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

woc horror blog pic final

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.

linda ddison

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!

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.

aristotle

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.

june jordan

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!

Weekend Reads

weekend reads

It’s Friday! And thus usually the time I get most of my reading done. I’m a bit more flexible about my hours during the week at the moment but it’s still the weekends where I often save a book I’m really excited about for some serious reading time. Sometimes I make plans to read a specific book or reread an old favorite and close the door on the hectic world. So I expect weekend reads to be epic adventures, new worlds to explore or a mystery to figure out. If you want to loose yourself in a book this weekend, let me recommend some weekend reads to you:

tooth and claw

1. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Family drama and money intrigue, Victorian era, Pride and Prejudice with dragons!, social commentary, dragons!

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2. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Victorian London, Dickens with lesbians, super twisty, class, thievery

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3. Niko by Kayti Nika Raet

Please don’t judge the book by its cover, post-apocalyptic wasteland, this is how you do diversity, body horror, kick-ass heroine

the between

4.The Between by Tananarive Due

Floridian horror or is it a mystery or a thriller, Black family history, what is going on, warning for Due always delivers on the creepiness

sorcerer to the crown

5. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Ye stuffy olde England now upgraded with magic, familiars, diverse characters, and the best heroine ever. You can read this in a day and then lament the wait for the sequel.

Do you make reading plans on some weekends? What are your favorite weekend reads?

 

 

Thoughts: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti-Nnedi-Okorafor

In Dr. Nnedi Okorafor’s short novella, the eponymous Binti is only 16 years old, when she leaves her family to be the first of the Himba people to go to Oomza University. Managing to get onto the ship to Oomza, Binti starts settling into her new reality, only to find herself in the middle of the ongoing war with the Meduse (I won’t go into the details here, don’t want to spoil anyone!). In this spin on the classic coming-of-age story, Okorafor takes on racism, colonialism and imperialism, and most importantly envisions a fantastic future that isn’t white-washed.

Okorafor takes the Himba people of the Namib desert and aspects of their culture with her into her future. Having to manage water carefully, they use otjize to clean their bodies to protect hair and skin from drying out. The mixture of ochre and butter fat is also a great part of aesthetics and beauty standards and shows their connection to the land. Google to see images of Himba covered in otjize and look at that gorgeous cover of the book.

The Himba people in the novella do not leave their land and prefer to look inwards, they are extremely innovative and knowledgeable about technology and mathematics. Binti’s father passed down this knowledge to his daughter, who became a masterful harmonizer at the young age of 12. It is this skill that has landed Binti a place at Oomza. Binti is determined to take her place Oomza University even though she knows she will have to give up her family and never be accepted home again. And so, when Binti leaves, she takes a big pot of otjize with her.

Otjize comes to play an important part in how Binti manages to navigate both her identity and her encounter with the Meduse. But before that, she is confronted with the gaze of the Khoush (this group remains vague, but it is clear that they are lighter-skinned and used to being the dominant group among humans), who find her otjize repellant, smelly and try to touch her hair. For some of you this might sounds familiar.

With such a short work, I think each plot point goes a long way, so I won’t talk more about what happens once the Meduse take over the ship. But I can only encourage you take join Binti on her journey! I absolutely loved Binti, so I’m glad there are a lot more books by Okorafor waiting for me. Happily, my copy of Lagoon arrived yesterday, so I don’t even have to wait!

Other thoughts:

booksreenchanted

Read Diverse Books

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

November is Sci-Fi Month! #RRSciFiMonth

scifimonth

Turns out I do have November reading plans after all! Sci-Fi November is the yearly excuse to completely binge on all things science fiction with official stamp of the internets. This year, Sci-Fi Month is hosted by Rinn @rinn reads and Lisa @Over the Effing Rainbow and let’s you run wild, books, games, tv, comics, it’s all sci-fi all the time.

As always one of my favorite things to do is make a list of books I want to read. Usually what I end up reading is maybe half of what was on my list, but TBRs are more like guidelines anyway! I’m not big on artificial genre distinctions, so maybe some of these are more speculative, fantasy or dystopian. On with it:

fifth season

I’m currently reading this brilliant book, I guess I would put this somewhere along sci-fi/fantasy. The Fifth Season is as wonderful as Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, and I’ve been basically reading this one in slowmo, just because I don’t want to finish it. But, I guess I will do it for Sci-Fi Month.

lagoon

I also want to go through Nnedi’s backlist as slowly as possible, she’s become a fast favorite of mine with Binti. But, I’ll just have to read Lagoon for Sci-Fi Month (can you tell I’m making big sacrifices here 😉 ), because Lagos and aliens.

radiance

I’m nearly done with Carry On, so I think Radiance will be my next audiobook. It features a solar system Hollywood, a girl protagonist, and alternate history!

ann lecke

This one was on my November tbr anyway and I don’t wanna fall for the hype, but it does sound so good I cannot resist. Singing spaceship protagonist, gender, cool cultures, evil empire, yay!

Also, I’ve been wanting to watch Advantageous, and it’ll fit nicely with Sci-Fi Month. Here’s the trailer:

Are You a Science Fiction reader? Who Else is Participating in Sci-Fi Month?