Books

Reviews of both new release and older books from many different genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, and nonfiction.

Artemis Is Lighthearted Sci-Fi Entertainment from the Author of The Martian

In 2014, Andy Weir’s self-published book The Martian was picked up by a major publisher. Just a year and a half later, it was a major motion picture starring Matt Damon that went on to gross over $630 million. Given that history, it’s not too surprising that Fox bought the film rights to Weir’s newest book, Artemis, months before it was even published. The new novel tells the story of Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara, a 20-something petty criminal born and...

White Birch, Red Hawthorn Recognizes the Roots of Oppression

The Twin Cities area is a Midwestern hub of art, culture, and business, but at its center is also one of the most spiritually important sites to the Dakota people. Bdote, now part of Fort Snelling State Park, is the sacred confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, revered by the Dakota people as the origin of life. So how do we, as inhabitants of the Twin Cities from all cultural backgrounds, respect the history of this land when...

Dirty River Is a Memoir of Diaspora, Social Justice, and Queer Identity

I thought I had read every queer-girl coming-out story ever written, and then I dug into Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s deeply personal memoir, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home. There’s a lot going on with Leah, who flees an upbringing in Massachusetts for Canada to escape her family: a mostly absent, angry, Sri Lankan father and a mother who emotionally abused and molested her daughter throughout her childhood. Once in Canada, Leah planned to marry...

Andrea Swensson Documents the Ascent of the Minneapolis Sound in Her New Book

The North Minneapolis and Rondo neighborhoods played key roles in the evolution of Minnesota’s music scene, culminating in the birth of the Minneapolis Sound. Until Prince began to garner national attention in the late 1970s, the budding movement went mostly unnoticed and undocumented by the people who weren’t living and breathing it. But this story is much bigger than Prince, and Andrea Swensson’s new book, Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound, is a tour...

21 Books with Ace and Aro Characters to Read for Asexual Awareness Week

Happy Asexual (Aromantic, Demi-, Gray-) Awareness Week! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a good 101. The tl;dr version: Some people don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction. The difference between attraction and libido is that attraction says “This one!” and libido says “Now!” Romantic and sexual attraction are a spectrum, from a- (none) to gray- (sometimes) to allo- (typical) to hyper- (extreme). “Demisexual” or “demiromantic” is a common subtype of gray-ace/aromantic identity that describes someone who...

The Little Red Wolf Is a Fairy-Tale Treat for the Eyes

Gorgeously illustrated, The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Fléchais is a fun subversion of the well-known Little Red Riding Hood story. It follows the familiar idea of a child in a red cloak venturing into a deep, dark forest—but in this tale, it’s not a young child but a small wolf who grips a covered basket in hand (paw) while they make their way to their grandparent’s house to deliver a tasty treat. As the story unfolds, the young...

I Read the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2016 So You Don’t Have To

Happy Banned Books Week! The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom reported 323 challenges last year, and the top 10 are clearly very bad books, indeed. Otherwise why would they have gotten so many challenges? Below I will go through these books and confirm exactly why they are so terrible and why you never, ever should read them. The reasons the books were challenged are taken directly from the ALA’s website. 1. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki,...

Wild Times Brings the History of WildStorm to Bookshelves

It wasn’t part of the initial plan, but when the calendar rolled over to 2017, writer Joseph Hedges knew his new book, Wild Times: An Oral History of WildStorm Studios, would release at the right time to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Image Comics. “By the time I was wrapping up the interviews, it was coming down right to the end of 2016, I was finishing up the manuscript, and I said, ‘Well, you know, it’s not such...

Crafting the Resistance Goes beyond the Pussyhat

January’s Women’s March, during Trump’s inauguration, saw millions of protesters wearing pink hats with ears. The original “pussyhat” pattern was created by Kat Coyle, although it’s a common kind of pattern; knit or sew a rectangular bag and put it on a spherical head and voilà! Ears form! Coyle’s hat has over 11,000 individual projects on Ravelry, and that’s just one pattern—and that number only includes the knitters who are on Ravelry. But women’s marches aren’t the only kinds...

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Latest Book Makes Astrophysics Dead Simple

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s newest book, released in May and meant to teach basic astrophysics to a general audience. It might be a little too simple for people who already know a bit about the topic, but for curious people with no background in astrophysics, it breaks down the science very well in one 208-page volume. A lot of its style and tone is Biblical: “In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago,...
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