What I’ve Been Reading (Listening To) in 2016

imageUnlike my Deb sisters with the huge TBR stacks (to be read), I have completely accepted defeat. I can’t seem to read print books and still manage to write books, work my job, and raise my kid. I listen instead.

And unfortunately for me, 75% of the books I’d like to read are not available in audio format. The other problem is that I often listen at bedtime, so the books can’t be too intense or violent or enraging or creepy, because then I can’t sleep. So I have more of a TBF (to be finished) list of books that I am listening to more slowly…

Here’s the list of books I’ve been listening to since the first of the year, in reverse order.

THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO by Amy Schumer – just started it. So far, so good…

THE GREAT PEARL HEIST by Molly Caldwell Crosby – you know I love a good heist…

UNDER THE UDALA TREES by Chinelo Okparanta – about the Biafra War. I suspect this will be a slow-to-read book, given this particularly brutal piece of Nigerian history…

A FIGHTING CHANCE by Elizabeth Warren – I had to stop because the changes in banking laws made me so angry I couldn’t sleep…

JANE STEELE by Lindsay Faye – a remix of Jane Eyre as a feminist serial killer…LOVE it!

GIRLS & SEX by Peggy Orenstein – a feminist mom’s must-have!

HYMENS & HEADSCARVES: WHY THE MIDDLE EAST NEEDS A SEXUAL REVOLUTION by Mona Eltahawy – an amazing feminist manifesta for the Arab/Muslim world full of hard truths that need to be told…

ISLAND OF A THOUSAND MIRRORS by Nayomi Munaweera. A telling of the post-colonial history of Sri Lanka, as beautifully written as it is brutal…

SHRILL by Lindy West – her memoir is funny, real, painful, and fierce…

SEX OBJECT by Jessica Valenti – another great feminist memoir. Loved it.

WE WERE FEMINISTS ONCE: FROM RIOT GRRRL TO COVER GIRL, THE BUYING AND SELLING OF A POLITICAL MOVEMENT by Andi Zeisler – absolutely brilliant. She explains exactly what happened to our movement and what still needs to happen for feminism to fulfill its destiny.

EVERY ANXIOUS WAVE by Mo Daviau – fabulous literary fiction that plays with love, feminism, the space time continuum and indie music nostalgia…

THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS by Isabel Wilkerson – an epic history of the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North, Midwest & West…

HOT & HEAVY edited by Virgie Tovar – a fat, feminist manifesta. So real, fun & fabulous.

YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes – fun and inspirational to hear from one of my idols.

BETWEEN THE WORLD & ME by TaNahesi Coates – beautifully written and fully embodied story by a black man that was completely honest but rfused to be a feelgood book, because racism shouldn’t make people feel good.

REDEFINING REALNESS by Janet Mock – the black trans feminist whose fearless memoir made her one of my new idols…

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Aya de Leon directs the Poetry for the People program in the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley. Her work has appeared in Essence Magazine, xojane, Ebony, Guernica, Writers Digest, Mutha Magazine, Movement Strategy Center, My Brown Baby, KQED Pop, Bitch Magazine, Racialicious, Fusion, and she has been a guest on HuffPostLive. She is the author of the children's picture book PUFFY: PEOPLE WHOSE HAIR DEFIES GRAVITY. Kensington Books will be publishing her debut feminist heist novel, UPTOWN THIEF, in 2016. For more info, go to ayadeleon.wordpress.com.