Sponsored by This Party’s Dead by Erica Buist (Unbound).
Journalist Erica Buist travels to seven death festivals around the world (Nepal, Madagascar, Indonesia, Sicily, Japan, Mexico and New Orleans) in search of better attitudes towards death. This Party’s Dead is the account of her journey to understand how other cultures deal with mortal terror, how they move past the knowledge that they’re going to die in order to live happily day-to-day, how they celebrate rather than shy away from the topic of death – and how when this openness and acceptance are passed down through the generations, death suddenly doesn’t seem so scary after all.
Hello and welcome to another week of new releases! I call this the calm before the September storm (so. many. books. in. September) and we’ve got a nice array of DIFFERENTY kinds of nonfiction.
Did you catch Kim’s first Friday back last week? Check out the Friday edition of the newsletter for some A+ journalisty, link-filled bookish nonfiction content (question: after its intense overuse in the 2010s/2020s, are we going to have to ban the word “content” for a few years?).
A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen, and the Sardine Dress by Alison Hawthorne Deming
This was inspired by the Yves St Laurent sardine dress, which basically looks like the cover (fish scales!) and “celebrates the fading crafts, industries, and artisans that have defined communities for generations.” She looks at Manhattan dressmakers of the nineteenth century and “the fishermen on Grand Manan Island, a community of 2,500 residents, where the dignity of work and the bounty of the sea ruled for hundreds of years.” Grand Manan is in Canada!
Chinese diaspora! Gold! Ngai covers the gold rushes of the nineteenth century and how they led to “the Chinese Question,” namely: “would the United States and the British Empire outlaw Chinese immigration?” Spoiler: they did. Ngai links themes from “Europe’s subjugation of China to the rise of the international gold standard and the invention of racist, anti-Chinese stereotypes that persist to this day.” Basically, we are always being influenced by events and decisions of the past, and here are some you might not have known about that impact you.
Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky
Chemerinsky is dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. His new book “reveals how the Supreme Court has enabled racist policing and sanctioned law enforcement excesses through its decisions over the last half-century” and how “its conception in the late eighteenth century until the Warren Court in 1953, the Supreme Court rarely ruled against the police.” If you like deep dives into Supreme Court history (I do) and again, why we do the things we do (history!), then check this out.
In the Heights: Finding Home by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Jeremy McCarter
Ok yeah, this came out in June, but I am only HEARING about it now. In the Heights is my wife’s favorite musical and this behind-the-scenes look offers “untold stories, perceptive essays, and the lyrics to Miranda’s songs—complete with his funny, heartfelt annotations. It also features newly commissioned portraits and never-before-seen photos from backstage, the movie set, and productions around the world.” SO NEAT.
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.