poetry

New Books By Women May

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

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

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

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

May 1

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

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

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

Motherhood by Sheila HetiMotherhood by Sheila Heti (@sheilaheti)

May 1

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

 

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

 

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

May 1

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

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

 

 

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

May 1

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

 

 

 

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

May 4

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

 

 

 

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

May 8

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

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

 

 

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

May 8

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

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

 

 

 

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

May 8

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

 

 

 

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

May 8

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

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

 

 

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

May 8

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

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

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

 

 

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

May 8

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

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

 

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

May 8

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

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

 

 

 

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

May 8

A Junior Library Guild selection

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

May 15 (Kindle)

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

 

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

May 15

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

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

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

 

 

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

May 15

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

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

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

 

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

May 15

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

 

 

 

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

May 22

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

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

 

 

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

May 22

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

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

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

 

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

May 22

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

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

 

 

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

May 22

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

 

 

 

 

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

May 29

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

 

 

 

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

May 29

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

 

 

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

May 29

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

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

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

 

 

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

May 29

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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New Books By Women April 2018

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

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

 

American is Not the Heart by Elaine CastilloAmerica Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo 

April 3

“The creative accomplishments of this story are incredible: this unexpected family, this history, this embrace of the sacred and the profane, this easy humor, this deeply felt human-ness, this messy, perfect love story. Elaine Castillo is a masterful, heartfelt writer.” –Jade Chang

“Castillo delivers a powerful, increasingly relevant novel about the promise of the American dream and the unshakable power of the past.”–The Rumpus

“In this unforgettable novel, Castillo offers an important pushback on the idea of the American Dream and questions who gets access to it.”–Bitch Media

 

Dread Nation by Justina IrelandDread Nation by Justina Ireland (@justinaireland)

April 3

“This highly anticipated release is getting lauded as equal parts exciting, terrifying, and oh-so-relevant. Crackles on every page.”–Brightly

“Ireland delivers a necessary, subversive, and explosive novel with her fantasy-laced alternate history that does the all-important work of exploring topics of oppression, racism, and slavery while simultaneously accomplishing so much more. Brilliant and gut-wrenching.”–Booklist (starred review)

 

 

Eye Level by Jenny XieEye Level: Poems by Jenny Xie (@jennymxie)

April 3

Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Juan Felipe Herrera

“For a poet so capable of taking readers on far-flung journeys to places like Corfu, Cambodia, and New York, Xie is perhaps most remarkable for her ability to take readers deeper inside themselves than they have ever been. . . . Xie’s work is just a thing of pure, piercing beauty.”–Nylon

“Despite Xie’s wide-ranging adventures, we remain burrowed in the mind of this magnificent poet, who braids in the lonesomeness and sorrow of being unmoored and on your own.”–The Paris Review, Staff Picks

 

Feminist Manifestos by Penny A WeissFeminist Manifestos: A Global Documentary Reader by Penny A. Weiss (ed.)

April 3

Feminist Manifestos provides an impressive and unprecedented archive of feminist activism. This rich compendium includes feminist petitions, manifestos, resolutions, charters and declarations from fifty countries, starting in 1642 and ending in 2017. Each selection is accompanied by informative introductions. I’ve been waiting for a book like this and can’t wait to assign it in my courses.”–Amrita Basu, Author of Violent Conjunctures in Democratic India

“This inspiring collection is breathtaking in its originality and daring in its premise. Reading the words collectively authored when feminists come together in struggle conveys the passion that inspires activism. Feminists thinking together in these manifestos provide hopeful and energizing answers to the question of what feminism is, challenging the categories and waves into which such variety is often awkwardly packaged.”–Myra Marx Ferree, Author of Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics In Global Perspective

 

Sodom Road Exit by Amber DawnSodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn (@AmberDawnWrites)

April 3

“A fresh and unusual story that encompasses both the dark and the hilarious … If you’re jonesing for a dose of early 90s, Gen-X ennui, with a side of the supernatural, Sodom Road Exit is worth the price of admission.”–Lambda Literary

“With ferocious compassion and an unforgettable cast of characters, Amber Dawn has written an extraordinary novel of queer love and survival. Consent to be possessed by it.”–Megan Milks, author of Kill Marguerite and Other Stories

 

 

Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy SpaldingThe Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding (@theames)

April 3

“This book is the queer, fat girl rom-com of my dreams! Plus-size fashion, a fat girl falling in love, nuanced friendships, and cheeseburgers! Did I mention cheeseburgers?” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

“Funny, full of heart, and refreshingly free of a weight-loss arc.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 

 

 

Wade in the Water by Tracy K SmithWade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

April 3

An extraordinary new poetry collection by the Poet Laureate of the United States.

“In these poems, with both gentleness and severity, Smith generously accepts what is an unusually public burden for an American poet, bringing national strife home, and finding the global in the local.”–NPR.org

“On a craft level, these poems are impeccable. . . . I know brilliance when I read it and this book is brilliant.”–Roxane Gay, Goodreads

 

 

The Window by Amelia BrunskillThe Window by Amelia Brunskill (@ameliab)

April 3

“A gripping tale of suspense, secrets, and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.”–Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying

“Lyrical and haunting, with plenty of twists that kept me reading long into the night.”–Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corners

And when she’s not writing, Amelia Brunskill is a librarian, so I automatically like her.

 

 

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-SpiresHeads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (@TisforThompson)

April 10

“With devastating insight and remarkable style, Nafissa Thompson-Spires explores what it means to come to terms with one’s body, one’s family, one’s future. The eleven vignettes in Heads of the Colored People elevate the unusual and expose the unseen, forming an original—and urgent—portrait of American life.”  (Allegra Hyde Of This New World)

My review of this unique and necessary book is coming soon.

 

 

 

Though I Get Home by YZ ChinThough I Get Home by YZ Chin

April 10

“A welcome read in American contemporary literature. Though I Get Home is an intimate and complex look into Malaysian culture and politics, and a reminder of the importance of art in the struggle for social justice.” –Ana Castillo, author of So Far from God and prize judge

“A haunting, surprising, and rebellious collection that contains multitudes.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

 

 

Trauma Cleaner by Sarah KrasnosteinThe Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (@delasarah)

April 10

“A fascinating, incredible true story about the person who spends her life cleaning up after traumas.

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife. . . But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.”–IndieBound

“Absolutely stunning.”–PopSugar

 

Trust Women by Rebecca Todd PetersTrust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice by Rebecca Todd Peters

April 10

“Offers a compelling case for radically revising the way we think and speak about women’s reproductive experience. . . . While written specifically for Christians, this will be a valuable read for anyone who questions the pronatalism and misogyny that constrains reproductive decision-making in the United States and seeks to shift our public debate in a more just direction.”–Library Journal, starred review

“In Trust Women, Rebecca Todd Peters lays bare the real question underlying the abortion debate: whether or not women can be trusted to make their own decisions. She is compassionate and clear-eyed in constructing her faith-based case for abortion, and her voice cuts through the noise to affirm what we at Planned Parenthood have long believed: the best arbiter of a woman’s reproductive destiny is herself.”–Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America

 

Wild Mares by Dianna HunterWild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life by Dianna Hunter

April 10

“Dianna Hunter’s engaging memoir thoughtfully recounts a feminist era, ethos, and way of life that until recently has been largely lost to the historical record. Told with nuanced self-reflection and respect for wider contexts, Hunter’s stories will challenge any narrow assumptions about what it was like to create and live the ‘second wave.’”–Finn Enke, author of Finding the Movement

 

 

 

Bisexuality by Swan and HabibiBisexuality: Theories, Research, and Recommendations for the Invisible Sexuality edited by D. Joye Swan and Shani Habibi

April 11

“This pathbreaking volume brings together a diverse body of sexual, behavioral, and social science research on bisexuality. Arguing for a clear, evidence-based definition of bisexuality and standardized measures for assessing sexual orientation, it spotlights challenges that need to be addressed toward attaining these goals.”–IndieBound

 

Black Girl MagicThe BreakBeat Poets Volume 2: Black Girl Magic edited by  Mahogany L. BrowneIdrissa Simmonds, and Jamila Woods (@mobrowne)

April 17

“[The BreakBeat Poets is] one of the most diverse and important poetry anthologies of the last 25 years.”–Latino Rebels

“Black Girl Magic continues and deepens the work of the first BreakBeat Poets anthology by focusing on some of the most exciting Black women writing today. This anthology breaks up the myth of hip-hop as a boys’ club, and asserts the truth that the cypher is a feminine form.”–IndieBound

 

 

Every Other Weekend by Zulema Renee SummerfieldEvery Other Weekend by Zulema Renee Summerfield (@Zulipper)

April 17

“Summerfield’s first novel is many things-a nod to late ’80s news and culture, a case study of divided and blended homes, and an imaginative exploration of childhood fears. Mostly, though, it’s the beautifully tender story of an eight-year-old’s broken heart and her journey toward mending it.”–Booklist

“You are about to meet your new favorite author. Zulema Renee Summerfield knows just where the fault lines lie in homes and hearts and families and in Every Other Weekend she leads us to those with a magical compassion. Summerfield’s voice is hilarious and scathing and healing. We find ourselves here, inhabitable. In Every Other Weekend, Summerfield brings us home.”–Tupelo Hassman, author of Girlchild

 

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker RhodesGhost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (@jewell_p_rhodes)

April 17

The #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick


“Rhodes captures the all-too-real pain of racial injustice and provides an important window for readers who are just beginning to explore the ideas of privilege and implicit bias.”–School Library Journal, starred review

“An excellent novel that delves into the timely topic of racism… with the question of whether or not we really have come far when dealing with race relations.”–School Library Connection, starred review

 

 

Love and War by Melissa de la CruzLove and War: An Alex and Eliza Story by Melissa de la Cruz (@MelissadelaCruz)

April 17

“Part fact and part fiction, Alex and Eliza: A Love Story will definitely get you (or your teen) excited about history.”–PopSugar

“Do you listen to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical soundtrack on repeat? Then, the next logical step is to read this YA love tale.”–PopCrush

Hamilton fans will love this fictionalized, and delightfully charming, novel.”–BuzzFeed

 

 

Just One Word by BamaJust One Word: Short Stories by Bama by Bama (author), Malini Seshadri (Translator)

April 22

“Bama is one of the most readily recognizable names in the pantheon of Tamil Dalit writers. She rose to fame with her autobiographical novel Karukku (1992), which chronicles the joys and sorrows experienced by Dalit Christian women in Tamil Nadu. Her works have been appreciated for embodying Dalit feminism and celebrating the inner strength of the subaltern woman.

This work is a collection of her 15 short stories, selected to showcase the range of social concerns and the depth of her perception of human frailties. In each of these stories, Bama documents the emerging influences on the lives and consciousness of people. She picks up a character one is likely to meet every day and builds a narrative that reveals, with a touch of ironic humour, the internalized caste and patriarchal sentiments that the society passes on to the future generation every single day.”–Amazon

 

Alexandra Kollantai trans by Cathy PorterAlexandra Kollantai: Writings From the Struggle edited and translated by Cathy Porter

April 24

“Never-before translated writings of one of Russia’s most important leaders in the struggle for women’s liberation.”–IndieBound

Alexandra Kollontai has the potential to be a true delight for the connoisseur by providing an alternative historical account of Russia and the socialist movement. However, what makes it transcend time is Kollontai’s chief belief that women should be at the centre of the economy, not the periphery.”–Spokeman

 

 

Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine WamariyaThe Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weir

April 24

“This book is not a conventional story about war and its aftermath; it’s a powerful coming-of-age story in which a girl explores her identity in the wake of a brutal war that destroyed her family and home. Wamariya is an exceptional narrator and her story is unforgettable.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“At once heart-breaking and hopeful, [Wamariya’s] story is about power and helplessness, loneliness and identity, and the strange juxtaposition of poverty and privilege…. This beautifully written and touching account goes beyond the horror of war to recall the lived experience of a child trying to make sense of violence and strife. Intimate and lyrical, the narrative flows from Wamariya’s early experience to her life in the United States with equal grace. A must-read.”–Library Journal (starred review)

 

House of Rougeaux by Jenny JaeckelHouse of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel(@JennyJaeckel)

April 24

“Much like HomegoingHouse of Rougeaux is an intergenerational novel that uses different characters to travel through decades of turmoil and triumphs.”–Bitch Media

“Jaeckel masterfully blends genres of mysticism, coming-of-age, folklore, and historical fiction with explorations of gender and race, creating a wondrous tale of hope and healing through trauma. A relevant work of love, determination, and the many small achievements that make up greatness, House of Rougeaux draws a new map of what it means to be family.”–IndieBound

I loved Homegoing, so I’m excited for this one.

 

Global Governance and Local Peace by Susanna CampbellGlobal Governance and Local Peace: Accountability and Performance in International Peacebuilding by Susanna P. Campbell

April 30

“Susanna P. Campbell has written a fantastic book. It is one of the very few studies of on-the-ground peacebuilding that helps us to actually understand – and, hopefully, replicate – successful efforts. It is theoretically innovative, and draws on incredibly rich ethnographic material from 14 years of involvement in peacebuilding, both in the field and in the headquarters. All of these make Global Governance and Local Peace essential reading for scholars and practitioners alike.” Severine Autesserre, author of Peaceland and The Trouble With The Congo

 

 

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Song of a Captive Bird Review

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

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

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

Jasmin Darznik

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

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

 

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

For further reading:

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

 

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

 

 

 

Song of a Captive Bird


Disclosures:
I received this ebook from NetGalley. Thanks, NetGalley!
This post contains affiliate links. Please support your local independent bookstore!

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