WHAT BAD ASS FEMINISTS READ THIS YEAR: KIM NELSON
We LOVE top 10 lists, and top 100 lists, and Oprah's Favorite Things, and even lists of the worst things of the year. Lists are magic they usually bring a smile to our face, and remind us EVEN IN 2018 ... joy was had. We wanted to come up with our own list for this year and decided what we really want to know is what our favorite BAD ASS FEMINISTS read this year. So we'll be bringing you a list of books from some of our favorite women.
Today we're bringing you Kim Nelson. Kim writes for us at Heauxs all the time. WE LOVE HER, she’s a delight and also reads A TON … it’s one of the things we love about her (there’s a lot to love). Enjoy Kim’s list of favorite books she's read this year, what did you read and love this year? We'd love to hear from you!
There are SO many books I loved this year! Honestly if someone would pay me a living wage to stay in my house and read novels all day every day then talk about them on Twitter, I would be like YES SIGN ME UP because who needs to be around people in person, ugh the worst.
Circe by Madeline Miller
If you were like me and became OBSESSED with Edith Hamilton’s Mythology during your freshman lit class like a big nerd, you need to pick up this book, a retelling of the events of The Odyssey from the point of view of Circe. After being banished to a solitary island by Zeus, Circe becomes a self-taught witch, which is very on point for my 2018 goals. I loved that this novel is earthy and feminist and mystical and I didn’t want it to ever end.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
I’m thrilled that Chicago-based author Rebecca Makkai is winning all kinds of accolades for The Great Believers because it’s so compelling and beautifully written (even though it made me cry my eyeballs out). Mostly set during the 1980’s and the height of the AIDS crisis, you know you’re going to be in for some heartbreak because you’ll fall in love with Yale Tishman and his friends pretty much immediately. The details about the time and place are so carefully and affectionately rendered, and it makes my heart fill with love for the city of Chicago and all of its complicated, flawed, beautiful people.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I love sweeping, multi-generational family stories, even though much of the time it makes me feel guilty that my grandparents survived war in their homeland before moving their family to the other side of the world for a better life, and here I am in 2018 having a meltdown every time the wifi drops. Pachinko follows four generations of a Korean family, following the characters from a small seaside village to the cities of Japan during World War II. I read that Min Jin Lee spent over twenty years writing this novel, and at one point tossed out the entire manuscript except for one chapter and started over. Pachinko went on to be a finalist for the National Book Award, which is a truly inspiring story and a reminder to NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
One of my favorite literary genres is Mysterious Murder at a Rich Kids School, and If We Were Villains hits all the sweet spots for me. It takes place at a tiny liberal arts college, and the tight-knit group of theater majors who serve as the main characters are so pretentious that they often speak to each other in Shakespeare quotes. But after the star of the class dies under shady circumstances, the mystery unfolds in ways that completely surprised me and kept me staying up well past bedtime, flipping pages as obsessively as the main characters obsess over the First Folio.
Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
Among the mythical gods and sweeping epics on my list, I want to give some love to this intimate and poignant story that follows the three main characters as they cope with loss, grief, and finding happiness after tragedy. Reading this book is like sipping a hot toddy by a roaring fireplace on a wintry night--it’s warm, cozy, yearning, and lovely.
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Full disclosure: I have one more volume to go in this sci fi/fantasy trilogy, but even having only read 2 out of the 3 books, (The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate) I still wholeheartedly recommend the Broken Earth trilogy. In fact, the only reason I haven’t gotten to the third installment, The Stone Sky, quite yet is because I’m not ready to be done with it and not have another volume to look forward to savoring. Jemisin weaves themes of climate change, race, gender, and geology into a deeply detailed, compelling epic story, and her writing is so incredible it makes me want to quit all my obligations and hunker down in a cave and make environmentally relevant art until the world ends in a giant fireball.