The words “Daddy’s Money: an unlikely feminist spin” on a green background
The words “Daddy’s Money: an unlikely feminist spin” on a green background

I am decidedly not a fan of country music, but I did spend a good part of my rural childhood listening to country music radio and cassette mixtapes of country music that my mother made. An exception to my general distaste for the genre is “Daddy’s Money” (1996) by Ricochet. This song is about falling for a woman that has everything: she’s beautiful and rich, amongst other things that are not always valued in women. Not only is it catchy and fun to sing along to, but it gently subverts the misogyny long present in the greater tradition of country…

Bruce makes in imaginative deep dive into the background and crimes of Belle Gunness.
Bruce makes in imaginative deep dive into the background and crimes of Belle Gunness.

Trigger warnings: child death, brutality, murder, domestic violence, and dismemberment.

When I saw this title in the Netgalley-verse, I was immediately intrigued, as I remembered the My Favorite Murder episode about Belle Gunness. Bruce makes an imaginative deep dive into the background and crimes of the real Belle Gunness and I really enjoyed it, despite the heavy subject matter.

Brynhild is a young woman in rural Norway, eking out an impoverished existence in the late 1800s. She gets an invitation from her married older sister in Chicago to come live with her and her husband. Before leaving, Brynhild commits her first murder. After her arrival in Chicago, she changes her…

Dinner Party: A Tragedy. Needless to say, this book is very sad and heavy.
Dinner Party: A Tragedy. Needless to say, this book is very sad and heavy.

This book comes with quite a few trigger warnings: family dysfunction, eating disorders, child death, and suicide attempts.

Sarah Gilmartin’s writing is excellent and kept me interested in the often very sad story in Dinner Party: A Tragedy. The blurb puts out some misconceptions, however. It made the book seem like there was one dinner party which spanned the entire novel, with flashbacks interspersed between courses like Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak. The entire dinner party the blurb references takes place in the first chapter, and the following chapters go back in time and continue from there in chronological order.

The main character of this book, Kate, has been navigating adulthood with the grief of her…

I had high expectations for this book and it somehow exceeded them
I had high expectations for this book and it somehow exceeded them

I had high expectations for this book and it somehow exceeded them. I have been following Chloe Angyal’s Substack, My Pointe Is…, for a few years and have been eagerly awaiting this book ever since she announced she was writing it. Angyal covers a lot of ground with attention to detail, empathy, and nuance in 300 short pages. Her writing is (as always) engaging and informative and I read this book in one sitting. Ballet is simultaneously an art form that has entranced mainstream culture for centuries and an insular world that monopolizes the time and bodies of its dancers…

I received an advanced reader copy of Madhouse at the End of the Earth from Netgalley.

This book is a narrative history of the ship, the Belgica, and the lives of the men aboard. The crew of this expedition sailed for Belgium (some very creative ship naming, there) and spent a year in Antarctic pack ice, which pushed them to their mental and physical limits. It is not important to the greater scope of the book, but it is very important to me, personally, that there was a cat named Nansen (named for Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen) aboard.

This book takes a few chapters to really get going, but it is absolutely worth it. The set-up…

Trigger warnings for homophobia and hate crimes.

I am already a huge Caroline O’Donoghue fan — I rated both her adult books, Promising Young Women and Scenes of a Graphic Nature, five stars and religiously listen to her excellent podcast about chick lit, Sentimental Garbage. As I am a religious listener to Sentimental Garbage, I think I found an Easter egg reference to the podcast. I feel brilliant.

Maeve Chambers’ trouble begins when she sasses her Italian teacher and gets detention cleaning out a creepy cabinet where she finds a pack of dusty tarot cards (presumably the classic Rider-Waite, but O’Donoghue does not specify — please tell…

Trigger warnings for sexual violence and racism.

The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell is a multi-family, intergenerational family drama set in [what is now] Zambia near Victoria Falls, colloquially known as “The Old Drift” in the colonial period. It follows a set of grandmothers (Sibilla, Agnes, and Matha), mothers (Sylvia, Isabella, and Thandiwe), and their children, (Joseph, Jacob, and Naila). Intertwined with the story of the characters through time (1939–2023), is the drone of mosquitoes and the threat of malaria.

‘You can’t stop technological progress,’ said Joseph. ‘Progress?’ [Naila] said. ‘Progress is just the word we use to disguise power doing its thing.’

This book has a…

I received an advanced reader copy of Starvation for review from the author, Molly Fennig. As this book is about an eating disorder, please be aware that the contents may be triggering for some. There is a lengthy trigger warning at the front of the book as well, but I thought I would add one too, just to be sure, for disordered eating and for suicide. …

I kept putting off reading The Wolf Den because I knew the heavy subject matter was going to destroy me inside, and I was right. I will need 3–5 business days to recover from the emotional turmoil in this story.

Young Greek woman Amara is sold as a slave by her mother and forced into sex work in a brothel called The Wolf Den in Roman-era Pompeii (not on volcano day) and is desperate to escape to freedom. This story is extremely emotional and harrowing — trigger warnings for sexual violence, physical violence, emotional abuse, and murder.

Amara and her enslaved colleagues deal with physical violence daily from their clients and from their owner, Felix, and the reader is always aware of the constant threat of violence. …

15 Books Centering Sisters

A while ago, one of my friends tweeted that she wanted recommendations for fiction centering sisters.

Books (preferably novels) that explore the relationship between sisters really well: your suggestions please :)

I had many recommendations, so I thought I would make my reading list available for everyone. Books appear in alphabetical order by title.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Two half-sisters — one in the Dominican Republic, and one in New York City — find out about each other after their shared father dies in a plane crash. This is a YA book written in verse and I loved it when I read it earlier this year. It has the perfect balance of lightness and drama and it is heartwarming to…

Caroline Cox

Historian | PhD student | LSE

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