Summer is here and so are some of my eagerly awaited books! Below are a few of the books I have been watching (and waiting) for a while.
Dawn O’Porter is one of my favorite YA authors. Her characters and stories are real and not pithy like some other contemporary novels. O’Porter’s novels generally follow female protagonists and their friendship with other girls. A true coming of age story as seen from a young girl, some what of a rarity in any genre. The Goodreads summary:
COW n. /ka?/
A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.
The Cows is a powerful novel about three women. In all the noise of modern life, each needs to find their own voice.
It’s about friendship and being female.
It’s bold and brilliant.
It’s searingly perceptive.
It’s about never following the herd.
And everyone is going to be talking about it.
Buy from Amazon ($15.02), here.
Release Date: June 13, 2017
The author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian packs punch with this memoir about his relationship with his mother. The Goodreads summary:
When his mother passed away at the age of 78, Sherman Alexie responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is this stunning memoir. Featuring 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs, Alexie shares raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine–growing up dirt-poor on an Indian reservation, one of four children raised by alcoholic parents. Throughout, a portrait emerges of his mother as a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated woman. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me is a powerful account of a complicated relationship, an unflinching and unforgettable remembrance.
Buy from Amazon( 17.98), here.
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Roxane Gay is quickly becoming one of our most crucial voices. Her witty, raw writings in Bad Feminist is what first introduced me to Gay, and I have been a fan ever since. As someone who has never been the ‘normal’ body size (re I’ve always been a healthy weight or a little more), I look forward to reading this one.
In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.
With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.
Buy from Amazon($15.46) , here.
What books are you looking forward to this summer? Let me know in the comments below! Or better yet, have you read any of the above? What did you think?
So, have any of y’all read these? I’ve seen them all over tumblr and have wanted to read them for a while. I’m excited!
It’s a glorious thing to be a reader and book lover. One can never read enough to fill one’s need for adventure, knowledge, love. There’s a whole community of book lovers that write books and here are some books about books that I’ve marked to-read.
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester: Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England’s harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg: Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield.
Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.
How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis: While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she’s been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.
With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.
The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell: Every bookshop has a story.
We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.
Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.
And that’s just the beginning.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.
The Library Book by Alan Bennett and others: From Alan Bennett’s ‘Baffled at a Bookcase’, to Lucy Mangan’s ‘Ten Library Rules’, here famous writers tell us all about how libraries are used and why they’re important.
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman: Anne Fadiman is–by her own admission–the sort of person who learned about sex from her father’s copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate’s 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment that she had not read at least twice.
This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father’s 22-volume set of Trollope (“My Ancestral Castles”) and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections (“Marrying Libraries”), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony–Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.
A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes: When it was first published, A Gentle Madness astounded and delighted readers with stories about the lengths of passion, expense, and more that collectors will go in pursuit of the book. Written before the emergence of the Internet but newly updated for the twenty-first century reader, A Gentle Madness captures that last moment in time when collectors frequented dusty bookshops, street stalls, and high-stakes auctions, conducting themselves with the subterfuge befitting a true bibliomaniac. A Gentle Madness is vividly anecdotal and thoroughly researched. Nicholas A. Basbanes brings an investigative reporter’s heart and instincts to the task of chronicling collectors past and present in pursuit of bibliomania. Now a classic of collecting, A Gentle Madness is a book lover’s delight.
If you’ve read any of the above books, let me know what you thought!
So I may have mentioned this, but I LOVE Victorian England. In fact, if I ever go to grad school, it would be to study Modern Literature and History 1850-Present(or something similar). I’ve been shifting through my to-read list, and I found these gems and thought I would share them.
The Victorians by A.N. Wilson: A.N. Wilson singles out those writers, statesmen, scientists, philosophers and soldiers whose lives illuminated an age on the cusp of modernity. He illuminates, through these signature lives, how Victorian England started a revolution that still hasn’t ended.
Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard: Like her previous books, this book is the product of the author’s passionate interest in the realities of everyday life – and the conditions in which most people lived – so often left out of history books.
This period of mid-Victorian London covers a huge span: Victoria’s wedding and the place of the royals in popular esteem; how the very poor lived, the underworld, prostitution, crime, prisons and transportation; the public utilities – Bazalgette on sewers and road design, Chadwick on pollution and sanitation; private charities – Peabody, Burdett Coutts – and workhouses; new terraced housing and transport, trains, omnibuses and the Underground; furniture and decor; families and the position of women; the prosperous middle classes and their new shops, e.g. Peter Jones, Harrods; entertaining and servants, food and drink; unlimited liability and bankruptcy; the rich, the marriage market, taxes and anti-semitism; the Empire, recruitment and press-gangs.
The period begins with the closing of the Fleet and Marshalsea prisons and ends with the first (steam-operated) Underground trains and the first Gilbert & Sullivan
Bluestockings by Jane Robinson: Robinson presents the eye-opening and inspiring story of the first young women who overcame all the odds to get their education and attend university. Using the words of the women themselves, ‘Bluestockings’ charts the fight for and expansion of higher education for women from 1869 through to the 1930s.
A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes: Molly Hughes vividly evokes the small, everyday pleasures of a close family life in Victorian London: joyful Christmases, blissful holidays in Cornwall, escapades with her brothers, schooldays under the redoubtful Miss Buss. The urban counterpart to Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford, there is the same easy intimacy with the reader, the same intensity of recollection. Her college life at Cambridge and her first teaching jobs provide a fascinating glimpse into another world, full of everyday period detail, vividly and humorously told.
I haven’t read any of these yet, and I think some of them may be fairly hard to find, but I’m really looking forward to reading them some time soon. If anyone’s read any of the above books, any opinions would be most welcome!