What We're Reading Now: A Host of Women Writers

If you're like us, you may have a hard time going anywhere without a book (or three!) in your bag. After all...you never know when you might have an extra minute to dive back into their pages! 

With that said, here are a few of the books we've been carrying around and reading this month:

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Gay's short story collection gives voice to a chorus of unique, touch, vulnerable, quirky, complicated women. In myriad ways, their voices are anchored in the experiences they have come through. Several stories are shaped by the brutal realism of violence, but in Gay's writing, there's a point to the violence on the page, and it serves to inform the strength and natures of her characters. Sprinkled in among the predominant realism are stories like Water, All Its Weight and The Sacrifice of Darkness, and their magical realism reads like a more complex, more nuanced set of fables.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit writes artfully about climate change, ecology, language, walking, and much more. Her writing may be at its most acerbic and concise in the essay collection Men Explain Things to Me, a manifesto of incidents large, small, and global. The wide-ranging collection covers mansplaining, gender-based violence, gun control reform, and seems to offer to the reader as many questions to ponder as it does facts that seem to point to one staggering, but complicated, conclusion.

Cadaver, Speak by Marianne Boruch, and Tunsiya Amrikiya by Leila Chatti

Cadaver, Speak is a two-part poetry collection that explores the self against the backdrop of time, death, history, and art. Many of her poems reference classical paintings, sculpture, other art, and often focus on the unexpected detail, like in "Little Wife", which describes the museum exhibit of King Tut before ending on the "[l]ittle wife, / such small feet, the thought / dwarfs the king / as ache, as what is / ever left of us, / and oh, I like her better."

Tunsiya Amrikiya is a powerful naming and exploration of identity from poet Leila Chatti. The Arabic title of the chapbook--Tunsiya is Arabic for Tunisian/female; Amrikiya, for American/female--beautifully highlights the perspective of her poems. There's an empowered defiance in this naming; Chatti's work, and this collection in particular, are unmistakably anchored in her identity. It's an exquisite collection with a powerful command of language. America could do with more celebrations of perspectives such as these.