The hashtag #ownvoices was created by Corinne Duyvis in 2015 to highlight books that are written by an author that shares the same marginalized identity with the protagonist. The #ownvoices movement is important to promote diverse voices and to celebrate the range of experiences and perspectives that are not always acknowledged. The characters in these novels are complex and full and whole and do not fit the static narratives normally assigned to marginalized authors. Most importantly, the books in this bundle are at their core books of possibility - the breadth and depth of love, faith, desire and country.
Our Remarkable Reads #ownvoices Bundle includes:
- The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deeshaw Philyaw
A National Book Award finalist for fiction, buyer Michelle says, “The stories connect in the most surprising of ways and carry whole lifetimes within just a few pages. The opening story ‘Eula’ will leave you thirsty. ‘Peach Cobbler’ broke my heart but is followed by ‘Snowfall’ which filled my soul and should be required reading for anyone in a relationship. ‘How to Make Love to a Physicist’ is healing and ‘Jael’ sent chills down my spine. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is about faith and fluidity, mothers and daughters, female love, sexuality and desire. The women are infinitely complex and Philyaw centers their needs with tenderness, depth and warmth. In these stories, straight and queer women looking for love are also looking to be free. It's in the search for freedom that the women on these pages steal away with your own heart. I love this book. I beg of you to read it, and I beg the heavens above to please give Deesha Philyaw an award already for writing this spectacular collection of stories!”
Fun fact: This book was published by West Virginia University Press and is the first-ever National Book Award finalist to ever come from the publisher.
- Memorial by Bryan Washington
Memorial by Bryan Washington is a staff favorite. But it’s not surprising as Washington is beloved at the store as he was a 2018 First Fiction author for his debut short story collection, Lot. Memorial is his first novel and it does not disappoint. First Draft Assistant Manager, Cameron says “Bryan Washington once again proves his strength as a storyteller in this vivid and masterfully crafted tale of relationships teetering at the brink of destruction. His characters escape from the page, invite you into their homes, and ask questions that I'm still thinking about weeks after putting the book down.” Buyer Michelle says, “it’s a story of how we love, how we receive love and how we give love. It's dark and full of heart. You will laugh. You will cry. You will experience every range of emotion on a page because that is the art of Bryan Washington. Love is a daily commitment, compromise and struggle and when it's right it's worth it. All that is to say, Memorial is worth your investment. Read this book and you'll discover love and hope in the darkest of corners.”
Fun fact: The beautiful tote is a special gift from our friends and Washington’s publisher, Riverhead Books. It’s a limited edition, designed by the award-winning art director Helen Yentus. It’s an exclusive gift that comes with the Remarkable Reads #ownvoices Book Bundle. It is not available for individual sale.
- A Girl is A Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Founder Gayle, calls A Girl is a Body of Water, “a perfect novel,” and says “I was taken in from the first few pages and by the end, I was soaked by the rains of Ugandan myths, women's friendships, and the intertwined relationships that make up family and community. It is a big book encompassing the history of captivity among tribes, clan lineage passed down through males, the disparity between the rich and the poor, the obligations we have to family. It is a book for our current times and is timeless. It reminds me why I'm a bookseller and a reader.”
Fun fact: Here’s a great “Behind the Book” feature with the Makumbi’s editor Maisie Cochrane about editing A Girl is a Body of Water.