Sign up for the Tungsten Hippo Weekly Digest to get our recommendations in your inbox - and a free short ebook.

All Books

Author:

S.L. Huang

This is a really nice retelling/mashup of the Beauty and the Beast and Red Riding Hood fairy tales, told from the viewpoint of Beauty's teenage daughter. It is a well-constructed and well-told story, and I liked how it makes you think not just about what is left out of the traditional viewpoint of those tales, but also about what viewpoints we might be overlooking in our own world.

Favorite Thing:
The worldbuilding
Hunting Monsters book cover: a young woman with a red scarf, fur wrap, and a gun
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Carlyn Zwarenstein

This book intertwines the author's own experiences taking opioids to control the pain from ankylosing spondylitis with a discussion of our current problems with opioid addiction and a look at the role of opioids in the Romantic period. The title is a reference to a book by Thomas De Quincey, a Romantic-period writer who wrote about his experiences with laudanum. Zwarenstein compares De Quincey's experiences with comments from online forums for present day opioid users and her own observations. She also discusses how the development of tolerance for the drug and the worries about addiction complicate the use of opioids to control chronic pain like hers, and considers how these processes played out in De Quincey's life as well as the lives of other famous opioid users. This is a thought-provoking and interesting book that also connects on an emotional level.

Favorite Thing:
The author's honest descriptions of her experiences with opioids
Opium Eater book cover: a black and white image of opium poppies
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
Received free copy
Author:

Kai Ashante Wilson

This short fantasy story is set in the same world as a longer book. As I read it, I suspected that it would make deeper sense if I'd read the longer book, but even without that background, the story is wonderful. The characters and the world feel real, and the writing is just beautiful.

Favorite Thing:
The characters
Super Bass book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Short story/novella related to a series of long books
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Heather Havrilesky

This short ebook is a collection of six Ask Polly columns, along with a short introduction. If you like Ask Polly columns, you'll probably like this book. If you've never read one, this book is a good introduction. I enjoyed the columns, but what I really appreciated in this book was the way the columns were selected to look at the various types of problems/worries in our lives. In doing so, they help you examine your own approach to these sorts of crises, and maybe think a little bit more deeply about what really matters in your life.

Favorite Thing:
The answer to "Should I Give Up on My Writing"
Book cover of Ask Polly's Guide to Your Next Crisis
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Samantha Irby

This is a very short book about New Year's resolutions: it is the length of a short story. It is also really funny, and Irby's honesty about her resolutions and why she failed to keep them might give you a thought or two about our tendency to make resolutions and then immediately break them.

Favorite Thing:
The author's voice
New Year, Same Trash book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Roshani Chokshi

This is a short story about a young woman whose is sent to join a group of assassins when her fate is foretold to be a sad one. From this premise, the story explores what it means to "have a choice." It is a well-written and thought-provoking story. The world in which it is set is so interesting that I wished the author had taken a little more time to explore it. Still, I couldn't stop reading this story once I started it, so I definitely recommend it.

Favorite Thing:
The exploration of the meaning of choice
The cover of The Vishakanya's Choice, an image of a young woman in red
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Eileen Pollack

This book is a travelogue, the story of the trip one American Jewish woman took to Israel. She is somewhat ambivalent in her feelings about Israel, and is upfront about that, and one of the things we see in the book is her attempt to form solid opinions about the region and its conflicts. The tone stays one of a slightly introspective travelogue, not a weighty investigation of a difficult conflict, but one of the strengths of this book is how it shows the complexity inherent in any conflict that has centuries of history behind it. It also works as a straight-forward travel story: the places Pollack visits are interesting, and she describes them well.

Favorite Thing:
The way the author shows the complexity of the issues in the region via her tourist experiences
All of Us, We All Are Arameans book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Nora Gallagher

I don't know what made me decide to download this book, but I'm glad I did. It is an insightful exploration of illness, faith, and what it means to really be well. The tone is gentle and humble and one of honest reflection. It does not read like a lecture, but like a conversation with a really thoughtful friend. I am not a religious person, and I probably never will be, but the discussion of faith in this book really spoke to me, and gave me more understanding of the role faith can play in people's lives. What will really stay with me, though, is the concept of aiming for true wellness in our lives, even if that cannot include being fully healthy.

Favorite Thing:
The concept of wellness being distinct from physical health.
Accompany Me book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Disclosures:
None
Author:

A.E. Ash

This is a sweet story, with an undercurrent of sadness, about a a lonely woman who gets an unexpected chance for companionship. The setting is a mostly empty planet that she is tasked with exploring, but to tell you much more would give away too much of the story. The writing is beautiful, and the story is short, so just read it and see for yourself!

Favorite Thing:
The writing
Luminous book cover, a mans face over an open plain
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Duncan McCue

This is a memoir of the author's season living in the deep Canadian bush, hunting and trapping. The story is well-written and engaging, and it alone would make this book worth your time. But this book is something more, too. The author is Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, and his time in the bush is spent with a James Bay Cree family. He weaves a discussion of the challenges facing First Nations youths and communities into the narrative, and uses his experiences to provide insight into these issues, which makes this a book you may find yourself thinking about long after you've finished it.

Favorite Thing:
The description of the hunting trip
The Shoe Boy book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
None

Pages