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Strangers in Paradise, Fullsize Paperback Volume 13: Flower To Flame
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Size 12 Is Not Fat
90-day Geisha: My Time as a Tokyo Hostess
Julius Caesar
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter
The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales
From Hell
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Proud Americans

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Ladyguide: So You Want to Start a Book Club – Part 2 | Persephone Magazine

Once all the minutia is out of the way, picking the titles is the fun part. Initially, I warn you, people might be afraid to suggest titles, because no one wants to be responsible for the book that everyone hates. I have been that person on many occasions. Once, someone almost chucked a novel at me, that’s how much they hated it. (The Monsters of Templeton, which, for the record, I liked a lot and cried through the last chapter of.)

The Books I Read Last Year: The Good, The Bad, and The Meh (Part 3)

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Books 1 and 2 of the Inheritance Trilogy, these two titles were among the novels I was most excited about last year. I heard about them from two glowing reviews on IO9 and picked up Hundred Thousand when I happened across it at my library.

This is exactly what happened: I came home from the library at 9 in the morning. I then read the entire first book in a breathtaking couple of hours, immediately left my house, drove back to the library and checked out the second one. I literally could not wait another day to read the next part of the story.

For the fantasy readers among us, please note this: it is a fantasy world with a POC lead, a non-Greek based mythology, with strong and vibrant female characters. Frankly, this should be enough of a selling point, but the books are fantastic in their own right.

The Books I Read Last Year: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh (Part 1) | Persephone Magazine

The Books I Read Last Year: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh (Part 1)

Demons by John Shirley

In the not-too-distant future, demons have crossed over into our world and roam freely, wreaking havoc on whatever humans have not yet died. In one part of the novel, in which we are to understand how horrific life is now that demons have invaded the earth, the President of the United States is forced to give deadly fellatio to a demon on live television. Because that is gross. And scary. Are you scared yet? Penises! Goo! Slime! Boogity boo!

There is also a lone female character in the novel who is saintly and saves us all through her mystical pregnancy, as she is possessed by spiritual entities that keep her virginal. I don’t even want to touch that one.

Books I re-read in bold. I usually re-read like a bandit, I’m surprised to see there was only one on the entire list.

1 A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

2 A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) George R.R. Martin

3 Afterlight (Dark Ink Chronicles #1) Elle Jasper

4 Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim, #3) Richard Kadrey

5 American Vampire Jennifer Armintrout

6 Audrey’s Door Sarah Langan

7 Austenland Shannon Hale

8 Bake! Nick Malgieri

9 Battle Royale Koushun Takami

10 Beauty Queens Libba Bray

11 Black Swan Rising (Black Swan Rising #1) Lee  Carroll

12 Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3) Gail Carriger

13 Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) Cherie Priest

14 Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) Suzanne Collins

15 Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies  Alice Medrich

16 Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11) Charlaine Harris

17 Defiance (Strange Angels, #4) Lili St. Crow

18 Demons (Cemetery Dance Novella Series, #9) John Shirley

19 Dominance Will Lavender

20 Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations Amanda Carestio

21 Framing Innocence Lynn Powell

22 Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution Sara Marcus

23 Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms, #1) Kristin Cashore

24 Grave Dance (Alex Craft, #2) Kalayna Price

25 Grave Witch (Alex Craft, #1) Kalayna Price

26 Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate, #4) Gail Carriger

27 Heaven’s Spite (Jill Kismet, #5) Lilith Saintcrow

28 Homer & Langley E.L. Doctorow

29 If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation Janine Latus

30 If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now Claire LaZebnik

31 Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion Janet Reitman

32 Ironside (The Modern Faerie Tales, #3) Holly Black

33 Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim, #2) Richard Kadrey

34 Legally Blonde Amanda Brown

35 Lips Touch: Three Times Laini Taylor

36 Middlemarch (Signet Classics) George Eliot

37 Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) Suzanne Collins

38 Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) Agatha Christie

39 Project X Jim Shepard

40 Read This Next: 500 of the Best Books You’ll Ever Read Sandra Newman

41 Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1) Richard Kadrey

42 Santa Olivia (Santa Olivia, #1) Jacqueline Carey

43 Spooky Little Girl Laurie Notaro

44 Swamplandia! Karen Russell

45 The Birthing House Christopher Ransom

46 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas John Boyne

47 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz

48 The Broken Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, #2) N.K. Jemisin

49 The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story Robert Baer

50 The Frenzy Francesca Lia Block

51 The Help Kathryn Stockett

52 The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien

53 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, #1) N.K. Jemisin

54 The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) Suzanne Collins

55 The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1) Julie Kagawa

56 The Magnolia League (Magnolia League, #1) Katie Crouch

57 The Missing Ink (Tattoo Shop Mystery, #1) Karen E. Olson

58 The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1) Daisy Whitney

59 The Nobodies Album Carolyn Parkhurst

60 The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories Holly Black

61 The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry Jon Ronson

62 The Shining Stephen King

63 The Twisted Thread Charlotte Bacon

64 The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity Mike Carey

65 The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Maggie O’Farrell

66 The Wasp Factory Iain M. Banks

67 The White Tiger Aravind Adiga

68 The Woman in Black Susan Hill

69 Theories of International Politics and Zombies Daniel W. Drezner

70 This Lullaby Sarah Dessen

71 Unquiet Spirit (The Gye Journals, #3) Derek Wilson

72 Valiant (Modern Tale of Faerie Series #2) Holly Black

73 What the Dead Know Laura Lippman

74 World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks

75 Zombies Vs. Unicorns Holly Black

I can never decide which book I want, and I hate buying a book and then realizing halfway through that I hate it. I can’t just return it and I’ve wasted money. I wish there were a way I could just borrow a book instead.

You can borrow books and return them if you would just GO THE FUCK TO THE LIBRARY.

Girls Girls Girls: A Trio Of Epic Adventures : NPR

Girls Girls Girls: A Trio Of Epic Adventures

Students perform Alcestis at Queen's College in London, circa 1917.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Students perform Alcestis at Queen’s College in London, circa 1917.

May 25, 2011

So many fairy tales and myths are about girls who are known only by their positions in life: daughter, princess, wife. They don’t slay dragons; they prick their fingers.

As a girl, I don’t think I was aware of these discrepancies. I simply gravitated toward books in which girls did things. Later on, I realized that all my favorite childhood books were reinterpretations of these old stories — newer versions in which the girls were named, wielded weapons and fought battles. Here are three novels that have reclaimed some of these tales for women.



By Robin McKinley, paperback, 384 pages, Ace Trade, list price: $14

Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Donkeyskin” is the basis for Deerskin, Robin McKinley’s reimagining of this story about the daughter of a king and his beautiful queen. When the queen dies, the king decides that the only woman who could possibly replace his wife is their daughter, Lissla Lissar. The result of the king’s incestuous proclamation is a horrific rape that leaves Lissar and her dog badly battered and near death. What follows is a tale of survival. Slowly, Lissar learns to reclaim her own body. She learns to value life again as she nurses her dog and a litter of puppies to health. Ultimately, she reclaims her own right to love and be loved — a right that so often is entirely invisible in fairy tales about girls, whose only duties are to the men in their lives.



By Katharine Beutner, paperback, 304 pages, Soho Press, list price: $14

In Greek myth, Alcestis was one such girl: so dutiful that when her husband asked for her to die in his stead, she complied. But Katharine Beutner’s interpretation of the story gives us a vividly different woman. In the Underworld she meets not only Hades, but his queen, the irresistible Persephone, who awakens a new life in Alcestis’s dead body. Persephone’s touch transforms Alcestis into living flesh again, reclaiming both desire and her self in the process. Though both Persephone and Alcestis are wives to their husbands, in this tale, they are also more: lovers carving out experiences beyond the circumscribed lives given to them.

Santa Olivia

Santa Olivia

By Jacqueline Carey, paperback, 352 pages, Grand Central Publishing, list price: $13.99

While Deerskin and Alcestis are deeply emotional internal journeys, Jacqueline Carey’s Santa Olivia is a dystopian adventure set on the U.S. - Mexican border. When Loup Garron’s older brother loses a boxing match that would have bought him a ticket across the border, Loup begins to train in secret to avenge him. Here, her story takes a turn into the bright-lights arena of a Hollywood boxing movie, but this time, the champion in the ring is a fearless teenage girl. When Loup falls in love with the buxom, beautiful Pilar, she isn’t afraid of that, either. Santa Olivia takes these typically masculine narratives — a masked hero; the training of a champion — and reclaims them for every girl who has ever dreamed that she could be the true hero.

As a reader, this is the kind of story I’ve always loved. As a writer, this is the kind of story I want to tell, although the job of reclaiming these myths seem like an unending labor. But this is work that must be done: creating worlds in which girls are free to speak up, to love themselves, and to love each other.

Malinda Lo’s first novel, Ash is a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian twist. Her second novel, Huntress, came out this year.

I firmly believe that no lover of the vampire-romance genre should skip over the Gran of that genre, Anne Rice. For my money, the first three novels of The Vampire Chronicles is some of the greatest world-building, vampire-making, subversive-gay-plotting fiction on the market. The series becomes huge and unwieldy after a while, and Lestat goes from loveable, amoral rogue to unbearably self-absorbed jackass, but it’s a good ride while it lasts. You can also, of course, see the two terrible, horrible, no-good movies that were based on the books, Interview with a Vampire and Queen of the Damned. One is saved by a very young Kirsten Dunst as Claudia and long-hair-era Brad Pitt as Louis, while the other has Stuart Townsend in a see-through shirt. And that is the only positive thing anyone has ever had to say about that film.