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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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Review of Before She Sleeps

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

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

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

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

Bina Shah

The author, Bina Shah.

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

Before she sleeps by Bina Shah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary:

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

Content information: Talk of rape, suicide

 

To learn more:

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

Kirkus review

Publisher’s Weekly review

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

 

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

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?

 

This post contains affiliate links. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which of the following will you read?

 

Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah (@BinaShah)

August 7

Tags: Dystopian, women writers, Pakistan, Muslim women

Delphinium, 256 pages

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

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

You can read my review here!

 

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

August 14

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

Haymarket Books, 200 pages

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

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

 

Severance by Ling Ma

August 14

Tags: Humor, women writers, debut

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pages

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

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

 

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

August 17

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

University of California Press, 240 pages

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

 

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

August 28

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

Beacon Press, 184 pages

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

 

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

September 11

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

Graywolf, 312 pages

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

 

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

September 12

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

Cassava Republic Press, 340 pages

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

 

Washington Black: A novel by Esi Edugyan

September 18

Tags: Historical fiction, adventure, literary, women writers

Knopf, 352 pages

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

Read my review here!

 

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

October 16

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

DoppelHouse Press, 224 pages

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

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

My review of this title is forthcoming!

 

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

October 30

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

Ballantine Books, 224 pages

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

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama)

November 13

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

Crown, 400 pages

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

 

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

November 20

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

Atria, 288 pages

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

 

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

November 20

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

New Directions, 144 pages

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

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

 

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

November 20

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

Doubleday, 240 pages

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

Read my review here!

 

Revolution Sunday by Wendy Guerra with Achy Obejas (Translator)

December 4

Tags: Cuba, women writers, thriller, Latinx

Melville House, 208 pages

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

My review of this title is forthcoming!

 

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

 

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