Happy St. Patrick’s Day, whether you are celebrating the saint himself or the little leprechaun and his pot of gold under the rainbow. I grew up in a family that was obsessed with holidays; our parents still maintain that Santa Clause is real and wear red on Valentine’s day, because they think it makes things more fun that way. That gave me the idea to write a post for St. Patrick’s Day focused on the color green.
I tried to only recommend books I loved but I haven’t exactly read a ton of green books, so this is just a list of the best green books among what was available to me. At the very least, this will make a pretty post featured image.
by Audre Lorde
Right off the bat, I am already somewhat cheating. This collection of Audre Lorde’s essays is only green in audiobook format, but fortunately that’s the format I read and the format we’re talking about here! I loved all of these essays and the window they opened up into Lorde’s life and feelings. She’s so eloquent and takes on big issue topics seemingly fearlessly. You can read my full review here.
Goodreads Summary: A collection of fifteen essays written between 1976 and 1984 gives clear voice to Audre Lorde’s literary and philosophical personae. These essays explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde’s intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about ways of increasing empowerment among minority women writers and the absolute necessity to explicate the concept of difference—difference according to sex, race, and economic status. The title Sister Outsider finds its source in her poetry collection The Black Unicorn (1978). These poems and the essays in Sister Outsider stress Lorde’s oft-stated theme of continuity, particularly of the geographical and intellectual link between Dahomey, Africa, and her emerging self.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
You may be wondering, how many times can she talk about seven husbands in a post before we all get bored? Well, it’s at least one more time because here we are. Although I never formally reviewed this, it’s one of my absolute favorite books of all time. The entire plot, the characters, everything is just… perfect.
Goodreads Summary: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
by Torrey Peters
This is one of those books that you don’t forget about easily. It was so raw and emotionally evocative that I cried multiple times reading it, and Peters has a special talent for creating characters that are nowhere near villians but aren’t 100% likeable either. Everyone felt complex and real and lived in, and I would most definitely read anything else Peters writes in the future. Read my full review here.
Goodreads Summary: A whipsmart debut about three women—transgender and cisgender—whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.
Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?
This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
This was such an incredible book that I discovered completely by accident. I was scrolling my Libby account looking for what to read next and this book popped up as a “Lucky Day! Skip the Line” copy, so I checked it out. Evaristo told the story of 12 different interconnected characters throughout this story, and I loved every second of it. It’s rare that a jumping perspective leaves me liking all (or even the majority) of characters, but something about the way this was written drew me through each and every chapter and left me satiated but wanting more.
Goodreads Summary: Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood
Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.
Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.
by Caitlin Wahrer
Now would probably be a good time to admit that I have no idea whether this cover is actually blue or green. I have a hard time discerning the in between, although it’s widely debated in my family whether this is due to slight colorblindness, or me just being stubborn and refusing to accept that a color is blue when I want it to be green, or vice versa. Regardless, this is one of those close enough moments. The Damage took on a very serious topic and did it justice, so if you’re in the headspace where you can handle that it’s worth a read. Read my full review here.
Goodreads Summary: When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own? An edgy, propulsive read about what we will do in the name of love and blood
Tony has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when he’s called to a hospital bed where Nick is lying battered and bruised after a violent sexual assault, his protective instincts flare, and a white-hot rage begins to build.
As a small-town New England lawyer, Tony’s wife, Julia, has cases involving kids all the time. When Detective Rice gets assigned to this one, Julia feels they’re in good hands. Especially because she senses that Rice, too, understands how things can quickly get complicated. Very complicated.
After all, one moment Nick was having a drink with a handsome stranger; the next, he was at the center of an investigation threatening to tear not only him, but his entire family, apart. And now his attacker, out on bail, is disputing Nick’s version of what happened.
As Julia tries to help her brother-in-law, she sees Tony’s desire for revenge, to fix things for Nick, getting out of control. Tony is starting to scare her. And before long, she finds herself asking: does she really know what her husband is capable of? Or of what she herself is?
Exploring elements of doubt, tragedy, suspense, and justice, The Damage is an all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.
By Kristen Arnett
This is one of those books that I had been planning on giving five stars while reading it, and then the end threw a few things at me that I didn’t love and I downgraded it to four stars. Ordinarily I’d stand by this (endings are important!) but the more that I think about this book after finishing it, the more I enjoy the ending and the more I think it said some cool things about our characters that would have left the story incomplete otherwise. Basically what I’m saying is, this book is complicated but worth it! Also some of the best lesbian rep I’ve ever read– these were lesbian characters not characters who happened to be lesbian.
Goodreads Summary: From the author of the New York Times-bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love
If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best–driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school–while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess–and the possibility that it will never be clean again.
Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett’s breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family–and the many ways it can be torn apart.
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng
This cover is sorta blue green, but there’s enough green in it that I think it qualifies. The more I look at this cover the more I feel like it’s one of those nausea-inducing LEDs, so maybe I’m actually not a huge fan, but I was a fan of Ng’s writing and character development in this book. I said once before I wasn’t a huge fan of the show, but I got some comments saying they thought the show was better than the book, so you should give them both a try!
Goodreads Summary: Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost . . .