“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

I clearly remember not wanting to turn the light out, the first time I finished reading this book, spooked by mind control. I was around 9 years old, new to having my own room, lined with bookcases of my parents’ books.

Rereading it now, it’s interesting to see which parts I could practically recite, […]

“Flying in Place” by Susan Palwick

A twelve-year-old girl is being abused by her father, and is ultimately rescued by their next door neighbors. Her older sister had died, and at the end of the book, the neighbor says, “No one can help her. That’s what being dead means.”

Susan Palwick’s blog title is Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good. That […]

“Sea Change” by S. M. Wheeler

Recommended to me by: s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’

This wild fantasy felt true to me, true to inner journeys and struggles and transformations. It has violence in it, but not a lot compared to the modern fashion, and deaths are grieved instead of being passed over without comment. Heroes, villains, and monsters […]

“Core Awareness” by Liz Koch

Subtitle: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise, and Dance

Recommended to me by: David Mitchell

I enthusiastically endorse this book’s focus on awareness, especially in core areas that we often learn to block out. The psoas muscles connects the front of the lumbar spine to the inside of the pelvis to the inner upper femur, all […]

“Long Hidden” edited by Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older

Subtitle: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History

I expected this book to contain speculative stories about marginalized people, creating worlds where they/we are not marginalized. I did not expect it to be about the experience of marginalization, and thus dripping with violence. Maybe I should have expected that, but I didn’t.

There was a […]

“The Stone Lions” by Gwen Dandridge

Recommended to me by: Knowing the author and reading early drafts long ago

I expected this book to feel a little repetitive since I read so many early drafts. Instead, it was riveting! I found myself not wanting to stop to go to bed, and wanting to pick it up again the next morning […]

“Bloodchild and Other Stories” by Octavia Butler

Recommended to me by: Marissa Lingen

Octavia Butler wrote apocalyptic science fiction stories full of the rawness of humanity and survival. One story addresses how stranded humans could pay rent on a foreign planet. Another looks at a terrible disease that is genetically dominant. Another is a vignette from a future when an epidemic […]

“Pure” by Julianna Baggott

Recommended to me by: s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’

This is a layered, well-crafted dystopian science-fiction novel offering both entertainment and examination of modern issues. It has scientific advances and their consequences, predictable heterosexual teen romances, well-developed female characters, adventures, violence, nuances of interaction, and a detailed sense of place.

Where many books […]

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” by Nathan Englander

Subtitle: stories

Recommended to me by: KBOO interview with Nathan Englander

These beautifully crafted stories are rich, in the sense that I can’t read too many of them at a time. They are heavy with the everyday pain we cause each other, and with the specific pain of Jews and Judaism.

I didn’t read […]

“Tender Morsels” by Margo Lanagan

Recommended to me by: Meloukhia

This is a fairy tale, but no child’s story. It starts with incest and pregnancy and abortion, and continues with gang rape. Then Liga is magically placed in a world that matches her heart’s desire, peaceful and safe.

While examining the consequences of assault and the consequences of avoiding […]