Tag Archives: books

Best of 2017: Non-Fiction Books

As much as I enjoyed television over the past year, 2017 was the year I returned to books in a big way. I have always been a voracious reader but a difficult personal year in 2016 made concentration difficult. I read a lot this year, enough to make choosing my top books of the year difficult because there were so many I loved. So while this is a television blog, these lists are also a way to share the things I love with everyone else and it didn’t seem right to leave out the books I connected with this year. I’ll share my top 10 fictional books next week but today the focus is on the non-fiction that inspired me throughout the year. Looking through this list, it’s very clear where my interests lie this year and where I could expand the perspectives I read for the upcoming year. I’m always looking for more non-fiction recommendations in any area, so feel free to share some of your own favorites in the comments!

And if you’re looking for more television content to enjoy, MGCircles and Nerdy Girl Notes have you covered with their own end of the year lists.

1. The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley This is an incredible collection of essays. As Kameron Hurley is a sci-fi and fantasy author, it is geared slightly toward people who are familiar with some of the recent issues and discussions within that community but I don’t think it’s a requirement in order to get something fantastic out of this book. Things like GamerGate and the Sad Puppies takeover of the 2015 Hugos and the idea of representation and the need for more diverse voices are issues that have recently and are still being addressed within SFF fandom but they aren’t exclusive to that fandom. Those attitudes are found everywhere and we’ve seen the entitlement, resentment, and fear that drove those movements in a wider political and cultural sphere more clearly than ever this year. Claiming our voices and widening a narrative that has been largely geared toward a very narrow market are part of a larger cultural revolution. Changing the stories that we tell and the people those stories are told about matter and Hurley does a fantastic job showing us how and why. If you have any interest in the power of story to change the world, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

2. Shrill by Lindy West Even more than the humor or the sharp insights into fat shaming, mysogyny, and rape culture, I appreciated the openness and candor that underlies the entirely of Shrill. Throughout the book, Lindy West unapologetically owns her life and her opinions and there is a tremendous amount of power in that. To be a loud woman can by a scary proposition. You are stepping out of the bounds society has tried to construct around you. You are rejecting a culture that wishes you would just be quiet and leave the status quo alone. You are claiming your voice when women weren’t even legally considered independent beings in the all too recent past. West is deeply familiar with the hate that brings. But she continues to fight and do it anyway. Her memoir is funny, heartbreaking, angering, and above all, honest. I finished it feeling braver and more inspired to find and amplify my own voice.

Continue reading Best of 2017: Non-Fiction Books


Alive or Dead, the Truth Won’t Rest: A Letter to Georgia Mason

In honor of Galentine’s Day this year, Katie reopened submissions for The Fan Mail Project and reminded us how important it is for us to use our voice and talk about the qualities and values that matter to us. That it’s important for us to tell our stories. So I thought it was time for me to share another one of my own letters, this time to a fictional character I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The Newsflesh series is one of the pieces of fiction that make up the foundation of who I am and who I want to be and Georgia is a big part of that. And while this letter is addressed to George, I also have to thank Seanan McGuire for every word she’s written in this universe. It has meant the world to me.

If you have a fictional character who has shaped your life, I once again ask you to consider participating in this incredible project. Writing these letters is an emotional experience but so worth it.

Dear George,

More than ever, I wish you were real. I wish After the End Times were real. We may not have zombies for Shawn to poke but we need your commitment to truth and inability to stay quiet about the things that are most important. We need your tendency to dig until you get to the root of a story and your ability to make people care. We need your reminder to rise up while we can.

Thank you for valuing truth. The very concept of “post-truth” or “alternative facts” that we seem to be stuck with right now would infuriate you. But it would also motivate you to push harder and to investigate deeper. You’ve never been content to accept the world as others present it to you and I admire that. You’re always looking for the facts independent of the story, not only for yourself, but so you can give them to your readers. You believe that people are smart enough to interpret facts for themselves so long as they are given access. In that, you may be a little idealistic, but I think it comes out of underestimating what makes you extraordinary.

Prioritizing truth the way you do is hard. It’s uncomfortable when the truth isn’t what we’ve been led to believe. It means constantly addressing those underlying beliefs we’re not even aware we possess and reevaluating them in the face of new information. It takes a lot of mental strength to be able to do it at all, let alone to live your life based on that principal. You aren’t scared by the hard truths because you know that it is only in them that we can truly be free and be better than we were. You embrace that discomfort because you recognize that it often means your information is just a little better than it was before and that is always your end goal.

Continue reading Alive or Dead, the Truth Won’t Rest: A Letter to Georgia Mason