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!

10 Books for IDAHOT 2016- Reading against Homo-, Trans- & Biphobia

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It’s International Day Against Homophobia 2016! Happily in recent years transphobia and biphobia have been included as well. As always, these actions seek to highlight the everyday and structural discrimination and violence enacted against the queer community and personally I celebrate the shit out of these days, even if it’s another day in the year round fight for freedom for all of us! I’m spending most of my time today watching queer shorts, yup that’s basically the event name 😀 But then I remembered I do have a blog that like 5 people read, so here’s a list of my fave LGBTQIA+ books or ones that are still on my tbr. Remember to read them well and read them obnoxiously in the face of parading homophobes! *puts down SJW megaphone*

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Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Queer femme of color memoir including Canada, migration, disability and anarchopunk!

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Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Nigerian civil war, coming of age, falling in love and being a lesbian in one of the most dangerous places to be so openly.

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Queer Brown Voices by eds Uriel Quesada and Letitia Gomez

Personal stories by LGBTQIA+ Latin@ ativists!

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Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

Novel about growing up a butch lesbian in a blue-collar community by awesome activist Leslie Feinberg!

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Stealing Nasreen by Farzana Doctor

Indo-Canadian novel about identity and belonging and being a lesbian in different communities.

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The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

Memoir by one of my fave spoken-word performers about growing up a lesbian in different homes in Jamaica and finally belonging and finding her voice.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I have so much love for this one! Two boys exploring family and identity and finding each other. Has to be one of the most beautifully written books ever, prepare to cry.

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Directed by Desire by June Jordan

Epic June Jordan’s epic poetry collection. This is the poetry you need, rooted in race, class and gender analysis and impacted by Jordan’s blazing LGB activism. Yes, I keep this book on my nightstand!

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Finlater by Sean Stewart Ruff

Too rarely listed coming of age story about a Black and a Jewish boy in 1970s Ohio. This is about love, friendship and racism and segregation.

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Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Janet Mock  of #GirlsLikeUs talks about identity, transitioning, New York and finally telling her story. This is on my tbr for this year.

Obviously I left out a ton of amazing works, can’t list ’em all. But: Do let me know your favorite LGBTIQIA+ fiction and non-fiction in the comments!

Once Upon a Time X

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It’s that time of the year again: Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting his Once Upon a Time challenge for the 10th time! It’s probably fair to say at this point, that the event has become an institution. Kudos! Here’s what the challenge involves in Carl’s own words:

“Monday, March 21st (my wife Mary’s birthday) marks the official start date of the tenth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing and gaming event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through June 21st and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing/gaming whims.”

I’ve decided to go for more books but less restriction on categories and thus the Quest the First category: “Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.”

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Making a list for a reading challenge is all kinds of fun in itself, so here’s a number of books I’m very excited about and which are probably heavy on the fantasy, but combine other elements as well:

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The Way of Thorn and Thunder (Kynship Chronicles) by Daniel Heath Justice

This is a trilogy of epic indigenous fantasy set in the Old World during the 18th century, about the Kyn of the Everland and their detructive encounter with humanity. Drawing on traditions of high fantasy and indigenous mythology, Cherokee author Daniel Heath Justice creates a founding tale of non-European fantasy that bends gender, genre and sexuality. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive!

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A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

This one’s been on my list for ages and it fits the challenge perfectly. Merchant son Jevick has been raised on stories of Olondria, a land where books are common. When he gets the chance to make a trip to Olondria, his dreams seem to come true. But once there he is haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl. And there’s now a second story about Olondria, Samatar’s The Winged Histories.

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Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

I picked this up recently, read a few pages and only then noticed it wasn’t The Book of Phoenix, which I thought I was reading. But, this is quite convenient as I will just read this one for the challenge now. Who Fears Death is the story of a child born of rape in post-apocalyptic Africa, who discovers her magical abilities and seeks to end the genocide of her people.

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Princeless by Jeremy Whitley

I absolutely adored the first issue of this one and with Scribd changing its policy, I wanted to get some more comics in. This is for the fairy tale category and it brilliantly subverts gender and racial stereotypes. The author is white but has thought of these stories for his Black daughter, so that she can see herself represented in non-oppressive stories.

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Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

I loved Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring and just cannot resist this one either. This one is fantasy/sf with lots of Caribbean folklore. Set on the Caribbean-colonized planet Toussaint and Tan-Tan must become the Robber Queen to save herself from folklore creatures.

Race and Popular Fantasy Literature

 Race and Popular Fantasy Literature: Habits of Whiteness by Helen Young

And as a sort of non-fiction compendium, I want to take a look at this one. I’m lacking the sort of context and background that comes with reading a lot of fantasy for years, so I want to catch up but also do this through an critical race studies lens.

Are you joining us in the Once Upon a Time challenge? Or maybe you have some folklore and fairy tale suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

March is #Weirdathon!

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Yay, I’m finally back to blogging! And my lovely friend Deepika immediately informed me I should join the #weirdathon 😀 It’s such good timing, so I’m in.

Hosted by Julianne of Outlandish Lit, who I stalk on instagram, #weirdathon is about reading all those wonderfully weird books, the weirder the better.Happy blog anniversary btw, Julianne and thanks for such a great event!

Now for the fun part, here’s a list! Well, I tried, I’ve found myself wondering what was weird to me, how much that had changed during the last year thanks to reading more speculative fiction and of course, if I would ever really stick to my list. Here be weird:

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This Census-Taker by Chine Miéville

Now, no list of weird books can be complete without weirdfiction writer China Miéville! This one is a novella and one of his newest I think. It doesn’t sound as weird as his other stuff, but I’m sure it will be super weird anyway.

“After witnessing a profoundly traumatic event, a boy is left alone in a remote house on a hilltop with his increasingly deranged parent. When a stranger knocks on his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation are over—but by what authority does this man keep the meticulous records he carries? Is he the boy’s friend? His enemy? Or something altogether other?”

(goodreads)

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Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

Glennkill, the original German title, is a mystery with a sheep detective. Yup you read that right! Also, I’m always down for a cozy mystery.

“On a hillside near the cozy Irish village of Glennkill, a flock of sheep gathers around their shepherd, George, whose body lies pinned to the ground with a spade. George has cared devotedly for the flock, even reading them books every night. Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they set out to find George’s killer.”

(goodreads)

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The Liminal People by Ayize Jama-Everett

Now superhero/-powers stories like X-Men are weird, and weird to me. I haven’t really explored this genre much.  The Liminal People sounds brilliant and dark, though, and I  don’t want to stray too far from my reading people of color goal this year. Also, the book is available on Scribd.

“Taggert can heal and hurt with just a touch. When an ex calls for help, he risks the wrath of his enigmatic master to try and save her daughter. But when Taggert realizes the daughter has more power than even he can imagine, he has to wrestle with the very nature of his skills, not to mention unmanned and uncreated gods, in order keep the girl safe. In the end, Taggert will have to use more than his power, he has to delve into his heart and soul to survive.”

(goodreads)

Are you joining #weirdathon? Also, I’d love some recommendations for diverse weird fiction, let me know in the comments!