Books

These three autobiographies, all reviewed in our Spring 2020 print issue, are all anyone is talking about.   IN THE DREAM HOUSE: A MemoirBy Carmen Maria Machado(Graywolf Press) Carmen Maria Machado’s riveting memoir detailing her frightening, abusive relationship with another woman while in graduate school is told in fragments. Telling this story in pieces makes sense since traumatic memories usually come back as painful shards rather than one cohesive whole. Inventively written, the style changes with each vignette—sometimes the memory is a fairytale, sometimes its erotica. These genre...
In a time where the world seems like it’s perpetually on fire, Cameron Esposito has some advice: save yourself.  That’s the title of the comedian’s new memoir — literally, Save Yourself. Maybe that sounds a bit harsh, but after her title pulls you in, her story reveals just exactly what she means. Cameron didn’t grow up knowing she’d be a comedian, an actor, a writer or that she’s gay. Instead, she recalls being cross-eyed and awkward, wearing an eyepatch over her glasses, and growing up very,...
DAYS OF DISTRACTION: A NOVEL By Alexandra Chang(Ecco) In this beautiful, urgent, “coming-of-adulthood” novel, author Alexandra Chang redefines the concept of distraction. Her main character, also named Alexandra, is stuck at an underpaying tech-reporter job in San Francisco and unsure of her position, so she delves into the details of what constitutes a life, even though so much still lies ahead. A story-driven inquiry into issues of race, technology, family, loss, success, and love ensues as she follows her long-term boyfriend, J, from the West...
Wow, No Thank You: Essays By Samantha Irby(Vintage)      Samantha Irby never expected that at 40 she’d be married, building a home in a red state, writing books about poop and depression, and working on a hit TV show (Shrill)  in Hollywood with one of her best friends. But as her latest essay collection Wow, No Thank You reveals, life is weird and despite our best efforts—or in Irby’s case, our best non-efforts—you never know where you’re going to end up.  Irby pulls from seemingly minor moments...
A black woman is (finally) wearing the Green Lantern ring. Meet Sojourner Mullein, the newest human Green Lantern and protagonist of a new 12-issue comic series, Far Sector.  Lantern Mullein is the first black woman to wield the Lantern ring. She's brought to life by Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, with artwork by Jamal Campbell, who also did the art for the comic Naomi.  It is noteworthy to point out that the diversity behind the page is just as important as the diversity on the page – both Jemisin...
If there’s one thing author Claribel Ortega knows, it’s how to remain booked and busy—even in the midst of an international crisis. Like so many debut authors this year, 2020 was meant to be a time of celebration as she ushered her first book into the world. For Ortega, the new reality is just one more way she’s managed to push through and make her presence known. Ortega is one half of the Write or Die hosting duo, a weekly podcast that gives authors an...
These three new books, all reviewed in our Spring 2020 print issue, address feminism in all its forms. Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That A Movement ForgotBy Mikki Kendall(Viking)      Continuing in the style of her no-nonsense Twitter persona, Mikki Kendall (aka @Karynthia) carries that same energy into her third book, Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That A Movement Forgot. Much like her viral hashtags, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen (for racism in feminism), #FastTailedGirls (for the hypersexualization of Black girls), and #FoodGentrification (for criticisms of marginalization within the...
Jen Gotch wants you to feel better.  That’s the title of a chapter in Gotch’s new memoir, The Upside of Being Down (Gallery Books, out now) – actually, the complete chapter title is "Jen Gotch Wants You To Feel Better (Just Like She Does!)." And beyond that, Jen Gotch wants you to know that you’re not alone. Years before Gotch founded the beloved lifestyle brand ban.do, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As she writes in her book, the diagnosis wasn’t scary: everything leading up to it was. Having...
When things become overwhelming, sometimes it’s just nice to crack open a book and get lost in the worlds that skilled authors manage to weave together out of nothing. If you’re like me and YA novels are your heart and soul, or you’re merely looking for quality books to help you through these quarantine days, check out this list of 11 YA fantasy and supernatural books by badass women that will let you escape for a spell. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Official synopsis:...
Margaret Atwood, the queen of science fiction and a feminist icon, may have prepared us for dystopia, but not this one. Thankfully, our hero is locked away safely in her home somewhere, social distancing just like the rest of us. And in our time of need, she is here to give us recommendations for the following: plague books, comforting books, and poetry books to read while in quarantine as well as stupid, weird, and mundane things she has done to pass the time. OK Twitterpals, as...
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