Book Punks are, above all, readers.
Book Punks are feminists, anarchists, nomads, critical thinkers, academics, high-school drop outs, free-spirits, freaks, geeks, pirates, and bohemians. Book Punks are writers, librarians, editors, time travelers, magicians, book sellers, and lovers of the written word. Book Punks are obsessive, kind, respectful, subversive, and open-minded.
We are Book Punks.
There is no room on Book Punks for sexism, racism, anti-semitism or any of the other fucked up “isms” trolling about the internet. Keep your bullshit to yourself. Bring an open mind, and we can talk about all the speculative fiction that we love (and sometimes hate).
Our take on reviews
As much as we love books, we don’t love all book reviews. The summaries are too long, the analysis too dry. We like reviews that feel like a chat with a good friend over a glass of wine: personal and conversational and interesting in their own right.
Is it possible to write a truly objective review? (And if we could, would we want to read them?) We have our doubts. We all carry biases, all look at the world through a lens shaped by our own very specific set of experiences. So at Book Punks we don’t strive for objectivity. Instead we hope to provide an honest opinion, intelligent analysis, and our personal perspective, while also providing context for the same. You might know you’ll like a book Nikki or Erika likes because you’ve gotten to know them through their other reviews. At the same time you’ll know when to ignore our grumblings because you know where our biases lie and where they meet and converge with your own.
At the end of the day even the most objective-sounding review is about taste, about personal preference. There is no ultimate Good or Bad. There is my good and your good, your bad and my bad, and one of the things we have always loved about literature is the fact that two people with very different thoughts about the same book can both be right.
We also aim to give writers and creators from the margins a place in the spotlight. White, heterosexual, male creators from western countries are given the limelight disproportionately. This is a problem. Having diverse voices in our fiction makes us better readers. It makes us better people. By featuring the work of creators who aren’t heterosexual, who aren’t male, who aren’t from western countries, we hope to do our small part in turning the tide. We will review a little bit of everything, but we strive to maintain gender parity among the authors we review, to tell you about some of the brilliant and diverse voices speaking to us from the pages of the latest (and not so latest) books, and to give those writers who aren’t getting included in book store displays—who are overlooked as a result of centuries of systematic discrimination—some of the critical attention they deserve.
To keep things conversational (and as helpful as possible—one of our goals here is to tell people about books they might want to read), we’ll often link to other reviews of the same book on the internet. We do this because my cup of tea might not be yours, and sometimes it takes a couple of opinions to figure out what’s worth reading—for you. Perhaps the closest we can come to objectivity is through a diversity of opinion. At the very least it will get us started on a good long discussion. And did we mention we love talking about books?
Our take on bullshit
We do not support or tolerate sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other behavior that is disrespectful, abusive, or otherwise troll-worthy. We will delete any and all comments that we deem as such. You will be documented. Don’t be another example of people being asshats on the internet. If you have a point, I’m sure you can figure out how to get it across without resorting to any of the above. Savy?
Meet the humans behind Book Punks
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was born in the middle of a raging blizzard on Easter Sunday in Denver. And it was good. Two years later I was whisked to magical Maryland, where I learned how to pick apart a crab at the age of five and was thoroughly indoctrinated in the church of John Waters. At the age of nine I decided to dress as Alia Atreides and do a class presentation on Dune along with a hand-drawn picture of a Shai-Halud; my parents noticed this somewhat odd behavior and, being devout bibliophiles, started feeding me science fiction and fantasy books via i.v. drip. I somehow managed to survive to young adulthood and went on to get my BA in English from Skidmore College, where I met my wingwoman for life, the clickingest clackingest gorilla also known as Nikki. The post college “what the hell am I doing with my life?” phase lasted a solid seven years and saw me living in Santiago, Brooklyn, and Cape Town before I decided that being a full time book nerd was the way to go and got my MLIS from the University of British Columbia. I am currently a teen librarian in Los Angeles, pushing books on the kids all day erry day, because there is no better feeling than convincing a teenager that reading The Last Unicorn will be totally life changing.
And now the favorites:
His Dark Materials (trilogy) by Philip Pullman
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Feed by M.T. Anderson
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Chaos Walking (trilogy) by Patrick Ness
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Song of the Lioness (quartet) by Tamora Pierce
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Fray by Joss Whedon
When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters by…John Waters
There are a lot of ways to tell my story, but every version is lined with books. So far I’d say it’s been like a good run at Chutes and Ladders. I grew up in Pennsylvania playing library with my extensive collection of Nancy Drews and R.L. Steins. I fell in love with magical realism, science fiction, and fantasy via Lord of the Rings and Earthsea. I got a BA in literature, wrote my senior thesis on Nadine Gordimer, had Ursula Le Guin teach me about anarchism, burned out on academia, and never wanted to see another printed page again. I worked in custom publishing. I hated working in custom publishing. I became deeply obsessed with P.K. Dick. I moved to Germany. I promised myself I would read Kafka and Goethe in the original and never did. I au paired and taught English and started a career as a freelance writer and editor (I do travel, culture, and lifestyle, mostly). I started Click Clack Gorilla. I realized I didn’t have an appropriate outlet for my book love, I got Young Adult Librarian Erika Jelinek on board, and we launched Book Punks. And the people rejoiced. Or something.
So you can get an idea of where our tastes overlap (and so you can decide if you think that everything I have to say about book is total bullshit), I present to you, exhibit A: a list of my favorites.
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
The Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
The Fictional Man by Al Ewing
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
Radio Free Albemuth and Man in the High Castle by P.K. Dick
Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Blow Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortazar
His Dark Materials (trilogy) by Philip Pullman
Mythmakers and Lawbreakers by Margaret Killjoy
Distrust that Particular Flavor by William Gibson
I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel Carrere
I love post-apocalyptic lit (though I prefer to find my zombies and vampires on screen and not on the page). I love thinking, social science fiction. I am a sucker for a pretty sentence and cartwheeling language use (hellooo Jeanette Winterson and Tom Robbins). Meta-fiction kills me. (Borges! Cortazar! Bend the fragile border between books and reality one more time?) I re-read P.K. Dick’s entire bibliography (almost) annually. I memorize first and last sentences, and my favorite poem is The Raven. I named my daughter after a character in a Philip Pullman book, and if I had a time machine I would use it to buy the time to read every book ever written.
Find out more…
Do you want us to review your book? Click here.
Do you want us to feature your publishing house? Click here.
Do you want to advertise on the site? Click here.
Do you want to buy sweet BookPunk merch? Click here.