I never really wanted this to be a typical review site. I love writing reviews that are more about analyzing stories for their messages or lessons on the craft of storytelling. I don’t so much love saying, “I did not enjoy that, therefore I assume you will not either.” It’s one thing to dissect what I disliked for objective flaws, in hopes that I’ll learn how to be a better writer. It’s another thing to decide that my subjective experience of a story is significant enough that I must discourage anyone else from giving it a shot. Why should I care whether or not anybody enjoys a story that I didn’t?
So for a while this site had my analytical reviews and reviews as an atheist, but no straightforward recommendations. Then, in October 2016, I decided to review some novels from a Bookriot list of YA horror written by women. I enjoyed that project. I didn’t enjoy every novel I picked, but there were several that introduced me to incredible new authors who I might not have heard of otherwise.
Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to expand my base of authors. For most of my book loving life, most of the books recommended to me have been written by white men, and while many of those books have been fun and inspiring, there are also equally fun and inspiring books that I never got to try, because libraries and bookstores kept dividing novels into “literature” and “African-American literature,” for example.
The Bookriot project is a good example of how I’ve been wading out into the world of non-white, non-male authors. I find a list on Tumblr or Goodreads or somewhere like that, I pick a few titles that sound interesting and see what happens. Sometimes I don’t care for a book, and sometimes I discover a new favorite author. What has bothered me most is that it’s hard to tell, from a title and sometimes even from a book jacket summary, whether a book will be the kind of thing I’m in the mood for now. The best books are the ones you read because someone pushed them into your hands enthusiastically. I wanted a place where I could go and see some
Despite my hatred of reviews, I’ve wished for more reviews of books by authors who don’t fit the straight white man mold, so I can cut down on the time I spend reading books that really aren’t to my taste.
I decided to continue posting reviews of books I’ve read by non-white or non-male authors, and I’ve since discovered that what I really dislike is writing negative reviews. Those aren’t fun to read unless they are vicious, and picking on someone whose only crime was writing a book I didn’t care for? Not really my style. Saying, “hey check this out, I really enjoyed it!” is fun. I’ve tweaked my review format accordingly, and now only post about books I liked.
The only rules for these reviews are that they must be written by a woman or a person of color (or both!) and that I had to like them. They will cover a broad range; fiction, non-fiction, adult, YA, and every genre I can find. My tastes will naturally cause sci-fi, fantasy and horror to be overrepresented, but my hope is that, as this section grows, anyone can come here and find a new book they will love.
Arranged alphabetically by author’s last name, anthologies by editor’s last name
- Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
- Kendare Blake: Anna Dressed in Blood *
- Octavia E. Butler: Kindred *
- Emily Carroll: Through the Woods *
- Rin Chupeco: The Girl From the Well *
- Rin Chupeco: The Suffering
- Indra Das: The Devourers *
- Long Hidden, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older
- Nalo Hopkinson: Sister Mine
- Malinda Lo: Ash *
- Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye
- Emma Newman: Planetfall
- Dia Reeves: Slice of Cherry *
- Kieran Scott: What Waits in the Woods *
- Brenna Yovanoff: Fiendish *
*Uses old review format