It’s June, which means porch-sittin’, bourbon-drinkin’, and book-readin’ afternoons here in Virginia. I get through more books in the summer than any other season, so let’s jump in:
Inbox (Books Acquired)
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (August 30, Razorbill) — I’m very solidly Team An Ember in the Ashes, and its sequel doesn’t really need an intro from me. Read the first one, if you haven’t, and are at all interested in thoughtful YA about how war destroys the aggressors and the oppressed.
Exquisite Masochism: Marriage, Sex, and the Novel Form by Claire Jarvis — An academic examination of how Victorian and early modernist novelists talked about sex without every really talking about sex. Perfect summer reading for a book nerd who misses college like me!
Outbox (Books Finished)
Bestiary by Donika Kelly (November 1, Graywolf)– I’m not a huge poetry reader but I would like to be, so when this slim collection came to me from Graywolf (who I love and trust in all things), I took a chance. BOY HOWDY, am I glad I did. These poems are gut-punches, heart-shredders, eaters-of-soul-stuff. Love, abuse, loneliness, dogs: it’s all here, everything that matters.
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton–A novelization of the life of Margaret Cavendish, a 17th century English aristocrat who wrote science fiction, plays, and philosophical musings (and attended the theater in a topless dress) in a time when women thinking out loud was barely tolerated. An excellent one-sitting read about a fascinating and eccentric thinker.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey— Come for the made-of-steel main character whose spiritual gift (literally) is being an excellent sexual submissive, stay for the philosophical musings and bananas-good world-building. New-school fantasy for old-school fantasy readers.
In the Queue (What I’m Reading Next)
The Mothers by Brit Bennett (October 11, Riverhead)– “We didn’t believe when we first heard because you know how church folk can gossip.” Secrets on secrets on secrets in a small black church community and a first line like that? I am here for it.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (June 21, Viking) — Seems a particularly appropriate time in American politics to read about the formation of our class system. Plus: what a title.