Quick Review: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I don’t usually do reviews, but I might be changing that and this was a great book to maybe start the trend. I’m not going to waste time with bad reviews, so I’ll be only posting the books I really loved. I read Difficult Women both as a print galley as well as in digital format. It’s out January 3rd! Go get it.

Difficult WomenDifficult Women by Roxane Gay

The women in Roxane Gay’s recent short story collection are indeed difficult women. They are real women. They are multidimensional and flawed. As usual, Gay is able to use her talent to give distinctive voices to each woman in their respective stories. Once again I’m floored by how visceral her writing is, in the best way possible. These short stories make you feel a barrage of emotions, from discomfort to grief, to pity, to empathy and everything in between.

 

WWW Wednesdays 7/27

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? It’s been a crazy week so due to lack of time I’m just going to name off my current reads. I’m not really far enough into any of them yet to give a lot of commentary. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. Before the Fall by Noah Fawley. The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe. Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroine by Mike Madrid.

What did you recently finish reading? Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is pretty much one of my top books of 2016. It was heartbreaking, but fantastic. I also read Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer which was another hard read, but an important conversation we need to have with our society. I also listened to The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen with my husband. It was enough to make me want to move to Finland, cold be damned (especially with the upcoming election).

What do you think you’ll read next? I have The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel and Shrill:Notes from a Loud Woman by Linda West from Book of the Month. I picked up Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Lui since Lui will be at Book Riot Live so I was excited to see his writing.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 7/20

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I am in the beginning of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I’m stunned by the writing. It’s everything everyone’s been talking about. It’s so good I’m having a hard time stopping to read my nonfiction pick Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. I’m also listening to The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen with my hubby, but now that we aren’t traveling it’s hard to synch up. I’m probably just going to have to swap to either ebook or print to finish it up, unless I decide to do some gaming.

What did you recently finish reading? I just read Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston for the Ladies Read Spec Fic book club. I’m a little sad I put it off so long because it was so great. It was heartbreaking in the best way possible.  The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe was one I’ve been meaning to get to. Derek Attig from Book Riot has been singing its praises with good reason! I said it on my Litsy review and I’ll say it again, it took me until my thirties to appreciate characters who don’t have their shit together and Tess, the protagonist in Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, absolutely does not have her shit together. Finishing up my awesome few weeks of reading is Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn. This was such a fun book. I haven’t had this much fun since A Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I’m looking forward to the next one and you should too!

What do you think you’ll read next? Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. You know I love me some feminist awesomeness so I’m looking forward to sitting down with this. Before the Fall by Noah Fawley was recommended by Miss Liberty through the Book of the Month Club so you know I had to pick it up.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 6/29

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m one of the people who received a settlement in the Apple/Amazon lawsuit and…I might have gone a little crazy. I’m going to be out of town this coming weekend so I’m probably going to be sticking pretty closely to my digital bookshelf this week. I’ll be reading The Bourbon Thief by  Tiffany Reisz. I adored her Original Sinners series and even though this won’t be erotica, I know her writing to be amazing so I’m looking forward to starting this tomorrow. I’m actually going to be visiting Emily Foster’s How Not to Fall for my erotica. Emily Foster is the pseudonym of Emily Nagoski who wrote Come As You Are (go get it, now!!).

What did you recently finish reading? The Geek Feminist Revolution  by Kameron Hurley was so great! It was slow starting for me, but pretty quickly I was reminded of Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay which I am a big fan of. I also finished The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Calloway which was pretty interesting. I also finished The City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong. I’ve been a fan of Armstrong since her Women of the Otherworld series and she doesn’t disappoint here.

What do you think you’ll read next? Our book club meeting is being rescheduled and I still need to start Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston for my book club pick. After that I’m not 100% where I’m going.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 6/8

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m continuing the great 2016 Hardback Challenge with What Lies Between Us by Naomi Munaweera and Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by Erika Janik.

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it. It came off super gossipy and sort of catty. Brower used a lot of anonymous sources saying one first lady said awful things about another first lady. The cattiness seemed to take up most of the book instead of really focus on the women themselves and their lives. Or she would use one First Lady’s faults to bump up another which is a serious no-no in my book. I also finished Before We Visit the Goddess, the latest by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I adored Mistress of Spices, Queen of Dreams, and Leaving Yuba City: Poems. When I reviewed it for Litsy, I kept going between Pick or So-So. It just felt a little underdeveloped for me, but on the whole I did enjoy it. I’m a big fan of mother/daughter stories.

What do you think you’ll read next? An Unrestored Woman, a debut novel by Shobha Rao that I picked up at the Bay Area Book Fest last weekend. The bookseller promised me a tragic story and it feels like I’m ready for one right now. Also for my fantasy needs, I’m going to read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshabi Chokshi. I have heard such wonderful things.

What does your book life look like this week?

The Great Read All My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge

I recently started a book budget (my spending on books got Shopaholic out of control), so I’ve made some ground rules on what books I do spend money on. I do buy ebooks from Amazon, mostly the ones on sale for $1.99. If I’m buying it in print for more than $15, I double check how long I’ve wanted it.

I noticed that some of the books I thought I wanted so badly that I bought them right away are now coming out in paperback, and that copy I bought? Still on my TBR bookcase. This isn’t saying anything about the books or their quality. Only that I am extremely fickle and get distracted by all the books. How can I fix this? It is ridiculously hard to keep up with all the books that are coming out, not to mention get too all the backlist books I missed along the way. I did pretty well recently clearing some of that backlist, so I thought maybe I should devote myself to reading these awesome front list books that I absolutely had to have. I declare it the Great 2016 Read My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge. Yes, usually it takes about a year for books to go to paperback, but you’ve seen my shelves (What?! you haven’t seen my shelves? You need to be following me on Instagram). There are a lot of books to get to. If I can clear this backlog then maybe it’ll be easier when new books come out. Are you laughing? Stop it. Of course I’m aware I’ll never be caught up, but a girl can dream, right?

Since I’ve taken up this challenge in the middle of May, I’ve read four (!) books that I owned in hardback. I’m working on Jane Steele by Lyndsey Faye currently.

Finished

TBR

Are there any books you really need to get to this summer?

WWW Wednesdays 5/25

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m reading The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert in a probably doomed attempt to read all my 2016 hardbacks before they go to paperback. So far, I’m into it.

What did you recently finish reading? Just finished Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for the book club.Wasn’t overly fond of it. I also finally finished All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. I’m putting it solidly in the so-so category. I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t blow my socks off. The characters all felt particularly overwrought. I know there was some crazy environmental stuff going on, but wow.  Also right before publishing this post I read The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels. I love renovation romances, but I was disappointed there wasn’t more of the renovation in this one. The overall plot was pretty good though so I’ll forgive it this time.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m gonna try to pick up Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein again. I got kicked out of a nonfiction mood the last time I tried reading it. I’m okay now.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

Upcoming May Books

Every month I try to make a list of all the books coming out that I’m excited to read. Let me know in the comments about any you’re excited about. Here’s what’s coming up in May.

 

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3). I love celebrity biographies, yet this one is especially important as Guerrero (you’ll recognize her from Orange is the New Black) recounts her family’s experiences in being undocumented workers in the United States.

 

 


We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by Andi Heisler (May 3). I have this one preordered since someone declared May to be feminist manifesto release day and I’m here for it. I like Bitch Media and feel like there’s going to be a lot to say in this one.


Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen (Six Tudor Queens, #1) by Alison Weir (May 5). I have to confess something. I have an addiction. I am addicted to books about the Tudor reign in England. Doesn’t matter how many books have been published about the fickle king and his doomed wives and daughters, I’m there for it (Henry the VII is a little less on my radar atm). Alison Weir is a great source  for this era so this is sure to be a great read.


The Inquisition (Summoner, #2) by Taran Matharu. (May 10).  I really liked Matharu’s first book The Novice (which comes out in paperback this month as well if you missed it) so I’ve been waiting patiently for the sequel. If fantasy is your genre of choice, I suggest picking this series up.

 


The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye (May 17). I may be a bit biased about this one since Evelyn is a friend of a friend and a local Bay Area author, but I hope that doesn’t stop you from picking her debut YA novel up. Taking place in Russia, there is magic and intrigue afoot along with a bad ass lady main character.

 


How May We Hate You: Notes from the Concierge Desk by Anna Drezen (May 17). As someone who travels at least a couple times a year, this title fascinated me. I have a love of behind the scenes sneak peeks, whether it be a documentary about backstage  at Disneyland, a tweet about Book Riot/Slack shenanigans, or a book about hotel hooliganism (whether it be from the staff or the guests).

 


Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas (May 31). I have to say, you really can’t go wrong with a Kleypas romance and I have a feeling this is going to be no different. The hero is not a duke or an earl or even a viscount, but a self-made man which is a fun change from the aristocratic world we usually see. The heroine is a shy lady with a secret. I’m ready to see what these two will get up to.


The Geek Feminist Revolution: Essays by Kameron Hurley (May 31). Did you hear that? Those were all my bells ringing. I’ve been hearing good things. This one is already on preorder as well.

 

 

*edited to fix a publishing date error.

April TBR

Since I had so much fun reading nonfiction last month, I decided to keep it going. This time I’m focusing in on history books. I’m also trying to get some books off my shelf that have been loaned to me from friends (don’t judge, they have my books too!). I’m also trying to make sure I read those hardbacks that I bought because I had to have them before they come out on paperback. Then there are some on my iPad that are begging for me to get to as well. Some are left over from last month that I just didn’t have time to get to.

Physical Shelf

Digital Shelf

Of course, that’s not counting all the books that are coming out this month that I’m gonna probably pick up, but this is my rough draft. I’ll let you know how I did!

What books are you hoping to get to this month? Have any been sitting on your shelf for longer than you would have liked?

March Book Club Favorites

March’s book for the Ladies Read Speculative Fiction Book Club was Passenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken and April’s book is The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin if you want to read along with us.

Here’s what the Spec Fic Ladies loved this month.

Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of WWII by Mitchell ZuckoffThis book. Holy hell THIS BOOK. It’s fantastic. I find that the term “gripping” tends to be overapplied, but it’s accurate in this case. I read this out loud with my boyfriend, and we both choked up at several points while reading; this is an intense and occasionally heart-rending story, one which makes nothing seem so perfect as a quiet and ordinary life. There’s plenty of laughter as well, and anyone with an appreciation for history – especially WWII history – or Arctic adventure will have a great time with this. Whole-heartedly and enthusiastically recommended. Anie 

The Vegetarian by Han Kang. It’s the story of a woman who, after a lifetime of passive acquiescence, stops eating meat to the distress of her family. Short but fascinating, The Vegetarian is packed with rich and strange detail and no small amount of trauma. It’s a testament to the power of a sparse writing style (not to mention a great translator). Highly recommended. – Clara

 

 

 


The Case for God by Karen Armstrong. Possibly the most important scholarly work of the present day, certainly one of the most important messages I’ve heard. Looking at religion as it has been practiced throughout the millennia brings contemporary spirituality into sharp contrast with its original purpose, context, and practice. The divisive literalism so prevalent in several sects today is apparently, for the most part, a very recent development and not part of their mainstream traditions. I found the epilogue alone to be worth the price of admission; it’s a summation that brings home her point about looking to the past for the value of “unknowing” and the importance of practice to bring meaning to the mystery. My intellectual curiosity about religion has now warmed into a greater respect. – Juniper 


All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister.  It’s thought provoking and at this point in the book, I’m kind of shocked at how much I didn’t know, and how recently  some of the rights we enjoy today were put into effect. Even more disturbing are some of the battles still going on today. I recommend reading, based on what I’ve read so far, if only to get a history lesson you don’t learn about in school.  -Karly

 

 


As for me, A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of  Magic, #2) by V.E. SchwabSo far, Schwab has set up a world that reminds me (in a good way) to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. The characters are flawed which makes them interesting. I love Lila, the now pirate thief (or is that thief pirate?) and her attitude. Then there’s Kell with his loyalty to his brother which conflicts with his wish to be free of the situation he’s in. The new characters add instead of congest the story which sometimes happens in ensemble narratives. 

 

What were your favorite reads last month?