Categories
True Story

Alice Wong Partners on The Access Series

Hello hello, nonfiction friends! As you are reading this newsletter, I am enjoying a much-needed long weekend to catch my breath before the chaos of the holidays truly gets started. It’s going to be a real sprint to the end of the year… which feels incredibly, impossibly soon given that it’s still basically just been 2020: The Extended Edition.

ANYWAY! This week it’s time to catch up on some nonfiction news that’s been sitting behind the scenes for a bit. 

Bitch Media is partnering with Alice Wong and the Disability Visibility Project on The Access Series, a digital series about access and how disabilied and chronically ill people navigate the world. The series asks: “What does an accessible future look like? How can we build that world right now and trust people with lived experience to guide the process? How does systemic ableism perpetuate inequality and inaccessibility?” I can’t wait to dig into this one. You can read it online or download a PDF.

Kristen Stewart is directing an adaptation of Lidia Yuknavitch’s 2010 memoir The Chronology of Water. According to Variety, casting for the project has just begun, although Stewart says she doesn’t plan to appear in the movie at all. 

Speaking of memoirs, three other pieces of memoir-related news: 

  • Selma Blair is also releasing a memoir! Mean Baby is set to publish in April 2022 and will include reflections on living with a chronic neurological disease, multiple sclerosis. This is one celebrity memoir I’m very jazzed to read.

The 2021 Kirkus Prize winners have been announced! Congrats to Brian Broome, author of Punch Me Up to the Gods, for winning the nonfiction prize.

We’ve got some casting news for The Boys in the Boat! Callum Turner (perhaps best known for playing Theseus Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movies), will star in the adaptation of a book about the 1936 Olympic Crew Team. And fun note, George Clooney is set to direct – interesting!

Weekend Reading

This week I started reading The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America by Carol Anderson. I love her approachable but critical histories about race in the United States, and this book is no exception. In it she explores “the history and impact of the Second Amendment” and how it’s been used to “keep African Americans powerless and vulnerable.” It’s a fascinating look and citizenship and how laws are applied unequally, resulting in deadly consequences.  

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. Happy weekend! 

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at Audiobooks.com with a free trial!

Categories
True Story

Classic Nonfiction with Interesting Adaptations

Happiest of Fridays, dear nonfiction friends! It’s November, which is a great month if you love nonfiction and alliteration because… Nonfiction November! There are lots of nonfiction-related challenges and community building activities on bookish social media, but I’m keeping it simple this year and trying to up my nonfiction reading for the month. I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Speaking of wordplay… Book Riot has a new podcast! Adaptation Nation (rhymes!) is all about TV and movie adaptations of favorite books. The podcast will cover a mix of new releases and backlist favorites, starting with an episode about Dune with Jeff, co-host of the Book Riot podcast, and Amanda and Jenn, hosts of Get Booked. Check it out! 

To celebrate the launch of Adaptation Nation, this week’s newsletter is a list of nonfiction books with interesting adaptations. Here are a few of my favorites:

Just Mercy cover image

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is a civil rights lawyer who specializes in defending “those most desperate and in need” through the Equal Justice Initiative. This book is a memoir about his time as a young lawyer and closely follows the story of Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to death for a murder he didn’t commit. It’s a fascinating story and a deep look into injustices of the justice system. I love this book so much, and the movie starring Michael B. Jordan is pretty great too!

book cover the glass castle by jeanette walls

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

This memoir is truly a classic of the genre, a look at a family that was both dysfunctional and deeply loving. Walls’ father was charismatic and inspiring while sober, but truly dysfunctional when drunk. Couple that with her mother’s free spirit, and you get a childhood full of love and neglect. This is a difficult book to read, but I absolutely tore through it. Although the 2017 movie adaptation got mixed reviews, I remember enjoying it – Brie Larson is a great addition to any movie cast. 

book cover friday night lights by buzz bissinger

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by Buzz Bissinger

At this point, I think more people are familiar with the tv series Friday Night Lights (SO GOOD) than the book it’s based on… but I’m here to tell you that the book is a real treat too. Written in 1990, this classic of the sports nonfiction genre follows the 1988 Permian High School Panthers, a team from Odessa, Texas, as they compete for the Texas state championship. I read this one quite a while ago, but I remember it being a great portrait of football, family, and community in a small town.

hidden figures

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Alice and I are both on record on our podcast, For Real, as being fans of the nonfiction trend of telling the hidden stories of the women behind the scenes in history. There have been a lot of books like that coming out, but I think Hidden Figures was one of the first. The book tells the story of Black, female mathematicians at NASA – known as “human computers” – who did the math helping get astronauts into space. The movie adaptation is good, but also flattens down the edges of some of this story. I highly recommend the book if you haven’t picked it up!

Weekend Reading

The Ugly Cry cover

I am not sure where my nonfiction reading is going to take me this weekend! I’m feeling the pull to memoir, which may lead me to a book I purchased a few months ago, The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson. Henderson grew up “Black, weird, and overwhelmingly uncool” in a white neighborhood in New York, raised by her grandparents after being abandoned by her mother. Everything I read about it makes it sound intense and emotional, which I hope means it’ll be unputdownable.


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. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Henry Louis Gates is Leading a New Book Series

Hello nonfiction friends, and happy early Halloween! This weekend I’m excited to tag along trick or treating with some little friends in my life and talk to anyone who will listen about The Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991 (if you know a Minnesotan of a certain age, you know what I’m talking about).

Literary scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is launching a new book series about Black thinkers and artists, each written by a contemporary author. The series will begin appearing in 2023 with pairings like Farah Griffin on Toni Morrison and Brandon Terry on Malcolm X. Gates said the idea is to allow authors to take a more personal take on each subject, which just sounds so incredibly interesting.

Jeff Horwitz, leader of the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook reporting, is writing a book! The book will be a look at “how Facebook, through its algorithm and its decision-making at the highest levels, amplified and distorted human behavior.” On Twitter, Horwitz said the book is going to focus on employees in the Integrity, Newsfeed, Policy, and Civic teams of Facebook. I’m absolutely fascinated by everything that’s coming out about the problems at Facebook and can’t wait to see more of it synthesized in book form. If you can’t wait, I highly recommend The Ugly Truth by Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel.

There have been a few stories lately about new (or updating) nonfiction imprints: 

And this last one isn’t really a news item, just a newsletter edition I want to highlight if you, like me, are struggling a bit with life in October. Anne Helen Peterson on fall regression is so smart and thoughtful and helped me a lot.

Weekend Reading

book cover the genome defense by jorge contreras

I get to tell you about an actual nonfiction book I am actually reading right at this very moment! The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA by Jorge L. Contreras is an account of AMP v. Myriad, a case brought to the Supreme Court by the ALCU about the idea of gene patents. Contreras follows the case through the entire process, clearly explaining both complex scientific concepts and intricate legal maneuvering in ways I’ve found very engaging – no small feat! This book is great.


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. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Books to Celebrate the Theatre

Hello hello, and happiest of Fridays! This week I am SO JAZZED to be seeing a live musical in-person again! My sister and I have season tickets to see touring Broadway shows when they hit the Twin Cities, but of course haven’t been to the theater since before March 2020. Our first show back is this week (Frozen), and while I’m apprehensive about crowds after being away so long I cannot wait to be part of a live performance again.

In honor of my excitement about theater, this week I’m featuring some great books about the history and present of Broadway: 

book cover the secret life of the american musical by jack viertel

The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built by Jack Viertel

His book explores how musicals are assembled, starting from the overture and concluding with the curtain call. He uses the structure of a musical to explain theater history, musical theory, and how hit-making musicals lead from one to another. I’ve never studied theatre officially, so this book was eye-opening for me. It helped me appreciate and feel more confident dissecting the shows I’ve loved and hated.

book cover failing up by leslie odom jr.

Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning by Leslie Odom Jr.

You may know Leslie Odom Jr. from a little-known musical called Hamilton. For his portrayal of Aaron Burr, Odom Jr. won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, but that role wasn’t just magical. In this book he shares the story of his hard work as a singer and actor and asks questions about how you can unlock your potential and achieve your goals. His stories are inspirational, motivational, and empowering. I bet this one is great on audio!

book cover black broadway by stewart f. lane

Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way by Stewart F. Lane

This book offers a history of Black performance from the Civil War through the 1960s, when performers like Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Sidney Poitier started to find their voice on stage. Lane chronicles the popularity of minstrel shows, Black performers during the Jazz Age, and early musicals of the 1930s that helped push the door open for other performers. We obviously still have a long way to go in helping Broadway reflect the diversity of our country, but this is a good look at some of the early changes.

book cover changed for good by stacy wolf

Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical by Stacy Wolf

In this book, Wolf dives deep into the female contributors of Broadway musicals – performers, creators, and characters. She starts during the Cold War and moves through the present, exploring assumptions about gender and sexuality, then moving on to deep dives to find feminist moments in many famous shows (with a special emphasis on Wicked, one of my favorite musicals!).

If you don’t see anything on that list that sparks your eye, Book Riot has you covered: 

Weekend Aspirations

book cover code name badass by heather demetrios

I’m on a real YA fantasy kick lately (I have thoughts about the Throne of Glass series that I don’t know what to do with), but I’m hoping I can get myself in a nonfiction headspace this weekend. The book that seems like it will do the trick is Code Name Badass: The True Story of Virginia Hall by Heather Demetrios. This YA nonfiction book is a funny and smart look at one of the most dangerous Allied spies of World War II. I can’t wait!


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. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Lawsuits, Plagiarism, and Spoilers, Oh My!

Happy Friday, nonfiction readers of all kinds! My day job outside of Book Riot is doing communications for a public library system. Working in a library absolutely destroys my TBR… there are just so many books to grab! This week I finally had to just declare bankruptcy and return (almost) everything, trying to reset my TBR pile so it feels less overwhelming. It’s actually pretty liberating!

It’s been a few weeks since I shared news from the world of nonfiction, so this week I have three stories I think are interesting (and have some ties to much bigger conversations happening in the world of true stories). Here they are: 

book cover the immortal life of henrietta lacks

Members of the Henrietta Lacks family have sued a biotech firm for using her cells for scientific research without permission. If you’re not familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks, do yourself a favor and go get a copy of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Read it, and then check out this story, which explains why her estate is suing Thermo Fisher Scientific for commercializing the HeLa line – with hints of more lawsuits on the way. This should be a fascinating story to watch develop.

Chef Elizabeth Haigh’s cookbook has been withdrawn from publication following accusations of plagiarism. Bloomsbury Absolute withdrew the book from publication after Sharon Wee posted about her plagiarism accusations in Instagram earlier this month. Other chefs and recipe creators have also stepped forward. The linked article from Eater shares notable passages and explores some of the thorny issues around cookbook authorship and the discussions this incident has prompted about “the genealogy of recipes and the responsibilities and pressures of cultural representation in the cookbook world.” It’s a great read!

All hail Stephen Colbert for “spoiling” the latest Trump administration memoir. In his monologue earlier this month, Colbert revealed all of the juiciest bits in I’ll Take Your Questions Now, a new memoir by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. During her time as press secretary, Grisham never actually held a press conference so… I’m happy there’s no reason to actually give her any money. Blech, let’s move on.

Weekend Aspirations

book cover all that she carried by tiya miles

I am excited that one of the National Book Award shortlisted titles came in for me from my local library this week – All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles. In the book, Miles traces the history of a family heirloom while also exploring “these women’s faint presence in archival records” and the story of slavery and life after in the United States. This one slipped off my radar when it came out earlier this summer, so I’m glad to have a chance at it now! 


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. Happy weekend!

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True Story

Spooky Nonfiction Book Lists to Topple Your TBR

Hello nonfiction lovers! This week was an exciting one here at Book Riot – we celebrated our 10th anniversary on October 3! I’m really proud to say I’m one of the original contributors to the site, which means I’ve been writing or talking about books through posts, newsletters, or podcasts for a decade. It’s been such a gratifying experience, and I know the way I read and think about books has changed so much by connecting to the writers and readers of the site.

To celebrate, we’re running a limited-edition merch line that includes hoodies, sweatshirts, totes, and more! These are available through the end of October – visit bookriot.com/merch to check it out! (I’ve got a giant gray hoodie coming my way… cannot wait!)

Now that October is really and fully here (how is that happening?) I’ve found myself in the mood for spooky and creepy nonfiction reads. Luckily, spooky true stories is a popular topic over at the Riot, so I was able to pull several great articles from our archive to peruse, with a title from each one that I recommend or want to read: 

Truth Can be Scarier than Fiction: 6 Scary Nonfiction Books (2020)

Tell my horse by zora neale hurston the fright stuff

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston

I haven’t read Hurston’s nonfiction, so this travelogue written in the 1930s seems like it could be a lot of fun.

7 Scary Nonfiction Books to Titillate and Terrify You (2017)

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink – This is SUCH good reporting of a truly devastating story.

5 True Stories to Scare You Silly (2011)

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting by W. Scott Poole – I love some university press nonfiction that takes a serious look at things that don’t always get serious treatment. 

5 Works of Nonfiction for Horror Fans (2015)

Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear by Margee Kerr – I am all here for a book looking “what it is to feel fear and why we feel compelled to search it out.:

6 Nonfiction Horror Books for Those Who Need True Scary Stories (2019)

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – This memoir is so good and inventive and unsettling and evocative, all while illuminating the taboo and challenging topic of queer domestic abuse. 

If you can’t find a some creepy or spooky nonfiction to read from one of those lists, you can check out next week’s edition of the For Real podcast where Alice and I will have EVEN MORE recommendations. Spooky season is here!

Weekend Reading

cover image of Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

I feel like I should rename this section “Weekend Aspirations” because I have been consistently mentioning a book I’m jazzed about and then choosing to read something totally different. But I suppose that infinite choice is just the life of a reader, right? Anyway! This weekend I’m excited to pick up a book that just came out this week, Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef. This memoir is about the trials and triumphs of Diwan, an independent bookstore in Cairo with few peers in the city. The store was opened by three young friends who learned the ins and outs of bookselling to build a successful business “under the law of entropy.” It sounds so good!


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. Happy weekend! 

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True Story

Nonfiction for Hispanic Heritage Month

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! We are in Minnesota’s beautiful, brief season of “second summer,” which means I’m wearing hooded sweatshirts with sandals and trying to soak up the fact that we still have a few hours of sunlight after work.

This week I’d like to share some recent books to help recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated September 15 – October 15 each year. Although the name of the month is problematic, it’s still a good excuse to celebrate nonfiction by Latinx authors and storytellers. Here are a few recent-ish gems:

book cover an african american and latinx history of the united stats by paul ortiz

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

This book offers a revolutionary history of the contributions African American, Latinx, and Indigenous people have made to the history of the United States. By looking at history through those stories, the book “transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.” This book is part of Beacon Press’s amazing Revisionist History series, which I just love.  

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Díaz grew up in housing projects in both Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, trying to balance her family’s disintegration (and her mother’s schizophrenia) with the connections she felt with her friends. Her story explores sexuality, mental illness, sexual assault within the context of trying to understand Puerto Rico’s colonial history and one girl’s place in it. This one is really beautiful!

book cover the hispanic republican by geraldo cadava

The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump by Gerardo Cadava

When it comes to politics and political prognostication, it can be easy to lump entire groups of people into a single type or voting bloc. In this book, a Northwestern University professor explores how some Hispanic Americans have impacted national politics since the 1960s, particularly after being courted by Republicans during the Cold War. He also looks at how different cultural identities within the Latino community affect voting patterns.

book cover undocumented by dan-el padilla peralta

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-El Padilla Peralta

Dan-El Padilla Peralta came to the United States with his family, seeking medical care for his mother. When their visas ran out, his father returned to Santo Domingo while Peralta and his mother remained in New York City. This memoir is about his experiences growing up homeless, getting a boost into private school, and navigating his dual life between Harlem and Manhattan as an undocumented immigrant.

Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos

One of my favorite nonfiction storytelling techniques is heading out on a road trip to gather stories from people around the county as a way of exploring big and complicated questions. In this book, journalist Paola Ramos sets out to understand how people define the term “Latinx” – particularly those who have been overlooked when we think about Latinos more generally. It’s a big group, and the stories she gathers are very moving. 

Weekend Reading

I’ve felt overwhelmed and scattered lately, which reminded me of a book that’s been on my TBR for a couple of years – How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. The book is about how to live in a world where “technology is designed to buy and sell our attention,” and our worth is determined by how productive we are. Odell argues that we need to protect our attention as our most valuable resource and connects this way of being with larger and more radical forms of political action. I am here for all of that.


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. Happy weekend! 

Categories
True Story

Emmy Winners and Big Book Deals

Happy Friday, nonfiction fiends! I have spent much of the last week assisting my amazing family with a badly-needed bathroom renovation project. We’re right in the messy middle of painting and cleaning, but the end is in sight thanks to my supremely dedicated parents who will be visiting us again this weekend to put everything back together again. 

Thanks to the project I’ve been doing very little reading of books or articles online, but I still have some interesting nonfiction-related news to share this week. Let’s get to it!

cover of Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel, blue with white and gold font

Author and TV star Michaela Coel won an Emmy! She made history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special for her comedy-drama series I May Destroy You. Her first book, Misfits, came out just a couple weeks ago. The book is an adaptation of a speech Coel gave at the Edinburgh International Television Festival back in 2018. Congrats, Michaela!

The longlists for the National Book Award have been announced! The 10-book lists will be narrowed to shortlists on October 5. The winners will be announced during a live ceremony on November 17. The nonfiction list is awesome, with heavy-hitters like How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith, as well as lesser-known titles like Covered with Night by Nicole Eustace. This is one of my favorite book awards, so I can’t wait to see what moves on!

Historian Martha S. Jones has signed a four-book deal with Basic Books. The first book, still untitled, will be an exploration of the history and legacy of slavery’s sexual violence. The linked article from the New York Times is a fascinating interview where she discusses the role of historians and how she’s connecting her family history to her writing. Jones’s latest book, Vanguard, was a look at the political history of Black women that “challenged popular narratives of the suffrage movement.”

And of course I have an Elizabeth Holmes trial update this week, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, also a former member of the Theranos Board of Directors, testified about his experience with the company. Mattis invested $85,000 with the company, but eventually started to question the efficacy of the technology. Mattis is the seventh witness to be called in the trial.

Weekend Reading?

book cover of the sum of us by heather mcghee

I’ve been on a real fiction kick lately, but the National Book Award announcement has inspired me to pick up a book on the longlist that I started earlier this year, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee. In the book, McGhee looks at how racist ideas impact the American economy, leading it to fail the public in significant ways. There’s a fascinating chapter on the history of public pools and how segregation ultimately led to almost no freely available public swimming facilities for anyone. It’s such an interesting look at how we’ve shifted from public goods to private luxuries, and how race plays into why that happens. I’m not sure if I’ll get much reading in this weekend, but I want to try!


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. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Animals and Entrepreneurs on Trial

Hello hello, nonfiction friends! If you haven’t already, I urge you to pop into your podcast service of choice to listen to this week’s episode of For Real. Alice and I got to do something we’ve never done for the podcast before – interview Mary Roach! That’s right, Mary Roach!

cover image of Fuzz- When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach showing an iron on patch with a bear, a cougar, and an elephant

If you’re still not convinced, I can tell you she is just as funny to talk with as she is to read. In the interview we covered everything from her use of footnotes to how she almost wrote a chapter about tiger penises, with several great detours along the way. Her latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law is out this week. It’s a great read about what happens when nature and humans have conflict, and the people who are trying to find ways to improve those interactions. It’s really fun.

This week I’ve got some great news from the world of nonfiction to share – an update on Elizabeth Holmes’s trial, an exciting upcoming adaptation, and an early nonfiction prize list! 

This week in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the jury has been selected and testimony has begun:

  • One early witness was Erika Cheung, a former worker in the Theranos lab, who testified she was concerned about the reliability of the lab’s testing equipment.
  • The Daily Beast also shared some of the text messages exchanged between Holmes and her boyfriend/business partner, Sunny Balwani, that have been entered as evidence.
  • But my favorite story of the week is this one, about a “concerned citizen” who attended early parts of the trial, networked with reporters… and then turned out to be Holmes’s father-in-law, hotelier Bill Evans. What kind of a person do you have to be to try and trick reporters at a trial where someone in your family is facing decades in prison for tricking investors? Bananas.

Paramount+ may be planning an adaptation of Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch. The series is described as “a true crime show, a family drama and an immersive look at modern Native American life.” The main character, Lissa Yellowbird, returns to her reservation after time in jail, then finds herself investigating the disappearance of a young oil worker. That description is giving me real Mare of Easttown vibes and I am here for it.

The finalists for the Kirkus Prize have been announced! The Kirkus Prize is awarded annually for fiction, nonfiction, and young readers literature and has a prize of $50,000 (yowza!). This year’s nonfiction finalists are: 

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony from the Austin Public Library on October 28.

Weekend Reading

book cover of sometimes i trip on how happy we could be by nichole perkins

I’ve had a great few weeks of picking up unexpected read from my local library. My grab from the new releases shelf this week is Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins. This book is a collection of essays on pop culture and how big issues like “racism, wealth, poverty, beauty, inclusion, exclusion, and hope” are part of the media we consume. I’m just 100 percent in for all of those topics, especially when they’re being explored from a perspective that’s different from my own. I’ve already LOL’d quite a bit at this one, I can’t wait to finish it!


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. Happy weekend!

Categories
True Story

Nonfiction eBook Deals for Your Weekend Reads

Welcome to Friday, nonfiction friends! Kim here, hoping you’ve survived a short week and are ready for a beautiful fall weekend. If you happen to be looking for your next read, look no further than one of the ebook deals I’ve gathered up for this week. Prices were accurate as of Wednesday, but hope over quick to make sure you don’t miss out. 

If you want to learn about the women of Pan Am World Airways… Come Fly the World by Julia Cooke for $5.99. 

If you want to learn more about Afghanistan… The Broken Circle by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller for $1.99. 

If you’re an Anne Boleyn fan (or hater)… Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan for $0.99.

book cover the disordered cosmos by chandra prescod-weinstein

If you want a memoir about particle physics and the cosmos by a woman of color… The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein for $4.99.

If you want to read about some of the first female doctors… Women in White Coats by Olivia Campbell for $2.99. 

If you want to read some true crime about the illegal gold trade… Dirty Gold by Jay Weaver for $3.99.

If you want to read about escaping from North Korea… A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa for $6.99. 

If you have feelings about anxiety… Welcome to the United States of Anxiety by Jen Lancaster for $4.99. 

If you’re trying to better understand racial trauma and psychology… My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem for $4.99. 

If you want to read a memoir of traveling the Amazon and befriending a big cat… The Puma Years by Laura Coleman for $1.99. 

Weekend Reading

book cover paradise by lizzie johnson

I’m going to cheat a little bit and tell you about the book I finished reading last weekend because it was so great I’d feel bad not telling you about it. I am a former journalist, so I have a real soft spot for well-reported and well-written nonfiction by journalists. In that respect, I cannot say enough good things about Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire by Lizzie Johnson. 

The book is a definitive recounting of the 2018 Camp Fire, one of the deadliest wildfires in California history. Less than two hours after it ignited, the fire had decimated the town of Paradise, killing 85 people. Johnson was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, so was in the community reporting almost immediately and stayed there much longer. All of that is so evident in the book, which manages to be comprehensive and empathetic, while also connecting the fire to larger issues like climate change and public utility regulation. Her portraits of survivors and victims are beautifully done, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. 

Paradise reminds me a lot of Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, a similarly devastating account of human choices in the wake of natural disaster, so if that book was up your alley this one will be too. 


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. Happy weekend!