In this regular feature, we give you a glimpse of what we are reading this very moment.
Here are the books 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!
American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsessions in the West by Nate Blakeslee: This book suggestion came from the Outside magazine Facebook book club. I love reading about animals (wild or otherwise) but wolves have a special place in my heart (next to dogs and foxes). The book looks at the life of O-Six, a female wolf, and her pack as they try to survive in and around Yellowstone Park. I just started it but it seems promising. (hardcover)
No One Tells You This by Glynnis McNicol: This memoir, about wrestling with being 40 and single and childless, feels like a gift from God to me as I near my own milestone birthday. I want to gulp it down but I’m savouring it slowly and underlining many things. I went to her event at Politics and Prose and it gave me courage, made me feel seen and understood in a way I often don’t, and reassured me that it is going to be not just okay, but more than okay. So thankful for this book. (hardcover)
Rx: A Graphic Memoir by Rachel Lindsay (Grand Central, 9/4): I read this in one sitting because I couldn’t stop. Lindsay captures so exquisitely the ups and downs (literally) of bipolar disorder, as well as the stubbornness and fight for independence one has when trying to establish oneself as an adult, separate from parents. I don’t want to give too much away, but this book is a great addition to the growing body of graphic memoirs, especially those dealing with mental health. (galley)
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock: Recently on the Book Riot backchannels, we were having a discussion about how long-form journalism about grifters makes me giddy. I feel badly for the victims of these people, but I can’t click quickly enough on these articles. I sit there in front of my laptop, entranced, mouth agape. So our fearless leader Rebecca Schinsky recommended this book to me. It’s about the conman who “cured” (spoiler alert: he didn’t) impotence with… goat testicles. Yes, that’s what I said. Goat testicles. I feel like I don’t even need to say any more. I know that you’ve already left this post to order this book immediately. Good life choice, my friend. Also, the word “flimflam” is in the title, so I was sold before I even read the description. (audiobook)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan: I put this book on my library hold list after hearing a ton of Book Rioters gushing about it. I finally got a copy and it’s definitely living up to the hype! It’s beautifully and creatively written, and so unputdownable (Is that a word? It is now!) that it’s keeping me up at night. (ebook)
Tokyo Tarareba Girls vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura: I’ve always wanted to read more manga but had trouble finding books that didn’t ding my misogyny alarm. Writer Sam Humphries recommended this one during a recent interview and I am NOT disappointed. It’s a delightful story that starts with the quest for a man but evolves into a tribute to female friendship. My bank account may not love the fact there are four volumes thus far but the rest of me is thrilled I won’t have to wait for more.
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (Berkley, October 30): A new book by the author of The Wedding Date is a reason to celebrate! This one is about a woman whose not-that-great boyfriend proposes to her on the screen at a baseball game. She says no, disappointing him and the crowd. A kind (and handsome) stranger rescues her from the unhappy masses, but the proposal goes viral online, bringing a lot of unwanted attention into her life. Good thing there’s that handsome stranger… (egalley)
Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi: After my recent grumbling about Amazon not having enough authors of color in their Kindle Unlimited genre fiction, I realized that I had somehow overlooked this absolutely jaw-dropping work. With narration that changes hands between a naive princess a vengeance-driven maji and an antagonist who’s trying desperately to remain the hero of his own story, it is a gripping fantasy tale unlike anything you’ve read. Think Black Panther meets Game of Thrones…but better.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée (A Good Kind of Trouble, March 12, 2019): I realised that I don’t read a lot of middle grade novels and this one sounded amazing! It’s a quiet kind of book about what it’s like to navigate the world as a young black girl. (egalley)
Don’t Look Back by Dawn Ryder (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, August 28): I picked up my first Unbroken Heroes book mid-series and each book I’ve read since then can easily be read as a standalone. So far Dunn and Thais’ story is everything I could hope for from an emotionally charged, law enforcement, romantic suspense. I’m 100% enamoured with Ryder’s effervescent writing style that utilizes multiple POVs in a way not often seen in romance. (paperback)
Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux (Norton, August 21): I grew up reading and rereading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, so of course I jumped at the chance to read this book about the making of the novel and its cultural afterlife. So far, it’s great. (ARC hardcover)
Mirage by Somaiya Daud (Flatiron Books, August 28th): In an attempt to read more diverse fantasy, I came across this book, which has also been getting a lot well-deserved buzz. The blurb caught my attention, too: suppressed religion, a protagonist who loves poetry. The language is rich and it’s living up to the hype so far! (egalley)
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn: In the spirit of “how did we get here?” I’ve picked up Zinn’s iconic book about all the people not discussed in history to get the long view on American History and where we are now. I’m at Bacon’s Rebellion and wow, does the class war and oppression of races start early in American history. (paperback and audiobook)
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (Berkley Books, October 30): I desperately needed another soul-hugging romance after finishing The Kiss Quotient and I was pointed in the direction of this novel. It starts with a trainwreck proposal I couldn’t look away from and I’m already in love with all the characters–Why don’t I have a best friend who owns a cupcake shop?! (egalley)
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi: This is endorsed by Rainbow Rowell (my favorite) and compared to Fangirl (my favorite). I’m always down for emotionally tortured boys with lots of tattoos and text romances. (library hardcover)
The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang: I love J.Y. Yang’s short fiction, so the Tensorate series has been on my to-read list since forever ago. Also, the cover? Absolute perfection. I’ve procrastinated on reading it because I know this fantasy novella is going to blow my mind (I know, weird logic), but I’m finally doing it! (paperback)
Amanda Kay Oaks
You Are Magical by Tess Whitehurst (Llewellyn Publications, September 8): I’ve been working on incorporating a little more magic and ritual into my life since I finished grad school, so I was excited to see this book. It has a little bit of everything, from brief touches on the history of Earth-based spiritual practices to ways to make the everyday a little more magical. (ARC paperback)
This Is Kind of An Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender (Balzer + Bray, October 30): I recently read and loved Callender’s Hurricane Child, a gently magical middle grade novel about a queer girl living on tiny Water Island in the Caribbean. When I saw she had a YA romance coming out this fall, I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s the story of romantic cynical and film buff Nate, and his childhood best friend Ollie. So far it’s delightful. (egalley)
Strays by Julia Lewis and James Miller: This little book of poems is written collaboratively by James Miller and Julia Lewis. In it Lewis’s poems overlap with poems pulled and re-formed from Miller’s novel Lost Boys. Together it plays with narrative, fantasy and childhood anchoring the reader in the familiar like Terry Pratchett and Peter Pan but leaving us to make meaning where we will. (ed. note: available at https://www.haverthorn.co.uk/)
101 Places Not to See Before You Die by Catherine Price: This book is making me laugh a lot. Catherine with a lot of humor and snark recounts misadventures at places she has been, some of which are harder when you’re a kid or a woman. Each chapter is a short vignette, which is enough to educate on why Euro Disney was a glorious disaster, and why being on an overnight train in China is a bad idea. (paperback)
The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace: I’m a sucker for books about wine and this has been on my want-to-read list for some time. (audiobook)
Last First Kiss by Nicole Falls: Nicole knows the way to my heart and having a new novel that carries the same name as one of my favorite Tamia songs sounds like a winner to me! (ebook)
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: I’ve been meaning to read this book for five years, but finally bumped it up to the top of my TBR because of the movie adaptation coming out this month. Like so many buzzy books, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. This multi-perspective, semi-satirical story of the summer when the heir to one of the biggest fortunes in Asia brings home his Chinese-American girlfriend lives up to the hype big time. Now, I’m metaphorically biting my fingernails waiting for the film to come out and for the sequel in the series to be free at the library. (paperback)
Let’s Talk About Death (Over Dinner) by Michael Hebb (Da Capo Lifelong Books, October 2): When my mother was caring for my aging grandfather, it was rough. For the both of them. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by books about end-of-life care and end-of-life decisions. Da Capo must have caught on to my preoccupation, because they sent this to me and, so far, it’s good stuff, intended to spur conversations about the end of life that, hopefully, aren’t too painful. (paperback)
The Fever by Megan Abbott: Do you ever love an author so much that you can’t read her new book because you know once you do it will be over and you’ll have to wait in agony until her next book comes out? That is how I am with Megan Abbott’s books. The first book of hers that I read was Dare Me and I have been a fan ever since. The Fever has been sitting in my unread pile for a long while now and I’m finally going to read it.
Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton: I’m super intrigued by this fantasy novel about a land where women with magical abilities are hunted as “demons,” especially since I’m pretty sure the main character is going to turn out to be one of them despite her hatred for the Gwyrach ever since they killed her mother. I’m sensing some definite feminist and dismantle-the-patriarchy undertones beneath the fantasy exterior and I’m here for it. (arc hardcover)
Batman ‘66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel by Ian Edginton (writer) and Matthew Dow Smith (art) (DC and Boom! Studios): I’ve been a fan of the ‘60s Batman TV series for years, and I’ve been slowly working my way through the comic book series, so it was only a matter of time before I got to this one. I’m not fond of the coloring in this one, but so far, the writing and characterization are as hilariously spot-on as ever. Holy nostalgia, Batman! (paperback)
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy: I added this book to my TBR back when a fellow Rioter compared it to Ladybird (my favorite film of 2017). Then last week, I stumbled upon it in a used bookstore and took it as a sign. I’m such a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and so far this a delight on par with The Catcher in the Rye. (paperback)
Leah Rachel von Essen
How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: I read the Combahee River Collective Statement back in college in a feminist science fiction course, and so this title caught my eye when it came out. It prints the statement, which has much that we’re still working on today, and which was a pioneer of identity politics and intersectionality. Then Taylor interviews several of the original actors of the Collective, which is fascinating and informative. (paperback)