Red Stick Reads
Pre-order Sarah J Maas's new release, "House of Flame and Shadow", the third installment of her Crescent City Series. Comes out Jan. 30, 2024, if you require delivery we will try to get the book to you as close to 30th as possible (but not before)! Limited Amount Available!
Look Below For More Info On Events and Programs
Reading Era Bookclub
When do we meet?
We meet monthly and on the last Saturday of the month
For December we will be meeting a little early due to winter breaks and Holidays!
Next meeting will be Saturday, December 9
5:30 pm - 6:30pm in the book shop
Current Reading Era: Red
Book Selection: Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler
What to wear and share:
Long story short, wear whatever you want, be comfy, have fun,….but I also highly encourage anyone that wants to come in theme with our current reading era. ….And anyone wanting to trade friendship bracelets is more than welcome to bring those as well.
We’ll provide light snacks & drinks again, and we can discuss how to handle food and drinks for future meetings.
Ages 8-12 (3rd -5th grade)
Next Meeting: Saturday, December 16th at 12:30pm, in the Book Store
December Book Selection: Kid's Choice
Small Business Saturday
Everything in the store is 20% off on Saturday, Nov 25! Teachers and Librarians that present their I.D. will get an additional 25% off! Thank you for supporting small businesses!
Book Club Information
We currently offer two book club options in the shop and all are welcome! We offer a Children's Book Club and the Reading Era Book Club (a Taylor Swift-Inspired book club).
The Wicked and the Willing by Lianyu Tan
Review by @youshouldreadthisif
The Wicked and the Willing by Lianyu Tan
The rundown: Singapore, 1927.
Verity Edevane needs blood, craving the sweet, salty rush from a young woman’s veins.
Gean Choo needs money. But who is her strange, alluring new mistress? And what will Gean Choo sacrifice to earn her love?
Po Lam needs absolution. More than anything, she needs to save Gean Choo from a love that will destroy them all.
The review: I find myself wholly uninterested in sapphics of the cute, cozy, warm-and-fuzzy variety at the moment. Instead, I’ve really been craving women-loving women who are icy, bitchy, savage, selfish, villainous. Wicked and Willing satisfies that craving nicely with three deeply flawed - in varying ways and to varying degrees - women (One of whom is butch! And wears a binder! Even during sex!). Each character is a contradiction, all sympathetic in some way and ~not~ in others. Even Verity, unequivocally the villain, is depicted as the most civilized of her kind because she refuses to turn her employees into mindless thralls as is standard in the vampire community.
This also really worked for me from a vampire perspective. I love when vampire stories view the creature through the lens of exploitation. Wicked and Willing delivers a double whammy in this regard: the vampirism is a metaphor for an abusive intimate relationship and also of colonialism. Verity is a Londoner in exile; at the time the novel is set, Singapore was a British Crown colony. The inclusion of vamps from Southeast Asian lore (penanggalan and pontianaks) was a fun, unexpected addition that satisfied this vampire lover’s dark heart.
And perhaps my single favorite thing about this book? YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN ENDING! You get to decide whether to save Verity or Po Lam. I have never read a book with two completely distinct endings to choose between, and it was so fun.
Goes well with: Thematically and tonally, Wicked and Willing is an excellent companion read for A Dowry of Blood by ST Gibson.
Elegy for the Undead by Matthew Vesley
Review by: @youshouldreadthisif
Elegy for the Undead by Matthew Vesely
The rundown: Jude and Lyle's newlywed life is shattered when a vicious attack leaves Lyle infected with a disease that transforms him into a violent and often incomprehensible person. With no cure for the "zombie" virus in sight, the young husbands begin to face the last months they have together before Lyle loses himself completely.
The review: I so enjoyed this genre-defying novella that’s part zombie horror, part queer literary fiction. I’m not generally into zombie stories, but this premise right here is exactly how I can be lured into reading one. It’s zombie fiction that isn’t actually about the zombies.
It’s a love story, or rather a story about love. About the fragile beginnings of learning how to love another person and messing it up because you’re scared and unsure. Discovering all the wonderful ways you fit together. The grief of knowing that the end of your story is coming and the bittersweet melancholy of a love well lived together, even if it was shorter than you wanted. Of watching, helpless, the deterioration of someone you love and making painful decisions. Of giving your person permission to be happy without you, with another person, even if they don’t want to. Of remembering, like the beautiful parts are happening all over again.
I cried while writing this, if that tells you anything.
Goes well with: Season 1, Episode 3 of Max’s The Last of Us and a box of Kleenex.
Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill
Reviewed by: @youshouldreadthisif
Our Hideous Progeny by C. E. McGill
The rundown: Mary, the great-niece of Victor Frankenstein, is keen to make her name in this world of science alongside her geologist husband, Henry—but without wealth and connections their options are limited. When Mary discovers some old family papers that allude to the shocking truth behind her great-uncle’s past, she thinks she may have found the key to securing their professional and financial future.
The review: I love retellings that bring something fresh and unexpected to the story, and McGill delivers on this nicely with her paleontological lens. She deviates in wonderful ways, but there are also some wonderful Easter eggs. For example, Mary dreams on the golden eye of her creation, mirroring the original Mary’s dream that sparked the story. The Promethean references Mary and Henry make to stealing fire from God make this nerdy book lover’s heart sing.
Mary makes for such an interesting character, in general and as the instigator of their monstrous experiment. Mary has a hot temper, a proud streak. She learns the lesson, early in the story, that she must contain her outrage (walk the line) in order to be able to participate in the communities which she finds herself intrigued by. But as she continues to suffer from the cruel apathy of the scientific community, the vitriolic misogyny from those who wish her ill, and the thousand tiny, terrible betrayals by Henry, Mary increasingly struggles to smother her anger, until eventually she gives up playing nice. The original themes of ethics versus scientific progress work nicely with Mary’s fury at the limitations placed on her ambition in the scientific community.
I loved how McGill constructed an entirely different relationship between creator and created. Mary immediately loves the monster and finds it beautiful. To her, it is a monster not in that it is terrible, but in that it is strange and different. Mary being female also provides an interesting avenue to explore creation through two different lenses: one of gestation and birth and one of scientific creation. The success of one and “failure” of another is both an internal source of conflict for Mary and also an external source as she battles her male colleagues’ assumption that she sees their creation as a replacement for her lost child. That McGill has Mary explicitly reject that argument, that the book grapples with the belief that she cannot separate her two progenies is so satisfying.
And this really is a story about Mary, about her experiences in the scientific community and creating the monster, with less focus on the monster itself. The story starts off quite slow, very much character-driven, though the plot does pick up in intensity after she discovers the fateful letters about her great-uncle’s monster nearly a third of the way into the book.
Goes well with: If you’re interested in more unique takes on the Frankenstein story, check out Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi or Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai. Reproduction by Louisa Hall is also, if more loosely, inspired by Mary Shelley.
Burning Roses by S.L. Huang
Review by @youshouldreadthisif
Burning Roses by S.L. Huang
The rundown: Rosa is done with wolves and woods. Hou Yi is tired, and knows she's past her prime. When deadly sunbirds begin to ravage the countryside, the two must join forces. Burdened and blessed with the hindsight of middle age, they begin a quest that's a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and a quest for redemption.
The review: This was my first book by Huang (read months before The Water Outlaws), and I’m still impressed by how much depth they packed into it.
I think what I enjoyed most about this fairytale novella is all the ways it was unexpected and unusual. I enjoy reading fairytale retellings, but I’ve never read one that mashes up tales quite like this. Rosa is a Latina Red Riding Hood from somewhere in the West; Hou Yi the Archer, from the myth of the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e, is reimagined as a trans woman. Rosa’s past is peppered with other bedtime tales (e.g., a toxic relationship with Goldilocks of Three Bears fame). Both are mothers, though only one biologically. (Oh, how wonderful it was to read a story about mothers reflecting on how they have hurt their children.) They are middle-aged, lesbian, disillusioned, tired. They have been both hero and villain, at one point or another.
Perhaps most importantly, they are haunted by their pasts, by the ghosts of their choices. And this is the heart of the story: the ability to reflect on one’s past with clarity and the desire to earn forgiveness for wrongs committed. Therein lies another deviation from the usual fairytale script. In Huang’s version, the fairytale is not the end of the story but a bridge between an immutable past and a present in which redemption is possible.
Goes well with: Neon Yang’s Tensorate Series may appeal to fans of this novella or Zen Cho’s The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, and vice versa. Also, Huang’s latest is a furious, action-packed retelling of the Chinese classic Water Margin.
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541 S. Eugene Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70806