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Hello and happy Friday, nonfiction nerds. I’ve been sad all week following the death of author Toni Morrison. Although she’s probably best known for her fiction, she was also a prominent thinker and writer of nonfiction.
In addition to editing or contributing to many essay collections, she published several of her own including What Moves At the Margin in 2008, The Origin of Others in 2017, and The Source of Self-Regard in 2019. Her 1993 Nobel Prize lecture is also an amazing read, and is the source of one of the beautiful quotes I’ve seen floating around this week:
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
With that, a few other stories of note from the week:
Chelsea and Hillary Clinton are teaming up to write a book! Out October 1, The Book of Gutsy Women will include portraits of more than 100 women – “leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done.” Both Clintons have previously written books, but this is the first time they’re writing together. Women in the book will range from presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm to scientist Marie Curie, as well as other contemporary heroines. I know at some point I’m going to get tired of these kinds of collected biographies… but this is not quite that day.
Speaking of the Clintons… season three of American Crime Story will tackle the Clinton impeachment scandal. The season is being based on a book, Jeffrey Toobin’s 2000 book A Vast Conspiracy. Stars include Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. I can’t decide how I feel about this, but I’ve got time to figure out – it’s not slated to premiere until September 2020.
Speaking of upcoming books… Publisher’s Weekly has released their list of most anticipated books of Fall 2019, and it’s a doozy! I always like the way PW splits out nonfiction, which gives a lot more titles space on a list like this one. My top title from the list is either Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz (out October 29) or The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt (out October 22).
Speaking of other political scandals… Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of classified documents, has a memoir coming out September 17. There’s not much out about the book, Permanent Record, although the publisher says “Snowden will describe his role in the accumulation of metadata and the ‘crisis of conscience’ that led him to steal a trove of files in 2013 and share them with reporters.” It’s worth noting that publicizing the book might be hard for Snowden, who is living in exile in Moscow.