The Feminist Know-It-All: You know her. You can’t stand her. Good thing she’s not here! Instead, this column by gender and women’s studies librarian Karla Strand will amplify stories of the creation, access, use and preservation of knowledge by women and girls around the world; share innovative projects and initiatives that focus on information, literacies, libraries and more; and, of course, talk about all of the books.
Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.
The aims of these lists are threefold:
- I want to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male;
- I want to amplify amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, LGBIA+, TGNC, queer, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us; and
- I want to challenge and encourage you all to buy, borrow and read them!
You may notice that my descriptions this month are a bit less verbose than usual. That’s because I am swamped! And I know you are too, so this month, I am giving you what you want in bite-sized snacks of literary goodness.
I haven’t been featuring much poetry in my monthly lists this year—there are simply far too many amazing releases. But this month, you get two! I couldn’t help but include them in this list of 27 new releases. I’m reading a lot of poetry lately, gearing up for my annual poetry column coming in April. Also on its way is my 2021 Best of the Rest and my Most Anticipated Reads for 2022 lists, so watch for those!
Until then, have a great November and as you may sit down to express gratitude for all that you have this year, please remember that you are on land stolen from Indigenous peoples. I encourage you to reflect on the true history of the colonization of this land and find ways that you can support local Indigenous groups and respect Native sovereignty across the country.
A uniquely brilliant tale of a blue-skinned boy born in India who may—or may not—be a god.
By Aisha Sabatini Sloan. Coffee House Press. 144 pages. Out November 2.
The first commissioned piece in the new Spatial Species Series by Coffee House Press explores queerness, Blackness and language in the wide-open space of Alaska.
Acclaimed Argentian writer Selva Almada confronts masculinity, pride and tradition in her latest lyrical novel.
This tender and kaleidoscopic novel centers a young Japanese city boy and his coming-of-age in remote village of Kamusari.
A beautifully designed book highlighting the variety of Black women’s experiences, identities, hopes, fears and loves.
This is a fantastic addition to sex worker lit, and we need more of it!
This stunningly written and drawn graphic novel is a testament to the generational familial trauma that is wrought by colonialism, political strife and war.
A powerhouse debut, this nuanced coming-of-age story is for anyone who has felt hypervisible and invisible, inside and outside, seen and unseen.
Is it sci-fi? Is it historical fiction? Mystery? Yes! And it’s unique, wondrous and brilliant.
By Louise Erdrich. Harper. 400 pages. Out November 9.
The latest novel by Louise Erdrich is a funny ghost story that is so much more, reflecting on themes of relationships, racism and meaning-making.
This collection is back in print—and not for the faint of heart. I triple-dog-dare you.
The magically entertaining sequel to The Conductors, which centers a detective couple in post-Civil War Philadelphia.
Andrea Gibson is a gift to humanity. Read this collection, read their other collections and then do yourselves a favor and listen to them share their poetry audibly. It’s a whole other level.
This volume is a “dramatic expansion” of the original project and is this fall’s required reading.
A fascinating and accessible examination of fashion and feminism throughout history.
The incomparable Nnedi Okorafor once again gives life to sci-fi and Afrofuturist fans.
The anxiously-awaited sequel to These Violent Delights is just as (or maybe more?) thrilling as the first.
The fascinating account of a Black descendant of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson shines a light on the complicated yet necessary histories of race in the U.S.
Bisi Adjapon’s US debut is an extraordinary representation of feminist coming-of-age in 1960s Ghana.
Remember how I said I included two poetry collections this month? Well, you’re welcome because you don’t want to miss the new collection by H. Melt.
The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire, 2)
It’s another sequel I have been waiting for! And it’s got it all: action, magic, fantasy, battles, surprises, betrayals and a kick-ass heroine at the center of it all.
A different take on identity in this hilarious, vulnerable and candid graphic novel.
Written by Fatima Daas. Translated by Lara Vergnaud. Other Press. 208 pages. Out November 23.
French, Algerian, Muslim, lesbian. Fatima Daas’s debut explores these intersecting, and often contradicting, identities.
A unique, uplifting collection of biographies by Southern genderqueer artist Shelby Criswell.
An extraordinary and comprehensive history on the Black Panther Party, now a 2021 National Book Award finalist.
This collection is diverse, enraging, heartbreaking, impassioned and this month’s #RequiredReading.
From beloved author Scarlett St. Clair comes an all-new fantasy series replete with war, vampires, romance and revenge.