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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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A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACK

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

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

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

A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACK

The author, Kevin Powell.

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

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

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

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

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

A Review of Kevin Powell's MY MOTHER. BARACK

Powell published his autobiography in 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary:

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

 

 

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



For more information:

Kevin Powell on Growing Up in Poverty

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

New Reads for September

New Reads for the Rest of Us for September 2018

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

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

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

So here’s New Reads for the Rest of Us for September 2018. There are so many great titles here, which will you read??

 

All Roads Lead to Blood by Bonnie Chau (@bonniecchau)

September 1

Tags: Short stories, women writers, debut, Chinese

Santa Fe Writer’s Project, 166 pages

Winner of the 2040 Books Prize

“The intensity and desire of youth, with the wisdom of wild imagination, fill these wonderful stories by Chau. This unforgettable, stellar debut kept surprising me with fantastical turns, and sharp, unsettling insights.”–Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

 

Black Women in Politics: Demanding Citizenship, Challenging Power, and Seeking Justice by Julia S. Jordan-Zachery, Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd (editors)

September 1

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

SUNY Press, 314 pages

Black Women in Politics offers a new perspective on Black women as political actors. Jordan-Zachery and Alexander-Floyd have assembled a stellar group of essays that speak to the broad experiences and concerns of Black women as political actors. Together, the essays present a compelling story of what we learn when we center Black women’s voices in policy debates, democratic theory, and notions of political leadership.”–Wendy Smooth, The Ohio State University

 

A Certain Loneliness: A Memoir by Sandra Gail Lambert (@sandralambert)

September 1

Tags: Dis/abilities, women writers, #OwnVoices, memoir, queer

“Having pushed her wheelchair past two hundred alligators, Lambert has written a brilliant and necessary account of a wise and triumphant life as a writer, activist, kayaker, lesbian lover, birder, and survivor of polio. I’m in awe of her gifts.”–Carolyn Forché, author of The Country Between Us

 

 

Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative by Kate Harrad (editor) (@katyha)

September 1

Tags: Bisexual, essays

Thorntree Press, 344 pages

Claiming the B in LGBT strives to give bisexuals a seat at the table. This guidebook to the history and future of the bisexual movement fuses a chronology of bisexual organizing with essays, poems, and articles detailing the lived experiences of bisexual activities struggling against a dominant culture driven by norms of monosexual attraction, compulsory monogamy, and inflexible notions of gender expression and identity.”–Description

 

The Lost Pages by Marija Pericic

September 1

Tags: Debut, women writers, friendship

“… cleverly structured and an intriguing concept.”–Jenny Barry, BooksPlus

“From the very beginning, the strain between Kafka and Brod is hugely entertaining. Brod is anti-social and prefers his own company, just like the best of Kafka’s characters.”–Rohan Wilson, award winning author of The Roving Party and To Name Those Lost

 

Mother of Invention edited by Rivqa Rafael (@enoughsnarkand Tansy Rayner Roberts (@tansyrr)

September 1

Tags: Queer, women writers, speculative fiction, gender, short stories

Twelfth Planet Press, 396 pages

“All of the familiar tropes of mad science and the creation of artificial life get turned on their heads in the most gloriously feminist way in Mother of Invention. It turns out when the person who’s Playing God is female, the story suddenly gets a lot more interesting.”–Charlie Jane Anders

 

Okanagan Grouse Woman: Upper Nicola Narratives by Lottie Lindley and John Lyon

September 1

Tags: Native American, short stories, oral history

University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition, 510 pages

“The collection is masterfully constructed, reflecting Lottie Lindley’s distinctive narrative voice in Okanagan and in English. At once a carefully annotated documentation of the Okanagan language as well as a record of history, culture, and land, the book is a testament to the power of narrative in Okanagan and a wonderful gift to future generations.”–Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, associate professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria

 

Punching and Kicking: Leaving Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood by Kathy Dobson (@Kathy_Dobson)

September 1

Tags: Canada, poverty, memoir, women writers, #OwnVoices, family

Véhicule Press, 240 pages

“People don’t leave the Point, even if they move far away. Or at least that’s how it seems to journalist Kathy Dobson. Growing up in the 1970s in Point St. Charles, an industrial slum in Montreal, she sees how people get trapped in the neighborhood. In this sequel to the highly praised With a Closed Fist, Dobson shares her journey of trying to escape from what was once described as the toughest neighborhood in Canada.”–Description

 

Shadowboxer by Jessica L. Webb (@JessicaLWebb1)

September 1 on Bold Strokes Books

September 11 on Amazon

Tags: Lesbian, romance, sports, #OwnVoices

Bold Strokes Books, 242 pages

“After a tough childhood and a brief and bruising career as a boxer, Jordan McAddie isn’t sure she has anything left to offer in a relationship. Desperately trying to make a difference, she focuses on becoming a social worker and helping street kids find their way. But someone is targeting her kids, luring them to an underground political group whose protests are becoming increasingly more provocative and dangerous.

When Ali Clarke – Jordan’s first love and first broken heart – walks back into her life and becomes intertwined with the youth boxing program, Jordan is torn between past and present. Dedicated to keeping her kids safe, Jordan fights old fears that she will never be good enough, while trying to believe she might have a future with Ali.”–Description

 

Sinjar: 14 Days that Saved the Yazidis from Islamic State by Susan Shand

September 1

Tags: Iraq, history, women writers, military

Lyons Press, 268 pages

“This is the extraordinary tale of how a few American-Yazidis in Washington, DC, mobilized a small, forgotten office in the American government to intervene militarily in Iraq to avert a devastating humanitarian crisis. While Islamic State massacred many thousands of Yazidi men and sold thousands more Yazidi women into slavery, the U.S. intervention saved the lives of 50,000 Yazidis.”–Description

 

Toppled World: A Political and Spiritual Trek through India, Tibet and Afghanistan by Susan Murphy

September 1

Tags: India, Tibet, Afghanistan, biography, women writers, history

Bedazzled Ink Publishing, 260 pages

“As a child, Sudha Johorey witnessed the horrific events that followed the partition of India into two bitter rival nations. Sudha was a feminist before her time, a pioneer in rural education, a seeker of the divine, a true Renaissance woman. Susan Murphy had the opportunity to accompany Sudha Johorey to Dharamsala in 2005, where they were afforded a private audience with the Dalai Lama, who encouraged Murphy to write Sudha’s amazing story.”–Description

 

Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House by April Ryan (@AprilDRyan)

September 1

Tags: Journalism, politics, #OwnVoices, women writers

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 192 pages

“April’s experience, knowledge, and judgment are on full display in this book. She understands the political process at the highest levels and has never been afraid to ask the tough questions off-record or with the eyes of the world on her or when her courage and mettle have been put to the test. All of these skills come together in a compelling volume that blends her insights with the very questions that we should all be confronting at this unique moment in history.”–Thurgood Marshall, Jr.

 

Vita & Virginia: The Lives and Love of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West by Sarah Gristwood (@sarahgristwood)

September 1

Tags: Literature, women writers, biography, queer

“Virginia Woolf is one of the world’s most famous writers, and a leading light of literary modernism and feminism. During the 1920s she had a passionate affair with a fellow author, Vita Sackville-West, and they remained friends until Virginia’s death in 1941. This double biography of two extraordinary women examines their lives together and apart.”–Description

 

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness by Renée Mussai (Author), Zanele Muholi (@MuholiZanele(Photographer)

September 1

Tags: Arts, photography, women writers, #OwnVoices, South Africa, Black women

Aperture, 212 pages

“Zanele Muholi (born in Umlazi, Durban, South Africa, 1972) is a visual activist and photographer, cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, and founder of Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual media.”–Amazon

“This is the long-awaited monograph from one of the most powerful visual activists of our time. The book features over ninety of Muholi’s evocative self-portraits, each image drafted from material props in Muholi’s immediate environment.”–Description

 

After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel (@nettelgand Rosalind Harvey (Translator)

September 4

Tags: Women writers, thriller, contemporary women, translation

Coffee House Press (reprint), 264 pages

“A compassionately written portrait of urban loneliness and the human impulse to belong.”–Kirkus

“Guadalupe Nettel’s After the Winter is a dazzling excavation of the glimmering particularities of consciousness, and how a collision of fates can transform our inner worlds. This taut, atmospheric novel is an ode to the complicated heartbreak of loving what will forever be just out of reach.”–Laura van den Berg

 

Always Another Country by Sisonke Msimang (@Sisonkemsimang)

September 4

Tags: Memoir, Africa, women writers, #OwnVoices

World Editions, 368 pages

“Brutally and uncompromisingly honest, Sisonke’s beautifully crafted storytelling enriches the already extraordinary pool of young African women writers of our time. Sisonke, a child of the Struggle, revisits the metamorphosis of the value system embraced by the liberation movements and emerges as a powerful free spirit, nurtured by its resilient core values.”–Graça Machel

 

Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri (@BlkRseKapri)

September 4

Tags: Black women, women writers, poetry, queer, debut, #OwnVoices

Haymarket Press, 120 pages

“Black Queer Hoe is a refreshing, unapologetic intervention into ongoing conversations about the line between sexual freedom and sexual exploitation. Women’s sexuality is often used as a weapon against them. In this powerful debut, Britteney Black Rose Kapri lends her unmistakable voice to fraught questions of identity, sexuality, reclamation, and power, in a world that refuses Black Queer women permission to define their own lives and boundaries.”–Description

UPDATE:  Just read this book and it is EVERYTHING.

 

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani 

September 4

Tags: Nigeria, #OwnVoices, women writers, family

Katherine Tegen Books, 336 pages

“Unflinching in its direct view of an ongoing tragedy, this important novel will open discussions about human rights and violence against women and girls worldwide.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Nigerian author Nwaubani [paints] beautiful portraits of the joy, hope, and traditions experienced by this girl, her friends, and family with the same masterful strokes as the ones depicting the dreadful agony, loss, and grief they endure. A worthy piece of work that superbly and empathetically tells a heartbreaking tale.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises by Rebecca Solnit

September 4

Tags: Violence, feminism, women writers, essays

Haymarket, 166 pages

“Rebecca Solnit is essential feminist reading.”–The New Republic

“Solnit’s exquisite essays move between the political and the personal, the intellectual and the earthy.”–ELLE

 

Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie (@cat_guthrie)

September 4

Tags: Health, feminism, women writers, memoir, queer

Skyhorse Publishing, 264 pages

“A feminist breast cancer memoir of medical trauma, love, and how she found the strength to listen to her body.”–Description

“Guthrie’s refreshing femininity doesn’t fit the familiar cancer narrative. Informed by both the nuances of queer identity and a women’s health journalist’s insider knowledge, this memoir is a welcome punk rock to breast cancer’s pink-washing. Unflinching, eloquent, and richly intimate, Flat has shaken me, inspired me, prepared me for what could happen.”–Angela Palm, author, Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here

 

Isako Isako by Mia Ayumi Malhotra

September 4

Tags: Japan, debut, family, poetry

Alice James Books, 100 pages

“The personal pronoun I has brinks on all sides, over which you can fall and become anyone and no one. Isako Isako deeply explores these soaring and dangerous precipices of identity through the magnetic voice of a Japanese-American internment camp survivor who is both an individual and collective, a citizen and a prisoner, broken and healing. Mia Ayumi Malhotra has written a brilliant and searing debut.”–Maria Hummel

 

I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan by Khalida Brohi

September 4

Tags: Pakistan, women writers, #OwnVoices, violence, memoir, activism, feminism

Random House, 224 pages

“Khalida Brohi understands the true nature of honor. She is fearless in her pursuit of justice and equality.”–Malala Yousafzai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

“Khalida Brohi’s moving story is a testament to what is possible no matter the odds. In her courageous activism and now in I Should Have Honor, Khalida gives a voice to the women and girls who are denied their own by society. This book is a true act of honor.”–Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org

 

Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage by Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar)

September 4

Tags: YA, essays, girls, trans, race, #OwnVoices

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 320 pages

“Each tale is a soulful testament to the endurance of the human spirit and reminds readers that they are not alone in their search for self. An unflinchingly honest book that should be required reading for every young person in America.”–Kirkus, starred review

“An invaluable collection of snapshots of American society.”–VOYA, starred review

 

Ponti by Sharlene Teo (@treebirds)

September 4

Tags: Friendship, coming of age, women writers, contemporary women

Simon & Schuster, 304 pages

“At once a subtle critique of the pressures of living in a modern Asian metropolis; a record of the swiftness and ruthlessness with which Southeast Asia has changed over the last three decades; a portrait of the old juxtaposed with the new (and an accompanying dialogue between nostalgia and cynicism); an exploration of the relationship between women against the backdrop of social change; and, occasionally, a love story—all wrapped up in the guise of a teenage coming-of-age novel. . . . Teo is brilliant.”–The Guardian

My review of this title is coming soon!

 

Terra Nullius: a novel by Claire G. Coleman

September 4

Tags: Dystopian, family, women writers, Indigenous Australian (South Coast Noongar), debut

Small Beer Press, 320 pages

“Claire G. Coleman’s Terra Nulllius is an arresting and original novel that addresses the legacy of Australia’s violent colonial history. . . . Coleman’s punchy prose is insistent throughout, its energy unflagging. Terra Nullius is a novel for our times, one whose tone is as impassioned as its message is necessary.”–Stella Prize Judges’ Report

 

Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story by Wyomia Tyus with Elizabeth Terzakis

September 4

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

Edge of Sports [reprint ed.], 288 pages

“Wyomia Tyus may not be as well known as Wilma Rudolph or Billie Jean King, but her athletic accomplishments and life story are equally captivating, as related in this remarkable and inspiring memoir…This deeply moving book by one of our greatest athletes makes indelible statements about integrity, growing up black in the South, social activism, gender equality, and inclusion.”–Booklist (starred review)

 

The Grind: Black Women and Survival in the Inner City by Alexis S. McCurn

September 10

Tags: Women writers, urban, Black women

Rutgers University Press, 200 pages

“Few scholars have explored the collective experiences of women living in the inner city and the innovative strategies they develop to navigate daily life in this setting. The Grind illustrates the lived experiences of poor African American women and the creative strategies they develop to manage these events and survive in a community commonly exposed to violence.”–Description

 

#FashionVictim: A Novel by Amina Akhtar (@Drrramina)

September 11

Tags: Debut, women writers, thriller, humor

Crooked Lane Books

“Hilariously funny as well as profoundly unsettling . . . will keep readers hooked and laughing, if a bit uncomfortably, from Page 1 until the shocking ending.”–Kirkus

“Full of suspense, social satire, and deliciously dark humor, #FashionVictim gives ‘killer wardrobe’ a whole new meaning. I couldn’t put it down.”–Alison Gaylin, USA Today Bestselling Author of If I Die Tonight

 

How Does It Feel to Be Unwanted?: Stories of Resistance and Resilience from Mexicans Living in the United States by Eileen Truax (@EileenTruax)

September 11

Tags: Mexico, women writers, immigration, Latinx

Beacon Press, 216 pages

“An urgent book for our times. When immigrant voices are being silenced, when immigrant families are being torn apart, when immigrant youth are being denied their right to dream of a better future, this book inspires us to see, to listen, and to understand. Above all, it celebrates the tenacity and resilience of a community whose stories are, without any doubt, part of the American experience.”–Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us

 

Maggie Terry by Sarah Schulman (@sarahschulman3)

September 11

Tags: Queer, mystery, women writers

The Feminist Press at CUNY, 272 pages

“A sprawling exploration of New York nostalgia, police brutality, addiction memoir, and queer love, with a mystery as the cherry on top.”–Kirkus Reviews

“Sarah Schulman’s startling brilliance and wry humor is everything.”–Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn

 

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson (@ProfCAnderson)

September 11

Tags: Politics, women writers, history

Bloomsbury Publishing, 288 pages

“This whiplash-inducing chronicle of how a nation that just a few short years ago elected its first black president now finds itself in the throes of a deceitful and craven effort to rip this most essential of American rights from millions of its citizens.”–Booklist

“A ripped-from-the-headlines book . . . Anderson is a highly praised academic who has mastered the art of gathering information and writing for a general readership, and her latest book could not be more timely.”–Kirkus

 

Ordinary People: A Novel by Diana Evans (@DianaEvansOP)

September 11

Tags: Urban, family, literary, women writers

Liveright, 320 pages

“If Ordinary People is about compromise, it is also about how we live today and, refreshingly, Evans shows this through the prism of black and mixed-race identities, conjuring an urban milieu that is middle-class and non-white…. [This novel] has universal appeal in its reflections on love and yet carries a glorious local specificity…. It could easily be reimagined for the screen, though the film would not capture the sheer energy and effervescence of Evans’s funny, sad, magnificent prose.”–Arifa Akbar, The Guardian

 

Perfectly Clear: Escaping Scientology and Fighting for the Woman I Love by Michelle LeClair and Robin Gaby Fisher

September 11

Tags: Religion, lesbian, memoir, #OwnVoices

Berkley, 304 pages

“The revelatory memoir by former ‘poster girl for Scientology’ Michelle LeClair about her defection from the Church, her newly accepted sexual identity, and the lengths to which Scientology went to silence it.”–Description

 

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly )

September 11

Tags: Women writers, sexuality, feminism

Atria, 416 pages

“How many women cry when angry because we’ve held it in for so long? How many discover that anger turned inward is depression? Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her will be good for women, and for the future of this country. After all, women have a lot to be angry about.”–Gloria Steinem

 

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (@sarahw)

September 11

Tags: Biography, true crime, women writers, history

Ecco, 320 pages

“A tantalizing, entertaining true-life detective and literary story.”–Kirkus Reviews

“Spine-straightening. . . . Weinman’s sensitive insights into Horner’s struggle play in stunning counterpoint to her illuminations of Nabokov’s dark obsession and literary daring, and Lolita’s explosive impact.”–Booklist

 

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

September 11

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

Graywolf, 312 page

“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

My review of this title is coming soon!

 

Standing Our Ground: The Triumph of Faith Over Gun Violence: A Mother’s Story by Lucia Kay McBath (@LucyWins2018with Rosemarie Robotham

September 11

Tags: Memoir, violence, race, politics, women writers, #OwnVoices

Atria / 37 INK, 256 pages

“Lucy, in the face of tragedy, turned her sorrow into a strategy, and her mourning into a movement.”–Hillary Clinton

“What awes me about Lucia is not simply the fact of having endured the loss of a child in the manner she did, but her sheer strength of character, which has allowed her to turn that loss into our gain. Lucia has taken it as her mission to live beyond the pain of her loss and to prevent more of our children from meeting at those crossroads.”–Ta-Nehisi Coates, New York Times bestselling author of Between the World and Me

 

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 writers, trans

Cassava Republic Press, 340 pages

“We put together this collection of twenty-five narratives to correct the invisibility, the confusion, the caricaturising and the writing out of queer women from history.”–Description

 

Pan–African American Literature: Signifyin(g) Immigrants in the Twenty-First Century by Stephanie Li 

September 14

Rutgers University Press, 190 pages

“Timely and promising, Pan-African American Literature will make a major and distinctive contribution to African American studies, cultural studies, and American literary studies.”–Michele Elam author of The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millennium

 

Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation by Imani Perry (@imaniperry)

September 14

Tags: Feminism, gender, Black women, women writers

Duke University Press Books, 304 pages

“Imani Perry’s Vexy Thing is a strong and confidently argued statement for a kind of feminism that attends in new ways to how logics of gender domination are part of wider logics of domination—how regimes of gender must be considered under a lens that also makes visible austerity and neoliberalism, hypermedia and the security state. Vexy Thing expands our notions of what a feminist critic can do while giving the reader a real sense of an important intellectual at work.”–Sara Ahmed, author of Living a Feminist Life

 

African American Girls and the Construction of Identity: Class, Race, and Gender by Sheila Walker

September 15 (Kindle; hardcover out in October)

Tags: Black women, girls, race, women writers

Lexington Books, 204 pages

If anyone is curious about the depth and scope of the sociocultural and psychological experiences and profiles of young African American women then this book should be kept close by for use as a reference and a resource. With a wealth of interesting material and a clear and accommodating, yet sufficiently rigourous, framework, anyone who studies these pages will come out a richer person.–Joseph Trimble, Western Washington University

 

All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe García McCall (@ggmccall)

September 15

Tags: YA, historical fiction, women writers

Tu Books, 324 pages

“When Estrella organizes a protest against the treatment of tejanos in their town of Monteseco, Texas, her whole family becomes a target of ‘repatriation’ efforts to send Mexicans ‘back to Mexico’–whether they were ever Mexican citizens or not. Dumped across the border and separated from half her family, Estrella must figure out a way to survive and care for her mother and baby brother. How can she reunite with her father and grandparents and convince her country of birth that she deserves to return home? There are no easy answers in the first YA book to tackle this hidden history.”–Description

 

Drive Here and Devastate Me by Megan Falley (@megan_falley)

September 15

Tags: Poetry, queer, romance, women writers

Write Bloody Publishing, 100 pages

“Megan Falley’s much-anticipated fourth collection of poetry shocks you with its honesty: whether through exacting wit or lush lyrical imagery. It is clear that the author is madly in love, not only with her partner for whom she writes both idiosyncratic and sultry poems for, but in love with language, in love with queerness, in love with the therapeutic process of bankrupting the politics of shame. These poems tackle gun violence, toxic masculinity, LGBTQ* struggles, suicidality, and the oppression of women’s bodies, while maintaining a vivid wildness that the tongue aches to speak aloud.”–Description

 

Flocks by L. Nichols

September 15

Tags: Trans, #OwnVoices, memoir, graphic novels, religion

Secret Acres, 332 pages

“L. Nichols, a trans man, artist, engineer and father of two, was born in rural Louisiana, assigned female and raised by conservative Christians. Flocks is his memoir of that childhood, and of his family, friends and community, the flocks of Flocks, that shaped and re-shaped him. L.’s irresistibly charming drawings demonstrate what makes Flocks so special: L.’s boundless empathy.”–Description

 

Howard Zinn’s Southern Diary: Sit-ins, Civil Rights, and Black Women’s Student Activism by Robert Cohen

September 15

Tags: US history, Black women

University of Georgia Press, 312 pages

“This is a gem of a book! Organized around Howard Zinn’s fascinating diary of events during 1963, Robert Cohen’s account provides fresh information about how Zinn’s time at Spelman College (1956–63) converged with the contentious process of change in Atlanta, across the South, and on the Spelman campus. In recovering this formative chapter in Zinn’s biography, Cohen tells the story of a generation of black college women on the front lines of the freedom struggle.”–Patricia Sullivan author of Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement

 

The Bead Collector: A novel by Sefi Atta

September 17

Tags: Literary fiction, Nigeria, friendship, family, women writers

Interlink Pub Group, 376 pages

“The Bead Collector is centered around a dialogue between two women, but radiates out through family and society and the political realm in Nigeria to form a vast, rich dialogue, one, ultimately, between tradition and progress. Sefi Atta has crafted yet another stunning novel, a deeply compelling, illuminating story of personal and national identity in a time of great transition.”–Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds

 

The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina (@katyaapekina)

September 18

Tags: Family, coming of age, women writers, debut

The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish begins with a reunion between two sisters and their estranged, artist father. An unlikely intimacy grows out of this unusual situation, and we’re shuttled into a strange, beautiful history of this complex, passionate family, a history which involves young love, the Civil Rights movement, and an enduring obsession. I was completely mesmerized by Katya Apekina’s thrilling, heartfelt debut. Funny, suspenseful, touching, and totally unexpected, I dare you not to love it as much as I did. Apekina has talent and heart to spare.”–Anton DiSclafani, National Bestselling author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

 

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh (@Sarah_Smarsh)

September 18

Tags: Class, women writers, rural, poverty

Scribner, 304 pages

“Candid and courageous … Smarsh’s raw and intimate narrative exposes a country of economic inequality that has ‘failed its children.'”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] powerful message of class bias … A potent social and economic message [is] embedded within an affecting memoir.”–Kirkus (starred review)

 

How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal Marie Fleming (@alwaystheself)

September 18

Tags: Race, women writers, sociology

“Dr. Fleming offers a straight-no-chaser critique of our collective complicit ignorance regarding the state of race in the United States . . . . This book will leave you thinking, offended, and transformed.”–Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator

 

In Pieces by Sally Field (@sally_field)

September 18

Tags: Memoir, entertainment, women writers, family

Grand Central Publishing, 416 pages

“In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words–about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.”–Description

I know she’s a white lady. But I adore her.

 

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry (@imaniperry)

September 18

Tags: Queer, women writers, Black women, biography

Beacon Press, 256 pages

“I have always admired the brilliant Lorraine Hansberry. Now I treasure her even more. Imani Perry’s magnificently written and extremely well researched Looking for Lorraine reclaims for all of us the Lorraine Hansberry we should have had all along, the multifaceted genius for whom A Raisin in the Sun was just the tip of the iceberg. Though Hansberry’s life was brief, her powerful work remains vital and urgently necessary. One can say the same of this phenomenal book, which hopefully will lead more readers to both Hansberry’s published and unpublished works.”–Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I’m Dying

 

Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream by Julissa Arce (@julissaarce)

September 18

Tags: Immigration, women writers, #OwnVoices, YA, memoir, Mexico, drugs

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 240 pages

“A remarkable true story from social justice advocate and national bestselling author Julissa Arce about her journey to belong in America while growing up undocumented in Texas… Julissa’s story provides a deep look into the little-understood world of a new generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today–kids who live next door, sit next to you in class, or may even be one of your best friends.”–Description

 

These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

September 18

Tags: US history, women writers

W. W. Norton & Company, 960 pages

“With this epic work of grand chronological sweep, brilliantly illuminating the idea of truth in the history of our republic, Lepore reaffirms her place as one of one of the truly great historians of our time.”–Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University

 

Washington Black: A novel by Esi Edugyan

September 18

Tags: Historical fiction, adventure, literary, women writers

Knopf, 352 pages

Read my review here!

“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

 

Forgotten Women: The Writers by Zing Tsjeng (@misszing)

September 20 (Kindle ed., hardcover coming in October)

Tags: Women writers, history

Cassell, 224 pages

“To say this series is ’empowering’ doesn’t do it justice. Buy a copy for your daughters, sisters, mums, aunts and nieces – just make sure you buy a copy for your sons, brothers, dads, uncles and nephews, too.”–Independent

 

 

Othered by Randi M Romo (@RomoTake2)

September 20

Tags: Queer, women writers, #OwnVoices, poetry

Sibling Rivalry Press, 96 pages

“There is no better landing place for our grief, our love, and our hopes for a better tomorrow than poems. They vibrate with an urgency that defies the dead and enlivens the future. But Othered is more than a collection of poetry; it is proof positive that becoming one’s true self is still the most revolutionary act that any human being can undertake. Randi M. Romo shows us how it’s done–with courage, great care, and community.” – James Lecesne, Co-Founder of the Trevor Project

 

Blindsided by Chelsea Catherine

September 21

Tags: Queer, literary fiction

Texas Review Press, 144 pages

Blindsided follows Eli as she leads Carla, a local real estate agent, through an election for Key West city mayor. At first, the campaign process appears easy. Despite their differences, the two women work well together. But as time progresses, they face countless obstacles: the Bubba system in the Keys, discrimination from both supporting and opposing forces, and their rapidly intensifying relationship. While Carla starts to doubt her decisions, Eli struggles to find her place in the Keys and in Carla’s budding campaign.”–Description

 

Trans Teen Survival Guide by Fox Fisher (@theFoxFisherand Owl Fisher (@UglaStefania)

September 21

Tags: Trans, queer, YA, #OwnVoices

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 208 pages

“With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories.”–Description

 

Off Limits by Vanessa North (@byVanessaNorth)

September 24

Tags: Lesbian, romance, women writers, #OwnVoices

Vanessa North, 207 pages

“By day, Natalie Marshall is the Thorns Ladies’ Social Club’s perfect concierge: resourceful, observant, immaculate. But she turns her phone off when the night concierge arrives, and then she’s Nat: the raunchy lead singer of Vertical Smile—notorious for lewd lyrics and sexually-charged performances.”–Description

 

American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera)

September 25

Tags: Immigration, essays, women writers, #OwnVoices, Latinx

Gallery Books, 336 pages

“From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.”–Description

 

A Blade So Black by LL McKinney (@ElleOnWords)

September 25

Tags: Women writers, fantasy, urban, debut

Imprint, 384 pages

A Blade So Black delivers an irresistible urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland . . . but it’s not the Wonderland you remember. Debut author L.L. McKinney delivers an action-packed twist on an old classic, full of romance and otherworldly intrigue.”–Description

 

Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism edited by June Eric-Udorie (@juneericudorie)

September 25

Tags: Feminism, queer, anthology

Penguin Books, 288 pages

“June Eric-Udorie is a powerhouse. . . . who has assembled a stellar lineup of writers, putting a bold challenge to the idea of a unified feminism.”–Book Riot, “New Feminist Books That Offer Us Ways Forward”

 

Lava Falls by Lucy Jane Bledsoe (@LucyBledsoe)

September 25

Tags: Lesbian, women writers, short stories

University of Wisconsin Press, 240 pages

“In these twelve remarkable stories, the reader journeys from the remotest inner reaches of Alaska to deceptively calm suburban neighborhoods to a research station at the bottom of the world. Yet Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s true territory is the wild, uncharted expanse of the heart. A wise and wonderful collection.”–Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiesta
“From Antarctica to suburbia to the ancient past and a post-apocalyptic future, these tales of kick-ass women adventurers and survivor girls are big-hearted, breathtaking, and profound. Reading Lava Falls is like meeting an animal in the wild: I was rapt, unable to turn away, with no idea what would happen next.”–Micah Perks, author of What Becomes Us

 

Old Futures: Speculative Fiction and Queer Possibility by Alexis Lothian (@alothian)

September 25

Tags: Queer, speculative, history, literary criticism

NYU Press, 352 pages

Old Futures explores the social, political, and cultural forces feminists, queer people, and people of color invoke when they dream up alternative futures as a way to imagine transforming the present. Lothian shows how queer possibilities emerge when we practice the art of speculation: of imagining things otherwise than they are and creating stories from that impulse. Queer theory offers creative ways to think about time, breaking with straight and narrow paths toward the future laid out for the reproductive family, the law-abiding citizen, and the believer in markets. Yet so far it has rarely considered the possibility that, instead of a queer present reshaping the ways we relate to past and future, the futures imagined in the past can lead us to queer the present.”–Description

 

Open Earth by Sarah Mirk (@sarahmirk(Author) with Eva Cabrera (@evacabrera(Illustrator) and Claudia Aguirre (Illustrator)

September 25

Tags: Graphic novel, erotica, science fiction, women writers, romance

Limerence Press, 120 pages

“For comics fans who dream optimistically about the future, the diverse cast and sex-positive, cooperative storyline combine into a utopian vision.”–Publishers Weekly

“Humans may be living in space now, but our same old problems with love, sex, and communication are timeless. Full of family, friendship, and love, Cabrera, Aguirre, and Mirk’s vision of the post-apocalypse looks pretty damn appealing to me.”–Erika Moen

 

What titles are you excited about this month?

 

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