“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 […]

“The Bear That Wasn’t” by Frank Tashlin

Recommended to me by: A client.

This children’s book was written in 1946 about a bear who emerges from peaceful hibernation to find that a factory has been built around his cave. The factory managers tell him to get to work. When he protests that he is a bear, one manager after another tells […]

“Wishing for Tomorrow” by Hilary McKay

Subtitle: A sequel to A Little Princess

Recommended to me by: Badgerbag

My copy of A Little Princess (yes, I still have it) is dated 1982, but I think I read it before then from the library. As a young girl grieving, surviving and in need of rescue, I connected deeply with the story […]

“The Armless Maiden” edited by Terri Windling

Subtitle: And Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors

This is an anthology of fairy tales retold for adults, with the scary bits left in, and also the bits about resilience and survival. Yes, her father cut off her arms, but then the armless maiden rescues herself and her child through quick wits as well as […]

“A Drunken Dream and other stories” by Moto Hagio

Subtitle: 10 Stories of the Human Heart

Recommended to me by: laughingrat.dreamwidth.org

Moto Hagio is one of the most renowned Japanese artists of shojo manga, high-quality comics for teen girls. She was one of only a few women in the genre in the seventies, and she continues creating art today.

This is a chronological […]

“The City and the City” by China Mieville

Recommended to me by: jesse-the-k

Starting out, this books feels like a lovely magical little airship, lifting off into possibilities. By the end, the airship is limply deflated on the ground.

Detective novels aren’t my favorite genre so I haven’t read that many, but I don’t think it’s usual for clues to be Obviously […]

“The Jade Peony” by Wayson Choy

Recommended to me by: atdelphi

This novel is an intricate work of art, assembled from one precise detail after another, illuminating the lives of a Chinese family of immigrants to Vancouver, B.C. in the 1930s and early 40s.

The story is told in three sections, from the viewpoints of three children. First the girl, […]

“The Female Man” by Joanna Russ

Recommended to me by: wordweaverlynn

Joanna Russ died recently, and many people have been posting tributes to her visionary feminist writing. I had heard of her, but not read her books. Someone linked to her short story When It Changed (full version at the link) and I wanted to read more.

Reading “The Female […]