Final Thoughts on the Women’s Prize Squad Longlist (Book Blogger Edition)

Hello readers!

In April, the lovely, brilliant bloggers CallumEmilyHannahMarijaRachelSarahSteph and I came up with the Women’s Prize for Fiction SQUAD Longlist as an alternative to the original Women’s Prize longlist, which has left us underwhelmed. It was a very spontaneous decision as we discussed all the books we wished had made it, and it was fun to come up with books we would’ve chosen instead. To no one’s surprise, a longlist we chose ourselves was far more enjoyable to read. Obviously we are biased because of our somewhat similar tastes, so of course this is not a serious list and neither did we put a whole lot of effort into it. If we decide to do this again next year, we’ll make sure it’s far more diverse!

Here were our choices:

I have now finished reading all of them, and have some thoughts. First of all, this was an exciting list, and thank you to everyone for making me read some of my favorite books this year. I was looking forward to reading the entire list and this is the main difference to me between this one and the one from the original Prize this year: it was actually exciting.

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Halloween Reading Recommendations (2020 Edition)

Hello readers!

Every year I like to come up with a list of creepy or atmospheric reads to read in October, when the days become colder and darker in the northern hemisphere, and it hypes me up for Halloween. This year a lot of us will be staying home for that, and I think it’s a great opportunity to consider doing a readathon of great October reads! I also added a few not scary recommendations, because I know some people would like to join a Halloween-themed readathon but hate spooky reads, or simply need a break from horror.

You can get a few more ideas from my October TBRs:

Halloween Reading Plans (2020 Edition)

My Halloween-themed TBR for October, 2019 Edition

My October 2018 Spooky TBR

If you like supernatural horror & mystery

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September.

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Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 2

Hello readers!

I was going to take a while longer to post this when I had around 30 books like on Part 1, but it’s Sapphic September and I thought it would be timely to post it now.

I did include in this list some books I decided not to finish or weren’t particularly of my taste, because it occurred to me that these books weren’t for me but could be another reader would actually enjoy them!

You can read other parts of this series here:

Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 1

Other recommendations and lists here:

Upcoming F/F Books On My Radar

February Wrap Up incl. what I read for #FFFeb + March Reading Plans W9/2020

#FFFeb TBR and Recommendations

If you liked this book, try this F/F book!

Top 10 F/F Books on my TBR

My Favorite F/F Book by Genre

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kept animals kate milliken snare lilja sigurdardottir exciting times noise dolan

Kept Animals by Kate Milliken

If you love coming-of-age stories and don’t mind getting your heart broken, this is such a beautiful story of a girl named Rory, whose life is turned upside down when an accident happens, ending in death and so much pain. The lives of everyone in the town are affected by it, and as Rory starts riding her beloved horse competitively and falling in love with Vivian, catastrophic events are set in motion. This was one of the best representations of relationships, love and hurt that I’ve seen, and it was bleak but also warm and beautiful. Continue reading

Latinx Books to Read Instead of American Dirt

Hello readers!

Around the same time that American Dirt (in case you don’t know: that’s an infamous “immigration thriller” by a white author who misrepresents Mexican culture and stereotypes immigrants) started hitting Bestseller lists, I picked up Dominicana by Angie Cruz, a story about a young woman marrying an older man because of her family’s dream to move to the US, a shortlisted book to the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was incredibly frustrating.

I am tired of seeing Latinx books that get attention and international readership for displaying Latinx pain, and portraying the US as a safe haven, land of freedom, the happiest ending any Latin American could wish for – and it’s even worse that American Dirt is not even written by a Latinx author, whereas in Dominicana at least the writing was really good and sensitive, even if I disliked the book.

So I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a list of Latinx books I recommend instead!

It was not that easy to come up with this list, because most of the Latinx books I read are in Portuguese and not many are translated into English, so I spent more time looking into translated-to-English books as well. I originally wanted to post this months ago.

When I write “Translated” in the list below, I mean: this was originally written in Portuguese/Spanish and there is a translation into English available.

I also have already a post on some recommendations of Brazilian books and one focused on my project of reading more Latinx books:

My Favorite Brazilian Books Translated to English + 1 Written in English

Reading Latinx Books Project with @cbookrambling

Without further ado, here are 15 books I recommend:

Latinx Books Recommendations

one hundred years of solitude gabriel garcia marquez gods of jade and shadow silvia moreno-garcia in the dream house carmen maria machado

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez / Colombian, Classical Fiction, Magical Realism, Translated

Starting with a well-known and beloved one! This beautiful family saga is peppered with magical realism and is so gorgeously written, so full of sorrow, loneliness and broken people, it’s easy to lose yourself into the story, although it’s perhaps not as easy to keep the characters apart, whose names are very similar. Still, this is one of my favorite classics!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia / Review Mexican, Fantasy

This reads very much like a fairy tale; it’s set in Mexico, where Mayan gods still exist and is full of adventure and a romance subplot. Moreno-Garcia has a few books out, including one thriller with sharks and an upcoming Gothic horror. She writes such interesting stories!

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado / Review / American-Cuban, Memoir

This is a fantastic memoir, uniquely told in several chapters, each in a different style from a different fictional genre. It’s the perfect book for fiction readers who want to broaden their reading with some non-fiction and are worried about boring writing. It tells the author’s real experience with an abusive Sapphic relationship and it’s brilliant. Continue reading

Why You Should Read Know My Name by Chanel Miller

know my name chanel miller

I can’t make myself write a review for Chanel Miller’s Know My Name, although I gave it 5 stars in Goodreads – it’s strange to review a book that left me so raw in terms of “brilliant” and “beautiful writing” or “one of the best books I’ll read all year”. Those are all true but barely scratch the surface of what this book means to me and to others.

Chanel Miller’s account of who she was before the attack and what happened to her after is incredibly heartbreaking and shines a light on the very real problem that is the justice system. She is a “perfect” victim – she had her sister with her just a few minutes before to witness that she was drunk, she had witnesses who saw what the rapist was doing to her and caught him, keeping him there until the police arrived, she had a good job, friends, came from a middle class background, was educated and all around a “good girl”. And yet, she was re-traumatized by the process, silenced and given a whole new persona as a drunk, very willing young woman who “cried rape” after regretting her encounter and became “hysterical” in the trial. She had her voice silenced and dismissed, while her rapist had his voice amplified and taken as the true account of events, even when the claims were ridiculous. His sentence was even more ridiculous. Continue reading

SciFi Books for People Who Think They Don’t Like SciFi

Hello readers!

There are several reasons why a lot of readers shy away from SciFi: maybe you think it’s dry and boring and too tech-y; maybe you would rather read character-driven, emotional stories; maybe you prefer down-to-earth books and can’t relate to fantastical worlds; maybe you associate it only with alien-shooting and wars between planets (which, fair).

BUT. I brought the good stuff today! SciFi can go in so many directions, and doesn’t have to be the dry action-packed books that are so stereotypical of the genre. If you think you don’t like SciFi, maybe you just haven’t found a book that suited your personal reading tastes – there’s really all kinds of SciFi out there!

I’ve compiled a list with some fun, light-hearted stuff, some character-driven and emotional reads, some thrillers, and some cozy reads, too. Maybe you’ll find something that fits your reading taste!

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The Power Naomi Alderman Dark Matter Blake Crouch neverworld wake marisha pessl

The Power by Naomi Alderman / Goodreads

This is a bit of a divisive read, but I really enjoyed it! In The Power, women wake up one day with the power of electricity, shifting the power balance and changing who gets to lead the world. If you like dystopias, you might enjoy this Women’s Prize for Fiction winner! Continue reading

Reading Latinx Books Project with @cbookrambling

Hello readers!

In case you didn’t know, I’m Brazilian! I know I hammer this into people’s heads, but it’s a big part of my identity that I am not sure shows on my blog very often, especially on my reading. It’s recently come to my attention the glaringly obvious fact that I read mostly books from US & UK – in fact, I might read more Irish books than Brazilian. Which is unacceptable.

Realizing this was a reality check and so I’ve been taking steps to read more Latinx books. To do that, Michelle is helping me come up with a TBR according to my personal taste. In case you didn’t know, she is a wonderful blogger (and fellow Latin American, from Venezuela!) who’s offering TBR-picking services for bookworms! Not just of Latinx books 🙂

If you, like me, want to diversify your reading, she will choose a few books for you and email you her picks according to your personal taste & what you’d like to read – I asked her for some Latinx books, especially some written by women, and she delivered! I’m excited to read books that were not on my radar at all or that I hadn’t considered picking up before. I’ve only read 1 so far but I loved it already and it’s always so exciting to get her emails!

(I am advertising this because she absolutely deserves it, but I haven’t been neither paid nor asked to do this. I used her service, paid for it myself and really enjoyed it. For full disclosure, we are friends for a few years now.)

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Recently Read

in the time of the butterflies julia alvarez este e o mar mariana enriquez near to the wild heart clarice lispector

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American author, and this book is about the Mirabal sisters with a fictionalized accounting of their lives, from childhood until the day three of the sisters are murdered by Trujillo men. This is a fascinating, heartbreaking but also very inspiring read and such a gem! (And recommended by Michelle!) Continue reading

More Fun and Light-Hearted Reads for Anxious Times

Hello readers!

In April I posted Fun and Light-Hearted Reads for Anxious Times, and I thought it would be nice to do a part 2 with books I’ve read in the meantime and some I had forgotten about before. These are feelgood stories I enjoyed and helped bring a smile to my face when I felt anxious or needed to take my mind off something. I think a lot of us could use that!

meet cute club jack harbon before the coffee gets cold toshikazu kawaguchi beach read emily henry

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon / Review

This is a sweet romance about Jordan and Rex, who meet in Jordan’s favorite bookstore and immediately dislike each other (while being also really attracted). Rex decides to join Jordan’s book club, where he and some old ladies read romances. It’s cute and with a super satisfying ending! Continue reading

If you liked this book, try this F/F book! #2

Hello readers!

I really enjoy writing this kind of post, as it makes me think about the stuff I’ve read and can at times be a bit challenging to find comparable books when I want to recommend something in particular. It’s incredibly exciting that these past years there have been some really great F/F books coming out and getting more hype than in the past. Still we have a long way to go, and I think a great way to get people to read books they wouldn’t have thought of picking up before is finding readalikes!

I have another post like this: If you liked this book, try this F/F book!

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If you liked Normal People, try Exciting Times

normal people sally rooney exciting times noise dolan

Normal People is a very hyped book right now, for good reason. The love story of Marianne and Connell, their uncertainty, self-destruction and magnetic pull towards each other make for such a compelling read – and I think Naoise Dolan’s Exciting Times has a similar feel. Ava, living in Hong Kong and teaching English, is in a relationship with Julian, who does not love her but likes her company. When she meets Edith, a beautiful and powerful lawyer, they start falling in love, but Ava fails to tell her about her relationship with Julian. Choosing between her new and unknown relationship with Edith and the familiarity but lovelessness of Julian is scary and difficult, and Ava doesn’t know how to make that decision. It’s a quiet and interesting book, and the writing style resembles Sally Rooney’s quite a lot!

Normal People by Sally Rooney Goodreads / Review

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan Goodreads / Review Continue reading

Women’s Prize for Fiction SQUAD Presents: Book Bloggers Take Over the 2020 Longlist

Hello readers!

As you might have seen already this week, Callum, Emily, Hannah, Marija, Rachel, Sarah, Steph and I got together after ranting more or less forever about the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 Longlist (underwhelming) and came up with a whole new list of what books we think would have made a far more exciting list!

Obviously this is based on our personal tastes, some books we’re really excited for and some we really loved and thought were truly powerful reads. We followed the same rules as the original prize, so that this list is quite comparable to what the WP could have been, if we’d been the judges (hint, hint). This is just for fun and was decided quite spontaneously, so obviously the list isn’t perfect and neither is this all very serious. We all love the Women’s Prize for Fiction and love finding new books every year with it!

The squad has some posts talking about our longlist:

Emily: 2020 Women’s Prize Take 2: Blogger Edition

Callum: What If? | Women’s Prize [Squad] Longlist

Sarah: The 2020 Women’s Prize Squad Longlist

They’re all fantastic and really, you should follow all of us and see what happens! Maybe we’ll have some flops, for sure we won’t love all of them, but AT LEAST there’s no Greek retelling this year and maybe only a limited amount of books about how motherhood sucks! Instead, we got murder, dark academia and even YA, which is really exciting for me.

If you wanna follow us on Twitter while we read and talk about the longlist, you can use #womensprizesquad.

bunny mona awad the body lies jo baker ninth house leigh bardugo

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