‘Women’ is Enraging, but in a Good Way

I had a hard time writing this review. Not because I can’t think of much to say about Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Built for Men—just the opposite. As I’ve read it over the last couple of weeks, I’ve hardly been able to shut up about it. But it’s notContinue reading “‘Women’ is Enraging, but in a Good Way”

‘The Answers’ Raises Questions

Something I’ve noticed in a lot of millennial literature, as it were, is a thread of dystopia interwoven into what begins—and often ends—with the illusion of being contemporary or realistic. Like Ling Ma’s Severance, about a young woman who keeps her dead-end job after the rest of her office flees in a deadly pandemic inContinue reading “‘The Answers’ Raises Questions”

This ‘Book Club’ has Teeth

There are so many things I want to talk about with The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires but every time I start, I realize they’re almost all spoilers. Which is funny, because from the title, the basic premise is pretty clear: a book club, comprised of middle-aged mothers, who slay vampires. But it’sContinue reading “This ‘Book Club’ has Teeth”

‘Outlaw’ Lets Characters Ride Free in the Old West

I opened Anna North’s Outlawed expecting a leisurely and thoughtful exploration of misfits forced into a life of crime in the days of cowboys and covered wagons. Outlawed has misfits forced into a life of crime. It has cowboys and wagons a-plenty. But while it does explore misfits of various stripes, it does so in,Continue reading “‘Outlaw’ Lets Characters Ride Free in the Old West”

No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’

In the opening chapter of The Only Good Indians, Ricky, one of the titular “Indians” has stepped outside a bar to take a leak when a massive and possibly hallucinatory elk appears, stomps on a bunch of cars, and leaves him to the mercy of a bunch of drunk white guys who mete out swiftContinue reading “No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’”

A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s

The nice thing about being a little late to the game is that often the books I love already have sequels or the authors have otherwise published other work, so I can linger a little longer in the world or language than I would have if I had read them when the ink was stillContinue reading “A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s”

‘Space’ Does SciFi Proud

I’m not sure how much Michaiah Johnson knows about architecture, but if The Space Between Worlds is any indication, she sure can construct a plot. The debut novel has an immaculately constructed plot with parallels upon parallels to itself and real life—which, as it happens, you almost forget exists after being immersed in Johnson’s world.Continue reading “‘Space’ Does SciFi Proud”

‘Liars’ is Nothing Short of Magic

Early on in the pandemic, I sat in the antiseptic-drenched donation room of the Red Cross and tried to read The Butchering Art. It was, as I said at the time, a fascinating and exceptionally well-written book, but something about the written depictions of surgery theater and infection contrasting with the new fears of theContinue reading “‘Liars’ is Nothing Short of Magic”

Magic and Sisterhood Soar in ‘Witches’

I read a lot more than the books I review, sometimes because I get distracted by kinda trashy books or nostalgia (the less said about the intersection of these, my rediscovery of R. L. Stein books earlier this year, the better) and sometimes because I just can’t think of anything clever to say about aContinue reading “Magic and Sisterhood Soar in ‘Witches’”

‘Luster’ Earns its Glow

The premise of Raven Leilani’s Luster is simple enough: A Black woman in her early 20s begins an affair with a middle-aged white man. Go down past the surface and you could expound on the fact that the man has been seeking for an affair with his wife’s permission, and that he and the mainContinue reading “‘Luster’ Earns its Glow”