Peek Over Our Shoulders: What Rioters Are Reading On July 21, 2016

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Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

In this feature at Book Riot, 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). See a Rioter who is reading your favorite book? I’ve included the link that will take you to their author archives (meaning, that magical place that organizes what they’ve written for the site). Gird your loins – this list combined with all of those archived posts will make your TBR list EXPLODE.

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!


Amanda Nelson

The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman: Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World was one of my favorite reads of last year, and his newest is a noir-ish tale of two crime families battling it out in the middle of a plague. Yes, please. (paperback)

Everfair by Nisi Shawl: An alternate history steampunk re-imagining of the Belgian occupation and colonization of the Congo. What more do you want? (ARC, September 6, Tor).


Angel Cruz 

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter: I love all of Sarah Porter’s books, so I’m super excited to start this retelling of Vassilissa the Beautiful. (ARC)

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen: I seem to be reading lots of Sarahs these days. Andersen’s comic strips on Twitter are hilarious, and I fully expect to enjoy this collection. (Paperback)

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz: Filipina MCs are few and far between, and de la Cruz will likely make me emotional as I read through this novel. (e-ARC)


Sarah Nicolas 

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins: This one’s been on my radar for a while, but I finally checked out the audiobook after some Book Rioters chattering about the series last week. Just finished it today. (audiobook via library)

Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: I just finished This Shattered World and had to wait two days (aka FOREVER) for this one to come available via my library. Fingers crossed for a stellar (*ahem*) end to this series. (audiobook via library)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve had a signed copy for a while, but I go through audiobooks 10 times faster than paper books, so I just checked this one out on Overdrive. (audiobook via library)


Kate Scott 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: I just started this and I am SO excited! (ARC)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: I actually checked this out from Overdrive accidentally. Happy accident! (Audiobook)

If Eve Only Knew by Kendra Weddle Irons & Melanie Springer Mock: An introductory book on Christian feminism. Last month I read a Christianity Today article by Mock in response to the North Carolina Bathroom Bill about how she (a straight, cis-gendered woman) was routinely kicked out of women’s bathrooms because she looked like a boy. It was a compelling article and I discovered her book as a result. (Paperback)


Liberty Hardy 

The Hike by Drew Magary (Viking, August 2): I’m a huge fan of Magary’s book The Postmortal. Also it was pitched as “Cormac McCarthy writes Alice in Wonderland” so of course I had to get it. (e-galley)

Culdesac by Robert Repino (Soho Press, Nov. 15): A novella continuing the Mort(e) story!

The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept. 6): I don’t know anything about this other than I was told it was amazing. Just about to start! (galley)


Katie McLain 

The Troop by Nick Cutter: I’m using this for a book talk assignment for grad school, but really,  I just wanted an excuse to reread one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. (hardcover)

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie: One of my romance reading selections for class.  I’m not typically a romance reader, but I’ve heard so many good things about her that I’m excited to start reading! (hardcover)


Jesse Doogan 

A Woman’s Place by Katelyn Beaty: This subject, a Christian/biblical look at feminism and a woman’s role, is extremely close to my heart, and I’ve been gobbling up this book. It’s so encouraging. I want to clear my schedule to finish it so I can buy a copy for everyone I know.

Creativity Inc. by Edwin Catmull: I’m reading this in a book club at work, a chapter at a time. This book is about a 50/50 split of the history of Pixar and leadership training, and it’s fascinating. The most readable business book I’ve ever picked up. (hardcover)


Aram Mrjoian 

IQ by Joe Ide: I love a good mystery, but don’t necessarily read them that often. Was stoked to pick up this debut on the premise of Sherlock and hip hop, and it’s proved to be good fit for the midsummer heat. (ARC)


Annika Barranti Klein 

Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart: this is a library borrow for last month’s wlClub that I am terribly behind on. (Hardcover)

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. Reading on my Kindle, but I also have the hardcover and I wish it was easier to switch between them. (Ebook)


Sharanya Sharma 

The Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine: I love retellings, and I’m on a growing kick for Romeo & Juliet retellings that feature Benvolio & Rosaline as the protagonists. This particular version also has Benvolio acting as an Italian Robin Hood. SWOON! (E-book)


Rebecca Hussey 

The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs: I’m reading this for a review. It’s about infertility and all the complications and difficult decisions that come along with it. (Paperback ARC)

The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward: I’ve read Jesmyn Ward’s two most recent books (Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped) and loved them both, so I’m excited to start this collection of essays she edited. (egalley)


Derek Attig 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: I needed something light and fluffy, and this Firefly-meets-Futurama-meets-other-great-stuff space jam is exactly that while still being interesting. (ebook)


Tasha Brandstatter 

Drops of God, Vol. ‘04 by Tadashi Agi: I’ve been wanting to read this manga for YEARS and it’s finally available in English! (Or at least the first four volumes are… I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself when I finish this.)


E.H. Kern 

Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole: A while back I changed how I pick my next read. Since then I have discovered several really good writers. My most recent discovery according to my new way of doing things is Myke Cole. This is his debut novel from a few years back and I am really enjoying it so far. (Paperback)


Ashley Bowen-Murphy 

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward: Somehow I missed his book when it came out in 2013. I blame grad school. At any rate, I can’t really imagine a more appropriate book for the last few weeks. This memoir is so much more than that– it’s a reflection on race, gender, and region that transcends the personal. (Ebook)

The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollack: This book pushes all my buttons. Southern gothic, historical fiction? Sign me up. Multiple generations of a family story? Added bonus. (e-gally)

Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon #1) by Nevada Barr: I started this as research for a piece I’m planning on the National Parks Service. It’s a fun mystery series set in US national parks. Some of this early book (it came out in the early 1990s) is a bit dated but, on the whole, it’s as fun as any modern mystery novel. (Ebook)


Danika Ellis

 Under Threat by Robin Stevenson: This is YA book about a teen girl whose parents are abortion providers and start getting death threats because of it. She finds comfort with her girlfriend, but her girlfriend doesn’t entirely share her views on a woman’s right to choose. This was such a fascinating premise, I had to pick it up. It’s nice to read a lesbian YA book that begins after the main character has come out. This is in the Orca Soundings series, a hi-lo (high interest, low reading level) book, so it’s a quick read, but it’s definitely interesting, and it skillfully juggles a lot of different elements for how short it is. (Paperback)


Jamie Moore

Insurrections by Rion Amilcar Scott: Picked up this book because I’ve enjoyed this writer’s short stories, and this book brings together his connected shorts to provide a collective portrait of the fictional town Cross River. Not to mention, he’s a Kimbilio fellow, and this community of writers have been killing it. (Digital arc)

The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel: I loved Vida by this author, and from the premise of this book, I knew I’d be pulled into this novel. Grief, love and family also get me. (Hardcover)

Shelter by Jung Yun: Very early in this book, and it’s been buzzy, so I picked it up to be sucked into the lucid descriptions of family drama. (Hardcover)


Susie Rodarme 

Futureland by Walter Mosley: I was looking specifically for a PoC sci-fi author to read on Overdrive and this book caught my eye. I’m already enthralled with it. The writing is luscious. (ebook)

Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession with Weight Loss by Sandra Aamodt: I saw this at the library and noticed it was written by a neuroscientist, which is 1000% in my wheelhouse. It’s full of sciency goodness. (library hardcover)


Swapna Krishna 

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight: I did not know what to expect with McCreight’s latest novel (YA? Crossover? I’m not quite sure) but it’s definitely engaging. It’s a little unbelievable, but if you’re good at suspending disbelief to enjoy a novel, you should be good with this one. (galley)

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory: Though I read most of Gregory’s historical fiction, I wasn’t rushing to read this one because I’ve read the story of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife, so many times in both fiction and nonfiction. But Gregory has a way of putting a spin on things you don’t expect, and I found this novel riveting, regardless of knowing the history intimately.(paperback)


Elizabeth Allen  

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport: Our fearless captain, Amanda Nelson, suggested this particular book to me after a session of me whining about not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. Although I will admit, I’m still grappling with his disavowal of passion as an important aspect to loving your job.  (audiobook)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean: After I read my first two romance books on Sarah MacLean’s recommendation, I figured I’d give one of hers a shot!  So far I love how snarky and quick her female characters are.  (ebook)


Andi Miller 

Toil and Trouble issues 1-6 by Mairghread Scott and Kelly and Nichole Matthews: This six-issue series of comics reinvents the three witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this series they’re not barely-there crones dancing around a cauldron, but sorceress badasses who control Scotland’s fate. (print)

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren is perhaps the surprise of the year for me. This memoir touches on the author’s love of science and laboratory life in such a lyrical, soothing, touching way…it has hit me right in the feels. Jahren’s voice on audio is a treat. (audiobook)


Amanda Diehl 

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein: I’ve been craving some new non-fiction lately and this sounded so hilarious that I went out and grabbed it as soon as it came out. I’ve also heard a lot of good things and the reviews have been pretty favorable! (hardcover)

Offensive Behavior by Ainslie Paton: I saw it described as a “near-Olympian turned pole dancer meets laid-off drunkard virgin tech tycoon.” So clearly I had to get my grubby mitts on it immediately! (ebook)

Destined for a King by Ashlyn Macnamara: The cover is so gorgeous that it prompted a second look from me while I was browsing NetGalley. The heroine sounds all sorts of kickass and in romance, I love the whole “nursed back to health” trope. (egalley)


Claire Quigley 

Arcadia by Iain Pears: This one was recommended by one of my go-to Booktubers, Jen Campbell. This book has been likened to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, a series that has left a fantasy-and-multiple-worlds-narrative shaped hole in my heart. I’ve only just started Arcadia, but so far things are looking promising! (Paperback)

The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson: This is a short non-fiction book I picked up a few days ago. I decided to give this one a go because I live in the UK and things are kind of falling apart here politically. This book suggests the key building blocks of civilization, so I’m hoping it might help pull me out of a crisis (if not on a national scale, then at least personally!). (Paperback)


Kelly Anderson 

Necessity by Jo Walton: Reviewing this one soon! Also the first two were pretty amazing if you like thought experiments or alternate worlds or are just a big old classics nerd (…especially that last, actually).

St. Kilda, Island on the Edge of the World by Charles MacleanI love books about vanished worlds, and this is a doozy of one about a society on two islands in the Outer Hebrides (emphasis on outer) off the coast of Scotland that disappeared in the face of modernization and changes in politics and culture. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty well written, too.

Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius: I’ve just begun a fascination with books about neuroscience (at least ones that this non-medical expert can understand). This one is all about the neuroscientific principles that underlie meditation and mindfulness practice. If you’re curious about the why of how meditation works to improve the brain beyond metaphors, I’d recommend it.


Nicole Brinkley 

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn: Heroine Complex, which just hit shelves this month, has been on my radar for a while now. Lady superheroes, hidden powers, a war against evil demons in San Francisco? Yes, please! I’m a few chapters in and so far it’s really snarky and a lot of fun – perfect for those who love the tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or comic books like The Adventures of Squirrel Girl. (ARC)

NewsPrints by Ru Xu: This graphic novel fell into my lap at work and I immediately loved the artwork. The rest of the book – about Blue, a girl disguising herself as a boy to sell newspapers, who stumbles across a strange boy named Crow and a possible conspiracy with her at-war country – is beautifully illustrated and a lot of fun. Perfect for ages 8 – 12, but will be a huge hit with an older audience, especially for fans of Fullmetal Alchemist. (ARC)


Nicole Froio 

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, this book is slow but after a while it started feeling like reading really juicy gossip about the characters and I’m not mad about it. (Physical copy)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, I’ve been trying to stay interested in this book, but it’s not really working. I really love all the bits about Marie-Laure but I’m not super interested in the rest. Hopefully I’ll come around.


Sarah S. Davis 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a King novel, but one night I was having trouble concentrating on reading and picked this up. It’s very entertaining with a thrilling plot and wry observations. It’s also the first in a trilogy with the latest novel released this spring. (MMPB)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. I feel like I’m the last person to read this, but now I understand the hype. A sort of lyrical and lush fantasy. (Hardcover)

Infomocracy by Malka Older. As an information scientist, I am definitely interested in reading novels about how information can be controlled and manipulated for political gain. This novel is all-encompassing, with brilliant pacing met with relentless action. It’s a terrifying dystopian look at how the government and special forces can contain information…and with it, humanity. (Hardcover)


Alex Laffer 

Acceptance (The Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 3) by Jeff VanderMeer: I couldn’t get the strange, distorted environment of Area X out of my head. Disquieting, compelling, thought-provoking, this is truly great speculative fiction. (Paperback)

Being a Beast by Charles Foster: I read a description of the author eating worms to experience being a badger… I had to get the book after that. (Hardcover)


Teresa Preston 

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale: I really enjoyed Summerscale’s previous book, Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace (and I still haven’t gotten around to her most popular book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher). This book is about a 13-year-old boy who murdered his mother in 1885.

Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith by Monica A. Coleman. I’m just getting started on this memoir by a womanist theologian learning to live with bipolar. It was one of Rachel Held Evans’s recommended reads for this summer, and I’m interested in the intersection of faith and mental illness. The added dimension of race is a plus as well. (e-galley)


Tracy Shapley 

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball. I super love this book but it’s my “read in bed on my Kindle after my partner goes to sleep” book and he’s been going to sleep so damn late recently that I haven’t made hardly any headway on it. Can’t wait to really give myself some dedicated time to enjoy the subtle humor.   (egalley)

The Good House by Ann Leary. This book does an incredible job showing how deep denial can be for alcoholics and how frustrating it can be for people watching it. (Hardcover; library)

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy. God damn is this hard to read. Sad, important, powerful, etc. etc. but so sad! This non-fiction book discusses IN DETAIL the hugely high murder rate in South Central Los Angeles and what a few dedicated homicide detectives are trying to do about it. And when I say IN DETAIL I mean that by the time you finish this book you’ll know what every single person in this book had for breakfast every day of their life. SO MUCH DETAIL.  (Hardcover from the Book of the Month Club)


Jessi Lewis 

Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2015, edited by Rebecca Skloot. I try every summer to catch up on the Science and Nature version of Best American. It always has some of the cleanest, clearest examples of eco nonfiction.

Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai. I really enjoyed Hundred-Year House, so I’m taking on this one now. I’m really excited to hop into this short story collection.


Johann Thorsson 

Dark Water by Barry Napier. A Fox Mulder-type main character with psychic powers has been kicked out of the FBI and is now investigating the mysterious drowning of two boys after children’s laughter and wet footprints appear in one of the victim’s family’s home. Spooky page-turner. (eBook)

Crossing the Sea: With Syrians on the Exodus to Europe by Wolfgang Bauer. Two journalists pose as Syrian refugees to experience first-hand what refugees are currently going through to get themselves and their families to Europe to escape the civil war in Syria. Powerful. (eBook)

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. Want to be good at something? Anything at all? This book explains how prodigies in music and sports are not really prodigies but simply exceptional at practicing, and how you can become world-class at anything (given time and single-mindedness). (eBook)


Tara Cheesman  

Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck  – Because I’ve spent years looking for a history book on the Congo region of Africa that moves past its colonial period and into the twenty-first century.

Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors by Sarah Stodola – I’m obsessed with writing hacks and Sarah Stodola’s book lets me observe famous authors (like Hemingway, Nabokov, Didion and Zadie Smith)  in their natural habitats.


Jamie Canaves 

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam: It was high on my TBR list and it was a BOTM selection making this month’s pick easy! So far it’s the perfect book for ‘before bed reading.’ (Hardcover)

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: Because I loved More Happy Than Not I didn’t read a single thing about this book I just dove in—and immediately got kicked in the heart! (egalley, January 2017, Soho Teen)

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I really liked Signal to Noise so going back to Mexico City with Moreno-Garcia–this time with vampires–was a no brainer! (egalley, Oct. 25, Thomas Dunne Books )

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy: Sufficiently WTF with an underlying ick factor with “ghosts” making it hard for me to put down. (egalley, February 2017, Harper)


Ines Bellina

The Best American Travel Writing edited by Andrew McCarthy: This annual compilation of travel essays and articles is my go-to for keeping up with the evolving nature of the genre. Not to mention that it also opens my mind to destinations I hadn’t even considered. A mermaid camp near Gainesville, Florida? Yes, please! (Paperbook)

Travel with Myself and Another: A Memoir by Martha Gellhorn: In my attempt to correct my own narrow reading history, I’ve been seeking more women travel writers. Martha Gellhorn was an obvious choice. A renowned war correspondent and writer in her own time, I love how she reveals the ugly truth and dark crevices of  any worthwhile trip. There is zero gloss and froth in this book. Thankfully. (Paperbook)


Molly Wetta 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh: This was the first book I checked out from my new library! I’ve heard great things about this and wasn’t sure if it would be for me or not, but thought I’d give it a chance when I saw the pink cover. (hardback)

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker: the bright, colorful galley caught my eye at the American Library Association conference last month, and then I discovered it was a debut about female friendship and one character is a lesbian and I was sold. (ARC)

Faithful by Alice Hoffman: I’m burning through fall adult fiction galleys, and this one is next on my list! Everything about the description (love! family! fate!) appealed to me and I have yet to read a novel by this author. (ARC)


Hannah Oliver Depp

Closed Casket: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie / Sophie Hannah:  I admit it, I enjoy a good posthumous dabble provided the writer has the chops. Poirot is in high form and dungeon in this take on Christie’s beloved detective. Not a perfect Christie (not even Christie’s were all perfect Christie’s), but so far a stellar who done it. (ARC)

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club  by Dorothy L Sayers: Another golden age mystery. I take my mystery book group all over the place within the genre, but this month I am introducing them to my favorite writer with her take on the inter war period and her take on shell shock and poverty in London. Oh, and the most brilliant, piffle spilling detective to grace the page. (Paperback, Bourbon St Books, Harper Collins)

An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army by Frederick Jameson, ed. By Slavoj Zizek: An aggressive take on what a a liberal society could be, Jameson has never been one to pull punches, whether on the topic of idealized communist societies or the failings of capitalism. Here several cultural critics and philosophers respond to his manifesto in an amazing debate. (Hardcover, Verso)

Lumberjanes Vol. 4 by Noelle Stevenson, etc.: Who can say enough good about Lumberjanes? No one. This volume does not disappoint. I loved getting more background on the camp and still having my curiosity for the core mystery at the heart of these kick-ass scouts lives increased. The holy kitten has been good.  (Image Comics, Paperback)


A.J. O’Connell

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson: The follow-up to Wilson’s Sorcerer of Wildeeps is set in Great Olorum itself. Like Wildeeps, it is a love story, intercut with an emotionally harrowing tale about politics, science and the gods. This novella is maybe 100 pages, but it’s the densest 100 pages I have read in a long time. (egalley)

Jessica Woodbury 

Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino: I am hooked on Higashino, who writes the kind of intricate mysteries Agatha Christie would appreciate. This novel is a break from his normal style, following the children of murder victims through the decades that follow. (e-galley)

The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam: I saw a blurb by Garth Greenwell (who wrote this year’s excellent What Belongs To You) and saw a setting of a Sri Lankan refugee camp and couldn’t say no. So far it’s incredibly visceral and moving. (galley)

Rachel Manwill

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I’ve been waiting patiently to read this most anticipated book of the year, and so far it’s living up to all the hype and more. And reading it immediately after finishing Yaa Gyasi’s debut Homegoing is basically the most epic and timely one-two punch of American fiction. (September 2016, Doubleday)