reading

The Time is Now

Reading, writing, and puppies: the summer of ’19

While it’s been some time since I’ve written a post here, I am reading and writing many things! Here’s the latest on what I’ve been up to and where you can find me.

First, I was asked to take on new duties at my day job because my boss left to take another job. So I am now serving as the interim Collection Development Officer for UW-Madison Libraries. This is in addition to my regular position as the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian for the UW System. So to say my schedule has gotten busier would be an understatement. With time and discipline (what is that??), I am learning to juggle these new duties with the existing ones. While I enjoy the work, I hope that new people can be hired so that I will be off the hook by mid-spring (fingers crossed).

In addition to this, I am writing more. Everything I read says that if you want to be a writer you need to write, and write a lot. So this week, I started a daily writing practice in which I write for at least 30 minutes a day. Usually it’s more and I have written quite a bit this week. I’ve started publishing on Medium, so please check that out. Some of the pieces are recycled but I was excited when my new original piece, Shedding the sugar security blanket, was picked up by The Startup.

Photo of candy hearts

 

I still have my series, Feminist Know-It-All, on the Ms. Magazine website and it is so fun. Up to now, it’s been mostly lists of new Reads for the Rest of Us but it will be expanding soon. I recently conducted an interview with Melanie S. Hatter, author of the Kimbilio National Fiction Prize winning Malawi’s Sisters, and I hope this will be published as part of that column in the near future.

Ms Feminist Know It All column on Ms Magazine

The Time is Now ebook cover

 

 

I recently had a chapter published in an ebook entitled, The Time is Now: Feminist Leadership for a New Era. The book was compiled by the Global Network UNESCO Chairs on Gender and my chapter is “The role of libraries in the leadership development of women and girls around the world.” The book is available free online, so please take a look!

 

 

I was asked to write a book review for the Canadian Journal of History, which should be published by early spring, and I continue to contribute to Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies: A Feminist Review. I am also trying to work on my first book project, which is a history of the Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian at the UW. It’s been tough to make this a priority but that’s why I started a daily writing practice. My hope is to alternate projects each day to find time for all the things I want to write.

I continue to update my resource guide on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW or MMIWG). It is consistently my most popular post on the site. Please share it widely!

Of course, I continue to read as much as I can. There’s never enough time to read all of the books I want to, though! Favorites this year include (so far, and in no particular order):

 

Noom 20 percent off discount link

I’ve also committed to improving my health. So this week, I started to detox from sugar and diet soda; you can read about it on The Startup. I’ve also increased my activity level and my intake of tea and water. I’ve joined Noom, which is helping tremendously with the psychology behind my existing habits. Click the link or image for a 20% discount!

 

 

I actually took a week off work to get started on all of this because I knew it would be challenging. It’s day four or five and the headaches have decreased significantly. I feel clearer and my mood has improved a bit. I am peeing all the time because of the increased water intake. I’ve lost two pounds and am feeling more motivated in general.

 

A dog and a puppy outdoors, by a small pink kiddie pool

Duo (top) and Grace

 

Above and beyond all this, there were a few other big things happening this summer. First, my son moved out into his first place. This is a big adjustment, but it’s been great. Second, my partner and I adopted a puppy. She is a boxer mix from our local humane society and her name is Grace. I don’t have to tell you that she is the sweetest, cutest, most cuddly girl ever. She’s brought a lot of joy into our lives since we lost our amazing dog, Duo, in June.

 

 

 

Photo of an Australian shepherd mix laying down in the sun

Beautiful boy, Duo

Photo of a boxer mix puppy sleeping with her tongue out

Gracie sleeping

Photo of a boxer mix puppy running with a Chuck-It in her mouth, ears flying in the wind behind her

Little girl Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what have you been up to this summer? What have you been reading? What’s been your favorite book so far this year? Let me know in the comments below.

This post contains affiliate links. This in no way increases your cost but it helps me to keep afloat!

January and February Wrap-Up and Updates

January and February Wrap-Up and Updates

Wow. Just wow, y’all.

There’s been a lot going on in my reading/writing/blogging life; hence few posts on here recently!

So here’s the most exciting thing:

It’s the header for my new column on the Ms. Magazine blog! I. am. dead. I love it so much. Many thanks to Carmen Rios for the design and for being an amazing editor and person!

So there’s one post up currently, my 2019 Reads for the Rest of Us. This is a list of the books by and for the rest of us that I am most excited about this year; check it out if you haven’t already. A new list will be coming each month. Carmen’s been super busy with the new Ms. website design — which also looks fantastic! — but March’s should be up any day now. SO very excited about this.

So now you will find some of my book reviews here as usual but also some on the Ms. blog. Follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with my writing.

More writing and quicker turnaround times have made it clear that I really need to re-work my schedule. Not sure what this looks like yet, so any of your organizational tips are welcomed! I have calendars and a spreadsheet for keeping my reviewing straight but not sure it’s all working… I might just need a little time to get used to it all. Or perhaps I need to stop binge-watching Project Runway?

Anyway, so here are my wrap-ups for January and February!

I set a reading goal of 50 books for 2019. I finished 2018 at 53 so I think I can do it.

So far this year, I have read six books:

I wrote:

And looking ahead…

I am reading:

I am writing:

  • April 2019 Reads for the Rest of Us for Ms. Magazine
  • Reviews for Tonic and Balm and God’s Will and Other Lies
  • Column about poetry for Ms. Magazine – April 2019

Challenge updates

It has been rough trying to get to my monthly wrap-up challenge and my classics reading list. Those will continue to be on hold while I put a new schedule in place.

That’s all the time I’ve got for now. Follow the blog, my social media, and Ms. Magazine for future updates! Thanks for all of your continued support! 

August 2018 WrapUp

Reading Wrap Up for August 2018

Here’s my reading wrap up for August! First, I am planning on stepping up my reading for the remainder of the year; we’ll see if I can reach my goals. 

I have joined The Classics Club and created a list of classics – of course – written by womxn, BIWOC, GNC, etc. to read but it means I need to complete two more books each month to stay on track! Check out my list. I start reading my first two selections this month.

So here’s my bookish August!

I read:

I listened to one audiobook:

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – Didn’t post a review on my site but LOVED it.

I wrote four book reviews for my site:

I also had two reviews published in the latest Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies: A Feminist Review (v. 39, no. 1):

I posted:

This month I watched HBO’s Sharp Objects which – do I have to tell you?! – is AMAZING. Partway through I was wondering why I didn’t read the book first! I had read Gone Girl and didn’t love it, that’s why. But I have since heard that Sharp Objects was better than Gone Girl. Oh well, you can’t read ’em all.

Reading Wrap Up for August included the show Sharp Objects

Me wondering why I didn’t read Sharp Objects before watching the show.

August’s Book Haul:

That’s the reading wrap up for August – here’s a look ahead to September!

Books in Progress:

TBR:

TBW (To Be Written):

What are your September reading and writing plans?? See you next month for another reading wrap up!

reading Wrap Up monthly wrap up image

 

This post is part of the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction!

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. I write what I want.

Classic Reads for the Rest of Us

Classic Reads for the Rest of Us

I enjoy classic books. There’s something about books that have stood the test of time that intrigues me.

But let’s face it, historically books by white men are the ones most often considered as “classics.” Some books by white women have been included and the canon is expanding to include writers of color and writers outside of Europe and the US but often, one has to do some research to uncover these titles even though there are a wealth of them.

And if you’ve visited my website before, you know that my focus is on reading “for the rest of us,” or books by womxn and others of historically marginalized populations.

So when I recently decided to join The Classics Club, I knew I wanted to focus on classics by womxn, including Black women, women of color, queer women, and women outside of the US and Europe.

The Classics Club was created in 2012 to inspire people to read and write about classic books. The idea is to pick a list of 50 or more classic books that you commit to reading and sharing on your site over the next five years. After reading the guidelines and how to join, I decided it would be something I would like to take on but with my own twist (of course).

One thing I appreciate about The Classics Club is that you can define “classic” how you like. I gave my list a lot (like, A LOT) of thought and narrowed down the most important factors in its creation:

  • Of course, my classics are all by womxn.
  • I focused on classics in feminism, gender, women’s, and queer studies (and not just White Feminism™ although there are some of these titles included).
  • I wanted the majority of writers to be BIWOC or/or international.
  • I was open to fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, histories, and more. I excluded poetry for the most part as I am just not a big fan.
  • I was open regarding publication date and wanted to include titles from throughout history until 2010, which I just chose because I wanted a Nnedi Okorafor book.
  • I focused on books that I have never read but there are some on the list that I haven’t read in many years and I wanted to re-read them.

You’ll note the exclusion of some books that you might think would be obvious choices given the criteria above (Zami, Jane Eyre, The Color Purple, Bluest Eye, etc.). Sometimes this is because I have read them before and am not looking to re-read them; other times, this is because I just don’t want to read them or just didn’t want to include them on this list. Bottom line: I included what I wanted!

My list is below. I’ve included the original publication/writing dates and plan to read them in chronological order. It’s possible the list may change or grow over time. I will be adding Amazon links and more tags, and I will regularly update the list as I make my way through and will link titles to the posts I write about them.

UPDATE: I’ve removed Vindication of the Rights of Woman and replaced it with Still Brave (#99).

So, here are the 100 titles I’ve chosen to read by August 23, 2023:

  1. Completed 10/2/18 – The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon by Sei Shōnagon (c10th century) – Read my review!
    Tags: Japanese, memoir, women in translation, history
  2. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1848)
    Tags: British, white, literary fiction
  3. Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth (1850)
    Tags: Black American, history, memoir
  4. The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts (c1855)
    Tags: Black American, literary fiction
  5. Our Nig: or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black by Harriet E. Wilson (1859)
    Tags: Black American, fiction
  6. The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride: A Rediscovered African American Novel by Julia C. Collins (1865)
    Tags: Black American, fiction
  7. The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader by Ida B. Wells (1885-1927)
    Tags: Black American, history
  8. Iola Leroy by Frances EW Harper (1892)
    Tags: Black American, historical fiction
  9. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
    Tags: White American, short stories, feminist, mental health
  10. The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899)
    Tags: White American, American South, literary fiction
  11. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (1908)
    Tags: Canadian, white, children’s
  12. American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings by Zitkala-Sa (1921)
    Tags: Native American (Sioux), poetry, folklore, biographical
  13. Plum Bun: A Novel Without A Moral by Jessie Redmon Fauset (1928)
    Tags: Black American, Harlem Renaissance
  14. Passing by Nella Larsen (1929)
    Tags: Black American, Harlem Renaissance
  15. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)
    Tags: British, white, feminism, writing
  16. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (1936)
    Tags: White American, lesbian, literary fiction
  17. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
    Tags: Black American, historical fiction, American South
  18. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)
    Tags: White American, coming of age, family, American North
  19. Nada by Carmen Laforet (1945)
    Tags: Spanish, women in translation, fiction
  20. The Living is Easy by Dorothy West (1948)
    Tags: Black American, Harlem Renaissance
  21. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
    Tags: French, white, feminist theory
  22. Pinjar: The Skeleton and Other Stories by Amrita Pritam (1950)
    Tags: Indian, WIT, fiction
  23. Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks (1953)
    Tags: Black American, family, coming of age, fiction
  24. Nisei Daughter by Monica Sone (1953)
    Tags: Japanese American, memoir, immigration
  25. Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall (1959)
    Tags: Black American, immigration, American North
  26. Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller (1959)
    Tags: White American, lesbian, historical fiction, romance
  27. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
    Tags: Black American, play, family
  28. Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus by Carolina Maria de Jesus (1960)
    Tags: Brazil, poverty, memoir
  29. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962)
    Tags: British, white, feminist
  30. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963)
    Tags: White American, feminist
  31. Efuru by Flora Nwapa (1966)
    Tags: African (Nigerian), literary fiction
  32. Jubilee by Margaret Walker (1966)
    Tags: Black American, historical fiction, American South
  33. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
    Tags: Dominican, feminist, literary fiction
  34. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (1969)
    Tags: White American, queer, science fiction, GNC
  35. Daddy Was a Number Runner by Louise Meriwether (1970)
    Tags: Black American, American North, family, coming of age
  36. Sexual Politics by Kate Millett (1970)
    Tags: White American, feminist theory, literary criticism
  37. Sisterhood is Powerful by Robin Morgan (1970)
    Tags: Essays, feminism
  38. Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm (1970)
    Tags: Black American, memoir, politics
  39. Black Women in White America by Gerda Lerner (1970)
    Tags: Austrian American, Black American, history
  40. Sappho Was a Right-On Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism by Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love (1972)
    Tags: White American, lesbian, feminism
  41. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (1973)
    Tags: White American, romance, humor
  42. Sula by Toni Morrison (1973)
    Tags: Black American, coming of age, friendship
  43. Between Two Worlds by Miriam Tlali (1975)
    Tags: African (South African), autobiographical
  44. Woman at Point Zero by Naawal el Saadawi (1975)
    Tags:  Middle Eastern, African (Egyptian), literary
  45. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society by Fatemah Mernissi (1976)
    Tags: African (Moroccan), feminist, Islam, MENA
  46. For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange (1976)
    Tags: Black American, feminist, play, mental health
  47. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston (1976)
    Tags: Chinese, creative memoir, immigration
  48. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)
    Tags: Native American (Laguna Pueblo), literary fiction
  49. The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World by Naawal el Saadawi (1977)
    Tags: Middle Eastern, African, feminist theory
  50. Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman by Michele Wallace (1978)
    Tags: Black American, feminist, feminist theory
  51. Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (1979)
    Tags: African (Nigerian), family, literary
  52. Kindred by Octavia Butler (1979)
    Tags: Black American, speculative fiction
  53. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks (1981)
    Tags: Black American, feminist
  54. Obasan by Joy Kogawa (1981)
    Tags: Japanese Canadian, historical fiction, literary fiction
  55. This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga (1981)
    Tags: Latinx, essays, feminism, creative nonfiction, poetry
  56. Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis (1981)
    Tags: Black American, feminist theory, history
  57. But Some Of Us Are Brave: All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: Black Women’s Studies by Akasha (Gloria T.) Hull (1982)
    Tags: Black American, essays, bibliography
  58. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1982)
    Tags: South American (Chilean), magical realism, historical fiction
  59. Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor (1982)
    Tags: Black American, short stories
  60. Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology by Barbara Smith (1983)
    Tags: Black American, lesbian, literary, feminism
  61. In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens by Alice Walker (1983)
    Tags: Black American, essays, feminist theory
  62. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks (1984)
    Tags: Black American, feminist theory
  63. House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (1984)
    Tags: Mexican American, coming of age, historical fiction
  64. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (1984)
    Tags: Native American (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe), family
  65. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (1984)
    Tags: Black American, lesbian, feminist theory, essays
  66. Sisterhood is Global by Robin Morgan (1984)
    Tags: Essays, transnational feminism
  67. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings (1984)
    Tags: Black American, history
  68. A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
    Tags: Canadian, white, dystopian
  69. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (1985)
    Tags: British, white, lesbian, biographical
  70. Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World by Kumari Jayawardena (1986)
    Tags: Sri Lankan, transnational feminism, Asia, Middle East
  71. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua (1987)
    Tags: Latinx American, lesbian, feminist, poetry, memoir
  72. Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner (1987)
    Tags: Austrian American, feminist, history
  73. Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur (1988)
    Tags: Black American, memoir
  74. The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee (1988)
    Tags: Indian American, short stories, Asian, immigration
  75. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (1988)
    Tags: African (Zimbabwean), family, coming of age
  76. Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)
    Tags: Chinese American, immigration, family
  77. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins (1990)
    Tags: Black American, feminist theory
  78. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler (1990)
    Tags: White American, feminist, queer
  79. To My Children’s Children by Sindiwe Magona (1990)
    Tags: African (South African), autobiographical
  80. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (1991)
    Tags: Dominican American, Latinx, coming of age, family, immigration
  81. Creation of Feminist Consciousness by Gerda Lerner (1993)
    Tags: Austrian American, feminist theory, history
  82. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)
    Tags: Black American, coming of age, dystopian
  83. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought by Beverly Guy Sheftall (1995)
    Tags: Black American, feminist theory, history
  84. Paradise by Toni Morrison (1997)
    Tags: Black American, literary fiction
  85. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (1997)
    Tags: White American, historical fiction, Christianity
  86. African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850–1920 by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (1998)
    Tags: Black American, history
  87. Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (1998)
    Tags: Jamaican Canadian, speculative fiction
  88. Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks (2000)
    Tags: Black American, feminism
  89. Sisters in the Struggle: African-American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement by Bettye Collier-Thomas (2001)
    Tags: Black American, history, feminism
  90. this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation by Gloria Anzaldua (2002)
    Tags:  Essays, lesbian, feminism, creative nonfiction
  91. African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood by Oyeronke Oyewumi (2003)
    Tags: African (Nigerian), feminism
  92. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby (2003)
    Tags: Black American, biography, history
  93. Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity by Chandra Talpade Mohanty (2003)
    Tags: Indian American, transnational feminism, essays
  94. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (2003)
    Tags: Iranian, memoir, Islam
  95. Sisterhood is Forever by Robin Morgan (2003)
    Tags: Essays, feminism
  96. African Gender Studies: A Reader by Oyeronke Oyewumi (2005)
    Tags: African (Nigerian), essays
  97. Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai (2006)
    Tags: African (Kenyan), memoir, ecofeminism
  98. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang (2008)
    Tags: Hmong American, memoir, family
  99. Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies edited by Frances Smith Foster, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and Stanlie M. James (2009)
    Tags: Black American, women’s studies, history
  100. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (2010)
    Tags: African (Nigeria, Sudan), dystopian, magical realism

 

classicsclub

 

Whew.

Thanks to The Classics Club for the inspiration to undertake this challenge! Care to join me? Let me know or create your own Classics Club list!

 

 

Let me know what you think of my list! What books did I not include that you think I should have? What titles don’t deserve a spot on the list? 

Monthly Wrap-Up June18

June Wrap-Up

I cannot believe it’s already July! The summer is flying by and I wanted to take a minute to look back and reflect upon what I’ve read, listened to, and wrote last month.

In June:

All this while watching countless hours of FIFA World Cup matches! Seriously all but like three of the games…

 

via GIPHY

I was unable to travel anywhere in June but did have a blast at LGBT Night with the Milwaukee Brewers!

IN OTHER NEWS: I have published my first academic journal article! It’s based on my doctoral research and is entitled “The Evolving Role of Public Libraries in South Africa in Addressing Information Poverty: A Historical Context.” It’s published in the journal Library Management (volume 39, numbers 6/7); if you’d like a copy, please let me know!

For the last two weeks, I have been really sick with whatever flu or cold is going around and it knocked me on my ass! I am finally getting back on my feet and so hope to be adding new content to the site more regularly now.

Here’s a look ahead to July!

How was your June? Were you able to get some R&R? Did you read or travel or ?? What are you looking forward to in July?

via GIPHY

 

2018-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up300-2

 

This post is part of the Monthly Wrap-Up Link-Up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction!

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links – please support independent booksellers!

 

How We Get Free by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

What I’m Reading – 29 Jan 2018

Unlike many of you, I did not watch the Grammys. I love music but haven’t watched music award shows in years. Instead the gf and I finished binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8… I know, I am behind, but trying to catch up. In the meantime, I am recording the latest season of Ru’s all-stars. Also, I am finishing up my review of Red Clocks by Leni Zumas and have begun reading Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi.

I’m also reading:

Besides RuPaul, I’m watching Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor discuss “What We Can Learn from the Black Feminists of the Combahee River Collective” on Democracy Now.  If you haven’t read Taylor’s latest book, How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, you are missing out. Go get it right now!

This post contains affiliate links. 

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

What I’m Reading – 15 January 2018

I want to read ALL THE BOOKS by women. Seriously, it’s becoming a problem.

I was able to whittle down my must-read fiction by women in 2018 list to 12 (plus a bonus book by -gasp!- a man) and that was near impossible. Still as I am tooling around on The Twitter I see books that I am horrified that I left off the list. Perhaps there will be a Part II? And I mean, we haven’t even gotten to my non-fiction list yet. #nerdproblems

I am still looking for books by and about Palestinian women and Native American women. I would love for these to be debut books, up and coming women writers. If you have ideas, please comment below! 

So here’s what I am reading today:

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao – I am *in love* with this book. The main character, Poornima, is so vivid, I can almost feel her pain, her fear, her disappointment but also her joy and resilience. I hope to finish this one in the next couple of days and post a review this weekend. But Saturday is the Women’s March and I will be spending that day in Milwaukee, voicing my utter contempt for 45 and the current state of affairs in our country, so we will have to see what I can get done…

I am still listening to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and reading Alice Bag‘s Violence Girl. I am thinking about writing a larger article on Alice, her music, and her writing for an upcoming issue of Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies: A Feminist Review.

And here are some articles:

  • Leaving Women and Girls Behind in the Data Revolution is Not an Option by Jemimah Njuki on The Wire – This article aligns well with my own research on the necessity of relevant, current information by/about women in their development and agency. Njuki stresses the importance of data collection, especially regarding women’s land rights and ownership. Local libraries or information centers could help with this; my goal is to increase awareness of the role that libraries can play in increasing women’s rights and empowerment.
  • Nafissa Thompson-Spires is Taking Black Literature in a Whole New Direction by Tyrese L. Coleman on Electric Lit – The authors discuss Thompson-Spires’s new book, Heads of the Colored People. In the interview, Thompson-Spires send an important message to “literary gatekeepers”:”I want them to recognize us all and not pit us against each other. There can’t only be this narrative of the one “anointed Black writer” who gets the attention at a time. People can get equal attention and an equal playing field. I also want them to recognize that Black writing is art in the same way other writing is. That we can take risks that other writers can take. I would like to see more space for all of us and more recognition of the many things we can be, which is what my collection is about.” As a librarian and book reviewer, I will keep these words with me.

This post contains affiliate links.

Must Reads for the Rest of Us 2018 Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

I don’t want to miss it.

You can read my review here!

 

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (@azemezi) – February 2018

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

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

You can read my review here!

 

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

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

Who can argue with that recommendation?

You can read my review here!

 

 

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

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

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

You can read my review here!

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Added July 19: My review is coming soon!

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

You can read my review here!

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

You can read my review here!

 

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

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

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

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

You can read my review here!

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

 

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An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

What I’m Reading – 5 Jan 2018

Just a short update for today, that I meant to post yesterday!

I’ve finished The Power by Naomi Alderman. Such a great book! If you like A Handmaid’s Tale, you will like this book. I’m now onto Violence Girl by Alice Bag, Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, and A Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon.

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What I’m Reading – 2 Jan 2018

Hey, 2018!

I am just finishing up The Power by Naomi Alderman and it is so good. I will count it towards my reading goals for 2018!

Next on the list for fiction is An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I am super excited about this one. Then I’d like to re-read A Wrinkle in Time quintet.

Of course I am looking to round out my 2018 reading list and so I am getting caught up in others’ reading lists!

I’m also reading:

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