Win a Copy of GOOD ME BAD ME by Ali Land!


We have 10 copies of Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:



Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by TarcherPerigee, publisher of The Nocturnal Journal by Lee Crutchley.

An engaging and emotionally aware resource for night owls, insomniacs, and anyone else who can’t turn off their restless minds when the lights go out, The Nocturnal Journal will help you explore what keeps you up at night, and why. Prompts and illustrations tease out the pressing thoughts, deep questions, everyday anxieties, and half-formed creative ideas that need unpacking and exploring, bringing more peace of mind and a richer understanding of ourselves. Hand-lettered and illustrated throughout, Lee Crutchley’s insightful, interactive journal is a natural next step for those who have tried coloring, mindfulness, and meditation.


Win a Copy of A POISON DARK AND DROWNING by Jessica Cluess!

We have 10 copies of A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Henrietta Howel doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one. In the seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

What's Up in YA

Great YA Nonfiction, Ebook Deals, and More!

Hey there YA Fans!

Eric Smith filling in for the unbelievable Kelly Jensen, and this week I’ll be your silver-medal-of-newsletter-writers.

Sponsored by Elly Blake’s Fireblood, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

In this action-packed sequel to the New York Times bestselling Frostblood, Ruby must choose between her fiery homeland and the icy king who loves her.

Can you believe we started a YA podcast? In case ya’ll missed it, you can check out the first teaser episode of Hey YA here. The first full episode is coming at you soon, packed full of reading recommendations, critical discussions, and the sounds of excited pets in the background.

This week marked the release of Martha Brockenbrough’s Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary, a biography about everyone’s favorite founding-father-and-also-musical. And I can’t help but think about how there’s been this incredible resurgence in non-fiction in the YA world.

And my goodness, is this something we should all be celebrating.

A lot of history gets left out of the classroom. So the arrival of books that fill in those gaps. Queer, There, & Everywhere by Sarah Prager (one of my favorite books this year), does that so spectacularly, introducing young readers to nearly two dozen people from history that you may have never been taught about. In a recent post on Book Riot, Kim Ukura rounds up ten great examples of YA non-fiction, and it’s just a taste of what’s brewing.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what other brilliant bits of YA non-fiction hit bookshelves in the coming months and years. It’s an exciting space to watch.

Here’s some of what we talked about when it comes to YA on Book Riot last week:

Villains are so often misunderstood. At least, the best ones are. Who doesn’t love a bad character that’s complicated? That’s what makes them interesting! From Victoria Schwab’s teen monster to Leigh Bardugo’s heist-ready gang, here are a few worth reading about.

John Green’s next book, Turtles All the Way Down, is coming at you pretty soon. He reads the first chapter of it, and you can watch and listen.

I feel like a key part of the teen experience, at least for me and my friends as kids, is some sort of quirky job growing up. In this post, Kelly rounds up a bunch of odd jobs, from running a casino (Overturned by Lamar Giles) to working as an Antarctic researcher (Up To This Pointe by Jennifer Longo).

Ever wonder what it’s like to research children’s books? Check out this guest post from Daisy Johnson, who talks about things she’s learned.

And now, the deals!

Lots of great deals in YA floating around in the eBook world, so stock up! Winter is coming, and I don’t mean that in a bad-Game-of-Thrones-reference sort of way. It’s getting colder, and you’re going to want a stack of books to snuggle up with. Even if that stack is a virtual one.

Alterations by Stephanie Scott: This YA contemporary novel about a fashion-loving teen caught up in a whirlwind romance was nominated for a RITA this year for best first novel, and it’s only $1!

Adam Silvera’s heartbreaking second novel, History is All You Left Me, is only sale for just $1.99. With They Both Die at the End out soon, you should pick it up.

In the mood for some intense fantasy? A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess is on sale for $1.99.

What’s it like to be just a normal kid when superheroes are all over the place? Patrick Ness answers that in The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and it’s just $1.99 right now. This was one of my favorite books released last year.

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older is $1.99, perfectly priced to prepare you for Shadowhouse Fall, the sequel out soon.

Why did Blackbeard turn out the way he did? Nicole Castroman explores his early life in Blackhearts, a really fun pirate adventure about a teen Blackbeard, and it’s $1.99.

Thanks for spending some time with me. Kelly will be back next week.

  • Eric Smith, @ericsmithrocks

Currently reading All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry, out in October!


Book Radar

Emily Mandel’s Station Eleven Follow-Up and More!

Hello, and happy Monday, book lovers! I hope you’re enjoying a lovely September so far and have so many good books to read, you don’t have room for all of them. Be excellent to each other. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

I Needed to Win.

They Needed to Die.

Sal Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

cover of Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo HopkinsonJoan Didion gets a new Netflix documentary.

Check out Brown Girl Begins, based on Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson!

Dracul, the first prequel authorized by the estate of Bram Stoker, will also be a film. (Will the prequel of the prequel be called Dracu?)

Renee Watson signed a five-book deal.

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is being developed into a film. 

Emily St. John Mandel’s new book has been announced!

la confidentialCBS is developing L.A. Confidential drama series.

Nurse Ratched series starring Sarah Paulson coming to Netflix.

Stoner by John Williams is going to be a film.

It sequel plans already moving forward.


Cover Reveals

Here’s the cover for Heather Webb’s The Phantom’s Apprentice. (February 2018)

Tor has the first peek at The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell. (Saga Press, February 2018)

And here’s a look at The Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova. (Keymaster Press, December 5)

Sneak Peeks!

the man who invented christmasThe trailer for The Man Who Invented Christmas, a film about Charles Dickens.

A new look at Thor: Ragnarok! (Jeff Goldblum should always dress like that, imho.)



Book Riot Recommends 

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders New Release Index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week!

mother of all pigsMother of All Pigs by Malu Halasa (Unnamed Press, November 14): Fantastic novel about three generations of women in a small Jordanian town, the women in the Sabas household. The story follows the daily workings of their lives, the secrets they keep, and the sacrifices they make. It’s a richly woven tale about family and the realities of everyday life in the Middle East.


the beautiful onesThe Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The author of the amazing Signal to Noise and Certain Dark Things is back with a wonderful story about etiquette and, er, telekinesis. Nina is in the city of Loisail to find a husband, but the rumors of her special abilities are making it difficult. When Nina meets a man who says he can help her control her powers, she soon finds herself under his spell. But looks can be deceiving. What fun!

And this is funny.

The #MakeClassicNovelsModern hashtag on Twitter was a delight. This one made me LOL.

The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books for Back-To-School

Hi Kid Lit friends!

I think most kids are back to school by now, adjusting to the rhythms of a new school year. My own kids went back this past Thursday, battling a little bit of school jitters but mostly super happy to be back with their friends and teachers. It’s been a lovely summer for them, filled with new experiences, new friendships, and lots of reading! We have a piece of easel paper taped to our wall where everyone in our family writes down the books we’ve read; my nine-year-old smoked us all. Check out the books she’s read from July and half of August.

Sponsored by Disney Hyperion

“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness….”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history—that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation.  Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

To prepare for the school year, we’ve been reading lots of great new children’s books about school! Here’s a list:

Picture Books

The Teacher’s Pet by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
When their class tadpoles are big enough, Mr. Stricter tells his students they can keep just one. The class chooses Bruno, the smallest of the bunch. But Bruno doesn’t stay that way for long. Soon, he’s grown into a giant, classroom-wrecking creature. With Mr. Stricter blinded by love for the pet, the students must step up and take matters into their own heroic hands.

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Buddy and Earl Go to School by Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff
Buddy and Earl know that with the right education they can become anything. Soon after they arrive, their teacher, Miss Meredith, is called away and Professor Earl takes charge of the classroom. When Professor Earl announces that one very special student is going to win a major award, Buddy cannot imagine who that lucky student might be…

Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich, illustrated by Zoey Abbott
It’s the night before the twins are starting kindergarten, and they have the just-about-to-start-school jitters. After all, they will be in different classrooms! What will kindergarten be like when they’re not together all day? But Dax and Zoe will learn that kindergarten is full of new surprises and adventures, and being apart for a short while isn’t so bad.

Middle Grade

Confessions from the Principal’s Kid by Robin Mellom
During the school day, fifth-grader Allie West is an outsider. Everyone knows the principal’s kid might tattle to her mom! But after school, Allie is an insider; she is friends with the janitor and the other kids of teachers. Although Allie secretly loves her insider life, she’s sick of being an outsider—so she vows to join the Pentagon, the popular math team led by her ex–best friend. But can Allie change her status without betraying where she really belongs?

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen
After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost.

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

Sidetracked by Diana Harmon Asher
If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place—he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. With a new friend and a new track team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time.

Graphic Novels

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! What follows is an adventure even more bizarre than life at the Renaissance Faire.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm (Graphix, 9/12)
Summer’s over and it’s time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she’s doing, she always tells him she’s fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time.


New Releases!
Some of my favorite new books, most of them coming out this Tuesday!

Picture Books

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, Sean Qualls, and Selina Alko (Scholastic, 9/12)
A gorgeous book about what makes us the same and different. One of my favorite picture books of the year.

Muddy by Michael Mahin, illustrated by Evan Turk
The story of blues legend Muddy Waters and how his fierce and electric music laid the groundwork for what would become rock and roll.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Candlewick, 9/12)
In luminous painting and arresting poems, two scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages.

Hooray for Books! by Brian Won (HMH, 9/12)
A lovely homage to books, with bright and engaging illustrations.

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
A book filled with color and darling illustrations, this story incorporates Spanish in a vibrant Peruvian setting.

It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster, 9/12)
Pair an incredible illustrator (one of my favorites!) with one of the most inspiring people in the world, and you get this new picture book. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world.

Only In My Hometown by Angnakuluk Friesen, pictures by Ippiksaut Friesen (Groundwood Books, 9/12)
A gorgeous story about growing up in an Inuit community in Nunavut, where the Northern Lights shine.

Smoot by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Penguin Random House, 9/12)
A shadow that is frustrated with his boy who never laughs or leaps takes matters in his own hands and teaches his boy about living his life with joy and purpose.

Middle Grade

Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill (Candlewick, 9/12)
Twins take over the growing of a neighbor’s pumpkin seed, which changes their summer in unimaginable ways.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas (Penguin Random House, 9/12)
When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, something unexpected happens: a black hole follows her home.

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner (Bloomsbury, 9/12)
Kirby “Zig” Zigonski tries to make sense of the world through simple circuits, buzzers, and lights, and he is certain that his absent father is communicating to him through his GPS. An honest portrayal of how poverty and homelessness affects kids.


EBook Deals

Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey is only $1.99!

Harold’s ABC by Crockett Johnson, is a steal at $1.99!

This week I’m reading The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9/19), The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial Books, 3/6/18), and The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid (Balzer & Bray, 10/24) by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis. I’d love to know what you’re reading! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time,

Izzy caught in the act of chewing up my reading material. Busted!

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*


Win a Copy of WRECKED by Maria Padian!

We have 10 copies of Wrecked by Maria Padian to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Haley saw Jenny come back to the dorm, shell-shocked. Richard heard Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. What really happened at the party that night? Book Riot’s Kelly Jensen calls Wrecked by Maria Padian “Outstanding, powerful, and important . . . Hands down, one of the best sexual assault reads in YA.” And in a starred review, Shelf Awareness for Readers says Wrecked is “riveting . . . With intriguing, flawed characters and a gripping storyline, [it] offers readers a view of a college sexual assault case that is as engrossing as it is important.”

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Sept 8

Happy Friday, warlocks and mecha warriors! This week we’re talking about genre-defiers Three Moments of an Explosion and Brown Girl in the Ring, plus witchy reads, a writing contest, dystopian fashion, and more.

cover of The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J WalkerThis newsletter is sponsored by The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian Walker.

#1 International Bestseller!

When the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts. No one knows this more than Edgar Hill: over five hundred miles of devastated wasteland stretch between him and his family. To get back to them, he must push himself to the very limit—or risk losing them forever.

His best option is to run. But what if his best isn’t good enough? A powerful postapocalyptic thriller, The End of the World Running Club is an otherworldly yet extremely human story of hope, love, and the endurance of both body and spirit.

Fall is a great time to get witchy, and Sharifah has some books that can help with that. I’d like to cosign Basic Witches, which is not at all the book I thought it was going to be, in a really delightful way.

Calling all writers: here is a short story contest! io9 and the Economic Security Project want you to write a story about the economics of the future, the prize is $12,000, and the deadline is November 1.

In NK Jemisin’s latest NY Times column she drops some love for JY Yang’s Tensorate novellas (which I also love!) alongside reviews of Provenance, Monstress Volume 2, and The Twilight Pariah.

For when real life isn’t twisted enough (lulz), have some more dark, grown-up fairytales.

In the discussion of Terry Pratchett’s last wishes, I’m firmly Team Steamroller. If you want to debate the pros and cons, Unbound Worlds has a post for that.

In the terrible, awful, no good very bad future, what will we wear? During their dystopian week, Vulture talked to the costume designers who brought dystopian fiction and fashion to the screen.

When reality and sci-fi collide, you get things like an International Space Station patch designed by LucasFilm, featuring our favorite sassy droids!

Today in reviews we have a short story collection and a near-future tale that both cross genre lines.

Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville

paperback cover of Three Moments of an Explosion by China MievilleIf you’ve never read China Miéville, I like this a lot as a starting point. You could begin with Perdido Street Station (his excellent alternate-world dark fantasy), or The City and the City (his excellently weird murder mystery), or Embassytown (his excellent aliens-meet-humans sci-fi novel), if you were feeling in a specific mood. I wrote a whole post about where to start with his novels back in 2013. But Three Moments of an Explosion will give you horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction all in one gloriously varied package.

It’s a short story collection without a thematic through-line — each piece stands solidly on its own. There are assassins and therapists; vampires and film directors; floating icebergs and doctors working on dark experiments; lake monsters and monsters that only exist in the mind. Miéville plays with narrative structure, with character, with the conventions of science fiction and fantasy, and warps them in a way that has become his signature. If that sounds like a lot for one collection, that’s because it’s a collection with 28 stories — plenty of room to play! Three Moments of an Explosion is a chance to dip in and out of the mind and work of one of SF/F’s prominent writers, and then go forth into his novels armed and ready for the strange and complicated delights to come.

Already read Miéville but haven’t gotten to this one yet? Let this be your reminder not to wait any longer!

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

cover of Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo HopkinsonI’ve read Nalo Hopkinson before, but it was only this past week that I read her debut novel Brown Girl in the Ring. Let me assure you that it reads like the work of an author who knows their voice, knows their craft, and has been working for years. In a word, it’s stunning.

Set in a near-future Toronto in which the city has been abandoned by the wealthy and privileged for the suburbs, it follows the exploits of a family of women struggling on many levels. Ti-Jeanne has left her addict boyfriend Tony, given birth to her first child, and is torn between the love she still feels for Tony and the need to make a life that’s as safe as possible for her son. Her grandmother, Mami Gros-Jeanne, is trying to get Ti-Jeanne to be her apprentice and learn the medicine and magical lore that is her birthright, with little success. The aforementioned Tony thinks that if he does one last job for the local crime boss Rudy, he can buy his way out into a better life and take Ti-Jeanne with him. And Rudy — well, Rudy wants power and control, forever, and doesn’t care what he has to do to get it. And then the gods get involved…

Blending very real politics politics and drama with Afro-Caribbean mythology, Hopkinson tells a story that’s dark and violent, but ultimately hopeful. It’s also a whopper of a page-turner; I picked it up on a whim and then could not put it down. If you’re looking for a read-alike for American Gods, this belongs on your shelf. If you’re looking for #ownvoices stories, this belongs on your shelf. If you’re looking for a warped mirror held up to society, this belongs on your shelf. If you’re looking for stellar writing and distinct voices, this belongs on your shelf. Basically: this belongs on your shelf.

And that’s a wrap! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

I’ll be back!,

True Story

10 New Nonfiction Books Out This Week

It seems that fall is truly here – the leaves are turning, pumpkin spice lattes are back, and a ton of awesome books are newly out on the shelves.

The first Tuesday of the month is typically a big day in publishing, and this week was no exception – my TBR is exploding from all of the awesome books that came out on September 5. This week, I decided to channel my favorite velocireader, Liberty Hardy, and put together a new books megalist focused strictly on nonfiction. Here are 10 of the books I’m most excited to check out ASAP.

Sponsored by Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough

Complex, passionate, brilliant, flawed—Alexander Hamilton comes alive in this exciting biography.

He was born out of wedlock on a small island in the West Indies and orphaned as a teenager. From those inauspicious circumstances, he rose to a position of power and influence in colonial America.

Discover this founding father’s incredible true story: his brilliant scholarship and military career; his groundbreaking and enduring policy, which shapes American government today; his salacious and scandalous personal life; his heartrending end.

Richly informed by Hamilton’s own writing, with archival artwork and new illustrations, this is an in-depth biography of an extraordinary man.

Border by Kapka Kassabova (Graywolf Press) – A reporter returns to her country of origin, Bulgaria, to explore its border between Turkey and Greece and its role as a border to the West. This book looks like a fascinating mix of history, travel, journalism, and memoir.

Crash Override by Zoe Quinn (PublicAffairs) – After an ex-boyfriend posted an inflammatory, untruthful blog post about her, game developer Zoe Quinn found herself the most public victim of the #gamergate movement. In the book, Quinn shares her experience being harassed by an online mob, and her work to help others through the Crash Override Network, an advocacy and online-abuse crisis resource.

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen (Random House) – While it seems like the who “fake news” and “alternative facts” era we’re in is new, it actually has a long history in our country. Kurt Andersen explores how this may actually be “the ultimate expression of our national character and path” – a potent mix of individualism, epic dreams and epic fantasies.

Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A by Danielle Allen (Liveright) – Cuz is one of the books I was most curious to pick up BookExpo this spring. Allen writes about her baby cousin, Michael Allen, a young man arrested for attempted carjacking at 15 who spent the next 11 years in prison. After Michael was released, Allen tried to help him, but learned how the world isn’t open to young black men just out of prison.

Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi (St. Martin’s Press) – In 2015, podcast host Manoush Zomorodi encouraged the listeners of Note to Self to participate in an experiment – one week of unplugging from their devices to help rethink our relationship to our gadgets. Bored and Brilliant is an extension of that experiment that shares more research on links between boredom and creativity, and guides readers through their own seven day experiment in unplugging.

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters (Clarkson Potter) – Memoirs by chefs are some of my favorite books. In this book, Alice Waters traces her meandering path to opening Chez Panisse in 1971. I am really excited by the the note that the book includes recipes, photographs and letters, which I imagine will be very cool.

Altered Traits by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson (Avery) – I have been trying to develop a consistent meditation habit for the last couple of years, but it never seems to stick. In this book, Goleman and Davidson explore “the truth about what meditation can really do for us, as well as exactly how to get the most out of it” through smart practice and the newest science of mind-training.

Reconcilable Differences by Dawn Markova and Angie McArthur (Spiegel and Grau) – A cognitive neuroscientist and a communication expert team up to explore how to connect with people when it feels like you’re speaking entirely different languages. At the core of the book is an exploration of the difference between rational and relational intelligence.

If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan (St. Martin’s Press) – Living alone after a painful divorce at 27, Ilana Kurshan began a daily study of the Talmud, “a book of rabbinic teachings spanning about 600 years and the basis for all codes of Jewish law.” For the next seven years, Kurshan studied daily and shares some of her insights in this memoir.

Tales of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman – In this collection, 36 contemporary writers explore what life is like in a country as divided as the United States. The collection includes essays, poems, and stories to try and help connect these deeply varied experiences to our own. Any collection that can pull together Ann Patchett, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Edwidge Danticat, Eula Bliss, Karen Russell and more, is worth picking up.

Kindle Deals in Biography and Memoir

And if that’s not enough book goodness for you, here are three great Kindle Monthly Deals from the biography and memoir section you can snag this month:

And with that, I’ll close this newsletter out so I can get back to my book — I’m about two-thirds done with Bored and Brilliant and want to hide my phone in my sock drawer forever. You can reach me on Twitter @kimthedork or via email at with questions, comments, suggestions, or book recommendations. Happy reading!


Win a $250 Amazon Gift Card!

Whether it’s back-to-school, fall books, or getting ready for the holidays, I bet $250 to spend at Amazon would go a long ways.

And thanks to our friends at Riffle, we just so happen to have a $250 gift card to give away. (and if you are interested in winning a new Amazon Kindle Voyage, go here).

Just go here to enter for a chance to win, or click the image below. Good luck!