I know how to pick 'em!
In her debut novel, Jane Kotapish puts the fun back in dysfunctional. Salvage is a creative trip down memory lane for an unnamed narrator, as she struggles to deal with her unconventional relationship with her mother. When this narrator was a young girl, she started to talk to her dead sister Nancy in her closet. As a grown woman, she witnesses a horrible accident in New York City, and decides to move to a small Virginia town near her mother to get away from life. As she revisits her past delusions and current eccentricities, the narrator finds that she has more in common with her mother, Lois than she ever could have thought. Lois has also taken up talking to imagined people, only instead of her conversations being with her unborn daughter, she speaks with Catholic Saints. As these two women navigate their relationship to each other and the world, our narrator grows into a fierce and feisty nonconformist. Told through wonderful prose and a constant shifting between past and present that keeps the reader wanting more, Kotapish has created a magnificent story.
Combining a narrative of sexual abuse survival with a politics of ecofeminism, Derrick Jensen eloquently and awesomely explains why we need to listen to the Earth. Drawing on different types of abuse, A Language Older than Words shows how humans use and abuse nature, and why this violence needs to stop in order for us to be able to heal ourselves and our relationships with all types of beings. Informative and emotional, Jensen makes you crave for peace and sustainability in all aspects of life.-
Wrestilng with issues of identity, sexuality, family, and the social construction of a "normal" body, Hillman shows us the comlexities of living life in the margins. A quick read, each chapter delves into personal experiences with with, humor, and an open mind. Part memoir, part personal manifesto, Intersex: (For Lack of a Better Word) is the smartest and most enjoyable book I've read in a long time.
Think a queer Jamaica Kincaid. That's what came to my mind as I read Michelle Cliff's collection of short essays and narratives as she grapples with her Jamaican, queer, and feminist identities. Tracing the impacts of colonization on her personal life, as well as questioning how it is that she possibly colonizes her own mind and the lives of people around her, Cliff combines personal narrative with societal and cultural observations to make her poetic and profound points. The title essay "If I Could Write This in Fire, I Would Write This in Fire", and "The Thing behind the Trees" are the two that stand out as particularly intense in their brutal honesty and cultural relevancy. Check 'em out, you'll learn something, and be utterly consumed by her writing.
Even if you know that this country was built on genocide and violence, you can't even begin to imagine how this violence is still perpetrated and used as a source of control over Native people, specifically women of color. Andrea Smith explains these roots and interconnecting ways of violence in Conquest. From critiquing how women of color are often forced to "chosse" between gender or race, to how our culture of sexual violence against women extends to the rape of the land and spiritual appropriation, Smith not only details and critiques our ideas of history and abuse, she actually offers solutions. After 100 pages of intense discussions about the intersections of racism, ableism, sexism and violence, Smith provides examples of organizations that are actually doing the work that needs to be done. I honestly believe that a social revolution will not happen until we all read this book.
An impressive debut novel. Toss of a Lemon spans the lives of many generations of one Brahmin family in India. The story centers around a widow, her gay servant, and her son who is coming into his own political and feminist consciousness as he resists the caste system. Elegant, thought-provoking, and driven by characters you'll fall in love with. Vismanathan's story is an amazing read.
This young adult novel contains all of the good and complicated things about life. Meet Maggie Keller. She used to be the popular girl. Then she got in a car accident. Her mother died, and she's left with a limp. Now no one pays attention to her. But then a new girl at school arrives. Dahlia is a self-chosen freak, where Maggie is named a freak because of her disability. But Dahlia enjoys being weird and goth, and finds no problem with her bipolar and kinda crazy mom. Dahlia and Maggie automatically fall in love with each other-first in the only way they know how to: as best friends trying to survive high school cliques together. But then their emotions grow, and the intensity between them can't be resisted. Dealing with grief, disability, mental illness, queer identity, and the importance of friendships, My Tiki Girl has it all
Rad. Political. Useful. Great to just look through, or feel free to copy and reproduce every image in this book for your own use. Reproduce & Revolt is a must-have for any activist.
As an atheist, you might think that I would hate a book about a woman finding her connection to God and Judaism. But no, Danya Ruttenberg's memoir took me by complete surprise. Ruttenberg was a punk atheist teenager who evolved into a passionate feminist-turned-Rabbi. She understands that each one of her identities and past beliefs have informed her current career. More than a book about one woman finding Judaism, Surprised by God is most importantly about community-whether in religious settings or in life. As the author states, community is about "creating spaces in which people can let down their guard and reveal what's hidden, about encouraging others to grow in new and challenging ways." This feminist approach to community made me reconsider my own ideas about spirituality. Ruttenberg's feminist and non-judgmental position also allows the reader to discover her own spirituality-she's not trying to convert you, she's just trying to make you think. A wonderful read for any person who's ever wondered about the bigger picture in life, and has struggled with what that even means.-
Imagine if you kept reading erotic stories about yourself in books by authors you had never heard of. What would you do? Well, Daphne Gottlieb decided to invite more people to write (true and fictional) stories about fucking "her." The end result: and amazing collection that investifate the ways in which sex, anger, politics, love, one-night stands, and the power of the imagination all intersect. These stories aren't just about fucking, they are also good fucking stories!
The Age of Dreaming is a deliciously silent novel that eventually swings into a curious mystery: a who-dunnit set in early Hollywood. Addressing issues of racism, classism, and the media in early 1900's, Revoyr's third novel points out the sacrifices that some people have to make in order to discover a new sense of happiness.
How do you express love? What about expressing it to someone while not in the same space as them? How does ability and the ways in which your body is able to move affect the ways in which you can express your love? While Petra and Neil do not have the answers to these questions, their own experience of forming a relationship and expressing their love speaks to the power of communication and damn good energy. Beautiful, loving, hot, sassy, funny, interesting, and a story-prose-poem that makes me love falling in love, Cripple Poetics will have you hooked in the first few pages.
I've been wanting to learn about women in other cultures lately without having to read boring history books written by old dead white dudes. I came across Benazir Bhutto's first autobiography which has recently been reprinted. Originally published in 1988, this memoir covers the history of Pakistan, her father's assassination, her own multiple experiences of torture in prison, and her coming into power democratically in a country immersed in a dictatorship. Daughter of Destiny is a comprehensive look at Pakistani politics told in a fresh, fierce, and female voice. Bhutto's writing is both simplistic and wonderfully complex. This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the US's past and current relations with Pakistan, as well as the position of women in Muslim society.
This is a wonderful collection of poetry spanning Eli Clare's fascinating life. Bringing a disabled, queer, transgendered and ecofeminist perspective to every poem ze writes, Clare's poetry is provocative, profound, intriguing, and simply breath taking. The Marrow's Telling is a rare and hard to find collection of poetry that speaks to anyone with a desire to read something not found in mainstream society.
Ali Liebegott's sophomore work is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! The IHOP Papers is the story of a scruffy dyke, nicknamed Goaty, who moves to San Fran to live with her old philosophy professor, Irene. She's desperately in love with Irene, so the story is the tale of our beloved Goaty winning over the prof's heart. Mixed in this madness is the horror of waitressing at a chain restaurant, attending AA meetins, and falling in love with soap opera characters. To make everything even a bit more interesting--Goaty is also a cutter, so we learn along with her how pain and love are interconnected in our hearts.
Originally published in 1931, Emma Goldman's autobiography Living My Life stretched a total of 900+ pages. In this new abridged edition, readers do not have to be intimidated by the length, but they also do not lose any of the richness of Goldman's life. Her fiery spunk is present on every page, and readers will fall in love with her amazing life, again. From the words of a rebellious exiled woman and birth control advocate, Goldman's story inspires every reader to get out there and do something amazing.
Myriam Gurba's writing has been compared to that of Michelle Tea's, and I have to agree with this comparison. She's witty, sharp, politically conscious, and knows how to tell a great story. Gurba's debut book, Dahlia Season is a collection of short stories and one novella. The four short stories are told from a variety of gendered narrators, each one dealing with a different life crisis associated with racism, homophobia, sexism or sexuality. From a boi dyke learning to cruise the gay hot spots in Long Beach, to a high school Latino student helping his girlfriend abort their unwanted baby, Gurba doesn't leave any subject untouched. In the short novella, she continues her fabulous writing style to take on the subject of a Goth dyke, who has both OCD and Tourette's, and is learning how to deal with her Latina identity. Simply put, Gurba knows how to work out the complexity of multiple identities in an addicting narration style. She is the hottest new queer writer and is not to be missed!
Damn. Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary is an awesome novel/memoir/cultural critique that's hot, sexy, and kinda dirty. Set in the unapologetic scene of New York City in the 1990's, Lunch asks her reader's, "What would you do if you had been sexually abused as a child?" The narrator's response is to use men, sex, drugs, and anything else she can get her hands on to satiate her raging hunger. Now, she's not a man-hater, she just uses men to get what she needs. And who can blame her? Tough, feisty, and titillating-this narrative will make you beg for more.
Indestructible is awesome! Teen-age angst, sexuality discoveries, punk feminists, and radical rebels that don't care what anyone thinks about them. This is Cristy C. Road's high school world, detailed by her amazing writing and astounding drawings. You gotta read it.
Anamika is a high school student in India. She's head of her class. She's also sleeping with her maid, sleeping with an older woman, and trying to convince her best friend to sleep with her. She's unapologetically queer, very smart, and the sassiest character you'll ever meet. Babyji is fabulously addictive to read!
Broken Verses is about a smart, fun, and feminist woman living in Pakistan. She's trying to deal with her emotions about her overtly-feminist and politcal leader mother who disappeared decades ago. (And who kinda reminds me of the late Benazir Bhutto, but I have no idea if Shamsie had the former Prime Minister in mind when she wrote it). Forgetting the disappeared, however, is hard for Aasmani to do when she keeps receiving clues about her mother's existence. Part mystery novel, part social commentary, and a whole bunch of feminist quips about the status of women, Broken Verses is a delightful and rewarding story.
There's something about stories about dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships that I just can't resist. Anne Lamott's classic, Rosie, has most recently fulfilled my obsession. Meet Elizabeth: she's a recent widow, has no need or desire to find a job, loves books, sex, and alcohol, hates men in the mornings, is an insomniac, and is trying to figure out how to be a good mother. Now meet Rosie: she's the feisty daughter who doesn't take shit from her mother and all of her alcoholic tendencies. The two create a perfect pair for each other, as they help each other grow up and get through the hard times. The characters are at times frustrating, but in an endearing sort of way. It will either make you want to drink wine all night and finish the book, or sober up and finish the book. Either way, Lamott's writing is amazing and fabulous. The story will stick with you for quite awhile
400 women brutally raped and murdered in one city in the past 12 years. Their bodies turned up as bones in the desert. These stories are true. Why haven't you heard of them? Because you haven't read this book. Daughters of Juarez is the first non-fiction book to come out about the femicides in Juarez, Mexico. If you can stop crying long enough to finish it, you won't be disappointed.
The story begins with a young woman, Gutke who is training to be a midwife. (And let me just say--I hate kids, but reading the description of what a midwife does seriously made me re-consider my life plans). She's also a young lesbian-to-be who eventually escapes czarist Russia. The other half of the story is about the young Chava, a girl that Gurke helped to birth, who also escapes Russia after witnessing her whole community and family nurdered during the pogroms. After many life experiences, the two characters meet together again in NYC. AFter 12 years of research and writing, Elana Dykewoman has created a beautiful novel.
Baby Remember My Name is an awesome new collection of queer writing handpicked by our queer girl Goddess, Michelle Tea. These 22 stories are not limited to the genre of lesbo fiction--which is what is so great about them. There's a story about a young Hispanic boy who doesn't understand why everyone insists that he is a girl, a graphic novel excerpt about free cable, a sassy story about bondage sex, and a love story between two pigeons. All of the contributers are burgeoning queer girl writers, making their way onto the scene. Tea has broken queer literary ground with this new collection.
I read the first half of Felicia Luna Lemus' sophomore work Like Son in a day, and it's taken me two weeks to finish it--not because it is bad but because I didn't want the story to end. Frank lives in post 9/11 NYC. He's really a girl, but that doesn't matter because why conform people to gender norms? When his Vietname War vet and blind father dies, he's left with only a few reminders of his latino father: a briefcase, a suit, and an Edward Weston photo of real-life Mexican rebellion, Nahui Olin. The photo haunts Frank, and he can't shake the image out of his mind. As his relationship with his wickedly crazy girlfriend Nathalie grows, Frank still can't leave the symbolism and image of Nahui behind. Weaving issues of grief, gender, race, obsession, and odious coffee consumption into one splendid narrative, Lemus creates a story that you won't ever want to forget. Like Weston's photo of Nahui, Lemus' novel will leave you feeling empty without it.