True Story

Ohio Memoirs and New Book Releases

Hello, bookish friends! It’s the time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere when I like to curl up with a good book and hide from the world. It’s cold, rainy, and generally gloomy outside, so why not? I love reading memoirs during these colder months. There’s just something about reading other people’s stories that captures my attention. So today, we’ll be looking at two memoirs from my home state, Ohio. But first, bookish goods and the Read Harder Challenge!

Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge is in its ninth year, with a set of 24 tasks that invite readers to expand their worldview through books. Read one book per task, or do some multi-tasking by counting one book for multiple tasks. It’s all fine! The point of the challenge is to push yourself to expand your horizons. Big thanks to Thriftbooks for sponsoring Read Harder 2023.

To find the tasks and subscribe to our newsletter for tips and recommendations, visit Read Harder 2023.

Bookish Goods

a photo of an art print that features a quote by Ida B. Wells: The Way to right wrongs is to shine the light of truth on them

Ida B. Wells Literary Art Print by Obvious State

One of my favorite bookish stores will always be Obvious State. I’ve bought or been given prints, book marks, and post cards, and I have loved them all. $28

New Releases

a graphic of the cover of Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America's Most Dangerous Female Spy―and the Sister She Betrayed by Jim Popkin

Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Dangerous Female Spy―and the Sister She Betrayed by Jim Popkin

Ana Montes worked for the CIA as one of their top experts on Cuba. But what the government didn’t know was that she was a spy. Now author Jim Popkin tells the story of Ana, and her sister Lucy who worked at the Bureau. The two women grew up together, but took very different turns in their lives.

A graphic of the cover of Local: A Memoir by Jessica Machado

Local: A Memoir by Jessica Machado

Jessica Machado writes about her experience as a biracial girl growing up with a white mother and Native Hawaiian father. Machado feels caught between two places, never fitting in. So she decides to move to California, hoping that a new location will help her become more settled. But once there, she just feels more lost.

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

Riot Recommendations

I’m always on the hunt for stories from different regions across the United States. This week, let’s talk about Ohio memoirs!

a graphic of the cover of Rust Belt Femme by Raechel Anne Jolie

Rust Belt Femme by Raechel Anne Jolie

Raechel Anne Jolie grew up as a working class kid in the outskirts of Cleveland. When she was just a girl, her father was hit by a drunk driver, which ended their way of life forever. From there, her childhood was spent moving from home to home, never seeming to stay for long. She finds the alt scene downtown, and begins to discover a whole new world that she feels irrevocably drawn to. This tiny memoir is a shining testament to a love of working-class people, the midwest, and queer culture.

a graphic of the cover of Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome

Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome

Brian Broome couldn’t wait to leave northeast Ohio. He spent his childhood as a queer, Black kid never fitting in. But no matter where he moved, he still faced racism and homophobia. He describes how he coped with sex and drugs, always trying to forget the trauma he’d experienced while searching for belonging. Broome’s prose is incredible, every word there for a reason. His memoir is full of heart and a deep sense of longing.

a photo of Dylan, a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi and grand adventurer, standing on a wooden bench near the edge of a dock. He is smiling, watching his dad off camera
Dylan, the Explorer

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra