THE BADA** B.I.T.C.H. BOOK REVIEW
* "All About Love: New Visions" by bell hooks
I started reading works by author, teacher, scholar, and culture critic bell hooks at the beginning of this year and I’m still mad at myself for not reading her transcendent work sooner, especially after reading "All About Love: New Visions." hooks takes multiple avenues of deep dives into the question of “What is love?” while also discussing her experiences defining love for herself, how the younger generations have been cynical about love (guilty), honesty with oneself and others in regards to love, living by a love ethic in all aspects of live, self-love, and more, not just the romance aspect of love.
Anyone who breathes should read this book. I really don’t mean to sound cheesy, but hooks and her wise and influential words really transformed my outlook on life and its dark crevices that lack love. It is an absolute must-read.
"Peluda" by Melissa Lozada-Oliva
Poetry isn’t dead (but really: who said this?), and solid proof of this is in the work of poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva. "Peluda" is a collection of work that really encompasses Lozada-Oliva’s experience as a Latina in a society where whiteness is the ideal. In a time where mainstream poetry can be seen as extremely centered on white narratives,
"Peluda" is an honest and unapologetic rumination on identity as a Latina, class, being a child of an immigrant and the privileges and trials that come with that, family, and legacy.
It’s not common for me to see humor integrated into the poetry I read nowadays, but Lozada-Oliva adds it so seamlessly into her pieces, while also adding some deep, personal moments and thoughts. There’s a reason why I try to read “The Women in My Family Are Bitches,” my favorite poem in the collection, once every week as motivation.
* "Sabrina & Corina" by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
This was a recent read that I anticipated for weeks and felt like my heart became more full after finishing it. "Sabrina & Corina" consists of multiple lives, tiny universes even, that are interwoven through having Denver, Colorado as their shared home. In her debut collection of short stories, Fajardo-Anstine manifested complex Latina characters that stray away from the stereotypes normally attached to them in various forms of media.
She also lays out issues that Latinx and other marginalized communities deal with, including gentrification, racism, trauma (inter-generational and otherwise), and classism. I felt such a deep sense of connection to the stories and characters in this book because of the commonality of cultures and terms of endearment. I only wish that I could have this feeling more often AKA publishing houses need to publish more work by Latinas about Latinas. This was the take-a-breath-between-stories type of book in the best possible way.
*available in the Reading Public Library system
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