[Cover Reveal] Opal Charm: Hope in Nautical Dusk

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Today’s the cover reveal for Miri Castor’s Hope in Nautical Dusk, hosted by Rich in Variety a tour hosting site dedicated to diversity. Hope in Nautical Dusk is the second book in the Opal Charm fantasy series and will be released March 19th, I can’t wait! So without further ado, here’s the complete cover, isn’t it gorgeous!

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About the book:

Author: Miri Castor • Publication Date: March 19th, 2017 • Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy • Inclusion of Diversity: Bisexual African American protagonist.

The Gift of Twilight flourishes within Opal Charm as winter descends on Dewdrop. Life was already rough before, but Opal’s got new obstacles to face – getting into high school, bringing her brother back home, and training to protect Athre and Earth from Samael, the mysterious overlord who seeks to rule all, and put an end to her and the Charm lineage. The balance between harsh truths and sweet lies is more fragile than ever. Yet, as winter rolls on, the balance begins to break as a new threat emerges. Memories Opal once trusted are disintegrating her friendships, and lies are clouding her Path of Dawn and Dusk. Opal must seek the truth while protecting those close to her, no matter how painful it may be.

Add to goodreads!

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About the author:

Miri Castor is the author of Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn. She spent many recesses in middle school writing fantasy stories, with Opal Charm being one of many. She has written for Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine and was featured as a Spotlight New Author in 2016. Now attending a university on the East Coast, she studies biochemistry and will receive her B.S. in 2016. A New York native, Miri is working on her second novel while in her last year as an undergraduate. She enjoys playing video games, attending music concerts, and strolling through the City.

10 Poetry Collections by Black Women #BlackHistoryMonth

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It’s Black History Month! And while I try to read and highlight Black writers throughout the year, I thought I’d contribute a few extra posts for folks celebrating and folks looking for more resources. While spoken word is my first love, I have been getting better at reading poetry and so I thought I’d share some of my favorite Black women poets and collections that I’m reading or that are on my list. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading this month!

1.Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women by Cheryl Clarke gr-pic

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Black lesbian poet Cheryl Clarke’s 1992 collection, first published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, is about love and women creating representation.

 

2.The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde gr-pic

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Fed up with the whiteness of the poetry and nearly all literature taught in my school, Audre Lorde was one of the first poets I really connected with. The poems in this collection are beautiful and powerful, and explore how we inhabit multiple positions. Find “A Litany for Survival,” and other poems here.

 

3.Black Wings & Blind Angels by Sapphire gr-pic

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This work collects over 40 poems by the author of Push, as unflinching and harrowing and powerful as her novel, but also trigger warnings for abuse and incest.

 

4.Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith gr-pic

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When it comes to poetry, spoken word is my first love. Here’s Blood Dazzler by amazing Patricia Smith, check our her spoken word performances (some videos are available online)! This collection follows Hurricane Katrina and the destruction unleashed through the voices of survivors, politicians and even the hurricane itself.

5.They Are All Me by Dominique Christina gr-pic

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Another slam poet, Dominique Christina is also an educator and activist and this work is her second poetry collection.  She takes on topics such as genocide, police violence, Katrina and menstruation.

6.Gospel by Samiya Bashir gr-pic

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In this collection, poet Samiya Bashir takes on fear and power through gospel, but not necessarily (just) the religious meaning of the word. By the way, Bashir’s newest work comes out in April!

 

7.Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths by Elizabeth Acevedo gr-pic

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In the 2016 collection Beastgirl, Afro-Latina poet Acevedo interweaves personal stories, mythology and Dominican culture.

8. BlackGirl Mansion by Angel Nafis gr-pic

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Also a spoken word artist, Angel Nafis’ poetry leaps off the page: “I am here now,/speaking and giving/in bursts/of chest, and effort,/and temperature.”

9.Trigger by Venus Selenite gr-pic

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This is poet, writer, performance artist, social critic, editor, educator, and technologist Venus Selenite’s debut collection “is a bold, intimate, and comfortable/uncomfortable quest, through (Selenite’s) own eyes, in being Black, being queer, being trans, being a woman, and being non-binary in 21st century America, in what continues to be systemic and oppressive, but also adventurous and ecstatic” (venusselenite.com). Venus Selenite is also the co-editor of Nameless Woman: An Anthology of Fiction by Trans Women of Color (forthcoming).

10.Name Poems by Jewelle L. Gómez gr-pic

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The Gilda Stories author Jewelle Gómez writes poetry as well. In this 2015 collection, she examines experiences at multiple intersections, exploring her Native American (Ioway, Wampanoag) heritage and Black lesbian identity.

Further reading:

10 Works of Black Lesbian Short Fiction

What are you reading this Black History Month?

2017 #DiverseAThon TBR

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This month #DiverseAThon returns from January 22nd – 29th to bring the book community together in reading diverse literature. #DiverseAThon was first started by booktubers Joce @SquibblesReads, Christina Marie, Monica@shemightbemonica and Whitney @WhittyNovels in 2016 after a white booktuber had a meltdown over diversity and how it doesn’t matter. As they tend to. Anyway, it’s always awesome to see people striking back and I’m happy to see that #DiverseAThon has returned, hope it will for many years to come.

I’m almost always reading diverse lit, but the -thon part I need to get better at. At the moment I’m juggling a lot of books but that means I don’t finish many for quite some time. So, hopefully #DiverseAThon will help me with that. And I love making lists for these events. Here’s me trying to settle on a tbr, and though I hardly ever stick to my lists, I’ll do my very best! The best thing about this readathon is that there’s a timeframe and the goal to read diverse lit and that is it, no other requirement!

I’ve extremely optimistically put together a tbr of 5 books, reach for the stars and all that. I’ve also selected books that range from non-fiction to short stories to poetry, because I want to have option since I’m a total mood reader. And my focus is on Women of Color literature of course.

Deceit And Other Possibilities: Stories by Vanessa Hua gr-pic

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In this powerful debut collection, Vanessa Hua gives voice to immigrant families navigating a new America. Tied to their ancestral and adopted homelands in ways unimaginable in generations past, these memorable characters straddle both worlds but belong to none. (GR)

White Nights, Black Paradise by Sikivu Hutchinson gr-pic

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In 1978, Peoples Temple, a Black multiracial church once at the forefront of progressive San Francisco politics, self-destructed in a Guyana jungle settlement named after its leader, the Reverend Jim Jones. Fatally bonded by fear of racist annihilation, the community’s greatest symbol of crisis was the White Night; a rehearsal of revolutionary mass suicide that eventually led to the deaths of over 900 church members of all ages, genders and sexual orientations. (GR)

The Little Book of Big Visions. How to be an Artist and Revolutionize the World by Sandrine Micossé-Aikins & Sharon Dodua Otoo, eds. gr-pic

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German theatres still have almost exclusively white ensembles and Afro-German visual artists continue to struggle for recognition free of labels like “African” or “migrant” – even in 2012. “The Little Book of Big Visions: How to be an Artist and Revolutionize the World,” edited by Sandrine Micossé-Aikins and Sharon Dodua Otoo, discusses the current situation of Black artists in Germany and presents their visions for equality in text and image form. (GR)

Floating. Brilliant. Gone by Franny Choi gr-pic

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Beginning at loss and ending in reflective elation, Floating, Brilliant, Gone moves steadily through the many complicated textures of identity, anxiety, and absence. Using a language that is as volatile as the world it tries to occupy, these poems read like lucid dreams that jolt awake at the most unexpected moments. (GR)

A Return to Arms by Sheree L. Greer gr-pic

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When Toya meets Folami and joins the activist collective RiseUP!, she thinks she’s found her life’s purpose. Folami’s sensuality and her passion for social justice leave Toya feeling that, at last, she’s met someone she can share all parts of her life with. But when a controversial police shooting blurs the lines between the personal and the political, Toya is forced to examine her identity, her passions, and her allegiances. (GR)

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Are you doing #DiverseAThon? What’s on your TBR?

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Keep up with DiverseAThon via the twitter account @DiverseAThon and follow the hashtag #DiverseAThon!

10 Works of Black Lesbian Short Fiction

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Recently, I was asked about short story collections by women of Color, and what a timely thing, too, since I’m planning on reading more short fiction this year. Collections are always a bit complicated for me: on the one hand I want to take my time and savor each story, treat it as a complete work by itself (as should be, unless it’s interconnected stories), but on the other I usually fail and pressure myself to read the whole collection quickly. So this year, I will again start an extra page in my menu for short stories I’ve read. I used to do this a few years ago, but have sadly let it slide. That way I hope to concentrate on a variety of stories,  giving each the same attention I would give a novel.

Now, short story collections by women of Color, that covers a lot of ground! So I’m starting with this list of Black lesbian short fiction:

1.Does Your Mama Know?: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories by Lisa C. Moore, ed. gr-pic

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This important 1998 collection showcases Black lesbian coming out experiences. Many of the contributions are short stories but you can also find poems, interviews and essays. Edited by Lisa C. Moore who is also the founder and editor of the amazing RedBone Press, which publishes Black lesbian and gay literature. Note: There is now a second edition that comes with 17 new stories!

2.Speaking in Whispers: African-American Lesbian Erotica by Kathleen E. Morris gr-pic

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A 1996 collection of erotic short fiction, celebrating Black lesbian sexuality and sensuality, also available from RedBone Press! Kathleen E. Morris identifies herself as a militant total femme dyke.

3.Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing by Catherine E. McKinley, L. Joyce DeLaney, eds. gr-pic

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First published in 1995, the Afrekete anthology also includes poetry and nonfiction. It features works by Audre Lorde, Jewelle Gómez, Jacqueline Woodson, Alexis De Veaux and more and was nominated for the Lambda award in 1996.

4.Don’t Explain by Jewelle Gómez gr-pic

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In her short story collection, American writer and cultural worker Jewelle Gómez (of The Gilda Stories fame) presents Black lesbian speculative fiction set in 1960s Boston and other futures.

5.Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories by Shonia Brown, ed. gr-pic

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A 2006 collection of erotic short fiction about Black lesbian love at different stages., edited by Shonia Brown, author of a novel and independent book publisher.

6.Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction by S. Andrea Allen, Lauren Cherelle, eds. gr-pic

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A recent addition, this collection presents stories about the range of Black lesbian experiences in such genres as romance and SFF. Editor S. Andrea Allen is also the founder and publisher of Black feminist press BLF Press, take a look!

7.Two Moons: Stories by Krystal A. Smith gr-pic

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This collection isn’t out yet, but will be released June 20, 2017 ( also by BLF Press)! Krystal A. Smith is a “Black lesbian writer of poetry and speculative fiction.”

8.Callaloo & Other Lesbian Love Tales by LaShonda K. Barnett gr-pic

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LaShonda Barnett is an author, radio host and scholar, and also the author of the novel Jam! On the Vine. Her short story collection from 1999 presents tales of Black lesbian women from different walks of life.

9.Black Girl Love by Anondra “Kat” Williams gr-pic

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Anondra “Kat” Williams is a writer and poet as well as a radio host and the author of another collection, SistaGirl. Black Girl Love collects more than 25 short stories and poems about Black lesbians on love, life and sex.

10.Once and Future Lovers: A Collection of Short Fiction by Sheree L. Greer gr-pic

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Sheree L. Greer is an author and the host of Oral Fixation, an LGBTQ Open Mic series. Her 2012 book is a short collection about the courage, joy, pain and pleasure of love and relationships.

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How do you read short story collections? And have you read any of the works above? 

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Further reading:

For all the Black lesbian lit recommendations, visit Rena’s excellent blog Sistahs on the Shelf.

For more generally diverse short story collections, see for example Naz’ wonderful list “Give Short Fiction A Chance” here.

Side Project: Diverse Study Group

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Ugh I wanted to post last night but migraine struck again. I didn’t want to post without an image though, so today is the day! Maybe it’s my migraine hangover brain, but while rereading the rows of text confused even me, thus have some random keywords emphasized for (hopefully) readability.

The What & The How

So during the holidays I mentioned on twitter that I wanted to read up on current mostly academic nonfiction and asked if anyone wanted to join in. Loved that so many of you were interested, and hope you still are at the end of this post! 😀

I graduated last year, but have continued reading articles and nonfiction regularly, however I miss the exchange and discussion part of uni that generates understanding and new ideas. So that’s why I want to make this a regular thing and also involve you folks. Knowledge production happens in fiction and on social media, especially twitter, as well, so reading scholarly works would just be another, perhaps complimentary,  approach. I realize that these works might not be accessible to all, but perhaps the format of an informal study group encourages people who wouldn’t pick up these works by themselves. Disclosure: I’ve done grad school twice, but I had to work for it, my brain is super slow. I hope to have discussions that have space for non-academic folks and a context that is not competitive. As for actually getting our hands on these books, I can ILL many UP books (which takes 2-3 weeks) here and probably share 1-2 chapters as pdfs. We might also decide to read articles and I still have access to some databases. Perhaps between all of us, we’ll manage with most works, I’m hopeful.

Which brings me to another thing: This project would basically be a study group not a book club in that we would be reading chapters from books (and /or articles), perhaps several different books to get at several ways of approaching a topic. We could always later decide if we want to continue with a specific book all the way through, but the wonderful Social Justice Book Club does this and I want to join their reading whenever a book interests me 🙂 Let me know what you think! I know we all have lots of other books to read.

Also, I was thinking of reading and discussing 1-3 chapters a month, using a hashtag (#DivStGr for example). Or we could use a shared google document perhaps. We’ll need to see how the time-zones work out, but perhaps weekends with not quite live-tweeting would work.

Also, you’ll notice that this is a book list that is broad in topics and  lot of books are left out. That is because I finally have to luxury to read widely rather than in-depth to become an expert in one particular topic. However, my focus is clearly on ethnic studies, feminism and social justice and at the moment I’m mostly focusing on the these experiences in a Western context. So there’s several fields I want to explore, and that’s how I grouped books. Of course several books would fit more than one category, but this is easier for overview, I hope.

And finally, tons of books are missing from this list. I forced myself to post only a handful of books I want to read to start with, my initial list was embarrassingly long! But I’m sure you have suggestions, too, and when we decide on a fist topic we should do additional research as well. While my goal is to read newish research, I found that it might benefit discussion and understanding to go back more so that foundational and key texts can be added too. So the older works could be read if some of you are new to a concept or topic, or for comparisons and to find changes in directions of where the field is headed.

Fields of interest/ books to read from:

Intersectional Feminism, Solidarity, Disability

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Are All The Women Still White?: Rethinking Race, Expanding Feminisms  (Janell Hobson)

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Intersectionality (Patricia Hill Collins, Sirma Bilge)

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Feminist, Queer, Crip (Alison Kafer)

#BlackLivesMatter

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Policing the Planet (Jordan T. Camp, Christina Heatherton, eds.)

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From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)

The Prison Industrial Complex

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Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex (Julia Sudbury, ed.)

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Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (Eric A. Stanley, Nat Smith, eds.)

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Are Prisons Obsolete? (Angela Y. Davis)

Sound Studies

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The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening (Jennifer Lynn Stoever)

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Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (Deborah R. Vargas)

Indigineity, Settler-Colonialism, Sovereignty

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Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Linda Tuhiwai Smith)

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Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai’i (Candace Fujikane, Jonathan Y. Okamura, eds.)

Queer Studies

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Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics (Naisargi Dave)

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Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (E. Patrick Johnson, Mae G. Henderson, eds.)

Critical Ethnic Studies

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Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Critical Ethnic Studies Editorial Collective)

Biopolitics

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Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species (Neel Ahuja)

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Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Alexander G. Weheliye)

Health, Medicine

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Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference (Anne Pollock)

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Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (Anthony Ryan Hatch)

So, what do you think? Are you in? Let me know your thoughts on the project, books on your radar and directions you want to explore!

P.S.: I’m totally taking ideas on the name!

10 More 2017 Releases To Look Forward To

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So there have been many glorious 2017 anticipated books lists, and I have put a ton of books on my tbr. So I thought my list would be pretty redundant with all that work out there already. But there are a few nonfiction books I’m excited for that I haven’t seen on most lists, so what the hell, here are 10 diverse new books by women of Color and indigenous women I’m looking forward to this year:

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Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed gr-pic

Duke UP: February 3rd, 2017

In Living a Feminist Life Sara Ahmed shows how feminist theory is generated from everyday life and the ordinary experiences of being a feminist at home and at work. Building on legacies of feminist of color scholarship in particular, Ahmed offers a poetic and personal meditation on how feminists become estranged from worlds they critique—often by naming and calling attention to problems—and how feminists learn about worlds from their efforts to transform them. (GR)

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Field Theories by Samiya Bashir gr-pic

Nightboat Books: April 4th, 2017

Field Theories wends its way through quantum mechanics, chicken wings, Newports, and love, melding blackbody theory (idealized perfect absorption vs. the whitebody s idealized reflection) with live Black bodies. Woven through experimental lyrics is a heroic crown of sonnets that wonders about love, intent, identity, hybridity, and how we embody these interstices. (GR)

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Nameless Woman – An Anthology of Fiction by Trans Women of Color 

March 2017 if you support the kickstarter here! (13 days left)

At a time when the trans literature is overwhelmingly white and hostile to us, Nameless Woman:An Anthology of Fiction by Trans Women of Color is an unprecedented opportunity for us to tell our stories, create an innovative book of fiction that trans women can enjoy, and begin to create a place for trans women of color to thrive in publishing. (KS site)

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The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui gr-pic

Abrams ComicArts: March 7th, 2017

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. (GR)

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Whereas by Layli Long Soldier gr-pic

Graywolf Press: March 7th, 2017

WHEREAS her birth signaled the responsibility as mother to teach what it is to be Lakota therein the question: What did I know about being Lakota? Signaled panic, blood rush my embarrassment. What did I know of our language but pieces? Would I teach her to be pieces? Until a friend comforted, Don’t worry, you and your daughter will learn together. Today she stood sunlight on her shoulders lean and straight to share a song in Diné, her father’s language. To sing she motions simultaneously with her hands; I watch her be in multiple musics. (“WHEREAS Statements”)

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Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies by  Joanne Barker gr-pic

Duke UP: April 28th, 2017.

Critically Sovereign traces the ways in which gender is inextricably a part of Indigenous politics and U.S. and Canadian imperialism and colonialism. The contributors show how gender, sexuality, and feminism work as co-productive forces of Native American and Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and epistemology. (GR)

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Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar gr-pic

Small Beer Press: April 11th, 2017

The first collection of short fiction from a rising star whose stories have been anthologized in the first two volumes of the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series and nominated for many awards. Some of Samatar’s weird and tender fabulations spring from her life and her literary studies; some spring from the world, some from the void. (GR)

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There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker gr-pic

Tin House: February 14th, 2017

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé uses political and pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st century black American womanhood and its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity, and politics. The poems weave between personal narrative and pop-cultural criticism, examining and confronting modern media, consumption, feminism, and Blackness. This collection explores femininity and race in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, and Hip Hop. (GR)

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The January Children by Safia Elhillo gr-pic

Univ. of Nebraska: March 1st, 2017

The January Children depicts displacement and longing while also questioning accepted truths about geography, history, nationhood, and home. The poems mythologize family histories until they break open, using them to explore aspects of Sudan’s history of colonial occupation, dictatorship, and diaspora. Several of the poems speak to the late Egyptian singer Abdelhalim Hafez, who addressed many of his songs to the asmarani—an Arabic term of endearment for a brown-skinned or dark-skinned person. Elhillo explores Arabness and Africanness and the tensions generated by a hyphenated identity in those two worlds. (GR)

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay gr-pic

HarperCollins: June 13th, 2017

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. (GR)

Which new releases are you most looking forward to this year?

Review: The Marauders’ Island (Hen & Chick I)

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The Marauders’ Island by Tristan J. Tarwater is a coming of age tale around a teenage mage. Just when Azria is supposed to become a fully fledged, certified mage of Miz, bureaucracy throws a wrench in and to top it off her estranged mother, seafarer/ pirate queen Apzana, comes to see Azria to take her on an adventure. Well, a serious mission to unsink a sunken island to the displeasure of the villanous mage who sunk it in the first place.

The book shines where the setting is concerned. The world-building of Miz, its culture, and magical system is detailed and I love that. The open sea and island are described so visually, you’ll feel the sand between your toes and want to drink the coconut wine. Makes for a perfect escapism read.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was the mother-daughter relationship at the heart of it. So much of the literature I used to read or had to read in uni was all about destructive friendships, dysfunctional relationships etc between women and I’m so happy that especially women writers of color give me not necessarily uncomplicated but always rewarding representations of women’s relationships, be they romantic, filial or epic friendships. The quest to raise the island also becomes a journey of reconnecting and healing for Azria and Apzana and suffice it to say that it is immensely satisfying to see a WOC mother-daughter duo kicking ass.

Also absolutely fantastic was the matter-of-fact diversity of the characters. They are all Black and other people of Color and all over the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Especially the ragtag crew was such a diverse bunch, bisexuality, transwomen, polyamorous relationships, you name it. And the glorious point of the story was still their adventure not the supposed drama of being non-normative.

This is the first book in the Hen and Chick series and I’m so excited for book 2. Hopefully we’ll get to know Apzana’s crew better and I can’t wait to see how Azria’s journey continues.

So why should you read it? Let me throw around some keywords: Cause magic! Women of Color pirates! Swashbuckling! Adventure! Treasure! And I bet some of you would like to escape the cold to a tropical island. I’m getting a hardcopy of this one for future rereads, but the kindle version is on sale at $1 at the moment if you need to budget.

Just a heads-up, this might be YA fantasy, but I think would be suitable for middle graders as well.

twitter-button Follow Tristan on twitter, she’s awesome!

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Disclaimer: I was given a free e-copy of this book by the author, but never fear I remain my opinionated self.

Other thoughts:

Read Diverse Books

Word Wonders

(yours? )