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Review: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

The stories in this heart-rending anthology open windows into the lives of women from various places and socioeconomic classes, of various races and sexual orientations, with various BMIs and occupations.  Despite their differences, these women share one trait - men tend to find them 'difficult.' They are difficult because they are any combination of frigid, argumentative, gay, promiscuous, angry, melanated, fat, and kinky.  None these traits are flaws, and should actually be celebrated or at least respected.  But instead, these women are regarded as difficult rather than complex.
    My favorite story was probably "La Negra Blanca," because it's the story that upset me the most.  It's about Sarah, a biracial, white-passing woman who strips to pay her tuition, and William Livingston III, the wealthy white dirtbag with jungle fever who lusts after her.  The specifics of Livingston's jungle fever are categorized with nauseating detail - his secret st…
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Book Review: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

This groundbreaking novel was praised (and criticized), at the time of its publication in 1973, for the unapologetic spirit of its heroine, Molly.  As a working-class woman who is attracted to other women, she is rejected by her family and marginalized wherever she goes, from the South to New York City.  Despite these obstacles, she insists that she doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks of her.  In fact, she rattles on for paragraphs at a time about how little she cares for the opinions of others.
     At the time of Rubyfruit Jungle’s publication, this was probably the heroine that the lesbian and queer community needed - audacious, unflinching, irreverent, and indestructible.  These are qualities which queer women have historically aspired to in order to survive.  However, as both a modern reader and a modern queer woman, it seems to me that Molly possesses these qualities in unbelievably pure form.  Her careless, blustering rants lend an appearance of two-dimensionality…

Review: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

I read this book courtesy of my friend Shanille, who purchased it for a class on the novels of Toni Morrison (!!!) and lent it to me when she was done.  Thank you girl!
     As usual, this book did not disappoint.  It is about a beautiful, successful, dark-skinned woman named Bride who sets out on a journey to confront an ex-lover, and by extension the many traumas she has experienced both as a child and an adult on account of other people's perceptions of her skin color.  
     My favorite aspect of the story is its characters, because they are drawn in such precise and lush detail.  Bride, for example, has constructed her outward appearance in order to thriveFor example, she goes by 'Bride' rather than her given name, Lula Ann Bridewell, and exclusively wears white clothing, in accordance with the advice of a lifestyle consultant.  At one point, she refers to herself as "The [woman] driving a Jaguar in an oyster-white cashmere dress and boots of brushed…

Best Reading from my Third Semester

Once again, this semester's schoolwork took precedence over this blog.  It had to happen, but now I'm back to let you all know about the wonderful books I read in my classes.
     On an unrelated note, feel free to add me on LinkedIn!  I made an account but I only have four connections so far, it's very sad.

1. Cane by Jean Toomer - A gorgeous genre-blending novel which describes the lives of black people in rural Georgia in the early twentieth century.

2. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - The greatest self-love story of all time.

3. Passing by Nella Larson - A novel which examines the complex friendship between two wealthy black women, one of whom passes for white.

4. Smoke, Lilies and Jade, a Novel by Richard Bruce - A semi-autobiographical, experimental text peppered with ellipses and the names of great Harlem Renaissance artists.

Short Stories
1. "The Closing Door" by Angeline Grimke - This story demonstrates with intimate, hea…

Book Review: This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Hey! Before we start the review, I want to address two changes that I've made to this blog.  You might have noticed that the blog's title has changed from "The Book Thieves" to "The Book Bum," while the web address has not changed.  I made this alteration because I feel like I've outgrown the old title, plus I think it's lowkey plagiarizing a book with a similar title?  So I picked a new one and I may change it again in the future.  I kept the web address the same because I'm not sure how changing it will affect the people who already follow this blog.  Will everybody be confused?  I'm not sure, so I'm keeping it for now.
     The second change is that, from now on, guest bloggers are welcome to write for The Book Bum!  If anyone is interested in writing a review, comment on this post or let me know in person.  My first guest blogger is my boyfriend, Elijah Logan, who wrote today's book review.

Elijah's Review Junot Diaz’s Thi…

Book Review: Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinenberg

Book Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

This is one of those books that demands to be discussed.  I know because after my boyfriend lent it to me and I finished it, I called him immediately.  I wanted to talk about two aspects of the story in particular - its tip-of-the-iceberg character development and its web of seemingly random but of course meaningful details.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki follows the title character's quest to understand, in his early thirties, why his four beloved high school friends cut him off while he was in college.  Their rejection of him was sudden, mysterious, and brutal, casting him into a suicidal depression.  Years after the depression has ended, Tsukuru still feels scarred by the rejection.  He believes in his heart that he is empty, isolated, colorless, and unable to fully connect with others.  But when he meets Sara, a woman to whom he feels inexplicably drawn, he realizes that he must confront his past and his four former friends in order to pursue a serious relationship with her.