Categories
True Story

Nonfiction New Releases!

It is PEAK new release season and I am delightfully buried up to my eyeballs in nonfiction releases. And I can’t wait to tell you about them! Dylan and Gwenllian have loved all of the new books. Dylan appreciates an in-depth read, and Gwenllian enjoys…frapping around piles of books. To each their own…? Anyway, today we’re talking about new releases AND two new disability reads. Let’s jump right in!

Bookish Goods

a photo of a green t-shirt with the word Booktrovert on the front

Booktrovert T-shirt by Trendy Gift Shop US

As an introvert, I’m so thrilled that this T-shirt exists! I am 100% a Booktrovert. $15

New Releases

A graphic of the color of The Revolutionary Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff

The Revolutionary Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff is back with her latest book, a biography of Samuel Adams. I adored her books The Witches and Cleopatra, so even while biographies of the founding fathers aren’t exactly my jam, I still will read it because it’s Stacy Schiff. She really is just that good.

A graphic of the cover of Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

Bestselling author Ross Gay is back with his latest book, Inciting Joy, in which he shares the importance of taking the time to experience joy. Joy can look different to so many different people, and Gay discusses the importance of celebrating even the small things.

Looking for more new releases? Check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

a graphic of the cover of The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes, and Mourning Songs by Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes, and Mourning Songs by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha follows up their incredible book Care Work with The Future Is Disabled. Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about the last two years of surviving COVID-19 as a disabled femme of color in an ableist world that isn’t interested in protecting disabled folks. They also discuss mutual aid and disabled joy in the face of isolation and discrimination.

The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for disabled people who have been asked to “take one for the team” by wider society. Piepzna-Samarasinha writes encouragement to disabled folks, relishing in our community’s creativity in our fight for survival. They also mourn those lost in the pandemic and the care crisis so many of us still face.

a graphic of the cover of My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church

My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church by Amy Kenny

Amy Kenny writes a call to the broader Christian community, asking the church to change its mistreatment of disabled people in their midst. She emphasizes that disabled people, and our bodies, are still image bearers of God. But far too often, people ask disabled people what we have done wrong to “deserve” the curse of our body. Or they say we would be healed if we “just prayed enough.” Obviously, these church members are way out of line, and Kenny calls them out on their ridiculous notions.

Heading into this book, I worried that Kenny would hold back, but she did not. Instead, she demands that the church change their behavior and stop harming disabled people with their ableist perspectives. She writes clearly and directly, giving a number of examples, including many from her own life. She also gives readers an introduction to some disability 101 concepts, and recommends further reading. Overall, this is an excellent tool for disabled people to advocate for ourselves and share with others.

a photo of Dylan, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, sitting next to a stack of books
a photo of Dylan, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, sitting next to a stack of books

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

Categories
True Story

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Memoirs

Hello and happy weekend, nonfiction nerds! The transition into the chilly part of the fall has given me a lot of “big black trash bag” energy — that feeling of wanting to just throw everything out and start all over again from nothing. That’s obviously not feasible, though, so I’m trying to keep that impulse in check. Now let’s just cut the preamble and get to the books!

Bookish Goods

vintage library card bookmarks

Vintage Library Card Bookmark from BookEmphemera

I can’t get enough vintage library card memorabilia. I think these bookmarks are a delight! $4+

New Releases

book cover this arab is queer by elias jahshan

This Arab is Queer, edited by Elias Jahshan

This anthology is a collection of essays written by queer Arab writers, writing under their own names and anonymously. Stories in the collection range from the personal to the public, and include intimate connections and personal accounts of things like what it was like to be at a concert in Cairo when a rainbow flag was raised above the crowd. The book’s editor, Elias Jahshan, is a Palestinian/Lebanese Australian writer, editor, and journalist who served as the editor of Australia’s longest-running LGBTQ+ media outlet. I’m so interested in picking this one up.

book cover stroller by amanda parrish morgan

Stroller (Object Lessons) by Amanda Parrish Morgan

This book is the latest entry in a series I’d never heard of before — Object Lessons from Bloomsbury. Each short book explores the hidden life of an ordinary thing, everything from blue jeans to hyphens to strollers. This addition explores strollers, one of the most visible symbols of both “status and parenting philosophy.” The book goes back to the invention of the pram in the 1700s, to the various kinds of strollers you can buy today, to discussions about what it means to avoid getting a stroller at all. I love a compact deep dive!

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, this week I want to feature two memoirs written by breast cancer survivors.

book cover twisting fate by pamela munster

Twisting Fate: My Journey with BRCA―from Breast Cancer Doctor to Patient and Back by Pamela Munster M.D.

Dr. Pamela Munster is one of the top oncologists in the country, treating breast cancer patients who came to the University of California. At 48 years old, Munster learned her mammogram showed “irregularities,” and was diagnosed with breast cancer herself. This book combines her personal experience with the BRCA gene mutation along with her academic research around breast cancer and other inherited cancers. That combination seems particularly powerful for a memoir on this topic.

book cover everybody's got something by robin roberts

Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts is a well-loved anchor for Good Morning America who has experienced many of her most difficult times while being on television. In this memoir, she writes about her breast cancer diagnosis, followed five years later by a diagnosis of a rare blood disorder. She also writes about losing her mother, returning to work after medical leave, and the lessons she has learned along the way. I have to think this one would be excellent as an audiobook. 

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 or send an email to kim@riotnewmedia.com. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

LGBTQ Essays and Memoirs!

Hello, nonfiction fans! Down here in South Carolina, we are finally getting some leaf changing, and the nights are so much cooler. However, the slight chill does not prevent Gwenllian from scamming me into taking her out to do her business when she really just wants to play with all of the toads and lizards still outside. With such a cute, and slightly clueless, expression you wouldn’t think she had it in her, but I guess getting to spend more time with her friends is worth it.

Bookish Goods

A photo of an embossing on a book page

From the Library of Book Embosser by Pickled Stamps

I LOVE embossers! They are such a great way to mark your books without needing any sort of ink. $23

New Releases

A graphic of the cover of Madly Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman by Alan Rickman

Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman by Alan Rickman

I’m not sure my heart can take this, but I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. These diaries give us a look into the life of the late Alan Rickman, who has starred in so many movies that I have lost count. His good friend, Emma Thompson, writes the introduction for Madly, Deeply, and her words will definitely tug on your heartstrings.

A graphic of the cover of You Should Sit Down for This by Tamera Mowry-Housley

You Should Sit Down for This by Tamera Mowry-Housley

Like many people my age, I LOVED the show Sister Sister, which featured Tia and Tamera Mowry playing a set of twins separated at birth, each adopted to a single parent. Since then, Tamera has gotten married, had kids, and created her own platform as an influencer. Whether you are an old or new fan, this memoir is perfect for people wanting to read more about where she is now.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

A graphic of the cover of Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan

Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan

For most of his career, Randall Kenan was described as a “writer’s writer,” a writer who isn’t loved by the general public per se, but people in his field really respect and admire his work. Shortly after Kenan died in 2020, his short story collection, If I Had Two Wings, was longlisted for the National Book Award. Its reception introduced Kenan’s work to a whole new audience.

Black Folk Could Fly is a posthumous collection of nonfiction works from throughout his career. In it, he writes about his childhood in rural North Carolina, his move to New York City to work on his writing career, and his travels around the country to interview Black people about their experiences. Kenan was always pondering, what does it mean to be Black in America today? Through his writing, we can see the progression of his thought process as he mulls over this question and reads other Black writers on the topic.

A graphic of the cover of Heretic by Jeanna Kadlec

Heretic: A Memoir by Jeanna Kadlec

Jeanna Kadlec gives us a peek into her life growing up in conservative Chrstianity. She always felt belittled by the members of her church because she was a woman. Women would take her aside and tell her she needed to dress and behave more modestly. Men wouldn’t take her intellect seriously. And as a woman, she struggled to feel like a full fledged member of the church because the men didn’t want her to speak or pray during services. She always wanted to be the perfect Christian girl. She married a pastor’s son and waited to have sex until she was married. But even doing all of these things didn’t make her happy. She eventually realized that the faith she had been told was the only true way to live was actually very flawed and abusive to her emotionally and spiritually. She filed for divorce, came out as queer, and completly changed the direction of her life.

Like she says in the beginning of the book, she didn’t just leave the church because she’s a lesbian. Long before she realized that she was queer, Kadlec understood that the Christian culture she grew up in was incredibly harmful. From this starting point, Kadlec gives readers a more complex view of her faith experience. She also discusses that healing from religious trauma can take all sorts of different forms, and there is no singular way to come to terms with your faith.

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

Categories
True Story

Hispanic and Latine History Books (October 14)

Welcome to the weekend, nonfiction friends! It’s been a week of ups and downs for me. On Monday I celebrated World Mental Health Day with a stupid little walk outside on a beautiful fall day. But Thursday temperatures had dropped into nearly winter coat weather, with rain and threats of snow in the forecast. I am not ready!

This week I’m wrapping up Hispanic Heritage Month with a couple of books on Hispanic and Latine history. Enjoy!

Bookish Goods

white coffee mug with a cartoon ghost and the words "Read More Boooooooks"

Bookish Halloween Coffee Mug from MeloiraStore

For whatever reason, this mug made me actually stop and LOL when I saw it on Etsy. That’s a good enough reason to recommend it! $20 (on sale for $10)

New Releases

book cover: bad vibes only

Bad Vibes Only (And Other Things I Bring to the Table) by Nora McInerny

As the host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora McInerny tells stories about people going through some of the hardest and most awkward experiences in life. This is her fourth nonfiction book, and is a collection of essays about optimism culture, self-improvement, and living life online. It’s also a book for “the overthinkers, the analyzers, the recovering Girl Bosses, and the burned-out personal brand,” which is a list that makes me laugh every time I read it. I suspect this one would also be great on audiobook. 

book cover home bound

Home Bound: An Uprooted Daughter’s Reflections on Belonging by Vanessa A. Bee

Throughout her life, Vanessa A. Bee has lived everywhere from Yaoundé, Cameroon to Reno, Nevada, with multiple stops along the way. In this book, she grapples with the questions her “adoptive, multiracial, multilingual, multinational, and transcontinental upbringing” have caused: what is home, and how does home connect to our ideology and social status? She wrestles with these questions through a personal lens and through the lens of economic justice, trying to contend with her (and our) place in the world.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, I want to wrap up by sharing a couple of great books about Latine and Hispanic history:

book cover Harvest of Empire

Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan González

First published in 2011 and updated in 2022, this book is a look at five centuries of Latine history in the United States. Journalist Juan González begins with America’s colonization and continues through the 2020 election, showing the growing impact of Latine people on American culture and politics. He offers profiles of Latine pioneers, including stories about why they came to the United States, giving voice to many different experiences.

book cover An African American and Latinx History of the United States

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

This book is described as a “revolutionary, politically charged narrative history” that uses the stories of African American and Latinx people to show how U.S. history is a story of “the working class organizing against imperialism.” Paul Ortiz links historical movements like segregation, Mexican labor organizing, and the Civil Rights Movement to show how different historically oppressed groups worked together to push back against the dominant narrative. I’m interested to learn how these stories all work together.

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 or send an email to kim@riotnewmedia.com. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Asian American Memoirs!

Thanks so much to Katie for filling in while I was dealing with hurricane Ian! Thankfully, my family and I are fine, but much of Florida and the Lowcountry has been devastated, so if you’re interested in learning how you can help recovery efforts, you can find more information here.

This past week, I’ve done nothing but clean, cook, and listen to audiobooks. There’s something about fall that makes me want to hear every kind of spooky story possible. With that said, two memoirs jumped out at me, demanding my attention. But before we get to this week’s Riot Recommendations, it’s time for new books!

Bookish Goods

A photo of Tarot Card Book Marks with Tassels

Intuitively Chosen Tarot Card Bookmark by Aethereal Books

Perfect for spooky season, these tarot card book marks are adorable. Plus, they’re shiny! $8

New Releases

A graphic of the cover of Savor: A Chef's Hunger for More by Fatima Ali with Tarajia Morrell

Savor: A Chef’s Hunger for More by Fatima Ali with Tarajia Morrell

Like much of the food-loving world, I adored Fatima Ali on Top Chef. She had so much spunk and passion for cuisine. Ali died from a rare form of bone cancer, leaving the world bereft of her vibrant spirit. Savor is her last testament, her ode to food and a love for life.

A graphic of the cover of Catching the Light (Why I Write) by Joy Harjo

Catching the Light (Why I Write) by Joy Harjo

Incredible memoirist and former U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo is back with her thoughts on the act of writing. Her prose feels like a meditation, a treatise on the beauty of writing poetry. I love writers describing why they write and what their art means to them. I can’t wait to pick this one up!

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

A graphic of the cover of Making a Scene by Constance Wu

Making a Scene by Constance Wu

Fresh Off the Boat and Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu went viral when she tweeted that she was disappointed that Fresh Off the Boat was renewed for a sixth season. After receiving such intense backlash, Wu left social media and her mental health began to spiral. She ended up entering a mental health facitility for depression and suicidal ideation. Now she’s returned to the public eye with this new collection of essays. Wu writes about her life as the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants living in Richmond, Virginia. And if you love audiobooks, Wu performs her memoir, creating that perfect pairing when a writer performs their own work.

A graphic of the cover of Stay True by Hua Hsu

Stay True by Hua Hsu

New Yorker writer Hua Hsu writes about his young adult years in college meeting his friend Kevin. Hsu describes the unique magic of college life, feeling like the world is stretching before you with endless possibilities. Hsu details his days trying to find the most unique, the most well-thought out piece of cultural knowledge that would prove he understood culture more than anyone else. But Kevin didn’t seem to care that Hsu felt he had something to prove. Despite all odds, and incredible differences, Hsu and Kevin became great friends. Hsu’s writing is incredible, succinct, just the right amount of stylized beauty and depth of content.

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

Categories
True Story

Memoirs for Hispanic Heritage Month

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! The next few days are not looking especially releaxing for me (yay, helping with a move!), but I’m still excited to be away from screens and seemingly endless emails for a few days. For this week’s newsletter, I’m excited to recommend a couple of great memoirs for Hispanic Heritage Month, along with some great new books.

Bookish Goods

watercolor painted bookshelf

Book Lover Watercolor Print from BeWildandFree

I am absolutely in love with this beautiful watercolor bookshelf print. And if the rainbow isn’t your thing, it comes in a bunch of different colors and sizes. Love. $16+

New Releases

book cover the future is disabled

The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

I feel like I am taking inspiration from Kendra in sharing this book with you, which is great – her attention to disability in nonfiction has been opening my eyes to books I may have overlooked previously. This book was written during the pandemic, during two years of isolation which offered Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha some space to ask questions like “What if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it’s possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics to bring about liberation.” It sounds so interesting.

book cover all that is wicked

All That is Wicked: A Gilded Age Story of Murder and the Race to Decode the Criminal Mind by Kate Winkler Dawson

Gilded Age criminology! In this book, a crime historian explores the story of Edward Rulloff, a prolific serial killer many thought was too smart to ever be caught. During his time, Rulloff chose his victims “out of revenge, out of envy, and sometimes out of necessity,” across multiple states and decades. Once he was finally caught, “mindhunters” of the time tried to understand him through the limited techniques available at the time. This sounds so, so good.

And don’t forget that for a more comprehensive list of new releases, you can always check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

September 15 – October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, so I wanted to highlight a few books you could read to celebrate. This week, I’m sharing two memoirs I really loved:

book cover In the SHadow of the Mountain

In The Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

I just finished reading this one in September, and I am going to be recommending it a lot (although content warnings abound). As a child, Silvia Vasquez-Lavado experienced violence and sexual abuse at home. She came to the United States for college, then managed to make it big in Silicon Valley… all while hiding her sexuality, trying to manage her alcoholism, and repressing her trauma. After hitting a deep low, she turned to mountain climbing as therapy. The book tells her story, along with following her quest to lead a group of female sexual assault survivors on a climb to Mount Everest Base Camp before attempting the summit herself. That sounds like a lot, but the whole book comes together beautifully, with emotional highs and lows as well as a terrifying mountain climb. I tore through it.

book cover Ordinary Girls

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

This is another memoir about overcoming childhood trauma and violence that’s equally as moving and inspiring. Jaquira Díaz grew up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, first with her family and then with friends and relatives after her mother’s schizophrenia became too much to deal with while parenting. She writes about coming into herself amidst violence, discovering her sexual identity, and connecting with her found family. This one is so vivid and evocative and full of heart.

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 or send an email to kim@riotnewmedia.com. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Learn More About the Weather

Hello, nonfiction fans! This is Kim, filling in on the mid-week newsletter send for Kendra. Today, I’ve got book recommendations from across the nonfiction spectrum — history, memoir, science, and public policy. Let’s dive in!

Bookish Goods

double wick candle with text: rainy day reading

Rainy Day Reading Candle from FlickTheWick

I’m not a huge candle person, but the slide into fall always makes me *wish* that I was. This 11 ounce, double wick candle seems like a great addition to any reading nook. $25

New Releases

book cover the evolution of charles darwin by diana preston

The Evolution of Charles Darwin: The Epic Voyage of the Beagle That Forever Changed Our View of Life on Earth by Diana Preston

In 1831, Charles Darwin joined the crew of the HMS Beagle as they headed out on a five-year voyage around the globe. Twenty-two-year-old Darwin had no idea of the impact the voyage would have, on his life and on our scientific understanding of the world. This book uses letters, diaries, and recollections from other participants to chronicle the entire voyage as it happened, following Darwin’s adventures and scientific discoveries. This book caught my attention because I know so much about what happened after Darwin returned to England, but almost nothing about the trip itself. Should be interesting!

book cover token black girl by danielle prescond

Token Black Girl: A Memoir by Danielle Prescod

This book caught my attention for two reasons: the note about how it covers “racial identity, pop culture, and delusions of perfection” and the really striking cover. Danielle Prescod grew up in a largely white community, further marginalized by the whitewashing of nearly all the media her friends consumed. This resulted in her trying to “shrink her identity” through chemical hair treatments, impeccable fashion, and disordered eating. She continued in that way as she made her way into the fashion industry, until finally deciding to confront the damage white supremacy in the media has caused.

Looking for more new releases? Check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

As Florida continues to reel from the enormous impact of Hurricane Ian, I thought this week I could highlight a couple of books related to weather and climate change:

book cover the weather machine by andrew blum

The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast by Andrew Blum

If you want to dig deep into how weather forecasting works, this is the book for you! Andrew Blum is interested in systems and infrastructure, the nitty gritty of how things we take for granted actually work. The book explores the history of weather forecasting, the current network of weather monitoring stations, the computer models that run current forecasts, and the potential impacts of climate change, privatization, and more on the forecasts we take for granted.

book cover the black agenda

The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System, edited by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

This book is a little more of a stretch, but I didn’t think it was fair to suggest books about the weather without acknowledging the impact that climate change is having on the extreme weather we’re experiencing. This book is a collection of essays by Black intellectuals and experts across disciplines looking at how anti-racist policies would impact all of us. There’s a fascinating section looking at the climate movement, highlighting the systematic changes needed to ensure environmental justice for all.

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 or send an email to kim@riotnewmedia.com. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

The Marvels of a Good Microhistory

We’re so close to the weekend, nonfiction friends! My trip out to Masachusetts last weekend was a real delight — the windy weather and witchy vibes of Salem really put me in the mood for fall, which has set in pretty hard here in Minnesota. Bring on the apple cider and cozy cardigans!

This week’s back to school theme looks to history, specifically microhistories, on a couple of my favorite subjects. Let’s dig in!

Bookish Goods

sticker with an open book and a rainbow with the words support your local library

Support Your Local Library Sticker from SheMakesMeLaugh

Did you know September is Library Card Sign-Up Month? I couldn’t let the commemoration go by without something celebrating libraries. This support sticker is perfect! $5

New Releases

book cover stay true by hua hsu

Stay True: A Memoir by Hua Hsu

At first glance, 18-year-old Hua Hsu didn’t really like Ken — a fellow college student who “represents all that [Hsu] defines himself against.” Despite their vast differences, they become friends over the mutual feeling that they just didn’t fit into American culture. Less than three years later, Ken was killed in a violent carjacking. Hsu immediately began writing as a way to hold onto the memories of one of his closest friends — writing that turned into this book. One of the blurbs calls this book “exquisite and excruciating,” which means I’ll be picking it up when I need something to hit me in the feels.

book cover fen bog swamp by annie proulx

Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis by Annie Proulx

In this book, novelist and environmentalist Annie Proulx takes us on a journey through the historical and environmental role of wetlands. She writes about how fens, bogs, swamps, and estuaries help preserve the environment by storing carbon emissions, and tell stories about some of the most significant wetlands around the world. She also looks at diseases that are connected to wetlands and the role that peat has in manufacturing and industry. This one just has to be good.

Looking for more new releases? Check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

One of my favorite types of nonfiction books are microhistories — a book that does a deep dive into a single subject while also using that topic to explore bigger trends and stories in history. To wrap up this month’s dive into books for classes, I’ve got a couple of microhistories that might have a place in any world history class.

book cover Worn by Sofi Thanhauser

Worn: A People’s History of Clothing by Sofi Thanhauser

In this social history, writer and artist Sofi Thanhauser tells the stories of five fabrics — linen, cotton, silk, synthetics, and wool — to explore our clothing and what it says about us. In addition to looking at how fabrics were made and decorated, she also interrogates the modern clothing industry and the widespread environmental impacts of fast fashion. This book is smartly organized and full of fascinating stories.

book cover crude by sonia shah

Crude: The Story of Oil by Sonia Shah

This book tells the story of oil, from the moment it was discovered through its use in nearly all aspects of modern life. In addition to fuel and electricity, crude oil and related products are also in plastics, pavement, and fertilizers for plants. In this history, Sonia Shah also tells the story of people affected by oil — protestors, scientists, politicians, and more. I can think of a lot of materials that could make a great microhistory, but few that have impacts as wide-ranging as oil.

If neither of those is appealing, check out this collection of 50 must read microhistory books over at Book Riot.

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 or send an email to kim@riotnewmedia.com. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Fall Road Trip Books and Memoirs!

This week, my spouse, the Corgis, and I are headed out on a short road trip to visit family members. Now I have to figure out what on earth I’m going to pack for my TBR. There are so many choices! But I think I’ve narrowed it down to High on the Hog by Jessica B. Harris, Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan, and Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945 by Ronald D Eller. Will I read this many books in four days? Probably not, but I’ll have a great time with them anyway.

Bookish Goods

A photo of an orange t-shirt with a ghost reading and the caption reads "books"

Booooks Shirt, Ghost Books, T-Shirt, Halloween Reading Shirt by Melissa Custom Design

Check out this ADORABLE ghost reading! I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for an adorable spooky season graphic tee, and this one is perfect. $14

New Releases

A graphic of the cover of The Sporty One

The Sporty One: My Life as a Spice Girl by Melanie Chisholm

In the mid ’90s, The Spice Girls ran the world. Now Sporty Spice, Melanie C, is here with a memoir of her wild ride to fame. She also describes the cost of fame, the toll it took on her mental health, and the struggles trying to figure yourself out as a 20-something when the entire world is watching.

A graphic of the cover of The Black Period

The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin by Hafizah Augustus Geter

Hafizah Augustus Geter weaves the threads of her life from its origins—the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant and a Black American artist— to more recent times living as a thirty-something, disabled, queer poet. With her sharp insight and beautiful prose, this memoir will be one you won’t want to miss.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

A graphic of the cover of I'm Glad My Mom Died

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Everyone and their mother’s brother is talking about this memoir— and for good reason! Former Nickelodeon star Jenneatte McCurdy writes about her life as a child star, a job she never really wanted, but one her mother insisted she have. What’s more, McCurdy shares how her mother was incredibly abusive, forcing McCurdy to submit to intimate inspections of her body, even into her teen years, and restricting McCurdy’s diet to keep her looking younger longer.

McCurdy’s reflection on her mother can be very clinical, removed from emotions of the event, which reflects how she kept herself from thinking too deeply about her and her mother’s relationship. But after her mother dies from cancer, McCurdy must confront the trauma from her childhood if she is ever to truly move on.

A graphic of the cover of The Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong

Year of the Tiger was, hands down, one of my most anticipated books of the year. In the disability community, Alice Wong is a legend. She’s such a strong advocate for disability justice, and her memoir is a gift. She shares stories from her life, excerpts from articles she’s written for various publications, and transcripts of interviews she conducted in the last several years. I really appreciated her multimedia approach to her memoir, which gives it a unique feel, like snapshots from her life.

Because of my own disability, I listen to books via audio, and I wondered how all of the photos and illustrations would translate to a different medium. Most of the time, audiobooks with a lot of visuals just have a PDF that comes along with the audiobook. But Wong ensured the narrator— the wonderful Nancy Wu—read image descriptions so listeners can better picture the more visual parts of the memoir in our heads. This kind of attention to detail and dedication to making her work as accessible as possible is why Wong’s work is so important and why her work should be widely read.

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

Categories
True Story

For Lovers of Language

Happy Friday, nonfiction friends! As you read this, I am off on a long weekend away beside the ocean in Massachusetts. We have plans to visit Salem, but mostly it’s an excuse to look at the water and enjoy one last burst of summer-ish vibes despite it already being fall.

This week I dug into some books on my very favorite subject, language arts. Let’s go, word nerds!

Bookish Goods

printable bookmarks with encouraging sayings and cartoon food

Food Encouragement Bookmarks from KawaiiLibrary

The moment I saw these printable bookmarks with food-inspired encouragement, I smiled. They’re a real delight! $6

New Releases

book cover the story of russia by orlando figes

The Story of Russia by Orlando Figes

Russian history is vast and varied. This book offers a look at both the people and events that have shaped the country as well as the ideas and stories that have shaped those events. Figes, a British historian, has written several books about Russian history, but this looks to be his first that really grapples with the ways that Russia has “reimagined its own story” over time. Then, he shows how those varied stories can help explain modern Russia, the war in Ukraine, and the country’s ongoing antagonism with the United States. This feels like the kind of big history book that I’d want to tackle. 

book cover it won't always be like this by malaka gharib

It Won’t Always Be Like This: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib

Graphic memoirs are one of my new favorite genres – I love the way that the combination of words and art can illuminate parts of a person’s story in ways that words alone can’t quite do. Malaka Gharib grew up in the United States, but spent every summer with her father in Cairo. When she was nine, her father announced he had remarried, changing the dynamics of all future trips. Gharib writes about growing up in two worlds and trying to fit in imperfectly in both places. The images of this one are so vibrant and fun.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

There’s probably an argument to be made that literally any book could be a suggestion for a recommendations section for a language arts class. To keep from spiraling too out of control, I decided to suggest a couple of books about grammar and language that should appeal to the word nerds of the world. 

book cover in other words by jhumpa lahiri

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

The whole concept of this book fascinates me. As a college student, Jhumpa Lahiri studied abroad in Italy, falling in love with the country and the Italian language. In this book, she writes in Italian about her experience learning the language and immersing herself in it as a writer. She also writes about how learning a new language helped her separate from the stretching she felt between Bengali, the language of her parents, and English, the language she learned in the United States. This book is translated by Ann Goldstein, who has also translated Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. There’s so much in here that sounds interesting. 

book cover because internet by gretchen mcculloch

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

One of the most fascinating things about language is the way it shifts and changes over time. In this book, internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch looks at the ways language is being shaped by the Internet – the apps, platforms, conventions, and emojis that are affecting how we speak and think. As a person who spends a lot of time on the internet, I can’t wait to dive into this one. 

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 or send an email to kim@riotnewmedia.com. Happy weekend!