The Mary Sue Holiday 2015 Gift Guide, Part 1: Books!
It’s that time of year again! Listed below are some great books to pick up for nerdy, feminist friends and family (or, you know, maybe even yourself). We’ve got a comics-specific gift guide coming soon, but in the meantime, here are some of the novels we’d like to see on wish lists this year!
1. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks
Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom.
The Fangirl’s Guide was written by former TMS Editor Sam Maggs, so we’re not totally unbiased, but the book’s critical acclaim speaks for itself. Fangirl’s Guide was a #1 Best Seller in Science Fiction and Fantasy on Amazon, and was just voted one of Goodreads’ Best Humor books of 2015. It also earned an endorsement from Margaret Atwood! If you or someone else in your life could do with an inclusive, funny, super smart, and sweet introduction to the world of female geeks, look no further.
2. Bad Feminist
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.
I’m not really sure what I can say that would do Roxane Gay’s genius justice, so I’ll just tell you to buy this book. Bad Feminist is also the #1 book to get me interrogated by strange men on the subway, which leads me to think that all of them must really want a copy of Bad Feminist for Christmas.
3. The Princess and the Pony
Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn’t quite get the horse of her dreams…
From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A Vagrant, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.
4. Black Widow: Forever Red
Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy.
Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow: Forever Red is a welcome YA addition to the Marvel Universe. TMS Editor Carly Lane says “if you’re a fan of strong female characters, thrilling spy narratives, found families, a dash of romance with your YA or merely want to spend an afternoon curled up with Black Widow as she scrubs some more red out of her ledger, you can’t go wrong with Black Widow: Forever Red.”
4. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war. Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.
Former TMS Editor Becky Chambers’ debut novel has been on our Gift Guides for two years straight now, and with good reason: it’s excellent. (Don’t take our word for it, here’s a review from io9!) If you’re in the UK, you can buy a print edition from Hodder & Stoughton, but those of us in the U.S. may need to make do with a digital edition until the book gets its paperback release here from Voyager in summer of 2016.
5. The Fifth Season
A season of endings has begun.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
If you’ve got a genre-fiction lovin’ somebody on your holiday gift list who hasn’t started N.K. Jemison’s The Broken Earth series yet, now’s the perfect time to get them invested (Book 2, Obelisk Gate, is set to come out this summer). The New York Times called The Fifth Season “intricate and extraordinary,” and TMS founder Susana Polo has praised Jemison for refusing “to take the Eurocentric, gender normative, heteronormative default setting of high fantasy as granted.”
6. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
From online entertainment pioneer, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes.com), memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.
Felicia Day’s memoir is a hilarious, cathartic read for fans of Day’s work or any geeks who spend a lot of the time on the Internet.
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