What I Read: July 2016

I read 7 books in July. 3 were non-fiction, 4 were fiction. 2 were on Kindle, 5 were in print. 2 were by writers of color.

How to Grow Up: A Memoir by Michelle Tea (2015).

I loved this book in a way that I think you only would if Tea’s earlier books had been important to you and you were so glad to see that she grew up to be totally okay. Tea is just a few years older than me and she was publishing books about being a broke, queer, 20-something feminist performance artist when I was in my 20s and also fairly broke and totally queer and going to a lot of spoken word performances. I’m older now and married and a mom and most days the only other queer person I see is my wife, but that history is still there and so to see this person who was (through her work) a part of that part of my life, a person who was struggling with addiction, whose life was hard be able to do things that are meaningful to her like go to Fashion Week in Paris, was pretty great. If you don’t have this sort of connection to Tea’s work though, I can see how the book would come off as sort of consumeristic. But like all of us, Tea deserves nice things. And I’m happy she’s got them!

Lumberjanes Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson (2016).

When you want to up the numbers of books completed for your library’s summer reading program, comics are really the way to go. I always enjoy Lumberjanes. This one did not disappoint.

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki (2015).

Sort of weird, but good, but odd. Harry Potter, if Harry Potter was just about the general awfulness of high school and not about saving the world.

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (2015).

In the last book in the Gaither Sisters trilogy, they go to visit Big Ma in Alabama for the summer. A good mix of the freedom of a country summer, the annoyance of sisters, and the danger of being black in the South in the 1960s. The whole trilogy is great and I highly recommend it.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012).

Do you like graphic novels and books for children/tweens? You should read everything Telgemeier has ever written. The end.

Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South by Adrienne Berard (2016).

A slim but fascinating book that I got through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program about a desegregation case I knew nothing about – a challenge by the Lum family in the 1920s to school segregation in Mississippi. Berard does an especially great job of placing the case in context, tracing the line of Chinese immigration into the U.S. and to Mississippi, showing the changes attempted during Reconstruction and the crushing racism and segregation that existed in the South at that time. Really glad I read it!

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West (2016).

I loved this book SO much. As a feminist I sometimes find feminist books boring, because I don’t need convincing, I’m already there. This one was insightful and personal. Her ability to have both rightful feminist rage and to forgive makes her a total role model for me. I’ve loved Lindy’s writing since her Stranger days and this book made me love it more. You should read it. Yes, you.

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What I Read: July 2016

What I Read: June 2016

So behind on my round-ups! I read 7 books in June. 5 were fiction, 2 were non-fiction. 5 were in print, one was an audiobook and one was on the Kindle. Four were by authors of color (making June the only month so far where I have exceeded my 50% goal)

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh (2015).

There have been a lot of recent changes in 12-year-old GiGi’s life. First her sister and guardian won a million dollar prize in a baking contest, then they up and moved from SC to the North Shore of Long Island and GiGi started a fancy new school. Soon enough she is making new friends and unraveling family mysteries in this middle grade novel.

Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson (2015).

An interesting memoir from critic Margo Jefferson about growing up at the intersection of race and privilege. A glimpse at a black upper middle class childhood in Chicago in the 1940s, 50s & 60s. Well worth reading.

Superfluous Women by Carola Dunn (2015).

The 22nd book in the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series takes us to the countryside where Daisy is convalescing after an illness. While visiting a school friend, a body is discovered (of course). This series is fun and fluffy, just what the doctor ordered.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012).

I listened to this one on audiobook. I loved Wolf Hall, although it was sometimes hard to follow all the Thomases, Marys and Janes, and I worried that I would be totally lost on audio, but it was really fine. Sometimes the names would float right over me, but mostly I kept up fine. I counted this one for Read Harder Task 15 (a book of historical fiction set before 1900).

The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber (2006).

I am always on the look out for a good food memoir, and this did not disappoint. Diana Abu-Jaber tells of her life, growing up in America (and Jordan) with a Jordanian father, American mother, and lots of really delicious Jordanian food. She has a new food memoir out and I can’t wait to read it!

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (2011).

I picked this up because it was described as a read-alike for Harry Potter, and it did not disappoint! Sunny, a 12-year-old Nigerian girl with albinism, discovers she has magical powers and has to learn how to control them, while trying to stop a magical serial killer with her classmates. I CANNOT WAIT for the next book in the series to come out.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True by Ryan North (2015).

Squirrel Girl is my favorite Superhero. If you want to read a comic that makes you smile (and is appropriate for all ages), pick up Squirrel Girl!

What I Read: June 2016