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books

May 12 2013

What Night Brings

author: 
Trujillo, Carla

Marci Cruz has an abusive father, a mother who is blinded by love for her husband, and wants to be a boy so she can love girls. The story can be hard to read sometimes because Eddie Cruz really is a champion cabrón (there's a ton of Spanish in the book), but seeing 11-year-old Marci and her seven-year-old sister Corin fight back is satisfying.

reviewdate: 
May 11 2013
isn: 
978-188068494-8
May 12 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe

author: 
Graham, Lauren

Like with First Spring Grass Fire, you wonder of Someday, Someday, Maybe how much of the story of a young aspiring actor in NYC written by a former young aspiring actor in NYC is autobiographical. While reading it I was thinking that it's possible that fictionalizing one's life might make it easier to tell the emotional truth.

Quotations: 

I grasp onto the nearby silver pole, steadying myself as the train lurches along, my hand slipping on the smooth surface, vying for a safe position along with half a dozen other hands. Today, everything about New York leaves me feeling like I'm competing for space, and just barely hanging on.

reviewdate: 
May 8 2013
isn: 
978-0-345-53274-9
May 12 2013

First Spring Grass Fire

author: 
Spoon, Rae

Spoon's book is listed as a novel but reads like a memoir, told in nonlinear episodes with the protagonist sharing the author's name. I suppose I shouldn't care about the distinction, but I can't help wanting to know what I'm reading. Regardless, one should treasure the rare opportunity to read about the real or fictionalized life of a genderqueer child growing up in a religious family in the Canadian prairies.

reviewdate: 
May 5 2013
isn: 
978-1-55152-480-1
May 04 2013

How to Get a Girl Pregnant: a Memoir

author: 
Pendleton Jiménez, Karleen

Chicana butch Karleen Pendleton Jiménez has known she wanted to have a baby almost as long as she has known she wasn't a girly girl. Having other things going on in her twenties and no chance of getting pregnant accidentally, she doesn't get around to trying to get knocked up until her mid-30s, which is not typically easy for lesbians in the best of times.

reviewdate: 
Apr 30 2013
isn: 
978-1-926639-40-6
Apr 28 2013

Wedding in Haiti: the Story of a Friendship, a

author: 
Alvarez, Julia

I have long enjoyed Julia Alvarez's reality inspired political fiction, I gobble up autobiographies, and because of my spouse's work with two nonprofits there, I have an interest in Haiti, so of course her Haiti memoir was appealing to me. Unfortunately...

Quotations: 

"We ride into the downtown area [of Port-au-Prince], full of ambivalence. To watch or not to watch. What is the respectful way to move through these scenes of devastation? We came to see, and according to Junior, Haiti needs to be seen. But something feels unsavory about visiting sites where people have suffered and are still suffering. You tell yourself you are here in solidarity. But at the end of the day, you add it up, and you still feel ashamed--at least I do. You haven't improved a damn thing. Natural disaster tourism--that's what it feels like."

reviewdate: 
Apr 24 2013
isn: 
978-1-61620-274-3
Apr 20 2013

Between Sisters

author: 
Badoe, Adwoa

When Gloria, a 16-year-old Ghanaian, more or less flunks junior high school a friend of the family arranges for her to become a nanny for a doctor with a two-year-old son. Stuff does happen in this novel--good things and fair amount of bad things, but it mostly feels like a character development story.

reviewdate: 
Apr 19 2013
isn: 
978-0-88899-997-9
Apr 20 2013

Opposite of Hallelujah, the

author: 
Jarzab, Anna

My sister Danna recommended this book to my parents, brother and me. If you read her review, you'll see why. The titled "opposite of hallelujah" refers to the protagonist Caro's sister Hannah returning home after spending eight years as a nun in a contemplative order. (Kate, you're going to want to read this one!) The girls' parents are excited to have their dark-secreted daughter back, but 16-year-old Caro...less so.

reviewdate: 
Apr 15 2013
isn: 
978-0-385-73836-1
Apr 13 2013

Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee, the

author: 
Silverman, Sarah

"At first glance you might find the above [diary entry] interesting but that's because it's me, and you obviously find me interesting enough to read this book."

"Another nice thing about the Jews is that their rabbis don't make a habit of sexually violating their youngest and most vulnerable congregants. Of course, there are obvious reasons for this. For one thing, Jewish clergy are allowed to fuck and masturbate and marry. The first two of these activities work amazingly well for relieving sexual tension. … Oh, also, the Jewish clergy are allowed to have vaginas. As a general rule for any large organization, if you're looking to reduce the rape-iness of it, try hiring more women."

"I have comic friends who are gay. Some remain in the closet, and I don't blame them. It's not just out of fear of prejudice--it's fear of the gay community taking ownership of them. Suddenly, they are a gay comic, saddled with responsibility to represent."

"Please make this book be finished. I'll be honest: I kind of blew it off." from the Afterword, by God, quoting Silverman.

reviewdate: 
Apr 11 2013
isn: 
978-0061987076
Apr 13 2013

Girl Walks Into a Bar Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle

author: 
Dratch, Rachel

Rachel Dratch's compelling memoir is compelling. She tells the story of her fifteen-years-in-the-making overnight success, some failures (that she often managed to turn around on her second try), her friendships, getting knocked up in her mid-forties, and other stuff.

reviewdate: 
Apr 7 2013
isn: 
978-1-10-157990-9
Apr 07 2013

When the Stars Go Blue

author: 
Ferrer, Caridad

Soledad is an 18-year-old Cuban-American dancer from Miami making plans to go to NYC and audition for ballet companies when she's presented with the opportunity to go pro with a drum and bugle corps. (Right? But it sounds like a really cool thing, and a great way to spend the summer after graduating from high school, not to mention with the hottie who suggested her for the gig.)

reviewdate: 
Apr 5 2013
isn: 
978-0-312-65004-9