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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. 

New Books By Women May

New Books by WOC, QTBIPOC, GNC, and more – May 2018 Releases

Need a new book for May?
Here’s a roundup of the new books being released in May that I am most excited about, by and/or about women of color, LBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, gender non-conforming people, feminists, and womxn from other historically underrepresented and underserved communities.
If you are curious about which books I focus on, see my Review Policy. These are just guidelines and I reserve the right to include (or not!) any books I see fit.
I’ll probably add to this list as I learn of others; if you have a suggestion, please place it in the comments below!

 

Awus Story by Justine MintsaAwu’s Story by Justine Mintsa and Cheryl Toman (Translator)

May 1

“At the dawn of the twenty-first century, villages in the Fang region of northern Gabon must grapple with the clash of tradition and the evolution of customs throughout modern Africa. With this tension in the background, the passionate, deft, and creative seamstress Awu marries Obame, after he and his beloved wife, Bella, have been unable to conceive. Because all three are reluctant participants in this arrangement, theirs is an emotionally fraught existence. Through heartbreaking and disastrous events, Awu grapples with long-standing Fang customs that counter her desire to take full control of her life and home.

Supplemented with a foreword and critical introduction highlighting Justine Mintsa’s importance in African literature, Awu’s Story is an essential work of African women’s writing and the only published work to meditate this deeply on some of the Fang’s most cherished legends and oral history.”–Amazon

 

Gaming Masculinity by Megan CondisGaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture by Megan Condis

May 1

“Megan Condis addresses the most important and contentious controversies in gaming culture at present. Her writing argues strongly against the groups who have tried to undermine the diversity arising in games and provides a passionate insight into these events, linking them with wider cultural shifts in Western society.”–Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Staffordshire University
“Fierce, fun, and fascinating. Condis writes with a journalist’s ear and an academic’s eye, getting to the core of what drives men’s behavior online, in games, and throughout digital culture.” –Derek A. Burrill, author, Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture

 

 

ISAN by Mary TingISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network by Mary Ting (@MaryTing)

May 1

“The world has changed. Scientists warned it would happen.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.”–description

 

Life After Darkness by Michelle KnightLife After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight (@LilyRoseLee1)

May 1

“From Michelle Knight-Cleveland kidnapping survivor and #1 NYT bestselling author of Finding Me-comes an inspirational book about healing and resilience, on the five-year anniversary of her escape.”–Amazon

“The story of an incredibly brave and resilient young woman and of a spirit that refused to be crushed, even through the worst time.”–The Daily Mail

 

 

Little Fish by Casey PlettLittle Fish by Casey Plett (@caseyplett)

May 1

“I have never felt as seen, understood, or spoken to as I did when I read Little Fish. Never before in my life. Casey remains one of THE authors to read if you want to understand the interior lives of trans women in this century.”–Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl

“There is a dark place most novels don’t touch. If you’ve ever been there, maybe you know how exhilarating it can be to read a book like this, a book that captures the darkness so honestly, so accurately, that you can finally begin to let it go. Fearless and messy and oozing with love, Little Fish is a devastating book that I don’t ever want to be without.”–Zoey Leigh Peterson, author of Next Year, For Sure

 

Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab JoukhadarThe Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (@JenniferZeynab)

May 1

“Nour’s family constantly endures hardship. . . but her young, honest voice adds a softer, coming-of-age perspective to this story of loss, hope, and survival. . . This imaginative yet very real look into war-torn Syria is a must.”–Booklist, starred review

“Debut novelist Joukhadar gracefully balances the gritty, often horrific truth of the refugee’s plight with the lyrical near-fairy tale she has created….A wise, vibrantly told story for a wide range of readers, particularly relevant now.”–Library Journal

 

 

Mars Room by Rachel KushnerThe Mars Room: A Novel by Rachel Kushner

May 1

“In smart, determined, and vigilant Romy, Kushner, an acclaimed writer of exhilarating skills, has created a seductive narrator of tigerish intensity… This is a gorgeously eviscerating novel of incarceration writ large…Rooted in deeply inquisitive thinking and executed with artistry and edgy wit, Kushner’s dramatic and disquieting novel investigates with verve and compassion societal strictures and how very difficult it is to understand each other and to be truly free.”–Booklist, Starred Review

“A searing look at life on the margins…This is, fundamentally, a novel about poverty and how our structures of power do not work for the poor, and Kushner does not flinch…gripping.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle BarnesMonsoon Mansion: A Memoir by Cinelle Barnes

May 1

“In this incandescent debut memoir, Cinelle Barnes forges memories of her family’s downfall with tumultuous Filipino history. Like the storm in its title, Monsoon Mansion immerses us in the darkest waters of memory, stirring up unbearably brutal childhood events with lyrical prose and searing imagery, forming a woven tale that is both delicate and electric. This book assures us that even when we lose those things that give shape to our humanity—our roots, culture, and family—we can go on to devise a new way of being.”–Susan Tekulve, author of In the Garden of Stone

I just finished this book and if you like creative non-fiction and memoirs, you would enjoy this one. More complete review coming soon!

 

Motherhood by Sheila HetiMotherhood by Sheila Heti (@sheilaheti)

May 1

“This inquiry into the modern woman’s moral, social and psychological relationship to procreation is an illumination, a provocation, and a response―finally―to the new norms of femininity, formulated from the deepest reaches of female intellectual authority. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Sheila Heti has broken new ground, both in her maturity as an artist and in the possibilities of the female discourse itself.”–Rachel Cusk, author of Outline and Transit

 

 

 

Not That Bad by Roxane GayNot That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay (ed.) (@rgay)

May 1

Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.–Amazon

Vogue, “10 of the Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018” * Harper’s Bazaar, “10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018” * Elle, “21 Books We’re Most Excited to Read in 2018” * Boston Globe, “25 books we can’t wait to read in 2018” * Huffington Post, “60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” * Hello Giggles, “19 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” * Buzzfeed, “33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018”

 

 

Political Risk by Condoleezza RicePolitical Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity by Condoleezza Rice (@CondoleezzaRiceand Amy B. Zegart

May 1

“From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it.”–Amazon

“Clearly written and timely, this book will interest not only current and future business executives but also would-be-whistle-blowers and corporate watchdogs.”–Publishers Weekly

 

 

Poppy War by RF KuangThe Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (@kuangrf)

May 1

“Debut novelist Kuang creates an ambitious fantasy reimagining of Asian history populated by martial artists, philosopher-generals, and gods […] This is a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang’s career.”–Publishers Weekly

“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year […] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.” — Booknest

 

 

 

Seasons of My Mother by Marcia Gay HardenThe Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers by Marcia Gay Harden (@MGH_8)

May 1

“A fiercely loving and tender tribute to Marcia Gay Harden’s mother, remembering for her and for us what Alzheimer’s has stolen, filling those darkened holes with compassion, acceptance, beauty, and love. I savored every page and didn’t want it to end.–Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Every Note Played

“Poignant, beautiful . . . . Replete with emotionally resonant scenes, humor, and tales of Harden’s own journey as an actor, The Seasons of My Mother is both inspirational and devastating, a touching tribute to a remarkable woman.”–Booklist

 

 

Song of Blood and Stone by L PenelopeSong of Blood & Stone: Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One by L. Penelope (@leslyepenelope)

May 1

“L. Penelope’s page-turning apocalyptic epic Song of Blood & Stone does what fantasy does best: provide epic plots, epic world-building and epic myth. A rewarding, carefully crafted read.”–The Root

“Penelope delivers an engrossing story with delightful characters in this fantastic opening to a promising series.”–Publishers Weekly starred review

 

 

 

Strut by Mariahadessa Ekere TallieStrut by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie (@SageEkere)

May 1

Book description: Strut, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s second book of poetry (her first was Karma’s Footsteps), emerges from an intense engagement with contemporary issues of crucial importance in our historical moment—ranging from global warming, genocide, capitalism, and racism to sexism, slut-shaming, slavery, and mental illness—in creative ways that facilitate dialogue.This is a work about struggle, survival, injustice, transcendence, and love. Strut explores themes of ancestry, survival, sensuality, and acceptance of self. This book celebrates the gorgeousness of life even as it bears witness to the ugliness that accompanies, and often seems to permeate, the human experience.

 

 

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L DavisTiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis (@DanaLDavis)

May 1

“Debut author Davis takes an unflinching approach to racism, religion, emotional abuse, and mental illness. Tiffany’s circumstances are nightmarish, but the narrative isn’t weighed down, in large part because of her integrity, passion, and refusal to be self-pitying.”–Publishers Weekly

“Davis’ debut novel is an honest, funny, and captivating examination of race, socio-economics, mental health, and family…A dynamic and honest coming-of-age novel with universal appeal that will especially speak to black girls questioning their place in the world.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu OnuzoWelcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo (@ChibunduOnuzo)

May 1

Welcome to Lagos doesn’t just give us a glimpse of Nigeria, it transports us there. Onuzo’s storytelling is masterful, her characters are irresistible, and her voice is astounding in its subtle power. Onuzo stands on the shoulders of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and from her perch offers her own fresh, but assured, view.” –Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom

 

 

 

Self-Ish by Chloe SchwenkeSelf-Ish: A Transgender Awakening by Chloe Schwenke (@chloemaryland)

May 4

“Chloe Schwenke’s Self-ish offers an intelligent, thoughtful look at the complex journey that is gender transition, illuminating aspects of gender transition―such as the difficulties of job hunting, the process of forming and renegotiating friendships, and the intersection of trans identity and Quaker religious practice―that haven’t received much attention in memoirs or the media.”–Joy Ladin, author of Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders

 

 

 

Against Memoir by Michelle TeaAgainst Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms  by Michelle Tea (@TeaMichelle)

May 8

“The essays in Against Memoir remind us how pleasure, pain, wisdom, and delight come from the ground up, by and through the body, and in this case, a body unapologetically firing all her desires, pleasures, fears, and dreams like lightning. A hardcore delight, a queer blood song picking the scab off the skin of culture.”–Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

“An entrancing collection of irreverent and flamboyant essays.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

 

Amal Unbound by Aisha SaeedAmal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (@aishacs)

May 8

“Saeed’s timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The compelling story of a girl’s fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.”–IndieBound

 

 

 

Barracoon by Zora Neale HurstonBarracoon by Zora Neale Hurston (Debra G. Plant, ed.)

May 8

A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade–abducted from Africa on the last “Black Cargo” ship to arrive in the United States.

 

 

 

Lighting the Fires of Freedom by Janet Dewart BellLighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement bJanet Dewart Bell (@JanetDewartBell)

May 8

“A primer and an inspiration for anyone looking to make their mark during these times of change and uncertainty.”–Juhu Thukral, human rights lawyer and inaugural speaker, Anita Hill Lecture Series

“A must-read for anyone interested in race, gender, class, American political development, the Civil Rights Movement, and the power of social change.”–Christina M. Greer, PhD, associate professor of political science at Fordham University

 

 

Puddin by Julie MurphyPuddin’ by Julie Murphy (@andimJULIE)

May 8

“Murphy’s plot brims with unlikely friendships, irresistible romance, fabulous fat acceptance, and a kick-ass ending. Buoying.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Murphy’s energetic writing style makes for compulsive readability.”–Booklist

“Julie Murphy has created the platonic love story of a lifetime. I am wildly in love with Puddin’.”–Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

 

 

Shadow Child by Rahna Reiko RizzutoShadow Child by Rahna R. Rizzuto (@r3reiko)

May 8

“A beautifully woven historical saga wrapped in a page-turning mystery, Shadow Child explores time, memory and identity,shedding new light on the lives of Japanese-Americans, and how trauma can be its own kind of inheritance. Not since Housekeeping has there been a pair of sisters so intricately linked as Hana and Kei, or settings that imprint so firmly on the mind, from the internment camps of WWII to the hidden caves and tropical waters of Hawaii. This is a stunning story of sisterhood and survival, of healing and forgiveness, and how we find our true selves in each other.”–Hannah Tinti, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Thief and The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

“National Book Critics Circle finalist Rizzuto blends historical fiction and mystery into a haunting examination of identity and family in this perfect book club choice.”–Library Journal (starred review)

 

Undead Girl Gang by Lily AndersonUndead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (@ms_lilyanderson)

May 8

“A compelling mystery, a grimly funny fantasy, and a genuinely touching story of friendship.”–Booklist

Undead Girl Gang is a YA mash up of ‘The Craft’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ with a Latina protagonist…the best mix of ’90s girl power culture, compelling magic and creepy circumstances—all rolled together for the best kind of murder mystery.”–Bustle.com

 

 

 

Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (@maurenegoo ‏)

May 8

A Junior Library Guild selection

“With massive amounts of humor, heart, and soul, this love letter to L.A. and its diversity is a celebration of friends, family, and food trucks.”–Booklist, starred review

“Sweet, sexy, hilarious, and featuring a spectacular father-daughter relationship, this book will fly off the shelves.”–School Library Journal, starred review

 

 

My Soul Looks Back by Jessica B HarrisMy Soul Looks Back: A Memoir by Jessica B. Harris 

May 9 (hardcover), May 15 (paperback), Kindle out now

“Come for the insight into the circle of friends that first resolved around James Baldwin, then shifted orbit to revolve around Maya Angelou. Stay because you’re enraptured by the candid, passionate woman narrating from the periphery. This is an intimate look at an inner circle of Black writers, scholars, and glamazons moving through the middle of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, told with bold tenderness by a woman who grew up in their company, under their gaze.”–Alice Randall, author of Ada’s Rules and The Wind Done Gone

 

 

 

It's Only Blood by Anna DahlqvistIt’s Only Blood: Shattering the Taboo of Menstruation by Anna Dahlqvist (@AnnaDahlqvist1)

May 15 (Kindle)

“A necessary contribution to the conversation on gender liberation. Dahlqvist masterfully moves between storytelling and frameworking how stigma holds menstruators back globally, while offering tangible solutions to many of these problems. A must read.”–Kiran Gandhi, musician, activist, and free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon
“Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and take action against the global consequences of menstrual shame, stigma, and taboo. An insightful and inspiring read that will challenge you to think and behave differently.”–Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect

 

My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha SharmaMy So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma (@Nishawrites)

May 15

“Full of heart, culture and laughter! This sparkling story left me smiling for days.”–Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

“I could not put this book down until the very last page!”–Ellen Oh, author of The Prophecy series

“Fresh, feisty, and fun!”–Tanuja Desai Hidier, author of the critically acclaimed Born Confused and sequel Bombay Blues

 

 

The Ensemble by Aja GabelThe Ensemble by Aja Gabel (@AjaMaybe)

May 15

“Aja Gabel’s powerful debut offers a sensitive portrait of four young musicians forging their paths through life: sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes in harmony, but always inextricably linked by their shared pasts.”–Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

“Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom.”–Library Journal (starred review)

“Wonderful…. The four characters are individually memorable, but as a quartet they’re unforgettable.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

Friendship As Social Justice ActivismFriendship as Social Justice Activism: Critical Solidarities in a Global Perspective by Niharika Banerjea, Debanuj Dasgupta, Rohit K. Dasgupta (eds.)

May 15

“Friendship as Social Justice Activism brings together academics and activists to have essential conversations about friendship, love, and desire as kinetics for social justice movements. The contributors featured here come from across the globe and are all involved in diverse movements, including LGBTQ rights, intimate-partner violence, addiction recovery, housing, migrant, labor, and environmental activism.”–IndieBound

 

 

 

Blame it on Bianca del Rio by Bianca del RioBlame It On Bianca del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything by Bianca del Rio (@TheBiancaDelRio)

May 22

“Uproarious advice and never-before-seen color photos from drag queen extraordinaire Bianca Del Rio.

A collection of biting advice filled with vibrant photos from Bianca’s twisted universe, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio will shock you and keep you laughing. But be warned: it is not for the faint of heart!”–Amazon

 

 

MEM by BC MorrowMEM by Bethany C. Morrow (@BCMorrow)

May 22

Buzzfeed’s #1 Book to Read this Spring
A Best Book of the Month at The Washington Post, Bustle, and Chicago Review of Books

“Morrow’s debut is ambitious and insightful, raising questions about memory, trauma, and humanity. The novel is at its best when it presents Elsie at her most human, forcing the real ones around her to reckon with what her personhood means for theirs.”–Publishers Weekly

“In the world of Bethany C. Morrow’s imaginative and gloriously written first novel, MEM, a memory might have a life of her own. This novel imagines an alternate past where memories can be extracted and turned to flesh, a premise that unfolds with intrigue and wisdom from this writer’s fertile imagination. Don’t miss this exciting debut that will change the way you think about memories.”–Tananarive Due, American Book Award and British Fantasy Award winner

 

Mondays Not Coming by Tiffany D JacksonMonday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK)

May 22

“This thought-provoking thriller examines issues such as abuse, gentrification, and the marginalization of people of color with nuance and sensitivity. The narrative deftly moves back and forth between past and present, building to a devastating conclusion. A spellbinding, profoundly moving choice for YA collections.”–School Library Journal (starred review)

“Jackson doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to the pain of abuse and the ramifications of turning a blind eye. It’s a frank, devastating read filled with real and flawed characters, and it’s a story that needs to be read.”–Booklist

 

 

Well That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca RamseyWell, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh)

May 22

“In this sharp, funny, and timely collection of personal essays, veteran video blogger and star of MTV’s Decoded Franchesca Ramsey explores race, identity, online activism, and the downfall of real communication in the age of social media rants, trolls, and call-out wars.”–Amazon

 

 

 

 

Heroine of the Harlem RenaissanceHeroine of the Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: Gwendolyn Bennett’s Selected Writings by Belinda Wheeler (@BWheeler_PhDand Louis J. Parascandola (eds.)

May 29

“This superbly edited collection will introduce many readers to a more versatile and accomplished Gwendolyn Bennett than they have known before. It includes the unpublished political poetry that extends her range and impact, making her a key figure of the 1930s.”–Cary Nelson, author of Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945

 

 

 

Like a Mother by Angela GarbesLike a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes (@agarbes

May 29

“Angela Garbes maps the strange void at the heart of American parenting-the ways we simultaneously deify, infantilize, and erase mothers-and then pours herself into that void with indefatigable curiosity and resounding compassion. Like a Mother is a deeply-researched history of human reproduction; it is a jewel-bright memoir; it is hard science beautifully translated; it is funny; it is intersectional; it will crack you open and fill you with awe. Required reading for mothers, and double-required for everyone else.”–Lindy West, author of New York Times bestseller Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

 

 

So Close to Being the Shit by RettaSo Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’All Don’t Even Know by Retta (@unfoRETTAble)

May 29

“Reading this book is like having the best coffee date with the life-long friend I wish I had. Retta makes me laugh and feel so hard.”–America Ferrera

“This memoir is fantastic. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, it’s insightful, and it’s charming. I liked Retta before; now I’m her biggest fan.”–Bookriot

Retta’s unique voice and refreshing honesty will make you laugh, cry, and laugh so hard you cry.”–Bustle

 

 

Wind in My Hair by Masih AlinejadThe Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran by Masih Alinejad (@AlinejadMasih)

May 29

“Women all over Iran risked imprisonment and even their lives and safety to post pictures. Alinejad’s stories of her illustrious career as a groundbreaking journalist challenging the Islamic Republic make for a fascinating narrative.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“[Masih’s] descriptions of life as a journalist and activist will captivate readers interested in Iran, international affairs, gender equality, and human rights.”–Booklist

 

As You Like It, Volume II of the Gerald Kraak Anthology: African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality
May
Tags: Africa, LGBTQ, queer, anthology, fiction, nonfiction
Jacana Media, 172 pages
“These stories take up space; they are big and heavy and weighty and solid. These stories make no apologies. The sentences you will find on these pages are not afraid. They move from the brutal and the bloody to the melodic and the lyrical. They are crisp and controlled then suddenly they melt; sweetly, seductively.”–Sisonke Msimang

 

 

 

May
Tags: Biography, South Africa, women writers, #OwnVoices, Black women
Jacana Media, 230 pages
“This book reminds us that before 1990 conditions on the ground meant that a determined union supporter such as Ndlovu could pay with her life for being a militant organiser. The new South Africa was not won cheaply.”–William Freund, Professor Emeritus of Economic History, University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 

 
An Image in a Mirror by Ijangolet Ogwang (@IjangoletO)

May
Tags: Women writers, Africa, South Africa, debut, Black women, #OwnVoices
Jacana Media, 200 pages
An Image in a Mirror is a richly told and deeply intimate African story about the becoming of two young women, who are, the same as much as they are different. When the sisters, at the age of twenty-two, finally cross their respective worlds to meet, how mirrored will each feel about the other?”–Description

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Song of a Captive Bird Review

Escaping Captivities: A Review of SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD by Jasmin Darznik

Jasmin Darznik’s latest book is a novel based on the life and work of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad. Darznik’s first book, entitled The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life, was a New York Times bestseller. With her current work, Darznik tries her hand at recreating the life of Iran’s most provocative poet and filmmaker, and succeeds brilliantly.

Forugh Farrokhzad has been called “Iran’s Sylvia Plath” and lived a fascinating and heartbreaking life. Born in Tehran in 1935, Farrokhzad created rebellious poetry and films that challenged embedded societal norms. She lived and died fighting for the freedom of women to live independently, to create fearlessly, and to love fully. Farrokhzad’s poetry was intimate and honest at a time when being a “poetess” was not considered a serious profession for a woman. Against the backdrop of a domineering father, an unhappy arranged marriage, and a violent and stifling culture, Farrokhzad pushed Iran’s fundamentalist patriarchy to the limit. And she paid for it.   

Jasmin Darznik

Author Jasmin Darznik was born in Tehran, Iran, and grew up in California.

To live an authentic and meaningful life, Farrokhzad was forced to make numerous sacrifices. While some may condemn Farrokhzad for her recklessness and certain decisions she made, readers of this book may not be so quick to judge. Darznik leads her reader into the fear and limitations that came with daily life as an Iranian woman; the violence as well as the lack of agency, freedom, and education is infuriating to read about. Darznik has done her homework and offers a detailed portrait of Farrokhzad while conceding an Iran of contrasting beauty and oppression. Presenting readers with the honesty of Farrokhzad’s poetry and the reality of her circumstances, while challenging us with her tortured decisions, Darznik brilliantly evokes sympathy and understanding for Farrokhzad. We follow Farrokhzad throughout her captivities and glimpse the determination and sacrifices necessary for her to live the free and independent life she longed for.    

 

Darznik has a poetic writing style herself; with Song of a Captive Bird, she provides readers accessible entry into Iranian literature and poetry, and specifically into the work of Forugh Farrokhzad. One needn’t be a lover of poetry to appreciate this thoughtful and passionate story.

For further reading:

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

 

Title: Son of a Captive Bird
Author: Jasmin Darznik
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 274
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
My Rating: Highly recommended

 

 

 

Song of a Captive Bird


Disclosures:
I received this ebook from NetGalley. Thanks, NetGalley!
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Must Reads for the Rest of Us 2018 Part I

12 Must-Reads for the Rest of Us – 2018 – Part I

It’s a new year and that means a whole new host of books to read. And 2018 has no shortage of amazing new books that I can’t wait to get my hands on!

Now I must admit that there are many titles left over from the last year (or two, or three…) that I just didn’t get to. On this list, I stick to fiction titles coming this year. Confession: I will not be able to get through all of the books I want to read this year either (although I am sure going to try), so I have limited this initial list to 12.

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

You’ll see some books left off of this list that you might think should be on it. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to or won’t read them, it just means that they have gotten a lot of attention on other outlets and I wanted to focus on ones you may or may not have heard about yet. Think: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, and Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (only because I haven’t read the first two yet).

Another confession? You should come back to this list every once in a while because I will probably keep sneaking more titles on the list throughout the year… and there will be more coming in the second half of the year that I’ve not included. But this is a start, so here we go!

Added July 19: As of today I have read 8 of these 12 books and the others are on my TBR. I’ve added links to my reviews to each book I’ve read below. You can check out my list for the second half of 2018 here! Happy reading.

 

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (@lenizumas) – January 2018

In a starred review, Library Journal describes Red Clocks in this way: “In language both poetic and political, Zumas presents characters who are strong and determined; each is an individual in her own right. Inevitably, there will be comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but Zumas’s work is not nearly as dystopic or futuristic, only serving to make it that much more believable. Highly recommended.”

This is Zumas’ second novel and Elle says it is “Spooky-good.”

I don’t want to miss it.

You can read my review here!

 

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (@azemezi) – February 2018

Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by Electric LitBustle, Bitch, Book Riot, and others, this debut by Emezi received starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist.

Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go, describes it this way: “Freshwater is one of those dazzling novels that defies these kinds of descriptions. We can gesture to the story―set in Nigeria and America, told by all the selves of its Tamil/Igbo protagonist―but such synthesis fails to convey the magic that awaits its reader. At once fiction and memoir, potent in its spiritual richness and sexual frankness, the text seems not to have been written by but channeled through its brilliant author.” #ownvoices

You can read my review here!

 

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik (@jasmindarznik)- February 2018

A story about groundbreaking Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, this debut was described by Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow: “Written with the urgent tenderness of a love letter, this soaring novel is a heart-breaker and heart-mender at once—a gorgeous tribute to the brave and brilliant poet remembered in its pages.” #ownvoices

Who can argue with that recommendation?

You can read my review here!

 

 

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (@ShobhaRaoWrites) – March 2018

I am in the middle of reading this book now and I find it hard to put it down. Rao’s writing allows the reader to access the intricacies and darkness of her protagonist’s life in India in a way that one feels her intense heartbreak and resilience at once.

I’ll finish this one in the next few days, so be watching for a full review soon! #ownvoices

You can read my review here!

 

 

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson (@chelseyhotel) – March 2018

If Carrie Brownstein says a book is good, I’m pretty certain I’m going to read it. Of Chelsey Johnson’s debut novel she said: “Insightful and brilliant, Stray City explores the stickiness of doing what’s expected and the strange freedom born of contradiction. I tore through this novel like an orphaned reader seeking a home in its ragtag yet shimmering world.”

Author Michelle Tea described it as “A love letter to Portland in the 90s,” and “a gorgeous, funny, sharply spot-on tale of growing up and making family again and again and again.” So yeah, sign me up.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (@tomi_adeyemi)- March 2018

Like many of you, I cannot WAIT to read this book.

Nigerian-American writer Adeyemi’s debut novel features all-black characters in a good versus evil fantasy tale.

In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly says, “Adeyemi’s devastating debut is a brutal, beautiful tale of revolution, faith, and star-crossed love.” #ownvoices

 

 

 

Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (@TisforThompson)- April 2018

People are already raving over this debut collection of stories about Black identity, culture, and citizenship. It’s been described as wicked, awkward, wise, intense, inventive, honest, funny, smart, rewarding, original, and urgent.

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Stuffed with invention… Thompson-Spires proves herself a trenchant humorist with an eye for social nuance.”

Author Kelly Link calls it “a knockout.” I am really looking forward to this one. #ownvoices

Added July 19: My review is coming soon!

 

OK, Mr. Field: A Novel by Katharine Kilalea – June 2018

The description of this debut novel is so compelling… an injured concert pianist impetuously buys a house on the coast of Cape Town (who wouldn’t) but over time, the house seems to affect the man in disturbing and mind-altering ways.

The author, poet Katharine Kilalea, grew up in South Africa and my love for the country makes this an especially intriguing new book for me. She’s got a two-book deal from Faber & Faber and The Paris Review is publishing the book as a serial, so not a bad start. Looking forward to this imaginative story.#ownvoices

 

 

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd (@pengshepherd) – June 2018

In her futuristic debut novel, Peng Shepherd examines themes of memory and the darkness that forgetting can bring. I haven’t read a lot about this book except for a Library Journal preview and description from the author’s website but it was more than enough to pique my interest.

I am fairly new to speculative fiction but am looking forward to reading more fantasy, sci fi, and afrofuturism this year. I am eager to dive into these genres and The Book of M is on the list.

You can read my review here!

 

 

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon (@rokwon_) – July 2018

R.O. Kwon said on Twitter recently that she had been working on her debut novel for a decade and that it’s now a “strange and wonderful feeling” to see it out in the world.

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

I’m eager to see how Kwon intertwines terrorism, love, loss, and faith into this much-anticipated story. #ownvoices

 

Suicide Club: A Novel About Living by Rachel Heng (@rachelhengqp) – July 2018

Heng’s debut futuristic novel has been described as glittering. Kristen Iskandrian, author of Motherest, said “Suicide Club bends genre with grace and artistry, delivering us to the outermost reaches of what’s familiar and affirming what dares to still exist there: family, friendship, and forgiveness. With superb writing, Rachel Heng has crafted a world inside of a world gone mad, one where love faces its most difficult test. This is an exciting, bold, inventive novel.”

Will her main character chose to live for the 300 years that many do? Or will she instead opt to join the Suicide Club? I can’t wait to find out.

You can read my review here!

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (@ingrid_rojas_c) – July 2018

In her debut novel, Rojas Contreras tells the story of two women making their way in war-torn Colombia in the 1990’s. Called “Spellbinding…” by Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans, this book centers women’s experiences with violence, secrecy, and unexpected connections.

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

I can’t wait to get swept away too! #ownvoices

You can read my review here!

What is on your reading list this year? What womxn, queer, or gender nonconforming writers need to be on my watch list? Comment below to let me know!

 

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

What I’m Reading – 29 Dec 2017

Books

Articles

And this Twitter thread:

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