On the Books That Expand Our Horizons

In times like these, with gun violence and bigotry running rampant in our home country, this social media manager has been thinking about reading as self care, and also as a perspective-expanding tool. Stories allow us to very-about-literally place ourselves in other person’s shoes—experience what they experience moving through the world.

Reading as Self Care

There’s a lot going on in the world, friends. From the injustices at the U.S. border, to flooding in the Midwest, to rising tensions with Iran and the earthquakes in nearby Ridgecrest…at times, it can get pretty overwhelming and anxiety-inducing.

In times like these, it can be important to hold on to the things that give you joy and, if you’re a book lover, you probably already know that reading is definitely one of those things. Curling up with a book can provide an opportunity to unplug, and a temporary escape into an entirely different world.

PAN'S LABYRINTH: THE LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN is here!

Happy publication month to Cornelia’s latest novel, Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun!! Published with HarperCollins, Bloomsbury Publishing, and elsewhere around the globe, it ‘s already being received with critical acclaim (including a starred Kirkus Review!), and represents her first fiction collaboration with Guillermo del Toro, the film’s creator.

Read more of what critics are saying by clicking on the links below!

Migration & the Immigrant Experience in Literature

Any week is a good week to talk about the importance of—and need for—the representation of diverse experiences and voices in literature. For much of our history, the canon of literature has been largely white, largely male, largely straight—and very much centered around American and white European voices. But literature can also share the stories of those whose voices have been marginalized and Otherized: those whose stories (like all our stories) are at least in part shaped by their overlapping identities.

At this present moment, at this point in our country’s history, as many (often white, often male) people engage in xenophobia targeted at immigrants of color, we thought it would be a good moment to talk about a few books that center around individual immigrant experiences.

To help those navigating the U.S. immigration system, organizations like RAICES, The Bail Project, KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights all supply immigrants with legal aid and resources, and do worlds of good with the donations they receive.

What We're Reading Now: SOUTH AND WEST by Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s South and West, published in 2017, is a slim volume excerpted from Didion’s notes during two periods—one in 1970, on a roadtrip in the American South, and another in 1976, around the Patty Hearst trial.

“The idea was to start in New Orleans and from there we had no plan.” This book of essays sends the reader right back to the 70s, with Didion on the road or at the writing desk, yet there’s a sense of timelessness, as if the era these notes were written in wasn’t half-a-century from this. While the pieces Didion may have intended to write in the 70s didn’t pan out, the notes left from each period paint clearly snapshots of both times with full force of Didion’s shrewd yet dispassionate eye for detail.

What We're Reading Now: THE CARRYING by Ada Limón

parenting, and motherhood; and the changing roles we have in the ever-turning cycle of birth, aging, and death. It’s a collection studded with images anchoring the reader to the natural world around the speaker—from trellising tomatoes in the garden, to “the cold salt froth / of the Pacific,”* to watching eagles in a field.

What We're Reading Now: THE REFUGEES by Viet Thanh Nguyen

What are you reading, book-lovers? This month, we’ve started more books we finished, but those we did finish include: The Refugees, a short story collection by Viet Thanh Nguyen; Ada Limón’s most recent poetry collection, The Carrying; and South and West, a slim nonfiction volume by Joan Didion that muses on moments decades past, in (as the title suggests) the American South and in California. A varied bunch!

Pro-Choice Orgs to Support This Week

[Note: today’s blog post is less literary, more civic action-minded. Because, America.]

What a week. These past few years, I think I’ve uttered that phrase every few days. This week’s been no exception. On Thursday, May 16th, the Missouri state Senate passed a bill that "would ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy or later, except in cases of medical emergency. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.”

Here are some organizations that help women and folx with uteruses get the reproductive healthcare they have a right to: