Heyyy, sooo: February is over. Not to be completely unoriginal, but how did January drag on for years while this month popped in, gave a lazy wave, dropped off its dirty laundry, and bounced?! I don’t even know how to feel since February was, in a lot of ways, some trash. The books that came out this month were fire though and I’m one month closer to traveling to Cuba (!!!!!), so I feel like it’s all going to be just fine.
In even better news, the end of one month means the start of another and that means: NEW BOOOOOKS! Because March is Women’s History Month, I decided all of the books discussed today will be by women. WHO RUN THE WORLD??
Sponsored by Princeton University Press Audio
Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) is generally regarded as the greatest intellectual ever to have appeared in the Arab world—a genius who ranks as one of the world’s great minds. Yet the author of the Muqaddima, the most important study of history ever produced in the Islamic world, is not as well known as he should be, and his ideas are widely misunderstood. In this groundbreaking intellectual biography, Robert Irwin provides an engaging and authoritative account of Ibn Khaldun’s extraordinary life, times, writings, and ideas. Start Listening Now!
New Releases (publisher’s descriptions in quotes)
Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera, narrated by Marisol Ramirez (March 5)
First I just have to say that the main character is in an all-girl crew called Las Mal Criadas. I mean… I have many yesses to offer here. Is there Mal Criadas merch available? Have credit card, will buy.
Our heroine Nalah is sixteen years old when she realizes she’s had enough of street life (aka la vida de una Mal Criada). Leaving the streets behind is of course not simple, and Nalah must decide just how far she’s willing to go to get what she wants. I’ve seen this pitched as “The Outsiders meets Mad Max: Fury Road” and yep. Gonna need to read that.
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, narrated by the author (March 5)
This cover is a thing of beauty and the concept even better: a gingerbread recipe that is both the curse and legacy of three generations of women. “Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories—equal parts wholesome and uncanny, from the tantalizing witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel” to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can… As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.”
So Here’s The Thing…: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut by Alyssa Mastromonaco, narrated by the author (March 5)
I absolutely loved Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? and am pumped for the follow up from Mastromonaco, who once served as President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff and has gone on to hold executive roles at VICE and A&E. She currently serves as Senior Advisor and spokesperson for the National Abortion Rights Action League and is back with “a bold, no-nonsense, and no-holds-barred twenty-first-century girl’s guide to life, tackling the highs and lows of bodies, politics, relationships, moms, education, life on the internet, and pop culture. Whether discussing Barbra Streisand or The Bachelor, working in the West Wing or working on finding a wing woman, Alyssa leaves no stone unturned…and no awkward situation unexamined.”
Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, narrated by the author (March 12)
If you’ve never read Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, do that now. Then come right on back for this vulnerable and inspiring poetry memoir that you’ll love and perhaps also kind of hate for it’s timeliness. “Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.”
The True Queen by Zen Cho, narrator not yet announced (March 12)
Finally! The next installment in the Sorcerer Royal series is here and introduces us to sisters Muna and Sakti. They wake up on an island with no idea how they got there, cursed by some nefarious entity. Sakti starts to fade away and the only hope of saving her is in Britain, where the Sorceress Royal leads a magical training academy for women. “If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she’s drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.”
The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab, narrated by Heather Wilds (March 12)
Is anyone else as excited as I am for the re-release of V.E. Schwab’s debut novel?! Gah! I feel like I’m terrible at describing this, so we’ll just stick straight to the publisher’s copy: “The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.”
Internment by Samira Ahmed, narrated by Soneela Nankani (March 19)
On the list of many things for which I curse my recent bout of swine flu is the fact that I missed the chance to meet and chat with Samira Ahmed at Winter Institute! The author of the bestselling Love, Hate & Other Filters has returned with a novel set in a pretty terrifying near-future where Muslim American citizens are forced into internment camps. “With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.”
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, narrated by Shvorne Marks (March 19)
I don’t know how one manages to write something described as “Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah” but I sure am interested! “Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.” This is going to resonate with any woman anywhere who’s searched for meaning in the world while trying to find her place in it.
The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey by Margaret Leslie Davis, narrated by Coleen Marlo (March 19)
Books about books! Yay! Ok yes, the book in this story is the Bible but go with me for a second. “For rare-book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible–of which there are fewer than 50 in existence–represents the ultimate prize. Here, Margaret Leslie Davis recounts five centuries in the life of one copy, from its creation by Johannes Gutenberg, through the hands of monks, an earl, the Worcestershire sauce king, and a nuclear physicist to its ultimate resting place, in a steel vault in Tokyo. Estelle Doheny, the first woman collector to add the book to her library and its last private owner, tipped the Bible onto a trajectory that forever changed our understanding of the first mechanically printed book.” This sounds like a saga with bits of Indiana Jones and The Club Dumas plus… Worcestershire sauce? I dunno, but I’m in.
White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf (March 26)
I was wondering why this author’s name sounded so familiar to me and it finally dawned on me: Julie Langsdorf wrote A Secret History of Witches, which has been on my actual nightstand for months. “Barrie Anne Blythe and her aunt Charlotte have always known that the other residents of their small coastal community find them peculiar — two women living alone on the outskirts of town. It is the price of concealing their strange and dangerous family secret. But two events threaten to upend their lives forever. The first is the arrival of a mysterious abandoned baby with a hint of power like their own. The second is the sudden reappearance of Barrie Anne’s long-lost husband — who is not quite the man she thought she married. Together, Barrie Anne and Charlotte must decide how far they are willing to go to protect themselves.”
From the Internets
And the Awards Goes To… – The Oscars may be over and we all may have our feelings, but this list of audiobooks by LitHub of audiobooks to get you through the Oscars is still worth taking a peek at.
Over at the Riot
All The Libros – Speaking of new books, did you catch this week’s episode of All the Books? I joined Liberty this week to chat about new releases and you know I snuck in some audiobook commentary too!
I Be Book Tubin’ – Not exactly audiobook-related, but make sure to check out the Book Riot You Tube channel on Friday, March 1st. My video this week is all about a few badass women writers who inspire me on and off the page in honor of Women’s History Month, many of whose work I have enjoyed thoroughly on audio.
That’s all I got today! Shoot me an email at email@example.com with audiobook feedback & questions or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter, peep the Read Harder podcast, and watch me booktube every Friday too!
Stay bad & bookish, my friends.