Welcome to In Reading Color, a space where we focus on literature by and about people of color.
Have y’all been feeling super tired lately? I have been unexplainably sleepy the past week or two. I’ve heard from a couple friends that they have been, too. I always find it interesting when one thing is experienced by different people. Probably means something is in retrograde or something.
As I consult the stars (and pop some vitamin D and B12 *lolsob*), I’ve got some new releases, a bomb shirt with writers, and some translated works by women of color.
Black Women Writers Shirt by crystaljSTUDIO
Love the color options (there’s also a rainbow one!) and LOVE every one of the writers listed. $21+
The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri
This is the much anticipated follow-up to the World Fantasy Award-nominated book The Jasmine Throne, which I mentioned a couple weeks ago. In it, we rejoin Malini and Priya as they fight to pry the kingdom from the clutches of a tyrant. Malini has been declared the rightful empress by a god’s prophecy, and readies her loyal army. Meanwhile, Priya, a reborn priestess, sets out to cure her country’s land of a mysterious sickness that has been spreading and affecting all living things. The two women’s paths again cross, and together, they wage war on oppressive forces.
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
This has been described as giving serious The Women of Brewster Place vibes, and I agree. I’d even say it’s kind of like an updated version, but outright set in Harlem. Each of its stories is about a tenant at Banneker Homes, a low income housing unit. As gentrification looms, Swan in 6B is excited about his friend’s release from prison, Mimi in 4D is struggling to raise the child she has with Swan, and Quanneisha hopes her education will be enough to leave the high rise for good. Banneker Homes has a pull, though, that seems to keep tenants there, and their stories interwoven.
For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.
It’s Women in Translation Month, so I’ve got some excellent books in translation by women of color for you. Once you read about (and hopefully actually read them), you’ll feel some type of way about how less than 31% of books translated into English are by women, and how only 36% are from non-European countries. I know I do.
Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge
An amateur cryptozoologist has accepted a job investigating the fabled beasts of Yong’an, a fictional Chinese city. As she uncovers each creature’s story, a deep mystery presents itself that may unravel everything she believes about what it means to be human.
Witches by Brenda Lozano
Friends, I am simple. If I see a book about an Indigenous Mexican healer that’s titled “Witches,” and has a woman with a rooster head on the cover, I’m reading it, period.
Here, Zoe, a young journalist from Mexico City, is sent to a mountain village to report on the murder of a woman named Paloma. She soon finds out that Paloma was not like other women, though. Before she was killed, and before she even drew breath as Paloma, she lived as Gaspar, a traditional healer. Once Zoe meets Paloma’s cousin Feliciana, the two woman become entangled in each other, their disparate experiences complementing the other’s as they try to survive in a man’s world.