Very fond of trying to read twenty-five books at a time. Will read anything, but especially fantasy and/or sci-fi. Recently obsessed with foul-mouthed graphic novels. Check out Danielle's anti-racist reading list here.
I recently returned to this, perhaps my favorite novel of all time. Zadie Smith's writing stands up for a reason, in a novel about family, race, faith, immigration, home, and what it is to pursue a good life. Her meditations on the inevitability of choice and change continue to resonate, twenty (!) years later.
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This novel was clever as hell, while using language that moves with a languid grace. You'll enjoy it, particularly if you have a younger sibling who made a lot of messes that you then had to clean up!
So many things are treated well in this poignantly voiced novel. With sometimes breathless exposition, Hamid plays with the complexity and change within relationships, as he examines (supernaturally-enabled) migration and what it means to be a native of any land.
Smith is, as ever, sensitive to and intimately aware of the personal. In these collected writings from the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, she examines what it is to have our -- personal and collective -- lives unavoidably interrupted by chaos. Weaving together ruminations on rage, difference, fear, and identity, these essays feel timely even as the world tentatively opens back up again...
It's no stretch to call Hanif Abdurraquib one of our greatest living essayists, a luminous auteur in the landscape of American cultural observation. He continues to be incisive, hilarious, and heart-rending with each line in this collection, which is exquisite.
Sapiens was one of the most interesting and evocative titles I've read in the past few years. Its graphic novel adaptation is super accessible and an utter delight. This first volume takes readers on an immersive journey, as the author and other figures perform as engaging and often humorous narration of the unlikely tale of the emergence of homo sapiens.
As Gyasi traverses the genealogy of "a woman of fire", beginning with her two children who will never meet, she introduces us to the generations of (their) children who must bear the weight of colonialism, the slave trade, and American apartheid. The entire time, I sat on the verge of tears. Because this history, this richness, this tale of a lineage disrupted and, somehow, knitted back together again, is SO MUCH MORE than so many descendants of the enslaved will ever get. I found myself hungrily reaching back to the family tree at the front of the book, desperate to watch the ways in which Maame's children's children's lives touch each other, sometimes in painfully close ways. Every line is a treasure, including: "'Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.'"
Oh man, this was fun to read! Sarah Gailey tries their hand out at something more akin to a thriller — there are some strong We Have Always Lived in the Castle vibes here — and the result is an enthralling read. Weaving together an emotionally surrealist vision of a technically advanced future featuring genetic clones with striking personalities, this is a story of the end of a marriage that will keep you anxious for the next twist.
Easily my favorite work by Sarah Gailey. (OF COURSE, read everything they've written.) This story of six high-schoolers who *love* each other is both the queer in-love-with-my-best-friend comic romance that I am personally always in the mood for, as well as the dark yet hopeful modeling of platonic intimacy that the world needs. Loved this. Will read again.
Sarah Gailey's magical detective story set at a school for magic is clever, charming, and a little emotionally desperate, which is what I'm looking for out of 90% of my fiction selections. The estranged twins premise was wonderful, painful, and should resonate with everyone — especially sisters with sisters. Very fun read.
Charlotte "Sherlock" Holmes returns to solve a mystery, this time surrounding yet another of her inner circle. Sherry Thomas takes the opportunity to bring back Lady Sherlock while exploring some complicating issues of race and discrimination, noting that some things operate beyond society's notice, even when people have the best of intentions. After the salvation of her best friend and paramour, Charlotte Holmes returns to London to discover the arrest of Inspector Treadles. He's suspected of the murder of none other than two of his shrewd and capacious wife's business partners. It's no spoiler to note that the Lady Sherlock does what she does best, with trademark style, wit, and compassion.
This is my favorite book of poetry, full stop. Tears, hiccuping laughter, anguish, joy, and nostalgia are all given voice, texture, and rhythm in this remarkable collection. Gosh, Danez can write a poem.
With devastating ability, Carmen Maria Machado dips in and out of her past to relate the terrors and trials of an abusive lover, interspersing often-painful vignettes with expert excavations of the "battered lesbian" from social & literary traditions that have generally disregarded queer intra-personal violence.
If you were excited by the idea of "Ready Player One," but found the 80s nostalgia a bit cloying, Matt Ruff's latest novel will hit that exact spot. John Chu is an online "sherpa" guiding his latest gaming client, a reclusive high-roller, through the VR world of hit online role-playing games. He soon begins to suspect that he's at the center of a global web of intrigue that may or may not involve a certain North Korean dictator dipping a toe into population mind control. Fortunately he's got a spy boss for a mom, a brilliant and vengeful ex, and the eternal disapproval of his sherpa team, so that should keep his head above water...right?
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In a war where interwoven strands of time encompass the battlefield, opposing agents of destruction reach out for connection and find something more resonant than either could have ever expected. This book took me on an epistolic journey between antagonists and conspirators, and touched me in more ways than one.
This was an adorable and modern take on the workplace romance -- is best enjoyed with a glass of wine! The idea of charming assistant Emma and strong, driven (but lonely) Jo makes sense from the opening chapters. You'll find yourself rooting for these two to overcome the pressures of Hollywood sexism, invasions of privacy, family drama, and their own egos!
I've never given a book the highest rating possible with so little reservation. This is an unabashed delight, and was *incredibly* hard to put down! Come for the petty soap-opera squabbles between greater and lesser divinities and the complicated heroes and the oddly sympathetic monsters and the vapid nymphs and the heart-warmth that comes from watching someone down-trodden as they locate their strengths. Stay for porcine transfigurations and the tremendous godly sh*t-talking.
Harrow the Ninth is an exceptional second entry in Tasmyn Muir's Locked Tomb trilogy, which has quickly become a cherished (science fiction? fantasy? both??) series. The necromantic magic in this world is really given more room flex its muscles as an integral part of the story. Muir's particular gifts with language and her deft humor remain on full display. For all of the questions answered and curiosities resolved, I'm left desperate to know where we are headed next in this journey!
So, you've read The Ethical Slut... now what? Well, you probably want to form some closely considered attachments, to do some thoughtful relationship development. You'll want to spend some time in Jessica Fern's excellent. thoughtful, and well-researched volume combining attachment theory and consensual nonmonagamy.
My mom and childhood best friend asked me to read this in 2005. When I did finally get around to it (12 years later!), I realized that good things come to us in time. Reading it again a few weeks ago, I still find it an incredibly appropriate meditation on purpose, fulfillment, and perseverance in the face of failure.
As Gyasi traverses the genealogy of "a woman of fire", beginning with her two children who will never meet, she introduces us to the generations of (their) children who must bear the weight of colonialism, the slave trade, and American apartheid. The entire time, I sat on the verge of tears. A tremendous book.
Quite simply one of the most engrossing stories I've ever read, Donna Tartt's first book sent me down the campus novel rabbit hole that I've never quite escaped. (Also, the first book I stayed up all night to read as an adult!)
At its core, a beautifully written story of young gay love, marked by undeserved devotion, separation, and beauty amidst the savage backdrop of war. Miller has proven herself a master of classical retellings and reimagining myth.
A decadent, lush campus novel that thrives on sensual descriptions of youthful brilliance and aimlessness against a backdrop of institutional intrigue. This is a great summer read: rich, atmospheric, hot and sticky with a just a dash of sinister!
Beautiful work by a crack team of creators. The story reads like the spec script of what would be my new favorite Netflix show. The art grabs you and doesn't let go. While many panels can skew a bit dark, the scenery is taut and keeps you present, within the action, aware of the stakes. Loved this, will re-read!
Hanif wields the narrative critical essay like Thor cracking lightning overhead with Mjölnir, like Arya Stark water-dancing with Needle. My copy of this book is dog-eared, bent back on the covers, highlighted, underlined, and scribbled in the margins on *every single page*.