The AfterEllen.com Huddle: What books we are reading right now

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What book is currently on your nightstand, or fired up in your e-reader?

Valerie Anne: I’m reading Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, which is a re-telling of Robin Hood from the point of view of Scarlet, a ladythief in his band of moral bandits (who select few know is a girl; most think she’s Will Scarlet). It feels kind of queer right now (and not just because one of the girls in town gave “Will Scarlet” a surprise kiss in gratitude for saving them) and it’s possible Scarlet was in a relationship with a woman once? Her backstory is revealed in bits and pieces, so it’s unclear at this point. It’s possible she’ll end up with one of the merry men. Either way though, I’m enjoying it. Fairytale retellings are my jam, especially when it’s rewritten with a badass woman at the heart of it.

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Trish Bendix: I just finished Miranda July’s The First Bad Man and it was sooooo Miranda July. She’s the kind of writer who challenges readers by writing exactly what people think, the secrets they keep to themselves, and presents them without shame. She’s subversive and eccentric in a relatable way, and even though most Miranda July things are queer-esque, this book is largely about a relationship between two women, and one different from any ever told before. If you like straight-forward narratives with predictable characters, you will not like this book. If you’re up for something strange but true in a way that might, at times, make you uncomfortable, I recommend it.
 
Anna Pulley: Currently reading Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (two people told me it was the funniest book they’d ever read), and just got an advanced copy of Michelle Tea‘s latest memoir How to Grow Up.
Elaine Atwell: I’m about to finish The Virgin Suicides (so much better than I even expected) and then I have Lev Grossman‘s The Magicians waiting on me, which I pray is more Harry Potter meets Secret History and less a self-pitying white boy with a magic wand.
 
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Sarah Terez Rosenblum: I’m reading Trauma and Human Existence, by Robert Stolorow and I’m super fun at parties!
 
Emily McGaughy: Being a true political nerd and card carrying liberal, I’m reading Living History by Hillary Clinton. I’ve loved learning about her life experiences that inspired her transition from being a conservative to a progressive, her passion for social justice, and the way she always manages to give sexism the middle finger. When it comes to nonfiction, I definitely gravitate toward reading about women I admire – women who have chosen not to allow the glass ceiling to hinder their achievements. I feel like, when I read about their lives, I can soak up their wisdom and, even in some small way, use that insight to live with deeper intention. Feminism sure turns me on, y’all.
 
Kim Hoffman: On my nightstand: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. I also want to read The Marriage Plot next but my girlfriend snagged that off the shelf this morning.
 
Lucy Hallowell: I just finished Shadowplay which is the sequel to Pantomime by Laura Lam. I’m not a huge fantasy fan but I tore through both books which are queer as hell and super fun. I also just started Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Her first book Code Name Verity was one of my favorite books last year and I can’t wait to get back to some more WWII lady pilot goodness.
 
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Bridget McManus: I feel like a dork for admitting to this but I’m currently reading the young adult trilogy Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
It’s a Hunger Games-esque series where everyone is forced to stay in their predetermined class and must be cured from the dreaded disease called “love.”
 
Chelsea Steiner: I’m reading Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams by Michael D’Antonio. It’s a fascinating look at America’s own Willy Wonka, who created an entire town alongside his chocolate empire. Did you know that Hershey donated all his money to support the orphanage he founded? I am now desperate to make a pilgrimage to Hershey, PA. I am also very very hungry.
 
Dara Nai: My wife gave me Amy Poehler‘s Yes Please for Christmas but I haven’t had time to crack the spine yet!
 
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Miranda Meyer: I am currently trashreading Turnabout, which is “another racy tale by Thorne Smith, the author of Glorious Pool and Passionate Witch. (It’s from 1932.) I picked it up in a used bookstore a while back. A young hetero couple gets bodyswapped by a mischievous Egyptian god; according to the back, pregnancy will ensue. After that I plan to redeem myself with Catherynne M. Valente‘s Deathless, which is one of the most often-lauded fairy tale retellings I know of.
 
Jenna Duggan Lykes: I’m currently in the middle of the Game of Thrones series, because I love existing in that sweet spot of hipness that’s like 5 years behind the curve. In my defense, I read the first two and got part of the way through the third, but moved to a new state and got married within a span of like 2 months. After that, every time I tried to get back into I was just like, “Who the fuck are these characters?” Not enough wolves in the third book, IMHO.
 
Dana Piccoli: I’m reading a book that Trish Bendix recommended in her 2014 Year in Books, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, by Francine Prose. It’s an historical fiction novel that tells the increasingly tense story of the approaching Nazi invasion of France.
 
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Ali Davis: I’m the only dorkball who has to have multiple books going at once? I’m reading Phantom Lady by Cornell Woolrich, an old-school hard-boiled novel about the search for the one witness who can prove a man didn’t murder his wife. But that one is strictly for consumption during long, hot stress-relieving baths. I’m also finishing Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, one of her series of cosy murder mysteries set in the tiny Quebec town of Three Pines. I love them because they’re well written and well plotted, but also because her characters are wonderful — and not all straight. I recommend reading them in order because she has a habit of using one book to set up plot points for other books well down the road.

I’m also really enjoying The Diamond Age by Neal Stephensonvery cool science fictionand The Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. And I’m always looking for more. Whaddya got?

Erica Feliciano: I tend to read more than one book at a time. At the moment there are three books I’m in the middle of: Amy Poehler’s  Yes Please, Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers by Mike Sacks, and Created By: Inside the Minds of TV’s Top Show Creators by Steven Prigge. I love reading about other screenwriters. The knowledge they provide in these books have been inspiring and humorous.
 
Eboni Rafus: Apparently, I don’t read books anymore. I just collect them. I buy them, put them on my night stand and travel with them with the silly notion that I’m going to get around to reading them even though I’m way too busy to read anything other than AfterEllen, For Harriet and Elixher. 
 
Right now, I am reading The Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. It’s a super queer futuristic dystopian YA novel. It’s hard to get into, probably because there are five main characters taking turns telling the story from their perspective, but I am told that it gets much better after the first several chapters. I’ve also been carrying around Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. A fellow writer at a Children’s Book/YA writing conference recommended it to me, but I haven’t had the chance to even start it yet. 
 
This year I am determined to make more time for reading. After all, how can I grow as a writer if I don’t read the kind of books I am trying to write? At the very least, I need to know what’s out there, what the market is like. Maybe it would help if I didn’t get sucked into those Buzzfeed videos on Facebook…
 
What are you reading right now?

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