Cynthia Bond has written about how terrible human beings are in the most beautiful way possible. I never really needed to use the term “lush prose” until I read this book. The words are fat, and gorgeous, and paint a picture that you wish was not quite so vivid because Ruby is full of horror and misery, and a tiny bit of loveliness.
The story of Ruby is the story of a young black woman who tried to outrun her past, and found that it wouldn’t stay in the past. Mostly set around the time of the Washington Riots, a letter from a beloved friend reached Ruby, and she made the choice to return home to her small town. Once home, she found small minds, judgement, and secrets waiting to tear her down, and Ruby’s descent into mental illness is met with smugness and derision, not compassion. Many of the characters are just horrible, but Bond doesn’t let you have the satisfaction of completely despising them, because almost all of them have some horrible happening in their own past that twisted them – and it almost makes it worse, because they could maybe have been good people. Maybe.
Some of the characters are truly evil. I’m talking gag inducing, have to put the book down for a while evil. This book has child abuse, sexual abuse, and rape in it, and you should be prepared for that.
If you can manage it, read it. It is heart searing, dreadful, flashback prompting – beautiful. And there is a little hope for humanity in there, I promise.
Don’t be surprised if this starts showing up as required reading for English Literature classes. Wow. One of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time.
Filed under Books, Review
Here in Toronto, Pride Week falls in June, and I love doing great displays for pride. I want to not feature the same titles every year, so I am asking you guys if you have read anything with LGBTQ characters or themes, for all age ranges, that you thought were great. I have some great YA picks, but I need more books for kids under twelve, and new books for adults. I don’t just want romance – books that feature great characters who are gay, trans, asexual – I am perfectly happy for that not to be central to the story line. In fact, that’s great, because I want there to be books where a person’s sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, is only a part of who they are, not the whole story.
I know I’m super-early, but the more time I have, the better the selection will be, and it gives me extra time to get hold of hard-to-get stuff. Thanks for the help!
Filed under Books, Retail
A customer in the store yesterday was telling me about her goldfish, and how it had its own Facebook page. This was moderately cute until I realized that she was telling me that her goldfish told her what to type, and that obviously it couldn’t do it itself without a waterproof computer. Because clearly, that’s the only impediment to fishy bloggers – the lack of good waterproofing. Cue backing away slowly, as she is telling me about her plans to mic the aquarium and live stream (no pun intended) her talking fish… On a different note, I had a customer who told me he had no idea Nelson Mandela was a member of the Illuminati. Why did they think he was a member of the Illuminati, you may ask? Because of the Coretta Scott King award on the cover of Kadir Nelson’s children’s book, Nelson Mandela. Sigh.
If you love a good dystopian YA, Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel, Red Queen is for you. With a lot (and I mean a lot) of parallels to The Hunger Games & Divergent, the characters and plot twists make this read different enough to still be enjoyable, without feeling like you’re just reading on repeat. If you have read Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, this is like a weird parallel universe to that book.
Red Queen is a little more rooted in fantasy territory, and has a unique take on the dystopian theme. The nobility of Red Queen‘s world is distinguished by their innate ability to channel fire or electricity, or possess extreme strength or psychic powers. Their control over the lower class is absolute, who don’t possess any superhuman talents. Imagine the uproar when Mare, a girl of perfectly common blood, suddenly displays her own power – and no one’s surprise is greater than Mare’s.
I won’t get too deeply into the plot and spoil it, but there are some great twists, a little romance, lots of intrigue. Lots, and lots, of intrigue. Like baby Game of Thrones. If you have a teen who is looking for an entry to more sophisticated story lines, this is a good place for them to start.
This is clearly the start of a series – it should be a fun ride.
I think most diet books are bullshit, but Dave Asprey’s The Bulletproof Diet stinks more than most. At this time of year, a lot of people are coming into the bookstore for diet and exercise books, self help, “new year, new you” stuff. I had heard of Asprey’s “Bulletproof coffee with butter” (another one of his diet tips that helps you achieve “mental clarity”), and decided to have a look at what he was putting in the book – curious to see if it could possibly be as dumb as his coffee. It can.
The first page I flipped open to contained a weird rant about how garlic and onions are “Suspect” (the capitalization is his). He claims you need look no further for evidence of their evil than the fact that in the Koran, garlic and onions sprang from the cloven footprints of Satan. Yep, that’s right, the scientific reasoning is that obviously these are Satanic plants, so they will make you fat. He ranks all foods on his pseudo-scientific scale of toxic to bulletproof. Apparently he’s not a veggie person, and hey, raisins are toxic. Who knew?
He also wants you to skip breakfast, despite the many, many scientist who share an opposing view, because obviously he knows more than some “scientist” who went to “school.”
He has a handy-dandy line up of Bulletproof branded products that are even more expensive then the stuff at Whole Foods, so they must be extra good at weight loss! Of course he is only making these products out of the goodness of his heart, to help you lose weight! There is no profit-based motive here at all!
As far as I can tell, The Bulletproof Diet is your personal guide to malnutrition for you, and enrichment for Asprey. What a sleaze.