When Roiphe isn't unflinchingly examining her own flaws as what our society wants a woman to be, she is picking apart the very essence of femininity. Occasionally I felt skewered by the barbs she hurls heedlessly into the void, but ultimately I felt empowered to be my own flawed self and appreciate my power, be it soft, hard, or something altogether different.
Beginning with the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, this beautiful fantasy trilogy is set in a version of medieval Russia in which history and myth coexist. In Witch yet more characters from Russian folklore are woven in as fiery heroine, Vasya, faces the foes of Moscow, Rus', and humanity... whether the powers that be are behind her or not.
I recommend reading this dark, mystical book on a chilly night (forecast looks promising) — but only after finishing the first two in the trilogy!
Who is Gideon Nav?
- Badass swordswoman
- Lover of women and smutty magazines
- Hater of wretched old necrotic nuns and skeleton armies
- Bound in servitude to a power-hungry (maybe mad?) necromancer intent on making her life a living hell
- Absolutely f-in hilarious, even when under an oath of silence by aforementioned necromancer
- Looks like she could kill you, could definitely kill you, but is also actually a cinnamon roll
- Love of my life?! (and could be yours too, if you read this AMAZING book)
You may know Circe as the original witch, or as the goddess who tempted Odysseus on his legendary journey, or perhaps not at all. You may for a time forget it all, and instead be pulled into the story of her life recounted, told as its own epic, as she struggles to find her own meaning and agency in the realms of men and gods, when she fits in neither. Perdita Weeks narrates with such power and beauty, sweeping you up in every emotion as Circe's story unfolds.
Stunning illustrations complement the triumphant true story of Bobbi Gibbs, the first woman to ever complete the Boston Marathon.
Carrying this book feels like carrying a knife. Like a sharp and discreet weapon, it's easily brandished when confronted with the notion that power disparity among the sexes and "women's issues" are really a baseless non-issue. Beard takes an important step (one we could all take) to trace such insidious notions back to their dirty roots.
When Franz Nicolay quit his job playing keys in The Hold Steady, he did exactly what any sensible, accordion-toting folk-punk would: he went to tour the former Soviet Bloc on his own, sleeping in strangers' apartments and on venue floors, and traveling via overnight trains with dubious schedules. With Rebecca West as his literary guide, Nicolay visited some of the darker, stranger corners of the Balkans and the former USSR, met a tight-knit community of rockers, artists, dreamers, and all-around nutjobs, drank a quantity of Vodka, and played some great shows – all while witnessing firsthand the disturbing resurgence of nationalist movements and the renewed spread of Kremlin control in the region. A fascinating travelogue, a political study of an increasingly relevant corner of the world, and a rare rock and roll tour memoir that manages to be engaging and intimate without feeling self-indulgent, all wrapped up in one excellent package.
If you have any interest in the fight against totalitarian theocracy, then you must read A Road Unforeseen. I found it to be a thorough, well organized primer on Kurdistan, ISIS, and the self governing region known as Rojava. Meredith Tax is a phenomenal researcher, and makes this deeply complicated topic very readable. Still not convinced? THIS IS ABOUT WOMEN FIGHTING AN INSANE DEATH CULT.
This violent, glorious book is about a 16 year old female Berserker who has to flee Norway in 1883 for the American West in order to evade the strictures of the law long enough to seek guidance from a long lost uncle who just may be able to help her contain her instinct to mercilessly slaughter anyone who threatens her family.
Berserker combines all the best parts of Norse mythology, historical fiction, and a solid Western. Think Vikings meets True Grit.
Join 12 year old Sunny Nwazue as she uncovers her hidden magical abilities, gets inducted into a secret society where knowledge truly is power, and boldly faces off against all of the dark creatures the spirit world throws at her. Oh, and eats lots of fufu and egusi soup. Honestly, what's a good fantasy series without incredible feasts?