This is the book that shook me by the shoulders and said, “You are fuerte, mija.” Gloria Anzaldúa is the OG in reclaiming that inner fire, feeding it oxygen, and encouraging it to roar. Anzaldúa walked so Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez of For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Gentle Hearts could run. Some see the word “mestiza” and freak out, but please calm your gentle heart. The new mestiza, as illuminated in Borderlands, is the embracing of that mixedness, the casting out of colorist caste systems, and the space recognized in Latinx-ness for all the stunning mixtures of people from cultures we love. You don’t have to be Latinx for the profundity of Anzaldúa’s words to apply to your life but have your translation dictionary ready because she provided no translations for the intermittent Spanish throughout the book in a way that refuses to live in translation any longer. I once had to fill out an application for a bookseller conference scholarship that asked me to choose one book that changed my life and why, this book was it – and I got the scholarship.
This is the memoir that held me for as long as I needed. Comfort Food for Breakups follows Ukrainian, Marusya Bociurkiw, through memories, reckonings, transitions, and well, breakups all while her experiences are centered around food. Bociurkiw establishes a pattern of life-people-food-eat. Whether it’s eating with someone you love, eating with people you care about, or eating with somebody you’ve only just met, the act of eating in company and being that company is more than enough. There’s ritual in the baking, poaching, searing, sautéing. There’s medicine in the tasting, savoring, indulging. There’s calm, vulnerability in people gathered. I experienced my own seat at the table as the reader. Bociurkiw’s connection to the meals shared along the timeline of her life has influenced me to finally be that encouraging, welcoming friend that has dinner parties and indulges in the company of the supportive people around me. I thank Bociurkiw for the mouth-watering recipes provided at intermittent chapters’ end for I will attempt to use them as a vessel to create meaning in my own life as well as others’.
By the time Maya’s Halmunee came to live with her and her mother, Maya was accustomed to quick pizza dinners, lone walks with her pug, Gizmo, and not having much family time at all. She understands that her mother is doing her best to provide for the three of them, especially since Maya’s dad died which they don’t speak of. Did he like the same foods as Maya? Are there any quirks Maya has that were his first? Until one sweltering day, Halmunee asks Maya to help her make patbingsu (a loaded shaved ice dish). Upon first bite, Halmunee squeezes Maya’s hand and with a big WOOSH they are transported back—back to the 1970s watching Maya’s ancestors eat patbingsu in Seoul, South Korea. It’s important to know where one comes from and how it can shape identity. As a Chicana who understands my own history through education in Chicanx Studies, I was completely enthralled by Maya’s newfound opportunity and rooting for her to uncover more about herself and her ancestors through Halmunee’s time travel. This book had me drooling at the delicious Korean dishes Maya and Halmunee cook together. I wished I was in the kitchen with them learning alongside Maya. With Halmunee’s miraculous gift, will Maya be able to unlock a memory that includes her father so that she can get to know him? Does Maya have Halmunee’s gift too? A Spoonful of Time is a stunning adventure of time travel, the restrengthening of family bonds, and most importantly, food with RECIPES!
When I tell you I was hooked from the first page, I mean it with my soul. This book is set up as a layout of evidence for your consideration: a manuscript and intermittent exhibits of court transcripts that attempt to explain why Greyson Hale murdered his classmate, preferred solitary confinement, wrote his life story, then committed suicide in his prison cell. The manuscript is Greyson’s autobiography as written in his cell. Not a spoiler, it says this on the book cover, promise. I kept raising my eyebrows and blurting out, “BROOO!!” at perfectly placed reveals, psychological puzzles, and a healthy dose of creepy moments that are sure to get your heart racing. Is Greyson Hale being tormented by something supernatural or are his inner demons clawing themselves out?
Spine-chilling hauntings, nods to true crime, a puzzle-like plot… I. Eat. That. Ish. Up. When 18-month-sober, Mallory Quinn, lands a much-needed nanny job to get back on her feet, she starts to question what she’s just gotten into when 5-year-old, Teddy, begins to draw creepy things during quiet time. As the drawings begin to evolve well beyond the abilities of any five-year-old, shit starts to go down. If Teddy doesn’t remember drawing these masterful yet alarming artworks, then who drew them? Mallory must figure out what exactly is ailing this little boy she’s grown so fond of before his parents question her sanity. The synopsis I’ve just given is only the very surface of what you will encounter in Hidden Pictures. I wish I could spill every hair-raising haunt, every startling realization, every piece of the puzzle as I did when thoroughly explaining it to my boyfriend-held-hostage, Kevin. HE even loved it and only heard the story through my rough explanation. If you still don’t believe me about how great this horror novel is, then believe Kevin.