Diverse Detective Fiction Month- TBR

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It’s here: Diverse Detective Fiction Month! I’m super excited and thanks all who are joining us! (everyone else can still join us, sign up here)

So, this event (go ahead and call it a challenge if you’re feeling competitive) will be hosted by twitter button@siliconphospho and myself, twitter button@Bina_ReadThis because detective fiction is our comfort genre, but at first glance utterly normative, and when Silicon asked for recs and came up with an amazing list, things snowballed. So here we are, who’s in the mood for exploring the diverse side of detective fiction?

Here’s the guidelines:

Have fun! Also, read at least 1 diverse detective story (we encourage you to go for #ownvoices books!) and post a review on your blog or goodreads between October 1st and October 31st. Also, feel free to follow us on twitter and gush a lot about the books or audiobooks or short stories you’re reading! Use the hashtag #DiverseDetectives twitter button

So I kinda took this opportunity to stock up my mystery shelf with some much-needed diverse books. Okay fine, that’s partly the reason for the challenge! Here’s my tbr for the challenge, as you can see, I’m trying to lead by example 😉

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Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara

Blanche On the Lam by Barbara Neely

Cosmic Callisto Caprica & The Missing Rings of Saturn by Sophia Chester

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley

Dead Time by Eleanor Taylor Bland

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang

Cactus Blood by Lucha Corpi

Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors ed. by Barbara Neely

Make sure to check out our goodreads list for recommendations or vote for books there if you have recommendations for us!

Women of Color & Horror: 10 On My TBR

Women of Color & Horror: 10 On My TBR

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It’s September and for me finally the beginning of the creepy season, huzzah! I’ll just ignore that last small heat wave this week, go away please summer, I have my tea and candles and creepy reads ready! I have a lot of books on my tbr that fall under speculative, horror and mystery, but I’m also working towards seeking out and supporting more women writers of Color. I’ve chosen horror because it’s a genre I’ve been wanting to explore more and because, like science-fiction and fantasy,  horror can offer women of Color a space in which to disturb social conventions and transgress boundaries.

This here is a list of 10 works by WoC writers that can be considered horror (often also fantasy) and some of which may be new to you as well. Let’s start with a better known one:

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White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi gr-pic

Haunted house story and a reworking of the gothic trope, Oyeyemi’s work is a psychological fest around trauma, racism and a sentient house set in Dover, England. I hope I’ll get to read it finally for RIPXI.

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Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma gr-pic

This is a novelette or short story about two sisters or cousins and childhood abuse set in gritty Liverpool. Apparently it’s super disturbing and comes with trigger warnings for abuse, rape and incest, yikes! It’s published by TOR though.

alyssa wong

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong gr-pic

Silicon recommended Alyssa Wong’s stories to me and I’ll definitely read at least one this fall since her recs are always on point. This story has also received the Nebula Award for Best Short Fiction. It’s got a vampire and is about dating and relationships!

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The Evolutionist by Rena Mason gr-pic

Set in the suburbs of Las Vegas, Stacy keeps dreaming about killing and dismembering people. She feels she’s just a normal person having very vivid nightmares and so Stacy goes to see a psychiatrist, he turns out to be not quite so normal.

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Unhallowed Graves by Nuzo Onoh gr-pic

“Oja-ale is the night market run by the dead. Everything can be bought for a deadly price. Alan Pearson is a sceptical British diplomat, contemptuous and dismissive of native superstitions…Until the day he receives a terrifying purchase from the Night Market, which defies Western science and logic.” (GR) Onoh is “queen of African horror.”

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Solitude by Sumiko Saulson gr-pic

“Solitude is the riveting tale of diverse individuals isolated in a San Francisco seemingly void of all other human life. In the absence of others, each journeys into personal web of beliefs and perceptions as they try to determine what happened to them, and the world around them.” (GR) Saulson also curates a Black women in horror list here.

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Crescendo by L. Marie Woods gr-pic

 James’ comfortable life changes when he begins having nightmares after his lover’s death. A family curse, can he do anything or is this his destiny? Everyone in his family has secrets. Set in tranquil Rockland County, New York.

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Age of Blight by Kristine Ong Muslim gr-pic

“What if the end of man is not caused by some cataclysmic event, but by the nature of humans themselves? In Age of Blight, a young scientist’s harsh and unnecessary experiments on monkeys are recorded for posterity; children are replaced by their doppelgangers, which emerge like flowers in their backyards; and two men standing on opposing cliff faces bear witness to each other’s terrifying ends.” (GR) A collection of short stories with illustrations.

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How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison gr-pic

“From the first African-American to receive the HWA Bram Stoker award, this collection of both horror and science fiction short stories and poetry reveals demons in the most likely people (like a jealous ghost across the street) or in unlikely places (like the dimension-shifting dreams of an American Indian). Recognition is the first step, what you do with your friends/demons after that is up to you.” (GR)

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My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due gr-pic

And of course one of my favorite writers! Last year I read Due’s The Good House and it was wonderfully atmospheric and I will make to read this one in broad daylight.

“When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami.” (GR)

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And a great opportunity to read horror and more with other book bloggers is Carl’s wonderful yearly challenge, R.I.P. – Readers Imbibing Peril, going on right now! It’s a book blogging institution and now in its 11th year. The challenge takes place from September 1st, 2016 through October 31st, 2016 and offers many different levels and genres, there’s something for everyone in it. Sign up here. I’ll be doing Peril the Second, but I hope I’ll read much more than two creepy reads.

Definitely take a look at Sharlene’s wonderful recs for a more diverse R.I.P here, she has great recommendation for all RIP genres, I know I’ll be reading The Hunter.

Lastly, check out my Queer Horror post for some creepy reading with LGBTQIA+ themes.

What are you all reading this creepy season? Let me know in the comments!

Thoughts: The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

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Belle Vie is a beautiful, sprawling estate in Louisiana, the ideal place for wedding parties. Oh, and it’s a former sugar cane plantation turned museum theater. As the general manager, Caren Gray works and lives on the property, where her ancestors were slaves. On the land outside the gates a huge corporation exploits cheap workers from Mexico. Tensions mount when one of the workers is found with her throat slit and Caren finds that the murder, the disappearance of a former slave in the past and her own family history are all intertwined.

This was my first of Attica Locke’s works and it is pretty much perfect. Mystery is one of my preferred genres and combine that with the social commentary, it makes my social justice warrior heart swell. And Locke is clearly very talented in that she manages to wrap complex characters, social justice, literary writing style and an exciting mystery all in one book.

The setting of the story, the eerily beautiful antebellum plantation Belle Vie really becomes a character in its own right and Caren’s late-night movements across the estate evoke a haunting atmosphere that was hard to shake after I finished the book. Not being from the US maybe I just don’t get the normalcy of it, but the re-enactments, that’s pretty messed up. I mean I understand the importance of bringing history to life, of refusing denial and forgetting to white people. But the trauma of standing where your ancestors were enslaved and taking on that role? As always, taking on the labor of teaching anti-racism in the hopes of working towards dismantling it. For more anti-racist work about slavery museum theater, let me recommend the webseries Ask A Slave.

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I also really appreciate the connection Locke draws between the antebellum slavery economy and current forms of exploitation of labor, such as cheap and often undocumented workers from Mexico. In an interview, Locke states: “I do think that for people of color – and also for women, frankly – that our economic ascent is always complicated by the fact that you’re aware of people who aren’t coming up with you” (NPR). That’s the spirit of solidarity I’m always hoping for in social justice work!

As a thriller by a woman of color writer, reading The Cutting Season counts for both R.I.P. X and Diversiverse. Aarti wrote that reading more diversely does not mean you have to change your book reading habits and I think this work is a great example of that. If you’re a mystery buff like myself, pick up this one!

Have your reviewed this book? Let me know and I’ll add a link!

Other thoughts:

Olduvai Reads

The Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

 

Remember how I didn’t really want to participate in challenges this year? Well, since I found a challenge that fits my reading tastes exactly, I had to sign up. I don’t think there’s any way I could not complete the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block. Thanks so much for coming up with this wonderful challenge, Bev!

I decided to sign up for the level of A Murderous Mood: 4-6 books. I have a few ideas for books, though this list is by no means definite:

Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

 

The Saltmarsh Murders by Gladys Mitchell

 

Why Shoot a Butler by Georgette Heyer

 

The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley

 

Death and the Dancing Footman by Ngaio Marsh

 

What do you think? Is there another vintage mystery I simply have to read?

Review: So Many Books, So Little Time

So Many Books, So Little Time is my first read of 2010 and also the first book I have read for a challenge, namely The 2010 Bibliophilic Books Challenge.

I enjoyed Sarah Nelson´s reading memoir, but despite the many comments she made about reading habits and behaviour that I could completely relate to, I did not love this book. I really wanted to, it seemed like every bookworm´s bible.

Nelson is at her best when discussing reading habits such as tbr piles that are falling over, ignoring overhyped books until no one is reading them anymore, choosing books because they call to her, and anxiety over books recommended by good friends. She is no snob and never reverts to preaching and  she seems like a likeable person. But even though I could relate to her when it comes to reading behaviour and though she divulged all kinds of personal information, I did not feel close to her. Another problem for me are the books she read. Many of them I have never heard of before and don´t plan to read them anytime soon, which is kind of sad because I´m usually jumping at reading suggestions. That however is really not her fault, it just seemed to create a space between us.

There is one faux-pas I cannot forgive, especially since she is a fellow readaholic and should know better: Nelson gives away the ending of many books! I hate when people do that with classics,  and just assume everyone has read them all already. But The Crimson Petal and The White (which I actually want to read sometime)? It´s not that this makes me not read them but still, I want to find out myself.

It was interesting to get an insight into the publishing industry and what a difference it can make to have the chance to read a book without being influenced by the cover.

This is still a book I´d recommend to other bookworms and I know many people loved this book. Best ignore my nagging and give it a try!

South Asian Author Challenge

Christmas break! I´m allowed to read and blog as much as I want to 🙂

I´ve also signed up for S.Krishna´s South Asian Author Challenge and am trying to read 7 books for it. I love South Asian litarure, especially when it deals with clash of cultures. My favorite author in this genre is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, highly recommend The Mistress of Spices.
I haven´t made a list for this challenge either but there will definitely be some of her books on it! Apart from that I´m thinking White Tiger, Unaccustomed Earth, some Rushdie.

Sign ups are open till the end of the month!

Link to all the challenges I´m participating in.

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2010 Bibliophilic Books Challenge

Yes, another challenge. I´m blaming Michelle for first getting me interested and making it sound so fun! 🙂

Lesley of A Life in Books is hosting the 2010 Bibliophillic Books Challenge. Goal is to read books about reading or literature (fiction and non-fiction) and you have the whole of 2010 to complete it. These are the levels to choose from:

Bookworm -3 books
Litlover- 6 books
Bibliomaniac- 12 books

Go sign up here (till January 31st)!

I´ve signed up for the Litlover level, reading about reading is everyone bookworm´s dream anyway so I don´t think it will be difficult to complete the challenge. I´m not quite sure about my list for this challenge, any suggestions? I recently bought Sara Nelson´s So Many Books So Little Time which fits the challenge perfectly, and I´ll probably reread one of the Thursday Next books.

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Canadian Authors Challenge 2010

Go sign up everyone: Jennifer at Mrs.Q:Book Addict is hosting her first challenge, The Canadian Authors Challenge 2010. I thought I´d sign up for level 3 because I´m also doing a South Asian Challenge and have to leave room for spontaneous decisions. Now I´ve decided to go for 5 books, it´s still not actually a lot, but very possible to achieve and much better for my list:

Can there be a Canadian literature list without Margaret Atwood on it? She had me with the very first book I read by her, The Handmaid´s Tale, but I also loved the other one I read, The Blind Asssasin, so it had to be her writing style and not the fact that I adore dystopian literature. For this challenge I´ll read two more of her works, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood.

The third novel on my list is Nancy Huston´s Fault Lines (Lignes de Faille), which I´ve wanted to read before to improve my practically non-existent French. This time I´ll just go ahead and read the English translation, it´s embarrassing but still better than not reading it at all.

Alan Bradley´s The Weed that Strings the Hangman´s Bag is the second Flavia DeLuce book and comes out in March. I highly recommend reading at least the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (read my review here).

Last on my list is Alice Munroe´s new work Too Much Happiness, a short story collection. Somehow I have never read anything by her, not even for uni, and I´m curious whether she really is as great as everyone claims.

I think a lot of you are putting The Little Girl Who Was too Fond Matches on their list (at least I´m hoping you wil), I´m excited to discuss some aspects of this!

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