May Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam. Our next pick is Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston.

Here’s what the ladies enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Come as You Are: The Surprising Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski. I can say that the subtitle is entirely apt. It sounds like a self-help book, but it’s more like a self-acceptance book – and that REALLY HELPS! We all tend to think we’re at least a little bit broken, so…just read this. And then gush about it to your partner. –Juniper



Fable” by Charles Yu. A few years ago I picked up Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe on the recommendation of my friend Oliver. I’ve read a lot of science fiction and it’s rare that I read something truly surprising, but Yu’s novel was rich, complex, innovative, and heartfelt. So when I heard this week that Yu had a story in the New Yorker, I immediately went to check it out. “Fable” took my breath away. Yu deconstructs allegory in his stories. Instead of disguising the true content of his narratives, he presses the edges of them by meticulously unwinding the metaphorical veneer surrounding them, stitch by stitch. “Fable” is simultaneously a surreal and true-to-life tale about the nature of love, heartbreak, and family and how we work our way through it. He wields a plain, seemingly simplistic writing style defiantly, revealing the deeply moving story underneath. It’s well worth a read. –Clara

 


As for me. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I knew I loved Nnedi’s books after reading Who Fears Death and The Book of Phoenix, but Binti just made it even more so. I got to dish about it a lot during Bout of Books and was thrilled when someone read it on my recommendation and loved it. It’s a wonderful feeling. She’s also a favorite of the book club (we got to meet her when she came to speak at UCSC a couple months ago). Nnedi’s worldbuilding is so intricate, even in a less than 100 page novella. I can’t wait until January for book 2.

What were your favorite books of the month?

April Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. It was a club wide hit. Our next book will be Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam.

Here’s what the ladies enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1) by Mark Lawrence. I don’t know if you have to come into this book already liking “grimdark,” but I’m sure it helps. Jorg is the ultimate anti-hero, especially considering he’s only 13 in the first book. Looking at who he is from the outside, he’s utterly repulsive. So what makes Jorg charming despite his deeds? A cheerfully self-incisive voice, and the enigma of his free will. It also doesn’t hurt that Mark Lawrence has an incredibly deft hand with prose. Just about every paragraph is a lean, mean vehicle that delivers characterization, worldbuilding, and plot advancement with a clever twist of gallows humor. This was a fast-paced and disturbingly compelling read. Juniper



The Fifth Season
(The Broken Kingdoms, #1) by NK Jemisin.
 This was everything I wanted and more. A non-linear tale with three perfectly converging stories; imaginative, gorgeous world building; characters that I adored and who developed so brilliantly over the course of the book; amazing suspense; graceful prose that I kept pausing to mark down; and the best god damned last line. Add in the part where Robin Miles is an immensely talented narrator and I just – everyone read this book, now. Anie

 


Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9) by Patricia Briggs. I like the series because Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifting coyote in a werewolf world and she’s sort of an underdog compared to the werewolves, however, she always manages to pull off whatever it is she is trying to accomplish through sheer will and the occasional help of fey friends. I enjoyed the mixing of Native American lore around Coyote with the lore behind werewolves, witches, vampires and the fey. Patricia also imagines what life would be like both politically and emotionally for those who chose to “come out” as less than human. –Karly


As for meHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. Remember how I said i liked behind the scenes stories, this is a great piece about  the hit Broadway play Hamilton from its inception to closing curtain on opening night on Broadway. Filled with essays about the cast and costumes and staging as well as personal annotations from Lin on the full lyrics from the play, if you’re a Hamilton fan, you need this book. Be warned it is out of stock on several places so you may need to do some digging.

What were your favorite books of the month?

Upcoming April Books

Here are some books in April that I’m looking forward to!

Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson. (Apr 5). Holy Michelle Obama! It’s time to see what the girls at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types are up to. Will there be shenanigans? Of course there will.

 

 


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Apr 5). I would say I worship at the altar of Seanan McGuire, but honestly she scares me a bit. In a good way. But really, I love her prose and wit and expect no different from this novella.

 

 


Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Apr 12) – Do I really have to say much on this one? This is going to be a hardback purchase so that I can dream one day I will get Lin-Manuel and cast to sign it.

 

 


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. (Apr 26). I keep finding myself picking up YA fantasy novels! The addition of this being inspired by Indian mythology is pretty much extra catnip. I love retellings and if I don’t know much about the source material it leads me to research (said as I cackle and rub my hands together Mr. Burns-style).


The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn, #2) by Renee Ahdieh. (Apr 26).  I can hear my friend Janani squeeing from Chicago. I have yet to actually read the first book in the series which is based on 1001 Arabian Nights (remember what I said about retellings?), but I know I’ll have read it before this one comes out. I have a plan, guys. Why are you laughing? Come back…

 


 

How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes, #1) by Leonora Bell (Apr 26). This is a debut author who I’ve heard good things about. Even though I’m not a huge fan of ladies vying for the attention of a guy, I’m interested to see how the concept is going to be applied here especially since the heroine is supposedly not who she seems.

 

 

What books are you looking forward to in April?