True Story

New Releases: So Many New Books!

Dang, I don’t know what’s up (pre-holiday fever?) but there are a TON of new releases this week. I have a pretty thorough spreadsheet, but some still slip through the cracks. That being said, I’m tracking eighteen at least semi-noteworthy new nonfiction releases this week. Here are your highlights!:

We Keep the Dead Close : A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper

In 1969, Jane Britton, a 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department, was found murdered in her apartment. Forty years later, undergrad Becky Cooper first heard a mythologized version of the story and began a decade of research into Jane Britton’s murder, rumored to be committed by a Harvard professor. This book is EXCELLENT.

Fossil Men : The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind by Kermit Pattison

I love paleoanthropology. What are humanity’s origins! We don’t actually know that much! It’s so weird! When did things settle into the way we do them and why! So this book goes into the team that discovered “Ardi,” a 4.4 million-year-old likely human ancestor. My assumption (I haven’t been able to access a galley of this one) is that it’s called Fossil Men because the the seven person team credited in the Science article is entirely composed of men. The leader of the Ardi team, Tim White, was helped in his early career by famed paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, so you’d think he’d maybe have learned something from that, but here we are. Anyway! Here’s the story of Ardi and the impact its discovery and shielded research had on the paleoanthropology community.

The Fabric of Civilization : How Textiles Made the World by Virginia Postrel

I’m not usually into “how [random daily item] CHANGED EVERYTHING” books, but textiles definitely had a huge impact and it’s really just a fun way to say “The History of Textiles,” which one would maybe be less inclined to pick up. “From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo’s David and the Taj Mahal.” This looks super fun.

A Cat’s Tale : A Journey Through Feline History by Dr. Paul Koudounaris and Baba the Cat

You’ve maybe seen Dr. Paul Koudounaris on some of mortician and author Caitlin Doughty’s YouTube vids. This history of cats is “dictated” to Koudounaris by Baba the Cat (just go with it), who goes through cats in ancient Egypt, Rome, Victorian England, modern France, and more. Scattered throughout are photos of Baba in pictures like the cover, wearing elaborate costumes. I mean, sign me up.

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays by Kiese Laymon

Originally published in 2013, but with SIX new essays, Carnegie Medal-winner Laymon revises and republishes his work on race, identity, and injustice. The thirteen essays touch on subjects ranging from “family, race, violence, and celebrity to music, writing, and coming of age in Mississippi.”

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.