What to read during a coup:
...some books that aren't about coups!
Here are some things to read that made me feel better lately (or at least, got me off Twitter for a half hour at a time, which is as close to “better” as is possible right now.)
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour — Dark, wild, and deeply funny satire-that-could-be-real about Buck, a Black man in Brooklyn who gets plucked from obscurity as a Starbucks barista to become a sales rep for a bullshit racist tech company and, through a series of twists and turns, becomes the head of an underground network of salespeople of color that incites a white supremacist revolt. I know, I know, #tooreal, but trust me: It’s so so good.
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryan — Sometimes you just need an aggressively charming YA novel about a teenage girl who loves writing romance novels for fun, gets into a conservatory high school and then comes down with writers’ block so tries to bring romance tropes to life to inspire her creativity, while also navigating race, teenage love, and growing up. Sometimes!
Outlawed by Anna North — If you like Margaret Atwood or western novels (or both), you will like this gender-bender twist in which in an alternate-history America where barren women are cast out from 1880s’ polite society — one particular woman, Ada, an aspiring midwife, ends up in a gang of outlaws composed entirely of women and gender-queer folks who steal and kill their way to glory.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary — An almost unbearably cozy British rom-com about a quirky book editor who finds herself in a flat share with an overnight hospice nurse — their paths never cross; they literally share the bedroom without ever meeting. They end up communicating via notes left around the apartment and end up falling in love. A perfect bubble bath book.
The Uptown Girls by Joanna Shupe (a trilogy) — Very hot and steamy romance novels about three wealthy sisters living in 1880s NYC who fall in love with no-good men wreaking havoc (and running gangs/casinos/doing crimes!) downtown. The second is particularly spicy.
White Ivy by Susie Yang— Another twisty novel, this time about Ivy, a Chinese American first-generation immigrant who might be a sociopath and might just be unlikeable; totally unclear. Lots of class warfare, if that’s your thing.
The Orchard by David Hopen — A super-Orthodox Brooklyn teenage boy moves with his family to Miami and falls in with a rich and rowdy (and slightly more secular) crowd, and ends up losing his sense of self, kind of. Very Secret History-esque.
White Feminism by Koa Beck — A definitive text on the ideology of white feminism, which is intertwined with individualism, capitalism, white supremacy, and self-optimization-as-a-solution-for-problems-instead-of-collective-action. I learned a lot from this, and it was well-written enough that I was able to read it mid-coup.
This is Chance! by Jon Mooallem — A deeply reported story about the Anchorage earthquake in 1964 and Genie Chance, the radio announcer who was the voice that guided the city through the crisis. After reading this, I did spend a solid hour googling around about whether we should move to Alaska. (Resolved: Not at the moment.)
Thinking Inside the Box by Adrienne Raphael — A cultural history of crossword puzzles! I am not a cruciverbalist myself but I really liked this anyway. Crosswords intersect (GET IT) with publishing, journalism, race, class, gender, health care, deeply weird subcultures, and more. I dig it.
For the exhaustive reading list, check my spreadsheet. If this was forwarded to you, please subscribe!