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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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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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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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