Friday, March 13, 2020

Books for These Times

It looks like folks might be sticking inside a little more than usual for peak pollen season aka not quite spring.  So, some book suggestions.  

I Want to Read About Bad Things (aka pandemics, apocalypses, zombies): 
- Orleans by Sherri L. Smith.  A bloodborn diseases has caused the US to wall off a segment of the area formerly known as New Orleans and society has altered and shifted behind the wall. Fen finds herself in charge of a baby girl she has promised the mother she will get over the wall, and teams up with a scientist who snuck over thinking he could fix it.  
-Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson - I know, I recommend this book a lot.  Emily has been following the rules, the right hair, the right school, the right boyfriend.  When a deadly flu strikes, Emily's parents are sequestered, a homeland security agent keeps asking her odd questions, and the DC neighborhood her uncle is in seems to be getting different messages than she's getting.  Coffee, a classmate who excels at breaking rules seems to be the only one she can trust.  
-Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole - Power's been out for long enough that friends Arden and John decide to try going to his parent's cabin. John's brother Gabriel intervenes when they are attacked and he and Arden annoy each other until they, well, don't.  
-Dread Nation by Justina Ireland - The Civil War got called on account of zombies, and now Jane is - like most colored folks - in training to be a protector - aka zombie killer for rich people.  Except, it looks like maybe there's more to what's going on than it seems.  
-Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan - Spy thriller, DC area set, with former lovers discovering they might have to work together to stop someone from unleashing a fast acting virus in DC.  
-Pet by Akwaeke Emezi - Is a book I read in about three sittings.  In paper.  And those of you who know how rarely I read paper, know what a feat this is.  In a world where monsters have been defeated, a child accidentally makes a monster from her mom's painting.  The monster says it's there to stop another monster.  With the help of the library, and her best friend, she manages to figure out how to handle things.   

I Want to Read About Happy Things: 
-A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon - An amnesia story (and yeah, starts with the heroine getting pushed down the stairs, so um, like after that it's mostly happy.)  Celebrity chef Evie goes to the ranch she grew up near to recover from a head injury, and of course there is the hot cowboy who is the main reason she hasn't visited much.  
-The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa - Full disclosure I know and adore Mia.  Nonetheless, this book was for me the correct blend of oh no, cringe, and oh this is just delicious.  Few years ago, up and coming wedding planner Carolina found out from her fiance's brother Max that her fiance had decided to take Max's advice and bail on the wedding.  Now, they've both been hired to convince a new hotel owner that Carolina is the best person for the new job at the hotel.  It's also a delightful look at neighborhoods familiar to many in the DMV, Dupont, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Wheaton, and so on all make appearances. 
-Sweet Talkin Lover by Tracey Livesay - While this Livesay does not take place in DC like some of her other stories, the shall we saw standoff between career woman who has been sent with an agenda to look at a small town factory and the mayor of said small town starts quickly with an amazing pinball standoff and goes from there.  
-Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans - A modern Pride and Prejudice retelling where Elisa and Darcy are in college and Darcy is the daughter of the rich and famous who has suddenly ended up in this town, and Elisa is crammed into a small apartment with her mom and sister.  
-Hungry Hearts - edited by Else Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond - This anthology has a range of moods and foods (I'll stop now), but thirteen tales should keep you busy for a bit. 

I Want to Think Deep Thoughts (aka Non-Fiction): 
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall - I listened to the audio for this, but it looked at the ways mainstream feminism often leaves out those with less privilege.  
Lead From the Outside by Stacey Abrams - Abrams talks a lot about making and finding opportunities for growth and mentorship, even if you didn't go to the fanciest schools.  
The View From Flyover Country by Sarah Kendzior - Kendzior has a new book out next month, but this collection of essays about privelege and class in America while many of them collected over several years, has a lot of information and careful inspection of our society in the US. 
Winners Take All by Anand Giridhiradas - A really interesting look at how our equation of money with merit, and merit with success, means we reinforce existing power.