Welcome to shelf life, ELLE.com’s book column, where authors share their memorable reads. Whether you’re looking for a book to comfort you, move you deeply, or make you laugh, consider a recommendation from our series of writers who love books just like you (because you’re here). Maybe one of their favorite topics will become one of yours.
NK Jemisin understands that this must be understood in order to create worlds. Only person to win back-to-back Best Novel Hugo Awards (for every post-apocalypse title Broken Earth Trinity), the NYT– Bestselling science fiction and fantasy author just published The world we make ( Orbit ), the second of her Mahanagara dual science (was the first The city we have become), among her many books. She also won the Hugo Award for Best Short Novel emergency skin And for Best Graphic Story Hugo Far SectorWrote the script for a Green Lantern spin-off and film adaptation for DC Comics. Broken Earth The series will be produced by Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society.
Born in Iowa, Jemisin grew up between Mobile, Alabama, and Brooklyn, where she now lives. A psychology major at Tulane with a master’s degree in education from the University of Maryland, she was a college career counselor and academic advisor and wrote the Otherworldly SFF column. New York Times Books Reviewand received a MacArthur Fellowship.
She is an athlete and gardener, and teaches a ginger cat named King Ozymandias (Ozzie for short) and a tuxedo cat The Marvelous Master Magpie (Maggie for short). Master class On world-building, there is a PatreonWas in Time’s 100 Most Influential People List (Written by Stacey Abrams), Once fried Spam sushi, through a thermal vent on a Hawaiian volcanic crater to the Anime, Manga and Sendai are cousins with W. Kamau Bell, and likes candy corn.
Good: Writing fan fiction under pseudonyms. Not so good: double-dutch, fast texting. Her book YW below.
Tailchaser’s song By Tad Williams, it starts with a children’s story and then turns into something very dark.
… shaped my worldview:
in the morning By Octavia E. Butler.
… I read it in one sitting, it was very good:
Mechanical By Genevieve Valentine.
…currently sitting on my nightstand:
1619 project By Nicole Hannah-Jones.
…I will give a child:
Stamped By Jason Reynolds and Ibrahim X. Kendi.
…I first bought:
Pippi Longstocking By Astrid Lindgren. I have it on good authority that I bought this with gift money when I was about four years old.
… Every college syllabus should have:
Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? By Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD.
I never go to the library (mea culpa):
I dutifully returned the books to the library and must defend myself on this matter!
…the friendship is sealed:
A first edition of Lord of the RingsI lent them to a friend who recently contacted me, and a decade later the friendship was struck again!
… featuring the cutest book jackets:
copy Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam With a ruby and black grape vine cover.
…everyone should read:
One of the many books by queer and POC authors being challenged by conservatives through your local library. If they are no longer in your library because conservatives got there first, join your local library board and fight to reinstate them. Reading — and the freedom to speak truth to power — is part of a framework of fairness and justice under attack in ways unseen for a generation. Fight for all the books. or.
… it holds the recipe for a favorite dish:
Salt acid fatty heat By Samin Nosrat. After a lifetime of food defined by what it is did not Yes, this book is a revelation—it’s less about a specific recipe in the book than about changing my relationship to ingredients and preparation.
Riza Cruz is an editor and writer based in New York.