by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)
Here are three books coming out today that I'm excited to read!
Jasmine Guillory's While We Were Dating (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
Description from Publisher:
"Two people realize that it’s no longer an act when they veer off-script in this sizzling romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory.
"Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy, family drama he’s trying to ignore and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star, Anna Gardiner, however, it’s hard to keep it purely professional. Anna is not just gorgeous and sexy, she’s also down to earth and considerate, and he can’t help flirting a little…
"Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she’s booked her next movie. However, she didn’t expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation?
"But their light-hearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they’ve barely shared with those closest to them.
"When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?"
Why I want to read it: I still have not read any of Guillory's work, and I am eager to dive into her books! As frequent listeners know, I've discovered a love of romance books in the past couple of years, and Guillory's books sound like a great fit for me! As far as the premise of this one, I love this trope in romance, and I'm looking forward to giving it a try. This one sounds amazing, and I look forward to reading her back list as well.
Savala Nolan Trepczynski's Don't Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Body (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
Description from Publisher:
"A powerful and provocative collection of essays that offers poignant reflections on living between society’s most charged, politicized, and intractably polar spaces—between black and white, rich and poor, thin and fat.
"Savala Nolan knows what it means to live in the in-between. Descended from a Black and Mexican father and a white mother, Nolan’s mixed-race identity is obvious, for better and worse. At her mother’s encouragement, she began her first diet at the age of three and has been both fat and painfully thin throughout her life. She has experienced both the discomfort of generational poverty and the ease of wealth and privilege.
"It is these liminal spaces—of race, class, and body type—that the essays in Don’t Let It Get You Down excavate, presenting a clear and nuanced understanding of our society’s most intractable points of tension. The twelve essays that comprise this collection are rich with unforgettable anecdotes and are as humorous and as full of Nolan’s appetites as they are of anxieties. The result is lyrical and magnetic.
"In 'On Dating White Guys While Me,' Nolan realizes her early romantic pursuits of rich, preppy white guys weren’t about preference, but about self-erasure. In the titular essay 'Don’t Let it Get You Down,' we traverse the cyclical richness and sorrow of being Black in America as Black children face police brutality, 'large Black females' encounter unique stigma, and Black men carry the weight of other people’s fear. In “Bad Education,” we see how women learn to internalize rage and accept violence in order to participate in our culture. And in 'To Wit and Also' we meet Filliss, Grace, and Peggy, the enslaved women owned by Nolan’s white ancestors, reckoning with the knowledge that America’s original sin lives intimately within our present stories. Over and over again, Nolan reminds us that our true identities are often most authentically lived not in the black and white, but in the grey of the in-between.
"Perfect for fans of Heavy by Kiese Laymon and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Don’t Let It Get You Down delivers an essential perspective on race, class, bodies, and gender in America today."
Why I want to read it: This collection sounds absolutely brilliant. And the comps to Heavy and Bad Feminist, both of which were five-star reads for me, made this one even more appealing. I was already eager to read this and then saw that it was featured on Libro.fm's ALC program this month, so I will look forward to listening to it soon!
Ryan Gebhart's Strange Beasts of China, with Jeremy Tiang as Translator (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
Description from Publisher:
"From one of the most exciting voices in contemporary Chinese literature, an uncanny and playful novel that blurs the line between human and beast …
"In the fictional Chinese city of Yong’an, an amateur cryptozoologist is commissioned to uncover the stories of its fabled beasts. These creatures live alongside humans in near-inconspicuousness—save their greenish skin, serrated earlobes, and strange birthmarks.
"Aided by her elusive former professor and his enigmatic assistant, our narrator sets off to document each beast, and is slowly drawn deeper into a mystery that threatens her very sense of self.
"Part detective story, part metaphysical enquiry, Strange Beasts of China engages existential questions of identity, humanity, love and morality with whimsy and stylistic verve."
Why I want to read it: This story sounds so intriguing and mysterious, and I'm eager to read more books in translation. I'm also always fascinated by books that explore what it means to be human and where those lines are drawn, so this feels like a perfect fit to me!
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