True Story

Reading About Reading (and Gardening)

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction readers! This week marks my last bit of time away from work for the summer.  I’m taking a long weekend Up North, as we Minnesotans like to say, to sit by a big lake and enjoy some quiet time away from screens. I hope your weekend is equally as restful!

In this Friday’s newsletter I’m excited to share books on computers, reading, and gardening. Let’s go!

Bookish Goods

six bookmarks showing photos from Lake Superior

Lake Superior Bookmarks from MichiganLandscapes

Bookmarks with pictures of a beautiful lake? I am sold! You can get this superpack of six for $15, or browse many other options. Michigan isn’t Minnesota, but the view is close enough!

New Releases

book cover proving ground by kathy kleiman

Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer by Kathy Kleiman

At the close of World War II, countries around the world were competing for the next great technological achievement. In the United States, six pioneering women were racing to figure out how to program the world’s first electronic computer, the ENIAC. There were no instructions or programming languages to guide them – everything they figured out they did on their own. To write this book, researcher Kathy Kleiman met with four of the six women, recording extensive interviews about their experiences as some of the earliest women in technology. I am such a fan of books that explore the hidden contributions women have made in science, so getting this one is high on my list.

book cover how to read now by elaine castillo

How to Read Now: Essays by Elaine Castillo

Who doesn’t love reading a book about reading? In this linked essay collection, novelist Elaine Castillo explores the politics and ethics of reading, going beyond the traditional arguments about empathy and diversity to find “a more entangled relationship not just with our fiction and our art, but with our buried and entangled histories.” She looks at our relationships with the classics, “settler colonialism” in beloved authors, and more to encourage “a more complicated, embodied form of reading.” That all just sounds so good.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

I have never been particularly good at starting or maintaining a garden, but I love the idea of fresh summer produce or just connecting more deeply with the natural seasons around us. With that in mind, here are two nonfiction reads about growing:

book cover braiding sweetgrass by robin wall kimmer

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, two perspectives she weaves together beautifully in this book about the lessons we can learn from other living beings. While not specifically about growing food, this book argues that we need to expand our environmental consciousness to connect more deeply with the rest of the living world. This book has gotten nothing but rave reviews from everyone I know who has read it.

book cover animal vegetable miracle by barbara kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Originally published in 2007, this memoir from novelist Barbara Kingsolver shared her family’s experience moving to a farm in southern Appalachia and their personal quest to spend a year only eating locally-produced foods. Reprinted in 2017, the 10th anniversary edition expands on the original with new contributions from each member of the family sharing how their original, year-long effort has expanded or changed their lives since then. This book is so charming, and a true inspiration if you want to think more deeply about your food.

For more book recommendations, check out these lists from Book Riot: 

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork or send an email to Happy weekend!