True Story

New Releases: Mutiny! Etc.

So close to Halloween. I love how for Sept./Oct. we’re allowed to be spooky, and then it feels like November 1, cuts that right out. If you’re a November holdout, more power to you. Personally, I feel the Halloween season should be September 1 – November JustBeforeThanksgiving. My neighborhood’s getting pretty decked out, which is v exciting. I hope yours is too!

You might have heard of supply chain issues causing a book shortage. Get those gifts now! Or presents for yourself! What if your TBR pile dwindles down to a mere fifty books — THEN where will you be? Probably at the library, because who reads their TBR pile. But anyway! Onward to new releases:

African Icons cover

African Icons: Ten People Who Built a Continent by Tracey Baptiste

This is for ages 8 – 12! Which is extremely great because, as recently mentioned in this newsletter, it is v v difficult to get non-super-academic African history books in the US, and especially so for kids! This is about ten “real-life kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who lived in Africa thousands of years ago and changed the world.” Ugh, so cool. Learn about Mansa Musa and Amanirenas and eight others!

Mutiny on the Rising Sun cover

Mutiny on the Rising Sun: A Tragic Tale of Slavery, Smuggling, and Chocolate by Jared Ross Hardesty

The year is 1743. It’s prime smuggling time. The ship Rising Sun sells a group of enslaved people from Africa to the Dutch colony of Suriname and is sailing away when three of its sailors murder four people on board and mutiny, taking over the schooner. This is about the mutiny and “an international chocolate smuggling ring.” ALSO it’s from NYU Press, so it’s an academic press book!

One Fair Wage cover

One Fair Wage: Ending Subminimum Pay in America by Saru Jayaraman

The federal tipped minimum wage since 1991 (yes, that is thirty years) has been $2.13. Prior to COVID, six million people that we are aware of worked off this system, meaning when the pandemic hit, tons of them lost their jobs and the varied security that came with them. In Jayaraman’s newest book, she “shines a light on these workers, illustrating how the people left out of the fight for a fair minimum wage are society’s most marginalized: people of color, many of them immigrants; women, who form the majority of tipped workers; disabled workers; incarcerated workers; and youth workers.” Jayaraman is the director of the Food Labor Research Center at U-C Berkeley.

The Writing of the Gods cover

The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone by Edward Dolnick

In 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered in Egypt. Carved in 196 BCE, it uses Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts, and also Ancient Greek. It is how we in the modern era could finally decipher Ancient Egyptian. DID the British steal it from Egypt in 1801 and haul it back to their country? Yes. It has been on display in the British Museum since 1802. Hm. But THIS book is about the translation itself and how two British and French guys decided to make it a big competition. It’s also about the culture of Egypt and I am a sucker for a book that talks about history and objects and dramatic happenings, even if those dramatic happenings were two dudes trying to be James Spader in Stargate.

For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

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Lawsuits, Plagiarism, and Spoilers, Oh My!

Happy Friday, nonfiction readers of all kinds! My day job outside of Book Riot is doing communications for a public library system. Working in a library absolutely destroys my TBR… there are just so many books to grab! This week I finally had to just declare bankruptcy and return (almost) everything, trying to reset my TBR pile so it feels less overwhelming. It’s actually pretty liberating!

It’s been a few weeks since I shared news from the world of nonfiction, so this week I have three stories I think are interesting (and have some ties to much bigger conversations happening in the world of true stories). Here they are: 

book cover the immortal life of henrietta lacks

Members of the Henrietta Lacks family have sued a biotech firm for using her cells for scientific research without permission. If you’re not familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks, do yourself a favor and go get a copy of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Read it, and then check out this story, which explains why her estate is suing Thermo Fisher Scientific for commercializing the HeLa line – with hints of more lawsuits on the way. This should be a fascinating story to watch develop.

Chef Elizabeth Haigh’s cookbook has been withdrawn from publication following accusations of plagiarism. Bloomsbury Absolute withdrew the book from publication after Sharon Wee posted about her plagiarism accusations in Instagram earlier this month. Other chefs and recipe creators have also stepped forward. The linked article from Eater shares notable passages and explores some of the thorny issues around cookbook authorship and the discussions this incident has prompted about “the genealogy of recipes and the responsibilities and pressures of cultural representation in the cookbook world.” It’s a great read!

All hail Stephen Colbert for “spoiling” the latest Trump administration memoir. In his monologue earlier this month, Colbert revealed all of the juiciest bits in I’ll Take Your Questions Now, a new memoir by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. During her time as press secretary, Grisham never actually held a press conference so… I’m happy there’s no reason to actually give her any money. Blech, let’s move on.

Weekend Aspirations

book cover all that she carried by tiya miles

I am excited that one of the National Book Award shortlisted titles came in for me from my local library this week – All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles. In the book, Miles traces the history of a family heirloom while also exploring “these women’s faint presence in archival records” and the story of slavery and life after in the United States. This one slipped off my radar when it came out earlier this summer, so I’m glad to have a chance at it now! 

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend!

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New Releases: African History and Women’s Healthcare

Welcome to your new release newsletter. October 13 is X-Files creator Chris Carter’s birthday AND Mulder’s birthday AND a time you frequently see on clocks on the show. So obviously I’m gonna think of that every October 13. Happy X-Files Day! Watch Bad Blood, for it is the best episode.

Some truly A+ books this week that I am very much looking forward to picking up. Let’s get into ’em:

The Pain Gap cover

The Pain Gap: How Sexism and Racism in Healthcare Kill Women by Anushay Hossain

Hossain grew up in Bangladesh, and never thought that she would almost die in childbirth in the United States, but she almost did. In this new release, she discusses how this experience “put her on a journey to explore, understand, and share how women—especially women of color—are dismissed to death by systemic sexism in American healthcare.” This is important!

The Boys cover

The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron Howard, Clint Howard

The Howards! Just makes me remember how great Arrested Development is. Ron and his brother Clint’s memoir looks at their childhood on TV, including Andy Griffith and Happy Days. Kim and I were just talking about how dual memoirs can be so good because you get these two perspectives on what was going on and gets you a little closer to a true picture. Exciting.

Empire of Rubber cover

Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia by Greg Mitman

I’m gonna throw some numbers at you: in the 1920s, American’s consumed 75% of the world’s rubber (primarily by having most of the cars), but America controlled 1% of the rubber supply. So, “to solve its conundrum, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company turned to a tiny West African nation, Liberia, founded in 1847 as a free Black republic” and turned it into America’s rubber empire through exploitation and environmental devastation. This is one of those things you don’t hear about, but which had a huge impact.

Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal by Carissa Byrne Hessick

Law professor Hessick talks about “he unstoppable march of plea bargaining, which began to take hold during Prohibition and has skyrocketed since 1971, when it was affirmed as constitutional by the Supreme Court.” Read about the case against plea bargaining and how it can be reformed.

Born in Blackness Cover

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War by Howard W. French

The history of Africa “has long been relegated to the remote outskirts of our global story. What if, instead, we put Africa and Africans at the very center of our thinking about the origins of modernity?” Author French is a professor at Columbia and was one of the New York Times‘s first Black correspondents, covering West and Central Africa in the ’90s. I am SUPER psyched for this book; there are not enough African history books published in the US.

For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

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Spooky Nonfiction Book Lists to Topple Your TBR

Hello nonfiction lovers! This week was an exciting one here at Book Riot – we celebrated our 10th anniversary on October 3! I’m really proud to say I’m one of the original contributors to the site, which means I’ve been writing or talking about books through posts, newsletters, or podcasts for a decade. It’s been such a gratifying experience, and I know the way I read and think about books has changed so much by connecting to the writers and readers of the site.

To celebrate, we’re running a limited-edition merch line that includes hoodies, sweatshirts, totes, and more! These are available through the end of October – visit to check it out! (I’ve got a giant gray hoodie coming my way… cannot wait!)

Now that October is really and fully here (how is that happening?) I’ve found myself in the mood for spooky and creepy nonfiction reads. Luckily, spooky true stories is a popular topic over at the Riot, so I was able to pull several great articles from our archive to peruse, with a title from each one that I recommend or want to read: 

Truth Can be Scarier than Fiction: 6 Scary Nonfiction Books (2020)

Tell my horse by zora neale hurston the fright stuff

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston

I haven’t read Hurston’s nonfiction, so this travelogue written in the 1930s seems like it could be a lot of fun.

7 Scary Nonfiction Books to Titillate and Terrify You (2017)

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink – This is SUCH good reporting of a truly devastating story.

5 True Stories to Scare You Silly (2011)

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting by W. Scott Poole – I love some university press nonfiction that takes a serious look at things that don’t always get serious treatment. 

5 Works of Nonfiction for Horror Fans (2015)

Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear by Margee Kerr – I am all here for a book looking “what it is to feel fear and why we feel compelled to search it out.:

6 Nonfiction Horror Books for Those Who Need True Scary Stories (2019)

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – This memoir is so good and inventive and unsettling and evocative, all while illuminating the taboo and challenging topic of queer domestic abuse. 

If you can’t find a some creepy or spooky nonfiction to read from one of those lists, you can check out next week’s edition of the For Real podcast where Alice and I will have EVEN MORE recommendations. Spooky season is here!

Weekend Reading

cover image of Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

I feel like I should rename this section “Weekend Aspirations” because I have been consistently mentioning a book I’m jazzed about and then choosing to read something totally different. But I suppose that infinite choice is just the life of a reader, right? Anyway! This weekend I’m excited to pick up a book that just came out this week, Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef. This memoir is about the trials and triumphs of Diwan, an independent bookstore in Cairo with few peers in the city. The store was opened by three young friends who learned the ins and outs of bookselling to build a successful business “under the law of entropy.” It sounds so good!

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend! 

True Story

New Releases for Your Wednesday

Welcome to October and your first new releases for the month! I love a theme, so I’ve been watching a lot of the Saw movies for the first time, and good Lord. I mean, will I watch them all? Yes. Are they mostly not-that-good? Also yes.

I’m also reading some Grady Hendrix for October-themed books, but I’ll try to suss out some good nonfiction, which we will doubtless cover on For Real. AND NOW. New books!:

The Gilded Edge cover

The Gilded Edge: Two Audacious Women and the Cyanide Love Triangle That Shook America by Catherine Prendergast

A forgotten scandal and a title with a pun! Confession that this is by a professor from my college, but I didn’t know that until AFTER I picked it. You wouldn’t think this would influence my choice in any way more than ten years later, but I was one of those kids who spent most of her college free time in office hours, and I am FOND of the University of Illinois’s haunted English Building. Anyway! This is about an acclaimed turn of the century poet, her affair with a married man, and the deaths of all three.

Notable Native People cover

Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present by Adrienne Keene

Profiles of fifty notable American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people! This covers “the lives, stories, and contributions of Indigenous artists, activists, scientists, athletes, and other changemakers.” And it’s illustrated! It also includes “accessible primers on important Indigenous issues, from the legacy of colonialism and cultural appropriation to food sovereignty, land and water rights, and more.” Author Keene is a member of the Cherokee Nation and founder of the blog Native Appropriations.

Until I Am Free cover

Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America by Keisha N. Blain

If author Blain’s name looks familiar, it’s because she is co-editor of this year’s Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019. Hamer was a leader in the mid-20th century American civil rights movement, as well as organizer of Mississippi’s Freedom Summer, along with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (aka SNCC). This bio “explores the Black activist’s ideas and political strategies, highlighting their relevance for tackling modern social issues including voter suppression, police violence, and economic inequality.” And it’s 200 pages! The length that all books should be.

Our Blessed Rebel Queen cover

Our Blessed Rebel Queen: Essays on Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia by Linda Mizejewski (Edited by), Tanya D. Zuk (Edited by)

It’s a university press book about Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia! It is a “full-length exploration of Carrie Fisher’s career as actress, writer, and advocate” and “Fisher’s entangled relationship with the iconic Princess Leia.” Contributors talk about Fisher’s memoirs, the use of Fisher/Leia references in the Women’s March, and her mental health advocacy, among other things. V exciting.

For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

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Nonfiction for Hispanic Heritage Month

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! We are in Minnesota’s beautiful, brief season of “second summer,” which means I’m wearing hooded sweatshirts with sandals and trying to soak up the fact that we still have a few hours of sunlight after work.

This week I’d like to share some recent books to help recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated September 15 – October 15 each year. Although the name of the month is problematic, it’s still a good excuse to celebrate nonfiction by Latinx authors and storytellers. Here are a few recent-ish gems:

book cover an african american and latinx history of the united stats by paul ortiz

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

This book offers a revolutionary history of the contributions African American, Latinx, and Indigenous people have made to the history of the United States. By looking at history through those stories, the book “transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.” This book is part of Beacon Press’s amazing Revisionist History series, which I just love.  

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Díaz grew up in housing projects in both Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, trying to balance her family’s disintegration (and her mother’s schizophrenia) with the connections she felt with her friends. Her story explores sexuality, mental illness, sexual assault within the context of trying to understand Puerto Rico’s colonial history and one girl’s place in it. This one is really beautiful!

book cover the hispanic republican by geraldo cadava

The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump by Gerardo Cadava

When it comes to politics and political prognostication, it can be easy to lump entire groups of people into a single type or voting bloc. In this book, a Northwestern University professor explores how some Hispanic Americans have impacted national politics since the 1960s, particularly after being courted by Republicans during the Cold War. He also looks at how different cultural identities within the Latino community affect voting patterns.

book cover undocumented by dan-el padilla peralta

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-El Padilla Peralta

Dan-El Padilla Peralta came to the United States with his family, seeking medical care for his mother. When their visas ran out, his father returned to Santo Domingo while Peralta and his mother remained in New York City. This memoir is about his experiences growing up homeless, getting a boost into private school, and navigating his dual life between Harlem and Manhattan as an undocumented immigrant.

Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos

One of my favorite nonfiction storytelling techniques is heading out on a road trip to gather stories from people around the county as a way of exploring big and complicated questions. In this book, journalist Paola Ramos sets out to understand how people define the term “Latinx” – particularly those who have been overlooked when we think about Latinos more generally. It’s a big group, and the stories she gathers are very moving. 

Weekend Reading

I’ve felt overwhelmed and scattered lately, which reminded me of a book that’s been on my TBR for a couple of years – How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. The book is about how to live in a world where “technology is designed to buy and sell our attention,” and our worth is determined by how productive we are. Odell argues that we need to protect our attention as our most valuable resource and connects this way of being with larger and more radical forms of political action. I am here for all of that.

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend! 

True Story

Massive New Release September, The Finaling

HERE WE ARE. End of September. Autumn foliage. If you live somewhere where that happens. We are now three-quarters through the year, which is exciting if you decide to do a final quarter reading challenge.

You all. This year is literally the slowest reading year in years for me. I thought it would be 2020 because of the start of the pandemic and also I got married, but 2020 was my best reading year? And then 2021 has been like, hey, what are books. And honestly, no matter how much you’re reading, you’re doing a great job and I am proud of you for even having the energy to care about books. A+, you.

Here are many new releases for the week!

Feeding the Soul cover

Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom by Tabitha Brown

Did you watch Olivia Lux do a terrible job as Tabitha Brown on Drag Race season 13? That’s the first time I heard of Tabitha Brown, but she seems like a delight. She is a vegan and TikTok star! In her book, she talks about struggling with chronic autoimmune pain and “shares the wisdom she gained from her own journey, showing readers how to make a life for themselves that is rooted in nonjudgmental kindness and love, both for themselves and for others.”

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon

Guardians of the Trees: A Journey of Hope Through Healing the Planet by Kinari Webb

Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan

cover image Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays by Phoebe Robinson

It’s a book by Roxane Gay’s imprint, Tiny Reparations Books! And by the hilarious Phoebe Robinson. She shares “stories about her mom slow-poking before a visit with Mrs. Obama, the stupidly fake reassurances of zip-line attendants, her favorite things about dating a white person from the UK, and how the lack of Black women in leadership positions fueled her to become the Black lady boss of her dreams.” YAY.

Desperate: An Epic Battle for Clean Water and Justice in Appalachia by Kris Maher

Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence by Anita Hill

White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall by Reece Jones

How to Examine a Wolverine cover

How to Examine a Wolverine: More Tales from the Accidental Veterinarian by Philipp Schott, DVM

What is it like to be a veterinarian! And what do you need to know. Schott answers this, as well as all-important topics like “the mysteries of catnip, dog flatulence, and duck erectile dysfunction.” Really just covers it all there. I hope I never have to examine a wolverine, but I am interested in HOW one does it.

For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

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Emmy Winners and Big Book Deals

Happy Friday, nonfiction fiends! I have spent much of the last week assisting my amazing family with a badly-needed bathroom renovation project. We’re right in the messy middle of painting and cleaning, but the end is in sight thanks to my supremely dedicated parents who will be visiting us again this weekend to put everything back together again. 

Thanks to the project I’ve been doing very little reading of books or articles online, but I still have some interesting nonfiction-related news to share this week. Let’s get to it!

cover of Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel, blue with white and gold font

Author and TV star Michaela Coel won an Emmy! She made history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special for her comedy-drama series I May Destroy You. Her first book, Misfits, came out just a couple weeks ago. The book is an adaptation of a speech Coel gave at the Edinburgh International Television Festival back in 2018. Congrats, Michaela!

The longlists for the National Book Award have been announced! The 10-book lists will be narrowed to shortlists on October 5. The winners will be announced during a live ceremony on November 17. The nonfiction list is awesome, with heavy-hitters like How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith, as well as lesser-known titles like Covered with Night by Nicole Eustace. This is one of my favorite book awards, so I can’t wait to see what moves on!

Historian Martha S. Jones has signed a four-book deal with Basic Books. The first book, still untitled, will be an exploration of the history and legacy of slavery’s sexual violence. The linked article from the New York Times is a fascinating interview where she discusses the role of historians and how she’s connecting her family history to her writing. Jones’s latest book, Vanguard, was a look at the political history of Black women that “challenged popular narratives of the suffrage movement.”

And of course I have an Elizabeth Holmes trial update this week, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, also a former member of the Theranos Board of Directors, testified about his experience with the company. Mattis invested $85,000 with the company, but eventually started to question the efficacy of the technology. Mattis is the seventh witness to be called in the trial.

Weekend Reading?

book cover of the sum of us by heather mcghee

I’ve been on a real fiction kick lately, but the National Book Award announcement has inspired me to pick up a book on the longlist that I started earlier this year, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee. In the book, McGhee looks at how racist ideas impact the American economy, leading it to fail the public in significant ways. There’s a fascinating chapter on the history of public pools and how segregation ultimately led to almost no freely available public swimming facilities for anyone. It’s such an interesting look at how we’ve shifted from public goods to private luxuries, and how race plays into why that happens. I’m not sure if I’ll get much reading in this weekend, but I want to try!

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend!

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Massive New Release September, Part III

I hope you do yourself the solid of buying yourself at least one book this month. THERE ARE JUST SO MANY. Also next month, but we’re not gonna talk about that right now. Just focusing on these September reads. I’ve pre-ordered two books and I never pre-order books! But that’s extra fun because then you forget you ordered them and then you get Surprise Books.

Praying to the West cover

Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas by Omar Mouallem

Journalist Mouallem “travels to thirteen remarkable mosques and discovers the surprising history of their communities” across the Americas, from Canada to Brazil. He learns how Islam shaped the Americas, and, in the recent tradition of road trip nonfiction, learns a little something about himself.

Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After World War II by Adrian Tinniswood

Paletó and Me: Memories of My Indigenous Father by Aparecida Vilaça

Yours Cruelly, Elvira cover

Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson

This is one of the books I pre-ordered! Ok, I cannot explain why I love Elvira so much, except that her attitude is such a complete delight. Her combination of sex positivity and corny jokes just make for this enduring icon who has been around for literal decades and I love her extremely silly ’80s movie and I’m so glad she wrote a book.

The Forgotten First: Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley, Bill Willis, and the Breaking of the NFL Color Barrier by Keyshawn Johnson, Bob Glauber

Bessie Smith: A Poet’s Biography of a Blues Legend by Jackie Kay

True Raiders: The Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant by Brad Ricca

A Man Called Horse cover

A Man Called Horse: John Horse and the Black Seminole Underground Railroad by Glennette Tilley Turner

Black Seminoles were “descendants of Seminole Indians, free Blacks, and escaped slaves who formed an alliance in Spanish Florida.” John Horse, whose life squarely occupied the nineteenth century, “defended his people from the US government, other tribes, and slave hunters.” This is a YA biography, which usually equates to just enough information for your daily life as opposed to the deep dive of adult nonfiction! Very exciting.

To Drink from the Well: The Struggle for Racial Equality at the Nation’s Oldest Public University by Geeta N. Kapur

In the Shadow of the Empress: The Defiant Lives of Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette, and Her Daughters by Nancy Goldstone

For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

True Story

Animals and Entrepreneurs on Trial

Hello hello, nonfiction friends! If you haven’t already, I urge you to pop into your podcast service of choice to listen to this week’s episode of For Real. Alice and I got to do something we’ve never done for the podcast before – interview Mary Roach! That’s right, Mary Roach!

cover image of Fuzz- When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach showing an iron on patch with a bear, a cougar, and an elephant

If you’re still not convinced, I can tell you she is just as funny to talk with as she is to read. In the interview we covered everything from her use of footnotes to how she almost wrote a chapter about tiger penises, with several great detours along the way. Her latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law is out this week. It’s a great read about what happens when nature and humans have conflict, and the people who are trying to find ways to improve those interactions. It’s really fun.

This week I’ve got some great news from the world of nonfiction to share – an update on Elizabeth Holmes’s trial, an exciting upcoming adaptation, and an early nonfiction prize list! 

This week in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the jury has been selected and testimony has begun:

  • One early witness was Erika Cheung, a former worker in the Theranos lab, who testified she was concerned about the reliability of the lab’s testing equipment.
  • The Daily Beast also shared some of the text messages exchanged between Holmes and her boyfriend/business partner, Sunny Balwani, that have been entered as evidence.
  • But my favorite story of the week is this one, about a “concerned citizen” who attended early parts of the trial, networked with reporters… and then turned out to be Holmes’s father-in-law, hotelier Bill Evans. What kind of a person do you have to be to try and trick reporters at a trial where someone in your family is facing decades in prison for tricking investors? Bananas.

Paramount+ may be planning an adaptation of Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch. The series is described as “a true crime show, a family drama and an immersive look at modern Native American life.” The main character, Lissa Yellowbird, returns to her reservation after time in jail, then finds herself investigating the disappearance of a young oil worker. That description is giving me real Mare of Easttown vibes and I am here for it.

The finalists for the Kirkus Prize have been announced! The Kirkus Prize is awarded annually for fiction, nonfiction, and young readers literature and has a prize of $50,000 (yowza!). This year’s nonfiction finalists are: 

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony from the Austin Public Library on October 28.

Weekend Reading

book cover of sometimes i trip on how happy we could be by nichole perkins

I’ve had a great few weeks of picking up unexpected read from my local library. My grab from the new releases shelf this week is Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins. This book is a collection of essays on pop culture and how big issues like “racism, wealth, poverty, beauty, inclusion, exclusion, and hope” are part of the media we consume. I’m just 100 percent in for all of those topics, especially when they’re being explored from a perspective that’s different from my own. I’ve already LOL’d quite a bit at this one, I can’t wait to finish it!

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend!