Reading Recommendations from our Portland Readers

We’re gearing up for our first ever Portland reading this week, supporting the Women’s Justice Project.

If you’re at AWP and are looking for a great opportunity to hear personal stories from five stellar writers and support a worthy cause all at once, we hope you’ll join us!

Readers Chelsea Bieker, Aja Gabel, Genevieve Hudson, T Kira Madden & Kimberly King Parsons sent us the books and stories that are inspiring them right now.

Photo of Freya Project Reader Jennifer Baker with her own book “Everyday People.” Photo by Keira Chang.

Photo of Freya Project Reader Jennifer Baker with her own book “Everyday People.” Photo by Keira Chang.


Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls

by T Kira Madden
Recommended by Chelsea Bieker

Why Chelsea loves it:

This memoir touched me in the deepest of ways. Not only is Madden's prose like poetry--you'll want to underline every other sentence--it's an utter page turner of an experience that spans all the big things--growing up, loss, addiction, sexuality, trauma, and love--and it does it so cinematically. You will be utterly changed. I was.

Read it >

Also, how much do we love that our own readers are inspiring each other?! <3

My father visits our apartment sometimes, at night, so late that my visions of him are smudged. There’s the smell of him: Merit cigarettes, orange juice and vodka, money. The grind of his voice. The word: father. This here is your father and Hello, I’m your father. He slips up often and calls me Son. Mostly, when I conjure him then and remember him now, I think of gold.
— T Kira Madden, Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Conversation With Friends

by Sally Rooney
Recommended by Aja Gabel

Why Aja loves it:

I read and loved Sally Rooney's Conversation With Friends last year, and just had a chance to read an early copy of her second novel, Normal People. Now I can call myself a Sally Rooney fan. When it comes to the subtle and murky inner workings of romantic relationships in flux, no one is doing it better than her right now.”

Read it >

The Autobiography of Red

by Anne Carson
Recommended by Genevieve Hudson

Why Genevieve loves it:

“…such power in such a slim book. The sentences slay me. Each one is a work of art.”

Read it >

His mother was at the ironing board lighting a cigarette and regarding Geryon. Outside the dark pink air was already hot and alive with cries. Time to go to school, she said for the third time. Her cool voice floated over a pile of fresh tea towels and across the shadowy kitchen to where Geryon stood at the screendoor. He would remember when he was past forty the dusty almost medieval smell of the screen itself as it pressed its grid onto his face. She was behind him now. This would be hard for you if you were weak but you’re not weak, she said and neatened his little red wings and pushed him out the door.
— Anne Carson, The Autobiography of Red

House Rules

by Heather Lewis
Recommended by T Kira Madden

Why T Kira loves it:

“A book that gets real about queerness and horses and romanticizes nothing. It's an incredibly painful read that breaks the comforting spell of clichéd thought and form. An underrated and brilliant writer; every day I wonder what she'd be making if she were still with us.”

Read it >

Sleepless Nights

by Elizabeth Hardwick
Recommended by Kimberly King Parsons

Why Kimberly loves it:

“It's one of those short, weird, thrilling novels that defies categorization. I reread it every year as an example of what's possible in prose. Hardwick moves seamlessly between topics like jazz and addiction and unwanted houseguests--perhaps what's most compelling is her examination of memory itself, the things that stay with us and the things we wish we could forget.”

Read it >


Meet these women and hear their own stories.

join us on Thursday, March 28, 5pm-7pm at Spartan Shop for an inspiring reading event that raises essential funds for the Women’s Justice Project. Chelsea, Aja, Genevieve, T Kira and Kimberly will all read about a time they changed course.