In this regular feature, we give you a glimpse of what we are reading this very moment.
Here is what the Rioters are reading today (as in literally today). This is what’s on their bedside table (or the floor, work bag, desk, whatevskis). Your TBR list is about to get some new additions.
We’ve shown you ours, now show us yours; let us know what you’re reading (right this very moment) in the comment section below!
White Tears by Hari Kunzru: I picked this up because it was one of the more interesting ToB reads. And it pulled me in quickly. It is about the friendship of narrator Seth and his extremely wealthy yet troubled friend Carter who start a recording studio. If you are audiophile and/or blues buff, this haunting story is for you. It’s partly a ghost story, discussion of the abuse of power and racism, and so much more. (paperback)
The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton: Everyone’s talking about this one on my Twitter feed—it’s about a woman who won’t accept that her pilot boyfriend has broken up with her and takes a job as a flight attendant to keep an eye on him (and who knows what else she’ll do to him). Feels both appropriate and really unwise to take it with me on a flight to California, but I’ve got Lucy Vine’s probably hilarious What Fresh Hell with me to switch to if it all gets too much! (UK ARC)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: because it’s never too late to read a book that you are positive you must have read at some point, but only have the vaguest recollections of from your childhood.
What You Want To See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka: I needed a good PI mystery to get lost into and I was a big fan of the first in the series, The Last Place You Look, so I bumped this up on my reading list. Cut to me up way past bedtime inhaling the first 200 pages because Lepionka has created a fantastic modern PI with an undercurrent feel of the classic PI novels. I really like Roxane Weary and equally root for her to succeed but also completely understand her struggles. I look forward to finishing the mystery but also am bummed it’s going to come to an end. (egalley)
Chinatown Days by Rita Chowdhury: I’m always behind on my goal to read more translations, and this one sounded well-researched and riveting, with a blurb by Amitav Ghosh to boot. (Aside: have you read Amitav Ghosh? Why haven’t you read Amitav Ghosh!?) The book is a translation of the Assamese novel Makam, a story of the community of Chinese Indians during the Indo-China war and its repercussions for those who were deported. (hardcover)
Meaty by Samantha Irby: There was a lot of buzz about Samantha Irby’s newest book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, and her debut essay collection, Meaty, is being re-released this year. Samantha Irby’s writing is funny and real and defiant, and I love her voice. And funny essays about food are one of my great weaknesses. 100% here for this book.
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot: This memoir in essays is powerful. It’s a difficult read—Mailhot has had many struggles in her life and she writes about them openly and honestly—but it’s beautiful, passionate, and moving. (egalley)
A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe (April 24, Avon): I’m on a historical romance kick this month and since I so very rarely feel like reading historicals lately I’m going to ride out my current mood as long as possible. Thus, even though this book doesn’t come out until the end of April I’m reading it now. In this second installment of Shupe’s The Four Hundred series, Lady Eva Hyde and Phillip Mansfield meet on a ship bound for NYC. A memorable meet-cute and shenanigans caused in part by champagne have me bingeing on this secret identity love story. (egalley)
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (May 15): I just started this book, so I don’t have much to say about the plot so far. I chose it, however, because I really liked Knoll’s debut, Luckiest Girl Alive. I’m in the mood for a fast-paced thriller, and from what I’ve heard this book is “un-put-down-able.” We’ll see! (egalley)
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz: Humanity has made a lot of mistakes, especially as regards care of our home. That said, there were five mass extinctions, during which at least 75% of species died out, before we ever got here, so odds are we’ve only accelerated the path to the sixth. In a departure from prevailing theory and the majority of science writers, however, Newitz envisions a post-disaster cosmos which still contains some humans (some). Carefully researched and extremely accessible, I’m enjoying the hell out of it and learning a ton while I do. (ebook)
Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein: This is a (1) Star Wars book (2) written by the author of one of my all-time favorites, Code Name Verity, (3) narrated by Kelly Marie Tran! I’m still not sure I’m not dreaming. Don’t tell me if I am. (audiobook)
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer: I have never read anything by Krakauer but am a notorious sucker for all things cult. I’m so glad I finally picked this up. While the murders of Brenda Lafferty and her 18-month-old daughter, Erica, are the focus of the book, the amount of history of the Mormon faith contained is staggering. We learn about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the beginning of the religion, how the fundamentalists broke off from the mainstream Mormons, and the ways in which this split has impacted the religion’s present and future. You will come away knowing so much more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and their generations-long conflicts with their more radical brethren. (paperback)
The Thick of Things (In Medias Res Book 1) by J.L. Campbell: The Thick of Things is a mature romance set in Jamaica, and both main characters are from the Caribbean, the heroine being Jamaican and the hero hailing from Antigua. As an island girl myself, I’m always willing to pick up a book set in the Caribbean so that I can see how much culture is infused into the story. (eARC)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: I am continuing my phase of rereading. I am excited to see how I will respond to A Little Life a second time around, since I spent the first time reading it crying helplessly. (hardcover)
The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss: This book is teaching me just how shamefully little I knew about the women’s suffrage movement and the ratification of the nineteenth amendment—and that probably makes it sound like a really dry read, but I’m only a few chapters in and already completely hooked. (egalley)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: After seeing the trailer of the new adaptation starring Michael B. Jordan, I realized I hadn’t yet read this classic and ordered it from my local library. So far the language is really beautiful and I can see why so many others like it. (library paperback)
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg: This book was loaned to me by a friend because the single copy at my library disappeared 8 months after I joined the hold list. A classic of LGBT literature, the story of Jess provides a glimpse of life in the LGBT community in the ’60s and ’70s, specifically that of lesbian women. It’s very readable, despite some hard scenes, and I have a small crush on Jess, which I think is how readers are supposed to feel. Jess—or rather Feinberg—is so good at intersectionality, highlighting the different ways that oppressions are hierarchical, yet all the same. I can’t wait to get back to finish it! (paperback)
Neverworld Wake by Marissa Pessl (Delacorte Press, June 5): I am so excited for this, I can barely sit still to read it. I am a huge fan of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film, Pessl’s “adult” books. (I have “NIGHT FILM 5 EVA!” tattooed on my butt.) (Okay, maybe I’m lying.) I think that the mystery/thriller YA market is waaaaaay too small, so a YA psychological suspense novel by Marissa Pessl? ALL THE HELL YEAHS. My body is ready. (egalley)
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: So many Rioters have been raving about this book I had to check it out. And it’s well deserved praise. I’m only a few chapters in and can tell I’m going to have trouble putting it down. The pace is intense. This is the third book I’ve read in a row inspired by West African folklore, a great streak to keep up! (egalley)
American Panda by Gloria Chao: Picked up American Panda to get some of that Taiwanese American representation goodness. Super excited! (hardcover)
Tithe by Holly Black: A friend gave me her paperback because she was purging her bookshelves. I’m low-key obsessed with Black’s Modern Faerie Tale series and I figured a reread might help break me out of my book slump. The 13-year-old in me loves the angst and drama in Tithe, and grown-up me loves how Black plays with traditional fae lore. (paperback)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: Some narrator/audiobook pairings are good, some are meh, and some are magical. The Little Stranger on audio is magical. Simon Vance’s narration is exquisite and theatrical without being over the top, and I have fallen head-over-heels in love with this historical maybe-ghost story that owes a lot to Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. The story takes a little while to pick up, but once it does, it’s spectacularly unsettling and creepy. (digital audiobook)
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel: I don’t often read books about sex and relationships because of how horribly sexist most of them are, but every once in a while I stumble upon a gem. In this reflection on humanity’s capacity for sexually satisfying long-term monogamous relationships, Perel offers psychological and sociological insights that refreshingly contrast with the lazy stereotypes promoted by popular relationship gurus. I’m a little over halfway through and so far I’m finding it to be a truly enlightening read. (audiobook)
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: I’m on kind of an “in translation” kick at the moment, so I was pretty happy when this Japanese novel showed up from the publisher. (galley)
Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li: Yiyun Li talks about mental health in her memoirs, as well how she handles her identity as a Chinese expatriate. She talks about how several people she knew died by suicide, and her own experiences in seeking out treatment. This is more than a book about mental health, however; it’s about writing. (Kindle ebook)
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio: Because my brain said “light-hearted young adult fiction” and my heart said “how about this one about a teen born intersex and diagnosed after a very painful attempt at sex with her boyfriend? And then the whole school finds out and everyone bullies her for being born different?” It’s the opposite of light-hearted, but had me absorbed after a few minutes. (audiobook)
Christina M. Rau
catalog of unabashed gratitude by Ross Gay: I haven’t read a lot of poetry lately, and I’ve been wanting a feel-good pick-me-up, so this poetry collection is exactly what my life needs right now—and I’m reading it twice because its feel-goodness feels so good. (paperback)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: I have never read the book, but I wanted to see the movie because the previews for the movie were BEAUTIFUL, and I want to review the adaptation for my blog. This seems to be one of those books that everyone has read and LOVED, so I’m looking forward to joining the club. (Kindle)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan: I was looking for a short read and I saw this book being recommended, so I decided to give it a go, since I have never read any book by Ian McEwan before. It’s not a fast-paced read, but I’m looking forward to see where it’s going. (Kindle)
The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer: I bought this quite a while ago mostly because the title is a pretty fantastic draw. I’ve been trying to branch out in what I read and nonfiction has been so neglected, so I finally turned to this book to get me into the groove. (paperback)
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson: I devoured this Pulitzer-shortlisted novella in one sitting. Robert Grainer is a day labourer in the American West at the turn of the twentieth century. His life is a string of hardships interspersed with brief, so all the more cherished, joys. Johnson’s style is admirably restrained for the most part, but achieves transcendence in places—much like his protagonist’s story. Huge gratitude to the bookshop owner who recommended it to me. (paperback)
The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde: This year I’m trying to constantly have a book of poetry going, and I’m also trying to read more of the books I own. This is a book of poetry I own but have never read all the way through, so it’s a win-win. (paperback)
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (April 3rd): I got this as an Advanced Review Copy and wow, I am having a hard time putting it down. It’s clever and funny and gives me all kinds of anxiety because zombies. I remember the cover reveal for this book and I was immediately sold. The dead rise after the battle of Gettysburg and now the “freed” slaves are the zombie-hunters? It does not disappoint. (ebook)
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: I had heard fabulous writers like Roxane Gay and Nicole Cliffe buzz about this book leading up to its release, so I snapped it up the second my Audible credit became available. I have been so delighted by this fun, sexy romance. The characters have textured lives beyond their love story, so even though it’s charming and sweet, it rings very true. I’ve spent a few long afternoons smiling, sighing, and blushing as this played during my spring cleaning, a situation I highly recommend. (audiobook)
Bossypants by Tina Fey
This is a long overdue read for me, so the “celebrity memoir” task for the 2018 Reader Harder Challenge was the perfect reason to finally get around to it. I’m listening to the audiobook, and it’s kept me laughing on my commute—I’ll be sad when it ends! (library audiobook)
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan: PBS, especially the Masterpiece series, is responsible for bringing many books to my attention. Such is the case here. I saw a commercial for a new movie/show called The Child in Time. A day later I was walking through the bookstore and saw this book, so of course I had to get it. Stephen and his three-year-old daughter Kate go to the market to pick up a few items whileKate’s mother Julie gets a little sleep. Stephen turns to talk to the cashier and then turns back to his daughter and she isn’t there. Kate is gone, just like that. In an instant, Stephen and Julie’s lives are forever changed. (paperback)
James Wallace Harris
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now makes an overwhelming case that we shouldn’t be pessimistic about the future. Pinker claims The Enlightenment is still a work in progress, and that science and liberal ideals are succeeding even while under tremendous attacks. Enlightenment Now is comforting, infuriating, depressing, and uplifting. Pinker wants us to know that the human race is doing amazingly well if you look at our progress statistically. And yes, his data does give me hope for the future. Pinker’s book is also scary. Much of his evidence supports my liberal views, but some of his data supports conservative views and that make me uncomfortable. It’s very hard to reconcile the optimism of this book with the pessimism of the nightly news.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I’m finally getting around to listening to this audiobook, which has been in my Audible library forever. Ari and Dante are both struggling with their identities and are helping each other answer big life questions with their disparate yet complementary personalities. It’s narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda and he’s literally the perfect voice to bring these two misfit teenagers to life. (audiobook)
Lost in the Beehive by Michele Young Stone: This book is blowing me away. It starts in the ’60s, when Gloria is sent to an Institute to help with “inappropriate feelings” she has for a friend, and follows her through adulthood. The character development is exquisite and the storytelling is drawing me in so much that I never want to put it down. The shifting cultural and geographical attitudes make an interesting backdrop to this love story of sorts. (ARC).
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch: Usually when I fall in love with a book, I don’t want to put it down. I inhale the thing in one big snort, and then…I mourn the fact that it is over. By contrast, I’ve been trying to read Yuknavitch’s lyrical memoir as sloooooowly as possible, because I’ve never read anything quite like it before. And I know that once I finish it, that’s it. I’m screwed. Real talk: Yuknavitch makes me realize what memoir can be. And for a writer, that’s daunting as hell.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara: Like most true crime fans/murderinos, this book’s release date has been on my calendar for awhile and I was stoked to finally dive into it. McNamara passed away before she was able to complete her book on the Golden State Killer, but her editors have done a good job at stitching together the pieces in a way that is both satisfying and still maintains her voice. However, listening to it home alone with headphones on at night definitely freaked me out a few times and compelled me to make sure all my doors and windows were locked. (audiobook)