True Story

Vacation Reading, Nonfiction Style

August is the time when a lot of people head to the mountains or the beach for a last hurrah before the busy fall begins. I see a lot of mysteries, thrillers, and romance novels — all genres I love — as the top contenders for vacation reads. But what about nonfiction? I love to read a great memoir or personal essay collection. So today, we’re looking at memoirs and personal essays.

But first, let’s talk about new books, and Book Riot’s New Release Index. Delighting velocireaders since 2017, the Index will keep you in the know about all the latest books. New books for days. Subscribe today — you won’t be able to read them all, but it’s fun to try! 

Bookish Goods

a photo of a five miniature books set on a hair clips, creating such a cute literary hairstyle

Miniature Book Hair Clip Barrette by Britts Highlights

When I was a kid, I used to were barrettes ALL the time. This would have been such a cute option! $24

New Releases

a graphic of the cover of Chinese Prodigal: A Memoir in Eight Arguments by David Shih

Chinese Prodigal: A Memoir in Eight Arguments by David Shih

When David Shih’s father passes away in 2019, Shih finds himself on a journey to come to terms with what it means to be Asian American during a time when anti-Asian hate is on the rise. Shih combines history, cultural analysis, and personal stories to create his compelling narrative.

a graphic of the cover of Thin Skin: Essays by Jenn Shapland

Thin Skin: Essays by Jenn Shapland

You all have no idea how excited I have been for this book. I ADORED An Autobiography of Carson McCullers. Now, Shapland is back with her first collection of essays. I cannot get my hands on this book fast enough.

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

Riot Recommendations

a graphic of the cover of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

In this gorgeous memoir, Michelle Zauner shares her experience growing up as the only Asian American kid in Eugene, Oregon. She grew up with a white American father and a Korean mother, which has always made her feel not part of either world. When her mother dies, she finds herself in an Asian grocery store, reminded of her mother and crying in the aisles. Beautifully written and full of quick wit and insight, Crying in H Mart has to be one of the best memoirs in the last few years.

a graphic of the cover of What Doesn’t Kill You by Tessa Miller

What Doesn’t Kill You by Tessa Miller

What Doesn’t Kill You is part memoir, part how-to book. This book follows the author’s own experience navigating the U.S. health system with Crohn’s disease and all that it entails. She also writes guides for other disabled folks, which is especially great for those new to being chronically ill. This book gives a great insight into what it really means to be chronically ill and the daily ins and outs of living with incurable disease.

a photo of Kendra, a white woman with brunette hair, holding Dylan, a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Dylan looks disgruntled, embarrassed even. Kendra is smiling.
Dylan is still embarrassed when I want to take pictures with him.

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