2017

What I'm Reading

Dead Letters

By: Caite Dolan-Leach

One of my Book of the Month selections. I picked it because the premise of two identical twin sisters dealing with a dysfunctional family and upbringing in such radically different ways seemed fascinating. Doesn't hurt that it's set around the Finger Lakes, which is where I went to college.

Neverwhere

By: Neil Gaiman

I already read American Gods and I'm looking to further my exploration of Neil Gaiman's work. This apparently started out as a short-lived television show which Gaiman turned into a novel.

What I've Read

The Thing Around Your Neck

By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was a Christmas gift and I surprisingly have already read a good chunk of it due to my New Year's weekend malaise. This is a collection of short stories, which take place in various times and places, including the US and Nigeria.

Shrill

By: Lindy West

I was sent this book and honorary-invited to a feminist book club by a good friend. I can confidently say I haven't laughed out loud so frequently since I first read some of David Sedaris's books. Lindy West is so good. This is a serious read, but not nearly as heavy as something like Difficult Women, which you have to be in the right mindset to read.

Americanah

By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was highly recommended by Helen, and I already enjoyed The Thing Around Your Neck and We Should All Be Feminists, so it's time to give it a go.

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain

By: Phoebe Robinson

Like many (dare I say, most?) other people who have listened, I've fallen in love with the 2 Dope Queens podcast. It's typically a rollicking 45 minutes to an hour of hosts Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson as they banter with each other and invite (often LGBT and POC) comedians to do 10-15 minute sets that do not disappoint. Do your own Google research on both of them, and I feel strongly that you'll be as interested in what they have to say as I am. Also, Helen highly recommended it and I will hands down read anything highly recommended by Helen.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By: J.K. Rowling

I was inspired to read this book because I saw variations of a quote from it posted around on social media during inauguration weekend.

"The ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."

This is not a completely accurate summation of our current political situation, but it was chilling enough that I had to read the last book in the series again. It was worth it, and I was troubled by how many parallels I did find between it and reality.

 

American Gods

By: Neil Gaiman

I've heard so much about Neil Gaiman and his work and yet had not read any of it up until the beginning of this year. I bought the 10th anniversary edition of this book on the Kindle and apparently the versions are decently different from each other. I never read the original, though, so I can't make any comparisons.

 

So far, I love it and I have an affinity for Shadow, the main character who manages to be everything and nothing all at once.

The Arcanum

By: Thomas Gerald Wheeler

Ten years ago, I bought this book on my way back to school for my senior year of college. I read almost all of it and stopped inexplicably with 30 pages left. I have dragged it around since then saying I would finish it one day, and that day has finally come.

The Mahabharata Secret

By: Christopher C. Doyle

I visited India two and a half years ago and I bought this book at a hotel bookstore. It's got a James Rollins feel to it and that shit is my jam. 

Difficult Women

By: Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is the hero we all need. Last year, I read Bad Feminist at the suggestion of my friend Helen and it was fantastic. Her newest book came out in December and I got to see her do a reading and Q&A at the 92nd Street Y, where she was as incisive, thoughtful, and outspoken as ever. I am only one story into this book, and its gravity tells me that there will be a necessary heaviness about this book.

Girl Walks Into a Bar

By: Rachel Dratch

Back in the early 2000's, I was just developing my own taste in Saturday Night Live bits and sketches. During that time, the main female players were Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, and Ana Gasteyer and for a season or two, Rachel Dratch was my favorite.

Then there was some mess with her and 30 Rock that I didn't really understand other than that she was supposed to star in it and they replaced her. I didn't spent much time thinking about it or even watching 30 Rock for the first few seasons because I was sour about Tina Fey leaving SNL.

ANYWAY, she talks about all of it in this book, which so far is really good.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?

By: Kathleen Collins

 

Kathleen Collins was apparently an unheralded writer/director/producer in the 80s and 90s, although I had not heard of her until I found this book. I'm only a few pages in, so the jury is still out.

 

On Hold

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

By: Jared Diamond

 

I originally started reading this in Borders at Columbus Circle not long after I moved to NYC. I think I picked a chapter in the middle of the book and read it and loved it. But it was a Borders, after all, and I almost never pay full price for a book.

Fast forward to 2014. I stopped into East Village Books, because if there's one thing I can't resist, it's an independent bookstore. They have a sale section in the back which is like, half outside. I found this book in that section for maybe $2.

I found it somewhat dry by starting at the beginning. Now that it's been a couple years since I read the first 44 pages, I need to start over again. 

The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More than 125 American Movie and TV Idols

By: James Parish

I just finished American Gods, which was a big old read. Now I just want some good old fashioned smut before I take on something challenging again.

Alas, Babylon

By: Pat Frank

 

I'd never heard of this book before but am now reading that it's a very widely read literary classic. My bad. It was written in 1959 and takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. I'm not many pages into it, but all the background reading I've done is making me excited about it.

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

By: Jen Sincero

 

I have always been somewhat judgmental of self help books and I now regret my lack of open-mindedness toward them. I otherwise believe strongly in our ability as humans to become better and more self-actualized given the privileges of time, money, and a willingness to work at it, where each of those things is necessary.

 

After spending some time reading about books and discussing with people I know and whose judgment I trust, I decided to just dive right in and read the first book I found that seemed appealing, which is this one.