Sponsored by The Light Streamed Beneath It (ECW Press).
A lifetime of finding punchlines in his heartache comes to a shuddering stop when comedian and writer Shawn Hitchins loses two great loves to sudden death. In this deeply poignant memoir, Hitchins explores the messiness of being alive: the longing and desire, scorching-earth anger, raw grief — and the pathway of healing he discovers when he lets his heart remain open. A heartrending, hope-filled story of resilience in the wake of death, The Light Streamed Beneath It affirms that life is essentially good, as Hitchins weaves his tale full of tenacious spirit, humor, kindness, and grit through life’s most unforgiving challenges.
So close to Halloween. I love how for Sept./Oct. we’re allowed to be spooky, and then it feels like November 1, cuts that right out. If you’re a November holdout, more power to you. Personally, I feel the Halloween season should be September 1 – November JustBeforeThanksgiving. My neighborhood’s getting pretty decked out, which is v exciting. I hope yours is too!
You might have heard of supply chain issues causing a book shortage. Get those gifts now! Or presents for yourself! What if your TBR pile dwindles down to a mere fifty books — THEN where will you be? Probably at the library, because who reads their TBR pile. But anyway! Onward to new releases:
African Icons: Ten People Who Built a Continent by Tracey Baptiste
This is for ages 8 – 12! Which is extremely great because, as recently mentioned in this newsletter, it is v v difficult to get non-super-academic African history books in the US, and especially so for kids! This is about ten “real-life kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who lived in Africa thousands of years ago and changed the world.” Ugh, so cool. Learn about Mansa Musa and Amanirenas and eight others!
Mutiny on the Rising Sun: A Tragic Tale of Slavery, Smuggling, and Chocolate by Jared Ross Hardesty
The year is 1743. It’s prime smuggling time. The ship Rising Sun sells a group of enslaved people from Africa to the Dutch colony of Suriname and is sailing away when three of its sailors murder four people on board and mutiny, taking over the schooner. This is about the mutiny and “an international chocolate smuggling ring.” ALSO it’s from NYU Press, so it’s an academic press book!
One Fair Wage: Ending Subminimum Pay in America by Saru Jayaraman
The federal tipped minimum wage since 1991 (yes, that is thirty years) has been $2.13. Prior to COVID, six million people that we are aware of worked off this system, meaning when the pandemic hit, tons of them lost their jobs and the varied security that came with them. In Jayaraman’s newest book, she “shines a light on these workers, illustrating how the people left out of the fight for a fair minimum wage are society’s most marginalized: people of color, many of them immigrants; women, who form the majority of tipped workers; disabled workers; incarcerated workers; and youth workers.” Jayaraman is the director of the Food Labor Research Center at U-C Berkeley.
The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone by Edward Dolnick
In 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered in Egypt. Carved in 196 BCE, it uses Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts, and also Ancient Greek. It is how we in the modern era could finally decipher Ancient Egyptian. DID the British steal it from Egypt in 1801 and haul it back to their country? Yes. It has been on display in the British Museum since 1802. Hm. But THIS book is about the translation itself and how two British and French guys decided to make it a big competition. It’s also about the culture of Egypt and I am a sucker for a book that talks about history and objects and dramatic happenings, even if those dramatic happenings were two dudes trying to be James Spader in Stargate.
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.