Hello hello! My body is back from vacation, but my brain is still on cabin time thanks to my Fourth of July week break to a lake in the woods. I managed to read six books, swam every day, and did more day drinking that might be advisable. But hey, that’s what vacation is all about!
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“I have friends and family of color. I can’t be racist!” Have you ever said something like this when your assumptions about race have been challenged? Or “Racists are bad individuals, so you are saying that I am a bad person.” Or “If you knew me or understood me, you would know I can’t be racist.”
If this sounds familiar, you should read White Fragility.
In her New York Times best-selling book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when talking about race and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
This week I’ve got some bookish news – more Obama team memoirs! America Ferrera’s essay collection! – plus three early July new releases that look especially exciting. We’re off!
There are a lot of Obama team memoirs coming out right now, and the New York Times is ON IT. Jokes aside, I enjoyed this comparison of several of the books, including how they take similar and different approaches to looking back on the Obama administration, and some speculation about why these books are so popular right now. P.S. If you don’t follow @NYTOnIt on Twitter, you are missing out.
Related, I am SO PSYCHED that Obama photographer Pete Souza is coming out with another book of photography titled Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, based on his amazing Instagram posts throwing, well, shade, at our current commander-in-chief. Check out his Instagram feed and then pre-order that book stat.
America Ferrera is editing an essay anthology all about culture, with a truly stellar list of contributors. American Like Me will include “stories from those trying find an identity in a culture that often ‘underrepresents or ignores’ their experiences.” Contributors include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay, Michelle Kwan, Kal Penn, and so many more really interesting people. Look for this one in September.
Combine beach reading and self-improvement with Fast Company’s five summer beach reads that can make you happier at work. The article describe the selections as “easy-to-read yet extremely informative nonfiction titles,” which feels like about the perfect Venn diagram for my reading brain right now.
More memoirs? Yes, please! This 50 must-reads list of classic memoirs by writers of color – covering books from the 11th century through 1996 – from Rebecca over at Book Riot is so, so great. I will also give a hearty thumbs up to Electric Lit’s list of eight memoirs by women with unconventional jobs. All the memoirs!
Get motivated with Redbook’s list of 15 motivational books that’ll leave you feeling inspired, books that are “filled with words of wisdom that’ll get you revved up and ready to conquer the world.”
In this week’s episode of For Real I talked about three recent books I’m excited about – Don’t You Ever by Mary Carter Bishop, Empress by Ruby Lal, and From the Corner of the Oval by Rebecca Dorey-Stein. Here are three more early July releases to put on your radar:
Give People Money by Annie Lowrey – In this book, economics writer Annie Lowrey looks at the idea of a universal basic income, a stipend given to every citizen, as a way to help reduce inequality around the world. Lowrey looks at countries that have implemented UBI, and what challenges we might face trying to implement it.
What to Read and Why by Francine Prose – Who wouldn’t want advice on what to read from a novelist, literary critic, and essayist like Francine Prose? This book “celebrates the pleasures of reading and pays homage to the works and writers (Prose) admires,” everyone from Jane Austen to Roberto Bolaño, through previously-published work and new pieces.
The Poisoned City by Anna Clark – In January 2016, the residents of Flint, Michigan were instructed to stop using tap water due to high levels of lead in their municipal water supply, two years after complaints started to come in about the tainted, dangerous water. This book is, I think, the first full look at this crisis, telling the story “through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it.”