This month we’re changing it up a little bit, and writing more of a Reading Roundup version of our feature series we call Cool Girls Read. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, what with the Olympics, the Lochte Lying scandal, Frank Ocean announcing a new album, then not releasing it when he said he would, then giving it back to us in the form of a weird livestream video of his studio where music played while someone literally built a staircase in the middle of his studio…then Endless…until eventually giving us Blonde. It’s been wild.

Keeping up with our daily lives and all that madness entails, we still somehow find the time to read. Here is our editor’s Reading Roundup for August, part one.


between the world and me

Between the World & Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

I had been waiting to read this forever. I’d only read excerpts and quotes and snippets via tumblr, instagram and some book reviews. I’d been waiting in the library queue for months. Yes, a several month wait-list for this book. The book is presented as a letter by Coates to his young son about what it means to exist as a black person in the United States. Between the World and Me is not very long text, but the writing is profound, compelling, and timeless. Published in July 2015, it’s sadly yet unsurprisingly easy to change the names Eric Garner and Michael Brown to Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Korryn Gaines. I would have to second what Toni Morrison so boldly proclaims: this is required reading.



Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This novel by Adichie is full of life. Her writing style is effortless yet complex; it is rich and layered. I love the alternating flashbacks between the protagonist’s adolescent and adult lives. If you read between the lines–and sometimes it quite smacks you in the face–you’ll see that she captures and critiques so many nuances of American culture with the so-called advantage from somewhat of an “outsider” perspective. Adichie has a wit to rival the sharp tongue of Dorothy Parker, but curves her jabs into a sort of sweetness that make you say, “Yes…please do that again.”

Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Reading this has become quite the task for me. I went into this book without any context other than my friends had read it and really enjoyed it. As I began the novel, I assumed it was set some time in the 50s or 60s because the language bends itself toward a sort of midcentury American sensibility. As I continued to read, the references to various modern technologies snapped me back into the present time and I had to readjust myself as an audience member. The narrative pulls me through, but I do take this book in small doses at a time. I hope to finish it before the year ends.

garments against women

Garments Against Women – Anne Boyer

Lyrical prose poems thematically stacked and measured against history, time, the lives of women and children. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read these poems but the number is high. This collection of poems has been celebrated many times over, and I highly recommend giving this a read.




fdrFDR – Jean Edward Smith

I just started it a few days ago and haven’t gotten very far yet. Despite having just started, it’s a well written book and so far very detailed with FDRs family tree, which gives a lot of insight to his upbringing and the context of the America into which he was born.



Between the World & Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates (A second nod to this book!)

Coates doesn’t use a typical or commonly used style of writing. The style somewhat reminds me of beat literature in that it can be disjointed in some ways, but it lends to the narrative. Reading this text definitely requires focus, but the voice is extremely authentic and truthful.

– – – – – – – – – –

We’ve been doing so much reading, required or otherwise! Check back in with us the rest of the week to see what our other editors have stacked up as well. You can catch up with the past book recommendations from our Cool Girls Read series.

And don’t forget to stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram pages.

What are you reading? Let us know in the comments.

Janea Wilson

Janea Wilson

Janea Wilson is a poet and educator living in the City of Angels. Her passions include Flannery O’Connor, iced coffee, HBO, and intersectional feminism. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in The Oklahoma Review, Canyon Voices, Puerto del Sol “Black Voices,” Santa Ana River Review, Indicia Lit, among others. Leo Sun, Virgo Moon, Gemini Rising.
Janea Wilson
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