Story Time Sunday special edition, 12/28/14 – my favorite feminist fictions of 2014

courtesy Ellie Partovi.
courtesy Ellie Partovi.

Friends – I just finished reading Dana Johnson’s novel Elsewhere, California. You have to read it. It’s generous, funny, sad, and heroic. If you are a writer who wants to write about race and class, you need to read this book. If you are a writer who wants to write about women artists, you need to read this book. If you are a writer who wants to write about California and/or the South, you have to read this book.

Here are some other favorites that I recommend to my writer friends:

SarahVanArsdale25371587124TRecently I read Sarah Van Arsdale‘s novel Toward Amnesia. It’s worrisome, lyrical, and totally gorgeous. If you are a writer wanting to figure out how to write a completely exciting novel that’s a meditation – you need to read this book. If you’re a writer trying to figure out how to write about romantic/sexual relationships between women in ways that are sexy as hell, sad as hell, and continually surprising, read this book.

courtesy Reanna Marchman Photography
courtesy Reanna Marchman Photography

Before reading Sarah, I read Isabel Quintero’s Gabi: A Girl in Pieces. If you want to see what Young Adult fiction can be and all the complicated questions it can ask and all the forms it can invoke, then you need to read this book. If you are interested in Latina culture in California, you need to read this book. If you want to believe in the power of young women to survive high school and inspire their older female relatives you need to read this book.

amyspaldingBefore reading Isabel, I read Amy Spalding’s YA novel Ink is Thicker than Water. If you want to know how to write about high school kids with humor and heart and optimism in a way that feels completely believable, read this book. If you want to write about privilege in a responsible way you need to read this book. If you want to write about divorce and blended families you need to read this book.

courtesy http://themanifeststation.net/2014/05/21/the-converse-station-on-the-manifest-station-elissa-wald-interviews-gina-frangello/
courtesy http://themanifeststation.net/2014/05/21/the-converse-station-on-the-manifest-station-elissa-wald-interviews-gina-frangello/

Before I read Amy, I read Gina Frangello’s novel A Life in Men. If you want to understand how to write about women with disabilities, you need to read this book. If you want to understand how to write about heterosexual sex in a way that feels fresh and fearless and sometimes horrifying, you need to read this book. If you want to write about Americans abroad, you need to read this book. If you want to write about mortality in a way that feels new and brave and satisfying and true, you need to read this book.

Every one of these books gives a breathtaking look at women’s hopes, dreams, fears, traumas, possibilities, and choices. These novels will blow your mind. It’s thrilling to see what a novel about women can be.

Hats off to these incredible writers. Mazel tov and thank you.

3 thoughts on “Story Time Sunday special edition, 12/28/14 – my favorite feminist fictions of 2014

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