The Artist’s Way: Week 10 Check-In

Welcome to Week 11 of my ongoing series on The Artist’s Way with Erin @ Flappers and Philosophers!

Erin and I are both going through The Artist’s Way, a 12-week course in self-discovery and creative recovery. Throughout the next three months, we’ll be sharing weekly updates on how it’s going, what we’ve learned, and how this process has affected our creative lives.

Week 10: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

This week, for me at least, was about being brutally honest with myself—especially in regards to what I allow to come between me and my art.

For the first time, I recognized that I’m a workaholic, but not in the traditional sense. See, I let anything and everything become “work” to me in order to avoid giving myself time to play, creatively.

I use my most energetic hours to do things I “need” to do, which leaves me too drained to spend much time on creativity. I feel the need to justify the time I spend on things that bring me joy, like reading and writing, and then I define my sense of self-worth by my ability to produce. But the fact is, there are aspects of creativity that don’t produce anything, and those things are just as important.

This week was really impactful for me in the smallest of ways. I’m forging new, better habits surrounding how I look at work, and hopefully that will pay off in the coming weeks and months.

Week 10: The Check-In

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Has reading your pages changed your writing? Are you still allowing yourself to write them freely?

I did the pages 7 days this week, but I’m really averaging more like 2 pages a day rather than 3. While I’d like to write more, I also recognize that I’m still showing up, which is better than abandoning it entirely. I definitely keep discovering new things about my creative process through writing the pages, which is what matters. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with writing about the things I would normally repress—like the fact that I’m a workaholic.

Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

I skimped out on my artist date again. Instead of doing something completely unproductive and fun, I went to the library to work on my AW tasks. I didn’t really let myself play like I wanted to. To be quite honest, I’ve been very distractible lately (I blame Gemini season; it always does a number on me). I need to look back over my list of things my artist child wants to do, and then actually do these things.

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

By accident, I ended up with a whole week off between quitting my old job and starting my new one. While this should make me nervous financially, I’ve determined to use the extra time to spend with my artist child, doing things I love doing, and writing.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

My main issue right now: what to do about the fact that I am truly a workaholic.

For example, over the past few months, I’ve turned this blog into an obligation, a thing I “have” to do, rather than a hobby I enjoy doing. Sure, there are aspects of blogging that I love—writing discussion posts, and getting to share my thoughts with other bloggers through comments. But there is so much more to blogging than just the parts that I love, and I somehow make the “work” parts of blogging more important. Yes, it’s nice to have neatly organized posts with clever graphics, but isn’t the content the most important part? Why do I allow the process of organizing and scheduling posts become more important than anything else? These are issues I want to continue to work through in the coming weeks.

Have you ever participated in The Artist’s Way? How was your week? Let me know in the comments, and that’s for stopping by! Until next time,

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Backlist Review || Wild by Hannah Moskowitz

Note: This is a backlist review from my previous blog. To see more of my reading life, add me on Goodreads!

Wild follows high school graduate Zack, who’s training for a 100-mile marathon while caring for his 12-year-old sister and their mom as she deteriorates from her early-onset Alzheimers.

There are almost no white/straight/non-disabled characters in this book.

Zack, our main character, is a bisexual Filipino guy, and his girlfriend Jordan is a bisexual Jewish/Guatemalan Deaf girl. If that didn’t sell you, for some reason, Zack’s friend Chelsea is also Jewish, and Zack’s little sister Gin is a 12-year-old lesbian.

Something I really appreciated was how nobody questions anyone else’s sexuality—not even Gin, who’s super young, but just is gay. Nobody tells her that she can’t possibly know yet when she’s never had sex. Nobody tells Zack or Jordan that, since they’re now in a “straight” relationship, they’re no longer bisexual.

This book presents an honest representation of life after high school.

Zack and his two best friends are out of high school now, but none of them really follows the traditional path. Zack’s taking classes at community college so he can be around for his sick mom and little sister. His best friend Max is taking a gap year to “find himself”—and it’s not really going so well. Max’s girlfriend Chelsea is the only one attending a 4-year university, but she’s had to scrimp and save from her minimum-wage jobs just to afford to go.

All this was in the background, but I really appreciated the portrayal of the realities of being 18 or 19 and trying to figure your life out. Not everyone finishes high school and goes right on to a traditional college—and that’s okay.

Zack’s family situation is heartbreaking: his mom has early-onset Alzheimer’s, and he’s tasked with caring for her as well as his sister Gin. Although he could easily have become an unrealistic Hero Kid character, Zack really struggles with the situation he’s tasked with. He’s angry and bitter about having to care for his mom, who’s barely there at all and slowly digressing further as the book progresses. At one point, Zack goes on a rant at his mom about how unfair it is that he has to deal with her at all. He’s flawed—but it’s realistic. No 19-year-old should have to take care of his mom and sister, and Zack’s reactions are raw and true to life.

I really enjoyed the storyline that follows Zack as he trains for a 100-mile marathon in the wilderness of Tennessee mountains. In the beginning, it kind of seems like a quirky, unrealistic thing for him to do, but as we get to know him, it becomes clear that running is Zack’s way of trying to escape his circumstances. His now-absent father tried and failed to finish the marathon, so Zack’s hiding his running from his mom as well. It’s clearly his only time that he gets to be away from dealing with his home life. When he finally gets to the marathon, he starts to realize his own reasons for doing it, and ultimately he has to accept the ways he’s avoided responsibility in the past.

By far my favorite part of this book is the relationship between Zack and Jordan.

I loved that the book starts with an established romance: they’ve known each other for years and have a solid relationship, albeit one that depends on texting and chatting online. The romance plotline follows Zack as he learns that Jordan is Deaf, and as the two struggle to stay together despite the obstacles of distance (both physical and communication-wise).

There are several things to love about this. For one thing, this is a YA book that follows a relationship beyond the moment of them getting together, something that is so rare for some reason. It’s so enjoyable to see realistic struggles—because that’s how real relationships are.

On top of that, both characters are bisexual—which isn’t defined by the fact that they’re currently in a male-female relationship. Words cannot express how much I needed this story for that aspect alone. I’m bisexual and in a relationship with a guy, and my experiences are rarely accounted at all, much less still considered queer. I know I’m not the only one who needed this book.

The biggest obstacle for Zack and Jordan is one of communication. Zack takes it upon himself to learn ASL and it’s no easy task. Hearing readers get to learn about Deaf culture through Zack, from the way Deaf culture prizes blunt honesty, to the ways words and grammar change between English and ASL. I loved his little commentary about how translating his thoughts into ASL automatically makes the statements more up-front and honest—he can’t hide from Jordan when he’s talking with her.

I can’t speak for the accuracy of the Deaf rep, as I’m not Deaf, but anyone reading this book will notice that Hannah Moskowitz clearly put in the research for this story. Despite the fact that both characters recognize the near-impossibility of a Deaf/hearing relationship, they’re willing to make it work, which is such a positive thing to see. Zack and Jordan are there for each other in difficult times, even when they’re fighting. No matter how hard they have to work at being together, they know it’s worth it.

Wild was an easy 5-star for me because of the nuanced way it tackles multiple complex issues, to the way bisexuality is handled, to the Deaf representation. Despite the hard topics, it was ultimately an uplifting story about two people struggling to make their relationship work, no matter how much it takes. I highly recommend Wild to anyone who wants to see what a real loving relationship looks like beyond the initial stages.

Find this book:
Goodreads | Amazon

Have you read Wild or any other books by Hannah Moskowitz? What’s your favorite book with disability rep? Let me know in the comments! Until next time,

Happy Pride! | My Recs + TBR + Wishlist

Hello Blogosphere! Christine here, bringing you the obligatory Pride Month post…with a bit of a twist.

Here’s the thing: I don’t talk about this stuff offline.

Although a few close people know about my invisible sexuality, I’d still consider myself pretty closeted. As a cis woman married to a man, my identity as (some sort of) bi just doesn’t seem to matter most of the time. I have never felt fully part of the queer community, yet I’m drawn to it at the same time because I don’t really belong anywhere else. And yet, Pride Month is the time of year when I’m reminded to be proud of all the things that make me an outcast everywhere else.

So today, I’m talking about queer books that mean something to me, as well as sharing what’s on my reading list for this month.

My Queer Recommendations: Books I’ve Read & Loved

Note: to see more queer books, check out my shelf on Goodreads!
💫= intersectional 🗣= queer author (that I’m aware of)

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual/Pansexual

Transgender/Non-Binary + Intersex

Ace Spectrum

My (Overly Ambitious) Pride Month TBR

This month, I’ve decided to attempt to read one book from every letter of the queer alphabet. I don’t know that I’ll be able to actually do it, but here are the books on my list for this month:

L – People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman🗣
G – You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
B – Small Town Hearts by Lilli Vale
T – I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver🗣
Q – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
I – Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman
A – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
P – Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss🗣

My Queer Wishlist

What’s on your TBR this June? Do you have a favorite queer book I haven’t mentioned here? Let’s chat in the comments! Until next time,

The Artist’s Way: Week 9 Check-In

Welcome to Week 11 of my ongoing series on The Artist’s Way with Erin @ Flappers and Philosophers!

Erin and I are both going through The Artist’s Way, a 12-week course in self-discovery and creative recovery. Throughout the next three months, we’ll be sharing weekly updates on how it’s going, what we’ve learned, and how this process has affected our creative lives.

Week 9 focuses on Recovering a Sense of Compassion.

Obviously, this week was a bit rough for me; as I’ve discussed in previous Artist’s Way posts, it’s really hard for me to be compassionate with myself. One thing that helps seems to be treating my artistic self as a distinct, almost separate part of me. It sounds like psychobabble, but it’s a lot easier for me to be kinder to my so-called Artist Child when I see her as a separate entity, a child in need of my compassion.

Week 9 teaches us to focus on our Creative U-Turns, those moments when we abandoned a project or creative pursuit out of fear of failure (or fear of success). Julia Cameron teaches the art of being compassionate toward our past mistakes, particularly ones where we’ve set impossible goals for ourselves in order to justify our artistic life.

“The only cure for fear is love.”

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Week 9 Check-In

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Regarding your U-turns, have you allowed yourself a shift toward compassion, at least on the page?

I continued to do daily morning pages this week, although I’ve begun to fall off on actual page count. During the beginning of the Artist’s Way journey, I definitely felt like I needed the pages more. I had a lot to work through, a lot of actions I needed to take. Lately, though, I feel like things are slowly coming together; maybe it seems like I have less to say. Then again, I was also nearing the end of a giant spiral notebook this week, which usually inspires a sense of impatience in my journaling.

Regarding Creative U-turns: I’m working on self-forgiveness. I’ve taken a lot of wrong turns that I’m not necessarily proud of, but I’m also aware that each of these U-turns led me to the place I am now, which is exactly where I need to be. My biggest U-turns: giving up on revising my own work and jumping onto the next project out of fear of failure. So I’m working on developing hope for the future, but it’s admittedly slow going.

Did you do your artist date this week? Have you kept the emphasis on fun? What did you do? How did it feel?

To be quite honest, I almost forgot to do my artist date this week. It’s so much easier for me to focus on everything else I need to get done—tedious adulting tasks, cleaning, going to work, writing blog posts, working on my novel draft… but it’s a lot harder for me to purposefully take time to have fun. I stumbled into an artist date on Friday when I went to my favorite coffee shop again. I treated myself to a CBD latte and spent some time working on AW tasks—necessary reflection. Next week, I hope to plan my artist date as a priority, not an afterthought.

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I got to talk with one of my good friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. This friend is someone who’s incredibly compassionate and caring and inspires me to be compassionate with myself. I let her take a look at the first chapter of my novel and she was so incredibly supportive. It reminded me that I don’t have to hide who I am, that I can share myself with people who believe in me. It also reminded me to treasure the friends I have who believe in my magic. I need them.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

The biggest issue I’m having right now is, unsurprisingly, time management. I’ve been trying to do blog hopping on my lunch break at work, which is really only so helpful. I’m starting to become concerned, because I’m working half the hours that I’ll be working in the not-so-distant future. I’ve been keeping a time log, but going forward I’m going to indicate the type of activity—whether it’s self-care, work-related, creative playtime, etc. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can become aware of where my time is going and reallocate some time to what matters.

Have you ever participated in The Artist’s Way? How was your week? Let me know in the comments, and that’s for stopping by! Until next time,

May 2019 Wrap-Up

May was quite tumultuous for me, on several levels.

For one thing, I had a birthday, which means I got older—again. For another thing, through the Artist’s Way, I took several small steps toward some big changes in my life.

I finally quit my job, due to not making enough money—which is saying something, because I’m really good at living on crap pay (which is another post entirely). Even though I’m going back to my old job, something I swore I would never do, it feels like a small step in the right direction.

Oh, and then there were all the tornadoes! Growing up in Tornado Alley, I should be used to this crazy weather, but this is getting to be a bit much. If you don’t believe me, it was literally in the New York Times.

in my writing life

While April was a month of writing furiously, regardless of quality, May was about getting serious.

This month, I sat down and went over what I drafted up in April. Even though I usually write the entire novel before I let myself do revisions, I’m making an exception… because this draft, this WIP, is going to make up my creative writing sample… because I’m starting to apply for MFA programs.

I don’t know if I’ll get in. I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford to take out loans. I don’t know if this is truly the right path. What I know is that deciding to try gave me a huge sense of peace, of rightness. I have to believe that’s the Universe at work. There’s nothing I can do that’s more powerful than deciding to invest in my art. So that’s what I’m doing.

in my reading life

May was another mediocre reading month as far as quantity, but I did read some really amazing books, and I’m grateful. I think I’m in a weird transition between what I’ve been reading and what I’d like to read going forward. Anyway, here’s how I did in May:

[6] total books read
[4] diverse books read
[1] books from the Unread Shelf
[2] books for #YARC2019
[2] books for Reading Women 2019
[2] books for #OwnVoices Reading Challenge

books I read this month

💫🙋‍♀️📚📋QUEENIE by Candice Carty-Williams – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Contemporary Fiction (#OwnVoices Jamaican-British rep + anxiety rep)
💫🗣🐼 💸YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Mitali Perkins – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – YA Historical Fiction (#OwnVoices Indian immigrant rep)
📋📱AGAIN, BUT BETTER by Christine Riccio – ⭐️.🌙 – YA Contemporary
💫🐼💸THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙 – Contemporary Romance (#OV biracial Asian & autistic rep)
🏛📱THE BRUTAL TELLING by Louise Penny – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Mystery (diverse side characters)
💫💸📱THE GUEST BOOK by Sarah Blake – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙 – Historical Fiction (diverse characters & discussions)

📚 = #UnreadShelf 🏛= borrowed 📱= e-book 💸= purchased in 2019 👓=nonfiction 📋= ARC 🦕=classics (before 1970) 🌈 = lgbtq+ 💫 = diverse (POC, religion, disability)🗣 = #OwnVoices 🙋‍♀️= Reading Women 🐼=YARC

spotlight: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

This was the only review I could bring myself to write this month—and for good reason. This adult contemporary about a 26-year-old black Jamaican-British woman struggling to get her life together kicked me right in the heart. Queenie is incredibly relatable to anyone who’s ever struggled through their twenties, and the anxiety rep really hit home for me as well. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading this book!

in my blogging life

May was another rough blogging month for me. I struggled with the realization that I just don’t have enough time to devote to blog hopping when I’m trying to put up 3-5 posts a week…so I’m going to be trying to cut back. I also realized I need to stop forcing myself to write reviews when I just don’t have anything original to say about a book. Going forward, this blog might be a bit different from what it has been, but I’m looking forward to writing more of the kinds of posts I want to write—and hopefully you want to read!

notable posts this month

awesome posts from around the blogosphere

Although I had intentions to do more blog hopping in May, I still fell short of my own expectations. Regardless, here are a few of the amazing posts I had the privilege of reading this month.

  • My good friend Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books wrote about Book Blogging with Anxiety and made me feel so understood and not alone.
  • The lovely Krysta @ Pages Unbound discussed why A Bookstore Is No Substitute for A Library.
  • Fadwa @ Word Wonders brought us Muslim Voices Rise Up, a series of conversations centering the experiences of Muslims from all over the blogosphere. Fadwa’s intro post has links to the posts in the blog series, so I highly recommend starting there and reading through everyone’s discussions!
  • CW @ The Quiet Pond shared 6 Tips to Diversify Your Reading – a great post for those interested in reading more diversely, and those who already do.
  • Madeline @ Caffeine and Writing Dreams wrote this piece, “Dear Aspiring Authors: How to Stop Aspiring and Start Being” — this really hit home for me in my writing life.
  • Mel @ Cotton Candy Book Witch shared “How My Mental Health Affects My Reading” and HOLY CRAP I didn’t realize how much my depression interferes with my ability to feel invested in a story…so that’s definitely something I’m going to consider going forward.

How was your month of May? Did you come across any amazing posts I might have missed out on? Link me in the comments! Until next time,

Why Do I Dread Writing Reviews?

Hello and welcome back to my blog!

Today’s post was supposed to be my weekly review… but lately I’ve been struggling way more than usual with writing reviews. Instead of forcing myself to write up some half-assed review of a book I’ve read lately, or posting another review from my backlist, I thought I’d talk a little bit about why writing reviews is such a struggle for me.

We can all probably agree that reviews are a staple of a solid book blog.

Back in 2017, when I started my first bookish blog, I started out by posting only reviews. I’d made it my goal to read more diverse authors, so I also made it my mission to share with others what made these books so amazing—and what, in my opinion, didn’t work. Back then, I didn’t really have a set format for how I wrote reviews; I just wrote about whatever came up in my reading.

As I progressed as a book blogger, and particularly this year as I started this new blog out of the ashes of the old, I revamped the way I write reviews. I started keeping notes about story, craft, characters, and other elements of the books I read.

For me, the act of writing a review serves two purposes: (1) it allows me to spread love and appreciation of a book or warn other readers of potentially harmful content; (2) it helps Future Christine remember what I loved about a certain book.

Without at least a bullet-point review of what I’ve read, there’s no way I’ll remember why I gave something three stars instead of four. The ratings become meaningless without the explanation of why they were given.

For the past couple months, though, I’ve been really struggling to show up and write up reviews.

Back in April, I procrastinated until I had no choice, then sat down and slapped up reviews for the blog and Goodreads out of sheer desperation. Because I’d procrastinated so long, I then got behind on all the other posts I wanted to get up in the coming weeks. And honestly, I still haven’t fully recovered!

If you’ve noticed, my reviews in May have been pretty scant. Other than Queenie, about which I felt/feel so damn passionate, I just haven’t had as much to say about what I’ve read. I don’t want to show up and repeat what’s already been said by so many bloggers before me—especially if the rep in a certain book isn’t even close to my own experiences. Who am I to say whether or not racial rep is accurate? Who am I to say whether or not autistic rep is realistic or harmful?

Over the past week, I’ve been doing some deep thinking about who I want to be as a writer, the kinds of stories I want to write.

I realized that I’m not really reading the kinds of books I hope to write one day. Being in the bookish community, it’s easy to be surrounded by people who are mostly reading the same books. For whatever reason, it seems like I mostly follow people who ready almost exclusively YA books.

Even though it took me a long time in my adult years to accept my love of YA, I’m reaching the point now where reading YA isn’t enough. I appreciate how many diverse stories there are available in the YA category, but I want more adult books that have diverse representation as well.

I want more literary fiction that’s not just about cisallohet white folks. I want books that are written in a challenging way, that make me question everything as I’m reading. I want books where history is palpable and real and important. I want books that are impossible to review.

And yet: I can’t just stop reading YA—I’ve already got too many sitting on my owned-TBR shelf! And I can’t just stop writing reviews either.

If anything, I think I need to be conscious about what I read in a new way. I need to balance the ease with the challenge, the fluffy with the literary. I need to change the way I write reviews, too. If writing out long reviews is too intimidating, maybe it’s okay if I just do bullet reviews on Goodreads for a while. Maybe it’s okay if I only post reviews when I feel truly compelled to write down my thoughts on a book in long form.

I might not win as many ARCs this way. It might take me that much longer to grow this blog if I’m not blogging the way other people blog.

Still, I’d rather do things my way, remain true to who I am and what I want to write about, than conform to anyone else’s expectations—even if those expectations are somewhat self-imposed.

Do you dread writing reviews? How do you overcome procrastination with blogging? Do you have a review system you think might help me? let me know in the comments! And if you want review-writing inspiration, check out this post by my good friend Marie @ drizzle & hurricane books. Until next time,

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Published in the Last 10 Years

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

Today’s prompt is a look back at the books published in the last decade. Join me on this journey back through time!

2018 – Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of this last fall—don’t ask how I was on someone’s list—and I absolutely loved this debut YA contemporary. The story follows Tasia, an 18-year-old who discovers that her family isn’t everything she thought it was, that her identity isn’t necessarily as cut-and-dried as she thought. Despite the heavy amount of teen angst, I really appreciated Tasia’s journey and I think this book deserves a lot more hype.

2017 – Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

This book absolutely blew me away. On the surface, it’s a story about a Muslim teen just trying to find her place in her American world. Underneath that, though, there are themes of what it means to be openly yourself, and what it means to put on a front. This book deals with attempted rape in such a poignant and understated way that really packs a punch. I’m also dying to read Ali’s new book, Love from A to Z!

2016 – Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnson

This is a beautiful, quiet YA that focuses on the aftermath of sexual assault. I’m a sucker for books about cheerleaders (don’t ask me why, that’s another story), especially where the cheerleaders are given respect for the athletes they are. I really loved the way Johnson shows the importance of female friendship in the healing process after sexual assault.

2015 – A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

I really want more people to read this book. It’s another quiet YA (I’m sensing a theme here) where it’s not so much about what happens as it is about the character’s emotional journey. I really loved this story about a girl who lives in the shadow of her best friend, and how she eventually learns to embrace who she is. TW: abortion.

2014 – Far From You by Tess Sharpe

This book holds a very special place in my heart for one main reason in particular: at the age of 24, roughly three years after figuring out that I am not necessarily completely straight, this was the first book I read with a character who uses the word “bisexual” as an identifier. There are too many instances of characters referring to “bicurious” folks in a negative, mocking way, so this book was really special to me. It’s also a brilliant mystery story that’s told in present and past tense chapters that alternate through time. It also is the only book I’ve read with a character who lives with chronic pain, although it does also contain elements of drug abuse. It’s not an easy book to read, but well worth it.

2013 – Want Not by Jonathan Miles

I honestly can’t remember who recommended this book to me, but I picked it up back in 2014 when I was living in New York City. The book follows three sets of characters: a middle-aged professor who’s wife has just left him, a sketchy and uber-rich businessman, and a couple who squat in abandoned apartments in Manhattan. This is another book that’s not about the plot, but about the characters and their reactions to their circumstances. Ultimately, it’s a story about what desire does to humanity.

2012 – The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

This was one of the first queer YA books I ever encountered, but it was also one of the first YA books I read that made me realize just how literary and beautiful YA can be. The story of a teen lesbian who gets sent to a gay conversion camp, this is a heart-breaking story woven with intricate descriptions of 90s Montana that blew me away.

2011 – A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I actually read this one pretty recently, despite the fact that it’s been out for a while. Although I’d like to think I’m not a sucker for vampire fiction, this book proves me wrong. I love the way Harkness explores prejudice through the use of vampires, witches, and daemons. Another thing I loved about this was the slow-burn romance that includes a discussion of sex that doesn’t revolve around penetration! Yay!

2010 – Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

I bought this book for the title, and it sat on my self for six years, following me from Oklahoma, to Philly, to New York, and then back to Pennsylvania. When I finally read it, I couldn’t figure out why I’d put it off so long. This darkly comedic tale about a pretty pathetic guy who just wants to find love is really about so much more than that. Shteyngart constructs a future world where China owns everything and an individual’s worth is defined by their social media presence. It was horrifyingly funny to read, and definitely still relevant after all these years.

2009 – Holding Still for As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall

Set in Toronto, this book follows a chaotic group of queer twenty-somethings as they struggle to figure out what the hell they’re doing in life. I read this one when I was living in NYC as well, and the portrayal of city life in your twenties is so spot on. I loved the explorations of queerness, the confusing love triangle/square, and the forays into life as a paramedic. Although this book is obviously limited, it still strikes me as being incredibly ground-breaking for the times.

Do you have a favorite book released in the last 10 years that I missed? Did you post a Top Ten Tuesday this week? Let me know in the comments! Until next time,