In Reading Color

BD Energy, Reading Slumps, and more In Reading Color

Welcome to In Reading Color, a space where we focus on literature by and about people of color.

If you haven’t heard the latest Bookternet thing, it happened last week and involves Twitter user Bigolas Dickolas. Bigolas tweeted how everyone should buy This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and the book shot up the Amazon bestsellers list (even surpassing books that had just won the Pulitzer Prize). The book girlies sang the praises of B.D. and they even got a shoutout at the Nebula Awards (as they should!).

Bigolas Dickolas is the hero we need but don’t deserve. May the rest of 2023 be filled with their energy.

Bookish Goods

Afros and Headwraps Orange Book Cover

Afros and Headwraps Orange Book Cover by DreamingOfCelie

This book cover is adorable and comes in a few different sizes. $25+

New Releases

Yellowface cover

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Let me holla at you one more time about this one since it’s out today.

This is one of the most anticipated books of the year and one I’ve been more than looking forward to. It’s also a book that really tells the publishing industry about itself. When June Hayward, a young white writer, and Athena Liu graduated from Yale, they were meant to rise together. At least in June’s mind. Instead, Athena became the literary It Girl, and June remained on the sidelines. But then June sees Athena die right in front of her and she steals her manuscript. Once she edits the novel about the contributions of Chinese laborers during WWI, she passes it off as her own and is catapulted to book fame. She, a white woman, even gets a rebranding as Juniper Song and an ethnically ambiguous author picture. But she can’t shake the feeling that someone out there knows the truth, and she is down to do what she has to do to protect her secret. 

Interestingly enough, the premise of someone pretending to be another race for clout in academia or publishing has actually happened. A couple times, I might add. I’m pretty sure more cases will be revealed, and I feel like like there will be more of these scathing critiques of the publishing and academic fields by authors of color. I’m ready to receive each and every last one of them. 

*Also, Kuang just won and Nebula Award for Babel.* Flowers. Give her all of them.

cover of Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

Samantha Irby has a blog titled “bitchesgottaeat,” so you know any and everything by her slaps. And slap this one does. Much like in previous collections, Quietly Hostile has Irby getting into the nitty gritty of her life. She’s getting calls from Hollywood, tries therapy, and maybe likes things other people judge her for. She also may have some digestive issues…Her writing is seriously funny, while also having moments of insight and tenderness.

Don’t forget to check out First Edition, the new podcast started by Book Riot co-founder Jeff O’Neal. It explores the wide bookish world, with interviews, lists, rankings, retrospectives, recommendations, and much more, featuring people who know and love books. Subscribe to First Edition on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your podcatcher of choice.

More New Releases

Dona Cleanwell Leaves Home: Stories by Ana Castillo (Fiction, Short Stories)

King: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Biography)

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong (Memoir)

Miss Major Speaks: Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary by Toshio Meronek and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy  

cover of Miss Major Speaks: Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary by Toshio Meronek and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy  

The Enchanted Hacienda by  J.C. Cervantes (Magical Realism)

The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor (Contemporary Fiction)

Thinning Blood: A Memoir of Family, Myth, and Identity by Leah Myers (Memoir)

Transmogrify!: 14 Fantastical Tales of Trans Magic, edited by g. haron davis (YA, Fantasy, Queer Short Stories)

Fake Dates and Mooncakes by  Sher Lee  (YA Queer Romance)

Hurt You by  Marie Myung-Ok Lee (YA, Fiction)

Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo (YA, Queer Romantic Fantasy)

Venom & Vow by Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliott McLemore  (YA, Fantasy)

There Flies the Witch by Mayonn Paasewe-Valchev (Middle Grade, Fantasy)

Jackie Ormes Draws the Future: The Remarkable Life of a Pioneering Cartoonist by Liz Montague (Children’s Biography, Picture Book))

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

So I’ve been in an odd kind of reading slump lately. I’ve wanted to read and been really interested in books, but kind of a little too interested. By that I mean that I’ve been coming across so many fire books lately that I keep starting them and not finishing…because I start another one and forget.

This past weekend, I got a kind of refresh, though. I need to go get my car fixed, which I hate doing for reasons *cries in adulting*, so I’ve been walking around more. And it’s been…nice, actually. I’m discovering things I hadn’t noticed before, and it’s making me more mindful of certain things. It’s also made me refresh my reading environment. Because it takes me some time to get to the library, I end up staying there for awhile to read. This weekend while there, I decided to get through some graphic novels to break out of my current non-finishing habit.

Here are a few of the ones I read:

cover of Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto

This is a one-shot manga, which means its entire story is within this one book. Two girls inspire each other, at first from a distance, to become better manga artists. As they grow up, they begin working together and are friends until a tragedy changes everything.

Cat + Gamer Vol 1 cover

Cat + Gamer by Wataru Nadatani

Y’all. This is so darn cute. I can’t. I couldn’t. But actually, I did. It’s about Riko, a 29-year old who is all work when in the office, but a hardcore gamer at home. She surprises even herself when she agrees to take home a kitten found in the office’s parking lot, and obviously adorable kitten hijinks ensues.

cover of Surviving the City

Surviving the City by Tasha Spillett, illustrated by Natasha Donovan and Donovan Yaciuk 

This is a real short one at only 56 pages. It’s YA comic about two teen Indigenous girls, Miikwan who is Anishinaabe, and Dez who is Inninew. As they prepare a school project that will showcase how they completed their Berry Fast together, Dez disappears. But they live in a country where Indigenous girls and women go and stay missing too often.

Wash Day Diaries cover

Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith

I started this one mad long ago, but didn’t finish it for some reason. It follows four Bronx homegirls through simple, daily life stuff (like getting your hair done) and personal struggles. It’s an intimate and familiar look at Black and Latine women’s lives and friendships, and the dialogue was way too real.

the cover of Abbott #1

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Sami Kivelä and Jason Wordie 

This one I’ve started before and never finished. Until this weekend! Abbott is a Black female reporter in ’70s Detroit who starts investigating a series of grotesque killings that she just knows are connected somehow. It low-key gives Lovecraft Country vibes and the dialogue and discrimination Abbott faced felt very true to the times.

I also checked out Spellbound by Bishakh Som, a trans graphic memoir, and horror graphic novel Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshotebut, but haven’t started them yet.

Thanks for reading; it’s been cute! If you want to reach out and connect, email me at or tweet at me @erica_eze_. You can find me on the Hey YA podcast with the fab Tirzah Price, as well as in the In The Club newsletter.

Until next time,