I don't know about you, but I'm beyond ready to say "GOODBYE" to 2015. Though, it was a tough year, I got through it with the help of some amazing books, music, articles, tv shows, etc. Here's a list of my top 5!
The First Bad Man - Miranda July
I love Miranda July, and I loved No One Belongs Here More Than You, so I knew I would probably enjoy her new novel. The book follows a seemingly boring protagonist (uptight woman in her early 40s) who, as it turns out, has some very interesting traits and experiences. The woman, Cheryl has a consistent lump in her throat, and can't cry, and has a deep connection to a baby boy she met when she was 6. July's writing is humorous at times, dark, intense, and loving.
Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur
Poetry is probably my favorite genre to read, and Rupi Kaur is an amazing poet. This book is medicine to heal your heart space. It's split into four sections: "the hurting", "the loving", "the breaking", and "the healing." Highly recommended read!
The Witches: Salem 1962 - Stacy Schiff
So good! I love historical nonfiction, and Stacy Schiff does it the best. She wrote a book called, Cleopatra, that was also a great read. The Witches documents the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts. From the publisher: "Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history." Schiff is known for her attention to detail and research, and this comes across greatly in the book.
Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Coloring Book - Johanna Basford
Coloring books are now "in" for adults, and I've never been happier. I always loved coloring when I was a kid, and doing it now as an adult has reminded me how satisfying and meditative it is. All of Basford's coloring books are ornate, intricate, and stunning. Her artwork is calming. Coloring is calming. With these together, you end up feeling weightless and free.
Rising Strong - Brene Brown
I had to include a "self-help"-ish book in this list, and Brene Brown is one of my favorites! All you need to know about this book is this: "When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write the ending."
Before The World Was Big - Girlpool
Girl groups are my fave. I live for grrrl singers. This band, consisting of Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker, put out an amazing first album this year. Their music reminds me of riot grrrl, but a bit more minimalist. It's sharp, creative, and catchy. My favorite songs on this album are: "Chinatown", "Before The World Was Big", "Cherry Picking", and "Ideal World."
Ibeyi - Ibeyi
This twin sister duo (Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz), born in Paris with Cuban and Nigerian ancestry, are fucking amazing! Their music is like nothing you've heard before (or nothing currently out there). The sing in English and Yoruba--a language from Nigeria. Their music uses beats, samples, Cuban drumming, and more. Check out the beautiful music video for their song, "River."
Art Angels - Grimes
Great album! Great music to dance to! I love Grimes, and her duet with Janelle Monae ("Venus Fly") is one of my favorite songs on this album. This is an album you can listen to all the way through. I love Grimes' beats and lyrics. She's definitely one of my favorite musicians out there currently.
Vulnicura - Bjork
Bjork consistently makes great records, and Vulnicura is no exception. This record is largely about her breakup with longtime partner, artist Matthew Barney. The music, the lyrics--all of it--are so immensely vulnerable and honest. My favorite songs are: "Lionsong", "History of Touches", "Black Lake", "Family", and "Atom Dance." If you're going through a breakup, this album will heal you. Trust me.
Abyss - Chelsea Wolfe
Chelsea Wolfe is like your cool older sister's goth friend who you were never allowed to hang out with. Her music is dark, dreamy, and somber. Abyss is goth grrrl music with a pulse. I love Wolfe's voice-- it's beautifully haunting. My favorite songs on this album are: "Maw", "After The Fall", "Crazy Love", and "Survive." Excellent rainy day music!
"Time Magazine Ruined Herpes Journalism. Here's How To Fix It" - Ella Dawson
First of all, Ella Dawson is badass, and I'm so happy to have found her and her writing. Her writing is just "Rawr!" to me. I can't explain it in any other way. I mean, "Rawr" in an honest, passionate, and take-no-prisoners way. This article was great (and super informative) as it discusses how an article in a 1982 TIME Magazine article basically capitalized on society's fear of herpes, leading to the now ever present herpes stigma. As someone who has herpes, learning about this was so empowering for me. I love Ella and her friend Gabe's conversation in response to this shitty article from TIME. Ella's writing is humorous, poignant, and rawr-y.
"December 17" - Stoya
Stoya is an amazing performer, activist, and seems like an all around awesome human being. For December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Stoya wrote a short, but poignant piece about her relationship with James Deen, her rape, and the importance of listening to sex workers. I highly recommend reading this (and anything she writes).
"Mental Illness & The Male Gaze" - Anne Thériault
This brilliant writer called out some major truth in this article she wrote for the new Guerrilla Feminism website. Anne's discusses the fetishization of women who have mental illness. How men want to date these women, because they're "wild", "sexy", and "sad." I hope every woman who has mental illness reads this. It resonated so much with me, and I love the examples Anne uses throughout.
"What Harry Potter Taught Me About Trauma" - July Westhale
I love LOVE this article. THANK YOU, JULY WESTHALE! I have always thought about this as I've read Harry Potter (and watched the movies), but July articulates it much better than I ever could. I specifically love when she says: "Isn't the way our brains fragment memory following trauma kind of like a horcrux?"
"Year In Review: Rape, Resistance & Consent Culture" - Kim Katrin Milan
Another fabulous and thorough piece on the GF site! I'm a huge fan of Kim Katrin Milan, and this piece highlights the lows (the super fucking lows) of rape culture this year, as well as the highs (the good stuff) of consent culture and resistance activism that happened. Kim is a fantastic writer and activist. Be sure to read her stuff anywhere you see it!
Because Samantha Irby is the goddamn shit! Her blog is amazing; her writing is hilarious, honest, and at times, brutal. This is one blog I check daily. Be sure to buy her fabulous book, Meaty, too!
I've already listed an article that Anne wrote above, but go check out her blog, too! The Belle Jar is deeply personal and deeply feminist. Anne writes about feminism, mental illness, parenting, and more! Also, check out her memoir, My Heart Is An Autumn Garage.
Another great! I posted an article from Ella Dawson above. Her blog is great: feminist, informative, funny, etc. Ella is perhaps best known for writing about herpes, but she writes some other rad stuff, too.
LOVE this blog! Written by Amanda, a Dominican American Afro Latina woman (who just so happens to also be the founder of GF NYC--though no longer active with it), this blog is chalk-full of poetry, art, cultural commentary, and more!
Margarita Alcantara is a goddess, and does so many things! I first found out about her through a zine she created called, Bamboo Girl, which highlighted issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia. The zine existed from 1995-2005. Alcantara is now a practitioner of healing arts, like Reiki and Acupuncture in New York. She has a great blog on her website for you to check out.