Two books about terrible things

Recently I read both Gabriel García Márquez’s famous novel Love in the Time of Cholera and David Grann’s celebrated investigation Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. These books could not be more different. The only thing tying them together is their focus on terrible things. Which is not to say I didn’t like them! Continue reading


The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic

Back in June I grabbed a copy of The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic at Printers Row Lit Fest—partially because I love Jamila Woods, one of the editors of the anthology, and partially because the list of poets in the TOC was on fire: Eve L. Ewing, Safia Elhillo, Noname, Morgan Parker, and more. I read a few poems every night before bed, until I finished it last weekend.  Continue reading

Two Books that Reimagine the Future and the Past

How did I spend my weekend, you ask? On Saturday I sprawled on the couch and read the majority of Naomi Alderman’s novel The Power (which I’d started earlier in the week), and on Sunday I sprawled on the couch and read the entirety of Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation.

It was glorious.

Though the novels are fairly different in terms of style and genre, they’re similar in their vivid reimaginings of human life in the past and in the future. Continue reading

Faillir être flingué

Every once in a while I like to read a book in French to keep up my skills—but this one was quite a slog! It’s never easy reading a language in which you aren’t perfectly fluent, but Faillir être flingué was especially difficult because it’s an American Western. This is, of course, what intrigued me in the first place—a Western written by a French woman—but there was also a lot of special terminology related to the genre. Sure, I know what “rifles” and “shamans” are, but those aren’t words you normally learn in French class. (“Fusils” and “chamans,” for the record.) I had to rely heavily on my French-English dictionary.  Continue reading

Night at the Fiestas

I started reading Kirstin Valdez Quade’s Night at the Fiestas a few years ago, when she came to my MFA program at UNLV for the Emerging Writers Series. But I set it down after the first few stories, simply because grad school doesn’t allow much time for recreational reading. Still, she gave one of the most useful craft talks I’ve ever attended, so I knew I had to pick her book back up at some point. The women-authors-only book club I currently attend gave me the perfect opportunity. Continue reading

Kill the Boy Band (and two volumes of Saga)

I’ve been traveling and writing and grappling with the fact that our country is a total garbage fire right now, so blogging hasn’t been top of mind. I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to, either, thanks to the aforementioned issues. However, I did manage to cram in a few books while visiting Denver. The first, Goldy Moldavsky’s YA novel Kill the Boy Band, I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time. I finally found it in paperback at the Printers Row Lit Fest a few weeks ago! Continue reading

The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear: Agitator for the Spirit Land

Have I mentioned that I’m a total nerd? In college, I double majored in English and History and double minored in Political Science and Asian Studies, just because I like learning stuff. If I had unlimited time and resources, I would probably continue to obtain bachelor’s degrees in any subject that wouldn’t force me to do math.

Because I can’t obtain infinite bachelor’s degrees, I satisfy my random knowledge cravings by listening to podcasts. One of my favorites is Lore, a show that explores folklore and mythology from different cultures—usually with a spooky bent. I was first introduced to 19th-century minister-turned-medium John Murray Spear in an episode of Lore. How could I resist the tale of an eccentric spiritualist determined to build an electric messiah?

I had to know more. That’s why I finally ordered John Benedict Buescher’s book The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear: Agitator for the Spirit Land. Continue reading