True Story

Essay Collections Perfect for Summer

Whenever we start on a new walk with the Corgis, they plunge ahead, as if saying, “Let’s go! Adventure awaits!” Dylan is a bit braver than Gwen when it comes to tramping through the forest. Gwen is more excited about the people we might meet along the way. But with either approach, they are sure to have a great time. While on our walks, I’ve been listening to a lot of essay collections, so I’ll be sharing a couple of those today.

But first, new books! Also, make sure to check out our new podcast First Edition, where co-founder Jeff O’Neal explores the wide bookish world. Subscribe to hear them and stay to hear Book Riot’s editors pick the “it” book of the month.

Bookish Goods

a photo of a sticker featuring an illustration of a colorful stack of books.  a teacup sits on the top of the stack. Words beneath the stack read, Ban bigots, not books

Feminist Sticker: Ban Bigots Not Books by FabulouslyFeminist

Here for ALL the bookish stickers! I saw this one and thought it was an adorable, cozy-looking sticker, perfect for huddling under blankets in my aggressively air-conditioned home. $4

New Releases

a graphic of the cover of The Light Room: On Art and Care by Kate Zambreno

The Light Room: On Art and Care by Kate Zambreno

In this intimate memoir, Kate Zambreno writes about being a mother of two daughters. She asks big questions and shares anxieties about her daughters’ future in a country with poor healthcare and a rising climate crisis.

a graphic of the cover of Owner of a Lonely Heart: A Memoir by Beth Nguyen

Owner of a Lonely Heart: A Memoir by Beth Nguyen

At the end of the war, Beth Nguyen and her family flee Vietnam to make a new home in America. But somehow, her mother stayed. Nguyen writes about her childhood spent without her mother, who she didn’t see again until she was 19.

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

Riot Recommendations

a graphic of the cover of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

When a new friend insisted that I needed to read Annie Dillard, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t quite have his literary taste down yet. But when I read The Writing Life, I got the hype. And just last month, I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a gorgeous book of essays that pulls from nature writing traditions. Dillard gives you a multi-seasonal portrait of the world around Tinker Creek, the many creatures that live there, and their life cycles. She writes about the complexity of plants, fish, birds, and bugs — like, A LOT of bugs. I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by her fascination with common parasites. But she kind of has a point. The living beings all around us have multifaceted, mesmerizing lives. If only we take the time to look.

a graphic of the cover of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

Shortly after finishing A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I picked up How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee. Chee has an essay about studying with Annie Dillard and details much of her writing advice. His picture of her often feels like one of Dillard’s portraits of some animal or plant she describes in her writing. But this time, Dillard is the one being studied. Chee also writes about his time as a gay rights activist while living in San Francisco in the early 1990s. He has a way of writing about people that capture all those tiny details that make their characterizations seem so true to life.

a photo of Sam, a white man with light brown hair and a full beard, reading to Dylan and Gwen. Dylan is a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Gwen is a black and white cardigan Welsh corgi. They are all sitting on a multi-colored rug. A bookshelf is behind them.
Storytime at the Winchester Household (also ft my spouse, Samuel)

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave, over on Instagram @kdwinchester, or on my podcast Read Appalachia. 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