“I don’t know how other people endure the violence and cruelty they encounter throughout their lives,” remarks the narrator of Notes of a Crocodile (by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie), a young college student named Lazi. She is mourning the end of a relationship with her troubled ex-girlfriend, Shui Ling—only she, Lazi, is the one who ended it. In part this book is about that very question–how its characters (young gay women and men living in Taiwan in the 1980s) hurt each other, acting out their own traumas on each other, and sometimes becoming cruel out of pain and confusion.Continue reading →
Category / Books
The Best Books We Read in 2022
We’re a little late with this one, but year-end posts are still fair game anytime before February (right?). This was a great year of reading for both of us – we both went overboard on Honorable Mentions and still had trouble choosing! Here are the best books we read in 2022:Continue reading →
September 2022 Book Recs: Either/Or and Woman Running in the Mountains
This is a double book rec post — I forgot to do an August post and can’t pick just one for September!Continue reading →
May 2022 Book Rec: Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett
In the middle of reading Checkout 19, Claire-Louise Bennett’s coming-of-age novel about a girl who really really loves to read, I rhapsodized to Keets that this book had put into words something that had always been true of my reading experience but that I had never noticed, let alone described.Continue reading →
March Book Rec: Oldladyvoice by Elisa Victoria
Janes turned me on to a particular strain of literary fiction of which Ottessa Moshfegh would be considered the standard-bearer: fiction about antiheroines who, rather than rebelling against social norms in a proto-feminist way (as in Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies or even Gone Girl), are simply petty and vain and shallow, while also being darkly hilarious. Elisa Victoria’s novel oldladyvoice answers the question you never thought to ask: “What if Ottessa Moshfegh wrote a book about a nine-year-old?”
Answer: it would be amazing.Continue reading →
The Best Books We Read in 2021
As is tradition for, well, all book blogs ever, we compiled a list of the best books we each read in 2021.Continue reading →
UPDATED: Our Favorite Books by Black Authors
We’ll be updating this post regularly with more favorite books by Black authors, along with their Bookshop links. Happy reading!Continue reading →
The Best Books We Read in 2020
We write this post every year, but this year it has a little more meaning. I don’t know about you, but reading was the only thing that got me through this year. We love television, of course, but reading was the only activity absorbing enough to get me to stop doomscrolling. So here are the books that got us through quarantine–the best books we read during this cosmic joke of a year.Continue reading →
Our Favorite Books By Black Authors
Recently the #publishingpaidme hashtag highlighted on Twitter just how absurd the discrepancies between advances for Black authors and non-Black authors are in publishing. For example, NK Jemisin’s famous Broken Earth Trilogy? She got $25K advance for each book. Jesmyn Ward had to fight to get a six-figure advance (a number frequently bestowed upon White debut authors with no track record) after winning the National Book Award.
If you’re White (or non-Black) and you’re anything like us, this hashtag (and the recent uprising against police brutality and racism in general) may have made you redouble your commitment to reading works by Black voices. Anyway, here are some of our favorites, old and new. Some of them we’ve written about before, some we somehow haven’t mentioned yet. Check it out, and follow the links to purchase from Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores with each purchase!*
*We’re not grown-up bloggers, so we don’t get any money ourselves… we just want to stick it to Jeff Bezos.
The Best Books We Read in 2019
There are two things Janes and I agree on about our reading in 2019: how hard it was to pick just a few standouts, and the fact that Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends was a shoo-in.