the War Within: Her Final Diaries and the Diaries She Read by Barbara Lounsberry 

August 21

Tags: Virginia Woolf, biography, women writers, United Kingdom, European history

University Press of Florida, 408 pages

“In her third and final volume on Virginia Woolf’s diaries, Barbara Lounsberry reveals new insights about the courageous last years of the modernist writer’s life, from 1929 until Woolf’s suicide in 1941.”–Description

“Lounsberry establishes how central to Woolf’s personal and creative being was diary-writing.”–Panthea Reid, author of Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf

 

Everyday People: The Color of Life–A Short Story Anthology by Jennifer Baker (ed.) 

August 28

Tags: Short stories, women of color, women writers, literary

Atria Books, 334 pages

“An excellent sampling of some of the most exciting voices in literature from the past two decades and beyond that will leave readers with plenty of authors to revisit or discover.”–Publishers Weekly

“A vital, riveting anthology that emphasizes the complexity and diversity of minority experience.”–Kirkus

 

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya (@vivekshraya)

August 28

Tags: Gender, queer, memoir, women writers, trans, #OwnVoices

Penguin Canada, 96 pages

“In I’m Afraid of Men, Vivek Shraya owns and exposes her own history with masculinity and offers a way out of this harmful and old-fashioned binary we call gender. My head nodded along quietly in agreement any time I wasn’t wiping away rising tides of tears. Vivek Shraya is a superior voice, and this book is essential reading for everyone.”–Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara

My review coming soon!

 

Mirage: A Novel by Somaiya Daud (@somaiyadaud)

August 28

Tags: Morocco, race, women writers, #OwnVoices, YA, fantasy

Flatiron Books, 320 pages

“With its breathtaking worldbuilding and characters who grabbed me from the first page, Mirage is by turns thrilling and ruminative, sexy and heartbreaking. Somaiya Daud has written a moving and unforgettable debut.”–Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes

“Readers will appreciate the rich world and prose built by a much-needed diverse voice.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America by Sharmila Sen

August 28

Tags: Race, women writers, immigration, India, memoir

Penguin, 224 pages

“In this intimate, passionate look at race in America, Sen considers the price paid by nonwhite immigrants who try to become white, while always wearing a smiling face. Her provocative solution is for people like us to defiantly embrace not being white. That feels just right to me.”–Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees

 

Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden (@queenazsa)

August 28

Tags: West Africa, religion, girlhood, women writers

Akashic Books, 224 pages

“A tale set in [West Africa], where a girl is given up by her family, endures a very hard life, and, once set free, must find a way to heal and live forward.”–Philadelphia Inquirer, included in Must-Read Books for Summer 2018

“An engrossing novel that truly is a praise song for survivors everywhere.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

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

August 28

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

Beacon Press, 184 pages

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

“Leadership is the ability to not only make your own way but to return to give others a roadmap that they, too, can follow. This is what Charlene Carruthers does with Unapologetic. She offers us a guide to getting free with incisive prose, years of grassroots organizing experience, and a deeply intersectional lens. She doesn’t forget any of us, and reminds us that bringing all of ourselves and our people with us is the only way any of us will get free.”–Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty

 

Fruit of KnowledgeFruit of Knowledge: The Vulva Vs. The Patriarchy by Liv Strömquist

August 28

Tags: Graphic novel, feminism, health

Fantagraphics, 144 pages

“From Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologized, and politicized vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In this feminist graphic novel, Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist calls out how genitalia-obsessed men have stigmatized women’s bodies, denied their sexuality, created a dubious gender binary, and much more.”–Publisher

 

Kicking Center: Gender and the Selling of Women’s Professional Soccer by Rachel Allison

August 30

Tags: Sports, women writers

Rutgers University Press, 220 pages

“In Kicking Center, Rachel Allison investigates a women’s soccer league seeking to break into the male-dominated center of U.S. professional sport. Through an examination of the challenges and opportunities identified by those working for and with this league, she demonstrates how gender inequality is both constructed and contested in professional sport.”–Description

 

So there you have it! The New Reads for the Rest of Us for August 2018 list! What titles are you excited about?

 

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