the tastemakers

The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue, by David Sax, is a great book. I’ve been so caught up with YA lately that I haven’t read any social studies or food memoirs lately, even though those are my favorite types of non-fiction. So this was both a refreshing read and just a generally good one. You should read it, too. Especially if you like food books, but even if you just like books and also like food. It’s a good jumping-off point into the world of food writing.

Sax is a solid writer with a journalism background, so the book reads like a bunch of extended magazine features on different trends. I read it all the way through because that’s how I roll, but it would also be a great read even if you were just curious about how bacon became a thing (remember when all of a sudden, the reason for everything was “because bacon?” And you were confused, but you just went with it, because really, bacon). Continue reading

she’s not there….but she was here!

Have you heard of Helen Oyeyemi? In 2004 or 2005, she was the talk of the literary world because she wrote a novel and sold it at the same time that she sat her A-levels, and that was amazing, because really young writers are amazing. I heard about this somewhere and became pretty obsessed with the idea that someone just a couple years older than I was had done what I wanted to do, so I got her book, The Icarus Girl, when it came out, and it was everything.

It wasn’t anything to anyone else I knew, which made me sad, because I couldn’t stop talking about. The boys at school (who I was always trying to impress or at least be seen as worthy in their eyes, even though by all high school social standards, they were not impress-worthy) who were in journalism with me made fun of me for this, especially when I wrote a book review for the school newspaper. Looking back, the way they treated me in that class and in high school in general was problematic on so many levels (once I brought The Norton Anthology of African American Literature to school because I needed it for something we were doing later that day in English, and one of these boys just ripped out a page out of nowhere, because he thought a poem called “Run Nigger Run” was hilarious. Who rips pages out of books?) and yet I didn’t have the vocabulary or the confidence to hit back or explain what they were doing or anything, and it was so frustrating.

Anyway. I loved The Icarus Girl and was always telling people to read it. Then I kept following Oyeyemi and was always buying her next books whenever they came out. Continue reading

march nick hornby copycat

Books Bought This Month
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi
Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running by John “The Penguin” Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield (really) Continue reading

publishing has learned that judaism is more than the holocaust!

starI am no stranger to not finding myself in literature. Probably many of you reading this feel the same. That’s why every year I make resolutions about reading diversely and then fail, because it’s really, really hard to find stuff that’s not about upper middle class WASPs. Really hard. Not only do you have to look extra hard because big publishers barely publicize their non WASPy books and because the small publishers that actually publish stuff by/about PoC/LGBT/disability/etc don’t have money to promote their books. Then there’s also the whole part where if you’re a reader, you probably want to read books you actually find interesting, and I for one am really tired of reading about, say, slaves or segregation or border crossing. Like, really tired. I am much more interested in finding more Eleanor & Park, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sloppy Firsts, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks that just happens to acknowledge that there are blerds in the world. Also, maybe there would be someone bisexual in it or someone with a hearing aid who also wears a hijab.

I would also like to see formulaic series fiction that’s neither Gossip Girl nor whatever the name of urban high school hi/lo series is. I would like for someone to write the next Cheetah Girls and for someone else to write really horribly derivative versions of The Summer Prince that could never stand up to the original’s literary quality but would at least try to be derivative and crappy in a new way. I want Americans to write contemporary versions of the Western fairy tales we all consider to be real fairy tales in the way they already do, but for people of color to be in them. I want there to be Jewish and Muslim characters in books who don’t just celebrate Hanukkah/have grandparents who were Holocaust survivors or experience racism in a post-9/11 world. (While we’re at it, I would also like everyone to be aware of the existence of Helen Oyeyemi and Danzy Senna, and for Danielle Evans and Alaya Dawn Johnson to write more books posthaste.) Continue reading

february nick hornby copycat

Try Grammarly’s plagiarism checker free of charge, because reading something doesn’t mean you get to call it your own.

Books Bought This Month
Free Within Ourselves: The Development of African American Children’s Literature by Rudine Sims Bishop

Books Received/Acquired This Month
Gilded by Christina Farley (Kindle First)
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares (Netgalley ARC)
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (Edelweiss ARC)
The Fierce Reads Anthology: A Tor.Com Original by Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer Bosworth, Emmy Laybourne, and Marissa Meyer (free on Amazon) Continue reading