Top 5 Wednesday: Bookish Things I’m a Grinch About

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Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

December 6th – Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About: Since being a grinch is a funny thing, try not to make this serious topics that make you angry (like lack of diversity or abusive relationships in fiction, etc) as this is supposed to be more of a petty bookish things you hate. This can be stuff about covers, dumb tropes, etc. Have fun with it.

All right, a chance to rant! Reading everyone else’s posts has been super fun, by the way. Here we go!


1. Characters calling each other by name way too frequently. This is a super small thing but it irritates me SO MUCH. If two people are having a conversation in real life they are not going to be using each others’ name every other sentence because it’s very clear who they are talking to!  Authors do this so much and it always jolts me out of the narrative because it makes the dialogue feel so…stiff and unnatural and performative.  Imagine a lengthy conversation in a book and literally in every sentence the characters use each others’ names…it ‘s hell.  Utter hell.

2. The Exceptional Woman, aka “I’m Not Like Other Girls.” This is a super irritating trope not only because it pits women against each other, but because it inevitably leads to the dreaded Mean Girl trope as well.  So you’ll have your protagonist, who is special and perfect, and then all other girls are either silly and frivolous or complete jerks for no reason whatsoever. Thankfully it looks like we’re starting to see less of this and more of female friendships, but it is still shockingly prevalent in fiction, YA in particular, which is just so horribly insidious to pit teen girls against one another like that.

3. Everyone is Beautiful and You Need to Be Reminded Constantly. Character descriptions can be so damn irritating in YA fiction.  I really hate it when the protagonist is thought of as ~gorgeous~ by everyone except herself.  I hate it even more when the male love interest is super chiseled and perfect and the author is constantly describing his shiny abs and sharp jaw or whatever and our heroine is always going weak in the knees at the sight of him. It’s so boring and so heteronormative and wouldn’t it be so much more interesting if they looked like ordinary people? Or if they looked interesting/striking but not necessarily beautiful? Or if they were beautiful in ways that don’t adhere to traditional Western beauty standards? Or if they were beautiful but weren’t attracted to each other? Or at the very least, can authors stop harping on about how gorgeous their characters are?

4. Instalove/Soulmates. I really, really hate this. I mean, to be fair, I’m not a huge fan of romance in general, but that’s because most romance is done so badly! I actually really love well-done romances (Kell and Lila in Shades of Magic; Wanu and Hanani in the Dreamblood duology; Nahri and Dara in The City of Brass; Kaz and Inej in Six of Crows).  I like slow-burn relationships, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, relationships that develop over time, realistic relationships, relationships with depth and hard work and payoff. I even don’t mind love triangles if they’re done well! But instalove is boring and doesn’t give the reader anything to wonder about or root for.

5. Tropes Played Straight. Let me explain this one, because it’s kind of vague, but I’ve encountered it a lot, particularly in YA. This is when an author introduces a very common trope and sets the story up in such a way to make it seem like the trope will be subverted…only the trope is played completely straight.  The most prominent examples are Red Queen and the Mara Dyer trilogy.  In Red Queen, I really thought the author was playing on our expectations and giving us an unexpected love interest…only she played the trope completely straight and gave us  the boring predictable love interest. In Mara Dyer the book set itself up as a psychological thriller but then went the standard supernatural romance/soulmate route.  There is so much to play around with in literature if authors took these tropes and flipped them on their heads; it’s a great way to shock readers’ expectations. One of the reasons I really love GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire is that so many cliched fantasy tropes are overturned and subverted.


This was surprisingly cathartic, haha!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Write Like

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

This week’s topic is Authors I Want to Write Like.

I have been so, so excited for this topic. As an aspiring writer, writing style is something I pay close attention to.  This was a super fun topic for me and really got me thinking about what I admire in authors.


ny42eh4NRoshani Chokshi: Okay, let’s get this out of the way: I love purple prose. I love it. Heavy, heady, overly descriptive, flowery writing. I adore it.  Yes, sometimes it can be too much, but I have a very high threshold.  I’ve only read one of Roshani’s books but I fell completely in love with the writing, separate from the story or the characters (both of which were good, but not as fantastic as the writing).  When I started The Star-Touched Queen I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the quality of the words weaving together. I would go back and re-read paragraphs just to linger on the pretty writing.

“Neither the secret whirring song of the stars nor the sonorous canticles of the earth knew the language that sprang up in the space between us. It was a dialect of heartbeats, strung together with the lilt of long suffering and the incandescent hope of an infinite future.”

– The Star-Touched Queen


13414088S. Jae-Jones: JJ is another writer sometimes accused of overly purple prose.  I wasn’t partial to her book because it was much too slow for me, but I adored the quality of her writing. Yes, it was purple at times, but it was also incredibly elegant and polished, lush and sensual.  Though the story slow, it was beautiful and atmospheric, with a lingering fairy-tale quality.  I also really admired the way she wrote her romance.  It was such a slow burn, and even the sex scenes were written in such a gorgeous, elegant way!

“I surveyed my kingdom. Chaos. Cruelty. Abandon. I had always been holding back. Always been restrained. I wanted to be bigger, brighter, better; I wanted to be capricious, malicious, sly. Until now, I had not known the intoxicating sweetness of attention. In the world above, it had always been Käthe or Josef who captivated people’s eyes and hearts— Käthe with her beauty, Josef with his talent. I was forgotten, overlooked, ignored— the plain, drab, practical,talentless sister. But here in the Underground, I was the sun around which their world spun, the axis around which their maelstrom twirled. Liesl the girl had been dull, drab, and obedient; Elisabeth the woman was a queen.”

– Wintersong


7168230Victoria Schwab: The thing about Victoria’s writing is that it feels absolutely effortless. It’s the sort of writing that makes you feel like you’ve just wrapped a warm cozy blanket around yourself.  She is just an objectively good writer; her prose is neither too purple nor too sparse, she builds characters who feel real, she is so, so creative with her plots, and she writes romance that makes you care.  Also, her productivity is just so admirable? She writes so much and has been writing for so long and she puts out at least one book a year, which is almost unbelievable. I kind of want to be Victoria when I grow up (Victoria is only five years older than me RIP).

“They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn’t know which one of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding. The kiss was Lila pressed into a single gesture. Her brazen pride and her stubborn resolve, her recklessness and her daring and her hunger for freedom. It was all those things, and it took Kell’s breath away.”

– A Gathering of Shadows


3472Margaret Atwood: I’ve only read two books by Atwood (a crime, I know), but I’ve enjoyed both of them (and hey, I’ve been meaning to read more).  Atwood’s writing is just so brilliant and incisive. She has such a clear way of stating universal truths.  Her writing is sensual and detailed, clear and visceral.  Not only do I want to write like her, I want her cleverness and her ability to bend genre conventions.

“She imagines him imagining her. This is her salvation. In spirit she walks the city, traces its labyrinths, its dingy mazes: each assignation, each rendezvous, each door and stair and bed. What he said, what she said, what they did, what they did then. Even the times they argued, fought, parted, agonized, rejoined. How they’d loved to cut themselves on each other, taste their own blood. We were ruinous together, she thinks. But how else can we live, these days, except in the midst of ruin?”

– The Blind Assassin


tumblr_inline_o940q2meUN1qaqnoq_500Alyssa Wong: Alyssa’s a bit different from the other folks on this list, because she hasn’t written a novel just yet. But she’s written multiple award-winning short stories, most of them dark, most of them strange, all of them lovingly crafted.  Her writing is rich and vivid, but above all creative.  She has a way of pulling out common themes and ideas and writing about them in innovative ways. I really admire her skill, and I read her short stories to learn!

“The world ended with a bang, folding in on itself, the lines of the horizon collapsing like soaked origami. Our parents’ house turned to glass, to fire, to energy sparking ripe and rich for the taking. I drained it, pulling it deep into myself until the house was empty, our parents gone. And then there was nothing but me and my sister, her imprint, her echo.”

– A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers


Honorable Mentions: Daphne du Maurier, Erin Morgenstern, Catherine Valente, Alison Goodman, Katherine Arden

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’m Thankful For

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I haven’t done Top 5 anything in a while, but I thought I could give this week’s Top 5 Wednesday a shot! The topic is Top 5 Books You Are Thankful For.  It ended up being…a little demoralizing.  Let me explain. When I first saw the topic, my mind immediately jumped to books with f/f pairings, just because this has been on my mind lately.  In particular, YA books with f/f pairings. But as I went through my list of books read this year, I realized that none of the books I’ve read this year feature any prominent f/f pairings.  There is a thread on Twitter that recently talked about how few f/f books there are in YA and in fantasy, particularly compared to m/m, and f/f books tends to be sidelined as “special interest” or something.  All of which is to say: please, please, recommend f/f books to me! Preferably fantasy, but I will take contemporary as well! Give me recs guys!!!

Anyway, I didn’t mean to turn this into an essay on the state of the YA market. Despite the aforementioned blow, I did manage to find five books I am thankful for, and for various reasons! In no particular order:

20764879A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: Aside from being a spectacularly written book with incredible tension and a romance that makes me giggle (a rare thing), A Gathering of Shadows also features Lila Bard, an absolute tour de force of a character. So often women with magic are reluctant to use their powers or stumble into them. Not so with Lila.  Lila actively seeks out her power. She is not frightened by her abilities; she is impressed by them. She wants to be the most powerful of them all, so she trains as hard as she can, even when others tell her not to. She takes ridiculous risks and she’s full of herself and she’s not frightened of anything. She is an absolutely incredible woman, an incredibly written female character, and I am so thankful she exists.


31123249Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali: This was one of my favorite books of the year.  Ali writes about Muslim community with such grace, such love, such complexity! In Ali’s book, Muslims were real and human, lovable and flawed, loving and cruel.  Ali wrote about a niqabi who also happens to be an outspoken badass – talk about flipping the stereotype of oppressed Muslim women right on its head! The narrator is witty and engaging, and the writing is high-quality. I am thankful this book exists because it is such a great example of diversity in literature done right.


33574143The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Probably one of the stranger books I’ve read this year, but also one of my favorites! It’s a novel of manners a la Jane Austen with a touch of magic (telekinesis, to be specific). At its heart, it’s a romance. However, what drew me to it was the elegant writing, the prettily crafted world, and the compelling main characters.  The moment I finished this book I was inspired to write a novel of manners of my own (Egyptian inspired, in my case). So, I am thankful this book exists, because without it, I wouldn’t have my current WIP, which is one of my favorite projects that I’m working on.


29396738Monstress by Marjorie Liu: This one’s a little different, since it’s a graphic novel. I don’t normally read those, but I was drawn to Monstress.  Let me quote the Goodreads summary at you so you understand why: “Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.” I mean. Need I even say more? This book is absolutely wild, so freaking original, with that overwhelming epicness that so many fantasy books strive for but don’t achieve. I am thankful that something this original exists.


16235Sister of my Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: Not only am I partial to f/f relationships, I am super fond of friendships between women. Sister of my Heart features one of the most beautiful, intimate, and enduring friendships between two women that I’ve ever seen.  Two girls, Anju and Sudha, from different worlds, grow up together, close as sisters, and their love for each other goes beyond anything.  There were so many beautiful scenes in this book, but the one that I remember most clearly is Anju watching Sudha look at the moon. Sudha is topless, but her hair is covering her chest, and Anju is thinking she is beautiful.  There were of course flaws in this book, and I’m sure if I went back and looked with a more critical eye I would find them. But I don’t want to. As much as I want to go back and reread this book I’m afraid reading it now, with my more critical eye, might ruin it for me. So I am simply thankful this book has given me such a beautiful and powerful female friendship to think about.

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Quotes

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Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Bionic Bookworm.

This prompt was a struggle for me! I can never remember quotes even if I thought them super profound at the time.  So, basically, I went through some of my favorite books looking for quotes…which is to say that these are not especially comprehensive. They don’t cover the range of every single quote I’ve appreciated because I simply cannot remember and I certainly did not go through all my books on Goodreads. Alas.

Unsurprisingly, N.K. Jemisin features quite a bit.  Also, there’s actually 6-8 quotes here because that’s just how I roll (it was really hard to pick okay).  Oddly enough, a lot of these seem to tie in with the current political situation in some way or another. That was not planned.

 

22817331“Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”

— Kiersten White, Now I Rise


11774295“There was no peace in continuing to do what had already proven unworkable. Sometimes tradition itself disrupted peace, and only newness could smooth the way.”

— N.K. Jemisin, The Shadowed Sun

 


26228034“But if you stay, no part of this comm[unity] gets to decide that any part of this comm[unity] is expendable. No voting on who gets to be people.”

“Everyone shouldn’t have a say in whose life is worth fighting for.”

— N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate


6437061“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

— N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms


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“Freedom granted by your rulers is just a chain with a little slack.”

— Seth Dickinson, The Traitor Baru Cormorant

 

 


17645“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

— Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad


harper-perennial-edition“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Top 5 Tuesday: Most Read Authors

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Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Bookworm.  This week’s is most read authors! If I do this by sheer number of books, it’s gonna be kind of embarrassing, but perhaps that’s the point.  This ended up being a stroll down memory lane for me, a look into the authors who were quite formative for me as a young adult.

 

Honorable Mention: N.K. Jemisin (8) 

11774295I discovered Jemisin almost by chance when stumbling through fantasy recommendations one day. I read the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy but did not continue for some reason. Then Jemisin started blowing up (this was even before The Fifth Season was published) so I went back and decided to keep reading. I liked the second book a bit less and hated the third (the only one of Jemisin’s books I adamantly do not like). Then I read the Dreamblood Duology, a spectacular work of Egyptian-inspired fantasy which is actually my favorite writing of hers. And of course, her magnum opus to date, the twice-Hugo Award winning Fifth Season.


5. Anne Rice (8-10) 

43763This is where things may start to get a little embarrassing. As you will soon realize, I was absolutely obsessed with vampires and all things supernatural when I was a teen.  I started reading Anne Rice at eleven years old, which is what happens when no one supervises your reading choices. I definitely would not give these books to an eleven year old, or even a young teen, to be honest. Part of the reason I’m not sure how many books I read is that at some point they all blurred together, a hazy vision of blood and sex and strangeness that made very little sense to me as a youngster.  I barely understood most of what I was reading, but there were vampires, so I kept reading anyway.


4. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (9) 

30334I worshiped Amelia when I was a teen.  Incredibly, she published her first novel at fourteen freaking years old! And it’s actually a decent, mature read about vampires! But Amelia doesn’t only write vampires; for me, her claim to fame is her Kiesha’ra series, about shapeshifting humanoids who have been at war for decades. Not only was this series rich in worldbuilding and characterization, it also introduced me to the concept of same-sex attraction and featured the first f/f romance I had ever seen.  Needless to say, she was very formative for me (Amelia herself is a lesbian and I remember being fascinated with that as a kid, which makes sense to me now). I’ve been meaning to pick up some of her newer works!


3. Cate Tiernan (17) 

775981I wasn’t even sure if I should include Tiernan; the only reason I’ve read so much of her is because the Sweep series is made up of fourteen teeny tiny novels coming in at less than 200 pages each! However, if we’re talking formative authors (which…I’m not sure that we are but I guess this is what this turned into) then I have to mention her. The Sweep series changed me as a person. It’s about a young girl coming into her powers of witchcraft.  Tiernan seamlessly blends real-world religion Wicca with her own fantasy version. I remember being fifteen and so damn disappointed when I realized that Wicca as an organized faith only stretched back into the ’60s! I still have the Sweep series on my shelf and every now and then I re-read it. It brings me so much joy.


2. Darren Shan (22) 

864804Clocking in at #2 is Darren Shan, of all people, famous for his Cirque du Freak series about vampires (are you seeing the pattern?).  But the more formative for me was his second series, the Demonata, about a world adjacent to ours that holds bloodthirsty demons who are fighting to come into our world and kill us all.  I read these books during my emo phase, when I was really into things being as gory and bloody as possible.  And let me tell you, these books are hella gory.

 

 


1. V.C. Andrews (28-??) 

2950291Oh, boy. This one is really embarrassing, but talk about formative! I started Andrews’ work with her Flowers in the Attic series, infamous for its many incestuous relationships, including the central one between brother and sister. This is probably where my obsession incest ships began, to tell you the truth. Known for combining Gothic horror and family saga, V.C. Andrews is an interesting case because the actual Cleo Virginia Andrews died in 1986, in the midst of writing her second major series. However, her books were so successful and drew in so much cash that her estate hired a ghost writer by the name of Andrew Niederman to continue writing in her name. There is a noticeable change in quality between Anrews and Niederman.  All the books are addictive trash, but I actually highly recommend the Dollanganger/Flowers in the Attic series just for how utterly disturbing it is.  Andrews is another one I started reading very young, so I don’t remember how much of her work I read, but I definitely had a lengthy Andrews phase and I remember committing to reading everything under her name.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Fancasts

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is Favorite Fancasts, an awesome topic!

Y’all don’t know how much I struggled with this! I tried to think as outside of the box as I could.  Here goes!

JASMINE CEPHAS-JONES AS NINA ZENIK

I know the ages don’t match, as Jasmine is almost thirty, but Rachel and I were literally just talking about how amazing it would be to see Six of Crows turned into an aged-up gritty Starz/HBO show with Cillian Murphy playing Kaz.  If that ever did happen, there’s no one I’d rather have play Nina, who is my favorite character in Six of Crows.  Known mostly for her roles as Peggy Schyler and Mariah Reynolds in the musical Hamilton, Jasmine has also has some bit parts in TV shows here and there. She’s freaking gorgeous and has that spark of fire needed to play Nina.

ANYA TAYLOR-JOY AS AGNIESZKA

Ever since I discovered Anya Taylor-Joy in the rather terrible film Split, she has been my Agnieszka.  I wasn’t feeling up to changing hair colors in Photoshop, which is why she’s blond here, but have her dye her hair dark brown and she’d be perfect. In the book, Agnieszka is described as plain, and while Anya is anything but, I think she is not traditionally pretty and has a haunting, striking quality that would be perfect for this creepy fairy tale.

ANNA POPPLEWELL AS LADA DRACUL

And speaking of not being traditionally pretty! Personally, I think Anna is absolutely gorgeous, but she’s definitely unique looking.  Lada, a gender-bent alternate universe version of Vlad the Impaler, is described as ugly and hard-looking. I think that were Anna to go without makeup she would actually pull off Lada spectacularly.  She’s also got those clear, depth-less eyes that are more than a little creepy.  I’ve always wanted to see her play someone evil or morally ambiguous, and I think Lada could be a great, meaty role for her.

GOLSHIFTEH FARAHANI AS BARU CORMORANT

I don’t even remember what Baru looks like at this point, but I know I want Golshifteh to play her.  If you know me you know The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of my favorite books, and it is one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve ever read.  Golshifteh always has this perpetually sad, pensive look to her that would make her excellent for Baru, an accountant turned rebel and spy fighting against the Empire that colonized her home.  I’ve always pictured Baru as somewhat serious and sharp-looking and I think Golshifteh embodies that aesthetic nicely.

GEORGIE HENLEY AS SAFIYA “SAFI” FON HASSTREL

Before anyone asks, I’ve actually never watched Narnia films, and it is by pure coincidence that Anna and Georgie both ended up on this list.  Anyway, when looking for someone to play Safi, I knew I wanted something different than the generically pretty blonde actresses I tend to see fancast as her.  Above all Safi is fiery, contrary, and mischievous, so I wanted an actress who could be very pretty but could also look just as comfortable plotting a heist.  For that I thought Georgie suited this role very well.

What are your thoughts on my choices? I loooove talking fancasts so please let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Tuesday: Books for Non-Readers

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Bookworm.

I actually know a lot of non-readers in my life, chief among them my brother, but someone like him is an adamant non-reader.  He simply refuses to pick up books. So I took this tag to be more about casual readers, less “I’ll only read if you pay me” and more “I’m looking for something really really specific and captivating”.

For the “I want fantasy and adventure” crowd:

21414439Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Truthwitch walks the fine line between YA fantasy and adult fantasy.  It’s about two young women, best friends, who find themselves caught in political machinations beyond their control.  From the first page Dennard sucks you into a harrowing crisis, and from then on the fun never stops.  Dennard is fantastic at writing action scenes; she draws you in and doesn’t ever let go.  The characters are all super-well developed and the world-building is rich and detailed.

For the “I prefer romcoms” crowd:

28458598When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: This book is hilarious and so much fun.  It’s about two Indian kids whose parents decide to set them up – only one of them is unaware she is being set up.  It’s such a sweet story about falling in love and family and cultural expectations.  It’s super light-hearted and ends happily in perfect romcom fashion.


For the “I need a mystery” crowd:

29276588Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia: Attempting to solve the mystery of a teenage girl’s murder in a small town, this book is your classic murder mystery/small town with secrets book.  I literally could not put it down. I think I stayed up until like 3AM reading it because I just could not stop and had to know who the killer was. The end was not shocking, but satisfying because it made sense.

For the “I need pictures and visuals” crowd:

29396738Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu: I’m not generally a graphic novel reader, but I’d heard such good things about Monstress that I had to check it out.  This is a whirlwind of a graphic novel, pulling in from so many different genres – horror, steampunk, high fantasy, science fiction – all blending seamlessly together in a matriarchal world filled with diversity of all kinds.  It’s definitely a lot to take in, but it’s really worth the investment, and it will keep you hooked. From the intricate story to the beautiful artwork, you will not be able to put this down.

For the “I only read non-fiction” crowd: 

8462352Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey L. Mogul, Andrea K. Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock: I’m a frequent non-fiction reader myself, so I had to recommend something in this category.  I actually read this book a few years back for a class in college, and I didn’t expect to like it so much.  It’s rare to come across a non-fiction book that is legitimately a page turner! This book details the treatment of LGBT people from when they are unjustly arrested and profiled to their treatment in the court and prison system.  It focuses heavily on intersections of race and class and is an absolutely eye-opening read for anyone with a rosy view of the US prison system.