Tag Archives: books

June 2019 Recommendations

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Show Title: Good Omens

Episodes: 6

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Look, if you follow me on either Twitter or Tumblr, you’re well aware that this is my latest obsession. I read the book about 6 years ago and loved it so I was already the target audience for this show. But thanks to some brilliant casting choices and shifting the story just enough to primarily be a love story between Aziraphale and Crowley on their mission to avert the apocalypse, it beyond delivered. From the outset, it was conceived to be a tribute to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s friendship with him and that care came through in everything they did. It’s a celebration humanity’s ability to choose paths other than the ones seemingly ordained to us and to make the world something we can be proud of. The Them standing up to the Four Horseman because they know they deserve better than a ruined world and Adam standing up to the devil to point out that biology doesn’t determine parentage are gorgeous moments in what was actually one of the weaker points of the show. Where it truly excels (and what has caused the bulk of the media attention) is in the developing relationship between Aziraphale and Crowley as they forge their own side out of a shared love of humanity and each other. The cold open of the 3rd episode is 28 minutes long and entirely devoted to their history with each other over 6000 years and it was brilliantly done and acted. They put in the time to develop their relationship so that you really feel the impact of their fight at the end of the same episode and it’s that dedication to character work in a 6 hour long show that I appreciate so much. While this isn’t fully a story about them, they’re the hook and in order for everything else to land (and to overlook things that may not have been as strong), we had to believe in their connection and they delivered. After a frustrating spring of uneven character work on other shows, this was exactly what I wanted.

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Book Title: The Luminous Dead

Author: Caitlin Starling

Genre: Sci-fi/Horror

It can’t be easy to write a book in a very confined setting with only two characters but this debut manages to do just that in a compelling way. Em and Gyre are full of secrets and past pain that both drives them and holds them back from truly living and to see them be confronted with those pasts and also begin to find healing in their initially reluctant friendship and growing feelings was incredible to read. Yes, it’s a story of exploration and the drive to push on despite obstacles and the gradually unfolding story surrounding these particular set of space caves is interesting, but it’s the revelations each girl has in the process that will pull you in the most. They had to put their life (in Gyre’s case) and their hopes (in Em’s) in each other’s hands and that’s no easy task. It required vulnerability and trust that neither of them knew how to give when they started this journey and at the end, there was no one else who could fully understand what they’ve been through. To have to anchor someone and fight for them when their senses could no longer be trusted. To accept the help when it seems so much more seductive to let go and lose yourself in the pain. The character work is the focus and while that may not be what someone is looking for in a horror book, it was absolutely the right choice for this particular story and I really enjoyed it. 

 

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March 2019 Recommendations

 

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Show Title: The Magicians

Episodes: 52 (by the end of s4)

Where to Watch: The first three seasons are on Netflix, s4 is available on demand or to purchase)

I originally started this show sometime last fall, got busy and lost interest halfway through season one. After some excited screaming from the fandom in the midst of season four, I got inspired to start the series over and quickly watched the available episodes over the course of a couple weeks. There are some things I don’t love about the first couple seasons but season three is genuinely one of the best seasons of TV I’ve ever seen. It completely rejects the “we’re actually making a ten hour movie” mentality and instead embraces the strengths of its medium by giving us a character-focused, season-spanning quest. There was an overarching storyline that swiftly moved along, but it also took time to make each episode count and play with the form and structure of the show. There are not nearly enough shows that pull off that episode/season balance as well as The Magicians has and while it hasn’t quite hit the same peak in season four, it has still taken risks and embraced the chaos that comes with a fantasy show that isn’t interested in being complete misery at all times. The characters are damaged and messy and make big mistakes but they also love and fight hard for one another, even when they don’t like each other. They grow and evolve in ways that make sense for their journeys and what they have been through and it is beautiful to watch. You can’t help but love them even (and sometimes especially) when they are assholes. And, as you’ve heard if you are at all engaged in fandom spaces on the internet, they are telling what is so far a beautiful and painful love story in an incredibly satisfying way that I am unused to as a fan. They are excelling at so many things that make me love TV and it is everything I needed in this moment. It’s already been renewed for a fifth season and even if you can’t watch it right now, it’s well worth taking a look at before next January.

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Book Title: That Ain’t Witchcraft

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Urban Fantasy

I don’t think there’s a current author who knows how to write an ongoing series better than Seanan McGuire. The individual pieces are good and compelling stories with characters that I love but when you put them all together and look at them as a whole, they become something greater. The climax of this book would not have had the impact it did without 8 books and numerous short stories (especially The Recitation of the Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork) to back it up. We needed to know the legacy of the Price women and to understand the purity of the faith the Aeslin mice have in their priestesses. We needed Annie to truly feel the strength of those bonds and her love for her family, blood and chosen. It was emotionally earned and incredibly effective, given how hard it made me cry. This book was, in many ways, the end of one chapter of this story and the beginning of something new and exciting and I am already anxious to see the next part of the extended Price-Healy family’s story.

 

 

February 2019 Recommendations

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Show Title: One Day At A Time

Episodes: 39

Where to Watch: Netflix

This isn’t a new show by any means. I’ve talked about this show in nearly every end of the year post I’ve written since the show debuted in 2017 and I will almost certainly continue that trend this year. But once again, it faces an uncertain future with Netflix’s opaque standards and an outside production company, so once again, I will ask that you give this show a chance if anything about it even sounds a little appealing to you.

This show is the new standard for how to do a smart, funny multicam sitcom well. The cast is terrific, the writing is sharp, and you can feel how much everyone involved loves what they are doing. You can feel Norman Lear’s continuing influence on this show and variety of timely comedy that blends laughter with discussion of serious topics like addiction, mental health, and consent. It’s a show that will make you cry because it’s genuinely touching but also because you love these characters and want their success and happiness.

Todd Grinnell is particularly exceptional in the third season throughout Schneider’s relapse and once again, I will be needing Justina Machado to be showered in every award possible. Every member of the main cast is doing truly incredible work and the amount of care that has gone into crafting these characters is evident. Elena gets to be taken seriously as a feminist teenager with a lot of opinions and her relationship with her Syd-nificant other is unlike anything else I’ve seen on TV. Alex gets to be a teenager who makes mistakes but is also a tremendous source of compassion and emotional support for his family. He’s not a warning (although the show is quick to point out the discrepancies in the way drug offences are treated by race in this country), he’s just him. And Lydia is as fabulous as any character played by Rita Moreno should be. She sparkles and is full of life and love for those around her and is a delight every moment she is on screen.

I could gush about the wonders of this show all day because it is incredibly special to me and it means so much to the communities that it represents. It deserves many more seasons and now is the time to start watching it on Netflix and fall in love with it as so many have.

Continue reading February 2019 Recommendations

January 2019 Recommendations

Over the course of a year, I watch and read a lot of things that I love. Some make it on to my year-end lists but others (like the two shows I mention today) aired last year or earlier and I didn’t get to them in time for them to make my list. There is so much content out there and depending on who you follow on social media, you may or may not see any buzz for an individual show or book so I wanted to draw some attention to things I enjoyed in the hopes that someone will find something to add to their TBR or to-watch lists. What good things did you read or watch this month?

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Show Title: Élite

Episodes: 8

Where to Find It: Netflix

If you like high school dramas and don’t mind subtitles, this is the show for you. Part Gossip Girl, part Riverdale, this teen soap is full of characters trying to figure out who they are, budding and faltering romances, and lots of bad decision making skills. If that weren’t enough to deal with as a teenager, there’s also a murder mystery that’s told in flash-forward glimpses of the investigation and interrogations. Secrets are unraveled and alliances are formed as the final episode reveals the culprit and sets up what is sure to be an equally entertaining (and most importantly, already ordered) season two.

This sort of show is an easy sell for me. I love a well-made teen soap and the added suspense of the murder mystery makes it all the easier to binge. What I wasn’t expecting was to love these characters as much as I did. No one is entirely what they seem and as walls come down and circumstances shift, we get to see new sides to everyone that don’t make them better people necessarily but do make them more complicated and less archetypical. They are messes but they’re now my messes and I can’t wait to see more of them next season.

Continue reading January 2019 Recommendations

Best of 2018: Sci-fi/Fantasy Books

This is my genre of choice. This was the first year I purchased a supporting membership for the Hugo Awards, giving me voting privileges for this year and nominating privileges for next year, and as you will see, that’s where I found a lot of these books. It encouraged me to read books I may not have picked up otherwise, expanded my horizons within the genre, and introduced me to new authors that I’ll now enthusiastically follow. I am so excited by the variety of work that’s coming out and being celebrated within this large and varied genre and can’t wait to read more next year.

1. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn This book is sort of urban fantasy/superhero meets Devil Wears Prada and is as much fun as that description makes it sound. There are demon cupcakes and difficult people to work with and a fantastic portrayal of the difficulties in taking full responsibility for a younger sibling but that’s not why it attached itself to my heart like it did. In my 30 years of life, I’ve never seen myself in a piece of fiction as much as I have in this book. Representation matters. Letting people see their cultures and people who look like them in fiction as the protagonist of a story is so important and something that fortunately is becoming more common for more groups of people. It’s explicitly addressed in the book as an influence for Evie and Aveda becoming who they are and something I had no idea I could have in this specific way. I am Evie. We share numerous personality traits, areas of academic interest, ethnic backgrounds, and even a favorite comfort food that she was made fun of for bringing to school which I refused to do for fear of the same result. So to read a story in which she worked to overcome her emotional repression (which I was actively doing to an unhealthy degree when reading this book) and let herself feel and own her feelings, both good and bad, was incredibly important to me and I can’t thank Sarah Kuhn enough for that gift.

2. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire My love for Seanan McGuire’s work is well-established by this point and this series is something special. I was thrilled to be back at Eleanor’s and with some of the characters I fell in love with in Every Heart a Doorway and the introduction of new characters like Cora and Rini. I love that it’s a book about loving and accepting people for who they are, even when you don’t understand their reality. It’s a book about friendship, hope, and kindness and therefore everything I needed. I spent the majority of my first read-through in near tears for reasons I still don’t fully understand, it was just one of those pieces of fiction that resonates perfectly with where you are at that particular moment in time. For a series about finding the place where you fit, this is the story that has called to me the most. Confection wouldn’t be my world but this book is a partial glimpse of what mine would look like.

3. Wayfarers Trilogy by Becky Chambers This character-focused sci-fi series is going to be one of my go-to comfort reads from now on. There isn’t a lot of plot, it’s largely exploring the universe Becky Chambers has imagined and the day-to-day lives of her characters, but there is a lot of heart. There is a gentleness that runs through the trilogy and a sense of compassion for each of these characters that make these books feel warm and cozy. The world she has created is full of different species with different appearances and social structures that often aren’t like our own but without the othering that sometimes comes into the sci-fi and fantasy genre when creating new species or races. Everyone is simply allowed to be. It’s filled with found families and the acceptance that comes with finding your people and your place in the world and that made it everything I could have wanted to read this year.  

4. Inheritance Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin It’s fair to say that N. K. Jemisin is among the best fantasy writers of our generation, if not the best. While slightly more traditional fantasy than her Broken Earth trilogy, it feels anything but stale as Jemisin gives us a world of imprisoned gods and their captors. It’s a story of balance and the way forces push and pull against each other to find equilibrium. It’s a story about love and jealousy and rediscovery. It’s a look at power structures and the way they are perpetuated as well as a reminder that we need each other to survive. Each novel in the trilogy revolves around a different set of characters (though still connecting to the larger whole) to create a full picture of this universe from its creation to the present. The worldbuilding is stunning as are the characters, from the mortals to the gods and everyone in between.

Continue reading Best of 2018: Sci-fi/Fantasy Books

Best of 2018: Books (Not SFF)

Approximately half my reading this year was sci-fi or fantasy so I wanted to talk about those in their own post but didn’t want to leave out some of the other terrific books I read this year, so this is a catch-all for all the non-YA, non-SFF I loved. This year I got back into reading more romance novels after a several year break and it was one of the best decisions I could have made. I love seeing what this genre is doing as it starts to embrace different voices and perspectives and the sheer variety of work that is available. There really is something for everyone and the focus on growth and love in many forms was exactly what I wanted to read.

1. Agents Irish and Whiskey trilogy by Layla Reyne This trilogy took over a weekend for me because I did not want to put it down. The mystery portion of the books is solid, if not a little overcomplicated by the end, but it’s the romance that sells it. Aiden was told to take Jamie under his wing and train him for fieldwork, while also enlisting his help to discover the true story surrounding his husband’s death. Despite his fears and hesitation, Aiden falls for Jamie (who already had a bit of a crush on him that was only enhanced by actually getting to know him) and that progression from “it’s only a physical thing, I’m not attached” to “I want to spend the rest of my life with this person” is perfectly done. Their banter and dynamic is terrific and you can’t help but fall in love with these two characters and root for them even when one of them is being dumb (in a good, in-character way) and you want to yell at them. It is so incredibly satisfying to read and there is a bonus short story of their wedding available for free to look forward to once you reach the end of their journey.

2. Forbidden Hearts Trilogy by Alisha Rai I started this trilogy at exactly the right time. I needed Livvy’s story and stubbornness and mistaken belief that strength meant never being weak and that shoving down all your emotions was the way to handle life. I love the romance and the work she and Nicholas had to do in order to make their relationship strong again but it was her journey in particular that unexpectedly brought me to tears. And that’s a trend that held through in all three novels, it was the women and their journeys that I loved most of all and the romance was a (wonderfully done) bonus. They had good friends and their own baggage to deal with and they refused to take sole responsibility for fixing the men they loved. I love the depth the rest of the family was given and the love that was so clearly present in all forms throughout the book. Grandpa John is the very best and I was cheering for him getting his whole family back just as much as I was cheering for the love stories. It’s touching, it’s hot as hell, and will make you run through the full spectrum of emotions out of love for these fantastic characters.

3. Tequila Sunrise by Layla Reyne I know this is technically considered part of the Agents Irish and Whiskey series but the main characters are different and I love Mel so she gets her own entry on this list. I will forever love couples with badass ladies and men who are utterly delighted by the fact that their significant other can kick their ass. This whole novella is Mel being the talented and trained former special agent in charge that she is and protecting the people she loves while getting a glimpse at the key moments in her relationship with Danny that took place during the timeline of the main trilogy. It’s sexy and suspenseful and just plain fun.

4. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng While there is a small mystery around which the story revolves, it’s never the point. Instead, it’s a focused look at one family shrouded in secrets and insolation who never really found a place they could feel settled. But instead of talking, they held all their pain inside until it made them lash out at each other. But it’s also about healing and the process it will take. Lydia’s death changed the family forever and they’ll never be the same but in some ways it brought them together in a new understanding. It’s a melancholy, bittersweet novel that tugs at your soul and makes you think about all the things you keep to yourself and how that limits the way others understand you.

Continue reading Best of 2018: Books (Not SFF)

Best of 2018: YA Books

According to my very convenient reading stats spreadsheet, young adult books made up about a quarter of my reading this year. While I am now much older than a YA protagonist, there is still plenty for me to enjoy in these books. As your teen years are often a time of growth and change, they tend to be primarily character-focused, which I greatly prefer. They also feel like they are more likely to be socially conscious and inclusive, although that may be some amount of selection bias that goes into that perception. There’s a variety of genres within YA represented in this post and I hope you’ll find something new to enjoy!

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas This isn’t a book that needs any introduction. It was made into an acclaimed movie this year and when it was released, it spend 50 weeks on top of the New York Times YA bestseller list. If you read anything about books on the internet, you have heard how good it is and they are entirely correct. This was one of the first books I read this year and I knew instantly it would be on one of these lists. It is a story about demanding better. We shouldn’t be a society where Black parents need to talk to their kids about dealing with cops, not to respect their position but so they have a better chance of making it home alive, but we do. The ending, with Starr remembering and honoring real life victims of police brutality alongside Khalil and pledging to fight in their memory for a better future for her younger brothers, was simply stunning. It grounded the novel in a powerful way and ended the book on a message of perseverance. Because that’s what is needed to bring about change. This book is about fighting for a better future and Starr figuring out her role in that. This is going to be the type of book that represents this generation of teenagers and young adults who are loud and engaged in working toward the world they want and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.

2. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan I love a genre-savvy protagonist and that is exactly what Elliot is as in this take on a portal fantasy. He’s grown up on Narnia and Alice in Wonderland and understands what it means to fall through into another world. Unlike some who find other worlds, he fits just as poorly in his new world as he did in his old one. He’d rather study than fight, a detriment in a warrior-based society, and he’s a giant, often condescending pain in the ass. But despite that, he settles into himself and finds the people he fits with. His best friends are everything you would want in an iconic trio, I love the way Sarah Rees Brennan flips typical fantasy gender stereotypes as a way to point out how ridiculous they are, and I love the subversion of a typical YA love triangle especially in combination with Elliot being the most oblivious person in the world. The romance is a delight and if you’re a fan of pining fanfictions and yelling at characters because they’re obviously into each other, you’ll have a lot of fun here. It’s an incredibly fun twist on a genre we’re familiar with and you really can’t go wrong with it.

3. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera This is the sort of book that I can’t imagine existing when I was a teenager. A book about finding your voice and feminism and intersectionality and queer identity doesn’t feel like something that would have been published 15 years ago and I am thrilled that it does now. At its core, this is a book about learning to trust yourself and opening yourself up to your own truth then embracing that truth. It’s about learning your idols are human and just as susceptible to flaws and blind spots as you are but also that they can still be an important part of your development. It’s about understanding your history and surrounding yourself with different types of people and becoming the amazing, unstoppable force you were meant to be. In Juliet’s closing letter to herself, she says to “read all the books that make you whole” which I adore as a reader in general but it is also a perfect description of what this book was for me.

4. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson If you like murder mysteries with a great collection of characters that will make you yell at the cliffhanger ending (that I was completely unprepared for, I didn’t realize this book was the start of a trilogy), this is the book for you. The school setting is terrific and leaves plenty of room for teens being teens and falling in love and worrying about fitting into their new environment alongside the mystery and takes full advantage of Maureen Johnson’s talents. She knows how to write protagonists you’ll love and root for and Stevie is no exception. My former forensic science-loving teenage self adored her love of true crime and determination to solve the decades-old unsolved mystery surrounding her school. While she embraces the spirit of Ellington, she has a harder time with her new classmates and her growth and learning to find her place and her people was also very satisfying. I can’t wait for the continuation of the story next month.

Continue reading Best of 2018: YA Books

Best of 2018: Non-fiction Books

It’s that time of year again! I always love taking December to reflect on the things I’ve loved most throughout the year and sharing them with you all. It’s an excellent way for me to see what I needed and connected with in the past year and use that knowledge to better understand myself and my growth and it gives you something to look back on in the future and remember the person you were. As always, these are just the things that stuck out to me the most. It’s a blend of what I thought was exceptional and things that resonated with me. This year, I read a lot more books than usual and watched a little less TV, so I’m doing more book posts and fewer TV posts. My book lists will go up on Sundays, TV lists on Thursdays and I hope you’ll join me in sharing some of your own favorites from the year – I’m always looking for recommendations.

It was a fantastic year of nonfiction for me. I definitely have strong preferences on the types of books I’m likely to pick up – typically memoirs/biographies or anything that examines societal systems – and that shows in this list. I loved reading about so many incredible women, some familiar and some unfamiliar to me, and am excited to continue that trend in 2019.

1. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor Regardless of your interest in the law or Supreme Court, you should read this memoir. I didn’t know anything about Justice Sotomayor before reading this and now I’m hoping she writes a follow up after she retires (which will hopefully not be for many years). I love her measured but still approachable writing style, it suits someone in her position and with her predisposition to look at systems and the world holistically. I love the sense of community that fills this book, from her biological family to the extended network of people she has come to know and count as her own. We see the people who helped shape her and the value she places in human connection. Her comfort with complexities and contradictions in people and understanding that success and mistakes need not be exclusive make her an extraordinary judge and seemingly a terrific person to know and have in your corner. It is a beautiful look at an extraordinary life that has lead to extraordinary achievement.  

2. Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister Realistically, I was always going to like this book. Rebecca Traister’s previous book All the Single Ladies was one of my favorite nonfiction books last year and the subject matter of this book immediately appealed to me. Even with high expectations, this book managed to surpass them. It was exactly what I needed to read at this particular moment in time. I am always going to be interested in historical and sociological looks at the construction of culture and the world we’ve built and Traister’s writing consistently draws me in. But I also appreciated the commitment to intersectionality and the impact race makes on the expression and perceived acceptability of anger (and the way it can mitigate anger if you’re closer to power).  Overall, It inspired me and made me feel hopeful for a future in which more women embrace their anger and use it to fuel change. We don’t have a shortage of things to be mad about these days but we do have plenty we can do to use that anger to better ourselves and bring about the future we want, even if we’re not the ones who directly benefit.

3. Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine My degree is in social psychology with a focus on gender and sexuality, this book is just about perfectly tailored to my academic interests. So take that as a declaration of all the bias and external knowledge that I brought to my reading of this book. It is smartly researched, easy to follow and understand, and a wonderful look at the complicated ways biology and society contribute to our understanding of gender and upholding of gender roles and rules big and small. Most excitingly to me, she talks about some of the failures of science in the way we research gender. We cannot separate the work we do from the world in which we live. As researchers, we bring our own set of biases to our experiments and reporting, and that is something that is absolutely critical to keep in mind when talking about something like gender that affects the real experiences of people outside of a laboratory setting. It fit so well with my worldview that I can’t be at all objective about its merits but if this is an interest of yours, I would wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try.  

Continue reading Best of 2018: Non-fiction 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