Categories
True Story

What Do We Lose if We Ban Maus?

Hello and happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! For this week’s newsletter, I want to do a bit of a deep dive into a story that’s been in the news for the last couple of weeks. 

Last week, we learned that a school board in Tennessee has banned the graphic novel Maus from their eighth grade curriculum on the Holocaust. 

book cover maus by art spiegelman

Art Spiegelman’s book “tells the story of his relationship with his father, a Holocaust survivor, and it depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.” Maus won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and is widely regarded as both a classic graphic novel and stellar example of creative nonfiction. It faced objections in McGinn County because it contains eight curse words and the image of a nude woman… but a mouse? It’s nonsensical.

If you want a recap of the discussion, Mother Jones reviewed the school board’s meeting minutes and it’s just… so bad. Discussions of book banning are, sadly, not new around here, but this one feels particularly troubling. Here are a few of the other pieces I’ve found useful in wrapping my head around why: 

  • On Twitter, author Gwen Katz had a great thread on the use of literature in classrooms, and why it’s damaging to replace challenging texts like Maus with those that seem more palatable. 
  • In Slate, author and scholar Emily Knox talks about some of the larger issues that come up when we talk about book banning, and how book bans impact the intended audience of the work in question.
  • NPR looked at how the ban is increasing sales of the book… but again, probably not to the readers who most need to see it. 
  • In The Atlantic, Marilisa Jiménez García writes about the impact of denying students accurate and unsanitized information about the past.

If you’ll permit me a related hot take based on my experience working at a local newspaper… this is the reason it’s so important to pay attention to your local government. While it’s tempting to buy and donate copies of banned books, what we really need to do is stop them from being banned in the first place. A way to do that is through attention.

If you have a local news organization and you can afford it, subscribe so you can support their work and keep up with what’s going on in your community. If you don’t have that option, find out when your school board meets and how you can review meeting agendas and minutes. Pay attention to their meeting topics, and if you see something you don’t agree with, send a letter or attend a meeting and make your voice heard. Your voice matters and can make a difference.

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

One Thing I Like

book cover kingdom of characters by jing tsu

This week, I want to recommend a new history book that came out in January – Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern by Jing Tsu. Today China is a global superpower, but that outcome wasn’t inevitable. One of the biggest challenges over the last century was about language – what did it take to make the Chinese language accessible to the modern world?

To explore that topic, Tsu uses the stories of individuals and groups who took on various aspects of standardizing both written and spoken Chinese, then adapting it to technologies like typewriters, the telegraph, and computers, which were explicitly built around the Roman alphabet. It’s a really interesting story if you’re a language nerd, and an accessible history of China over the last 100 years. And as a bonus, if you’re a Read Harder 2022 participant, it seems pretty likely you could count this one for task 22, history about a period you know little about. Enjoy! 

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


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

There’s a New David Sedaris Book Coming!

Happy almost weekend, nonfiction friends! It has been bitterly cold in Minnesota this week, which makes sense because it’s January but it’s also terrible anyway. I’ve had to just keep reminding myself that at least we don’t have giant snakes or hurricanes… but whew, it is not pleasant out there right now! 

But let’s not dwell on that and instead jump into nonfiction news for the week:

cover of A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is the winner of the American Library Association’s 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in nonfiction! His book about Black performance, A Little Devil in America, explores “the many iterations of Black artistic expression through an often deeply personal lens.” This one is on my list!

The finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards have been announced. On the nonfiction side, there are six finalists each for autobiography, criticism, and general nonfiction. The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on March 17.

Buddhist monk, activist, and author Thích Nhất Hạnh passed away at the age of 95. In addition to his many other roles, he was the author of more than 130 books, many on mindfulness, meditation, ecology, and more. He was an advocate for the idea of engaged Buddhism, which “encourages an individual’s role in creating change.”

book cover happy-go-lucky by david sedaris

David Sedaris has a new essay collection coming out in 2022! After his last two books moved to slightly different formats, a diary and a best-of collection, Happy-Go-Lucky is a return to personal essays. The newly-revealed cover really creeps me out, but I do think a Sedaris essay collection will be a bright spot later this year.

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

One Thing I Like

I’ve gotten VERY into this season of The Amazing Race. I don’t watch a ton of reality TV (aside from Dancing with the Stars #sorrynotsorry), but I recognized one of the competing pairs from the internet and so decided to watch. I’m not sure if it’s wanderlust, January blues, or late-pandemic brain, but I’m definitely in it for this season.

I was hoping there would be some books by former participants or something to recommend, but the best I’ve been able to find so far is this oral history of the first season by Andy Dehnart. If anyone has other materials to recommend, I’d love to hear!

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


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
Read Harder 2022

Read Harder Task #17: Read a Memoir Written by Someone Who is Trans or Nonbinary

While there’s never a bad time to read a memoir by a trans or nonbinary writer, this year feels like a particularily good time to elevate these stories. As book challenges in schools and libraries continue, many which specifically target books by LGBTQIA+ authors, it’s even more important to read and share stories by people from across the gender spectrum.

There are many (many!) potential books to choose for this particular challenge topic. This list covers a range of familiar and unfamiliar titles that discuss gender from many different perspectives. It also includes some that have been frequent targets in book challenges across the country. Once you’ve read and loved a title, be sure to share it!

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

book cover all boys aren't blue by george m. johnson

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

This work of young adult nonfiction is a series of personal essays about growing up as Black and queer, and the complexity of those intersecting identities. In interviews, Johnson has said they wrote the book as a way to help other teens see themselves in stories in a way they didn’t as a kid. They write about their relationship with their grandmother, early sexual relationships, joining a fraternity in college, and more.

book cover fairest by meredith talusan

Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan

Meredith Talusan was born with albinism in a rural village in the Philippines. Raised by a grandmother, Talusan eventually came to the United States on an academic scholarship to Harvard – providing a strong education, but also a complicated relationship with race, class, and sexuality. After college, Talusan transitioned and came out as a woman and continued on a career as an artist and activist. This memoir explores love, identity, gender, and more.

book cover real queer america by samantha allen

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen

A decade ago, Samantha Allen was a Mormon missionary. At the time of writing this book, she was a reporter for the Daily Beast and married to a woman. In it, Allen heads out on a cross-country trip to experience “something gay every day” in places where queer communities full of people opting to stay where they’re from instead of fleeing to potentially friendlier territory. I love the way Allen is able to tell stories about people from all walks of life, emphasizing tales of chosen families trying to make the world a better place.

book cover unicorn by amrou al kadhi

Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen by Amrou Al-Kadhi

There’s just so much to be excited about in this memoir about growing from “a god-fearing Muslim boy enraptured with their mother to a vocal, queer drag queen estranged from their family.” In the book, they write about how a teenage obsession with marine biology helped illuminate their nonbinary gender identity, discovering the power of drag in college, learning to understand Islam with a queer lens, and finding a way back to family with this new perspective.

book cover I'm afraid of men by vivek shraya

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

In this book, trans artist Vivek Shraya explores “how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl.” As a child, Shaya had to learn to perform masculinity to survive, while as an adult she must push in other ways to be recognized as feminine. Shraya explores what the cumulative effect of that misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia has been on her, and offers ways that we can cherish and celebrate what makes us different.

Gender Queer cover

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

This autobiographical comic is about Maia Kobabe’s journey of self-identity and an attempt to explain what it means to be nonbinary and asexual. Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, writes about early crushes, coming out, connecting with friends, and more. The result is a book that is both a guide to gender identity and a personal story about what it means to be a nonbinary person.

book cover tomorrow will be different by sarah mcbride

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

In 2016, Sarah McBride became the first transgender person to speak at the Democratic National Convention, a giant leap on her journey as a transgender activist. In this memoir, Sarah shares how she came out to her family, friends, and community and how that led to her political activism. The memoir is also a love story about Sarah’s relationship with her first husband, Andy, who passed away from cancer in 2014 shortly after they were married. This is a good book for people newer to reading about the issues transgender people face and who want to understand those discussions better.

book cover something that may shock and discredit you by daniel lavery

Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel M. Lavery

More essays! This final book on the list is a collection of witty essays about gender and identity through the lens of pop culture, with everything from The Addams Family to Captain Kirk to Lord Byron. It’s also a book that talks about what it is like to transition genders and the complexities of family can bring to that experience. If you loved The Toast, grab this one.

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

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these posts on Book Riot featuring other trans and nonbinary authors. They’re not exclusively memoirs, but will give you some other authors to consider:

Click here for the full Read Harder 2022 task list, and for previous recommendations, click here.

Categories
True Story

A New Nonfiction genre, New Books, A Con Story, Who Betrayed Anne Frank, and More

Hello nonfiction friends! The weekend is almost here, but before we go riding off into the sunset (aka stumble home and into sweatpants) I have some nonfiction news to share. This week includes a trailer for a great con story, a cold case with significant historical implications, thoughts on a new nonfiction genre, and more. Let’s dive in!

There’s a new trailer for a limited series about the “Soho Grifter.” Inventing Anna is coming to Netflix February 11, and tells a fictionalized story about Anna Delvey, a woman “convicted of scamming hotels, restaurants, banks, and friends out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The show was created and co-written by Shonda Rhimes (amazing) and is based on a 2018 article from The Cut by Jessica Pressler. Delvey is also the subject of a great nonfiction book, My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams. I love a good con story, real or fictionalized. 

book cover the betrayal of anne frank by rosemary sullivan

A new book claims to reveal who betrayed Anne Frank and her family. A cold case team led by a former FBI agent has been investigating the incident for six years. Their search is the subject of a new book, The Betrayal of Anne Frank by Rosemary Sullivan. They contend Frank and her family were revealed to the Nazis by a Jewish notary, Arnold van den Bergh, as a form of life insurance for his family.

Have you ever heard of a “messay”? I recommend this recent Book Riot post about this awesome (and unofficial) genre, the memoir-essay hybrid that embraces mess in theme, structure, or emotion. It’s fun to think of potential examples!

And finally, I missed sharing a few upcoming titles and book announcements from late last year: 

  • Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, is writing a memoir critical of Facebook for Little, Brown. This one should be fascinating.
  • Minnie Driver is releasing an essay collection called Managing Expectations which will come out in May. I have to believe this one will be a treat on audio.
  • Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III sold a memoir, Surviving Washington, to Atria Books. In the book Griffin will write about his time with the Washington Football Team and the toxic culture behind the scenes. I’m very curious about this one.
  • And finally, National Book Award Winner Tiya Miles has sold another book! Harriet’s Mirror will deal the dual stories of Harriet Jacobs and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and how their tensions “foreshadowed contemporary conflicts between white and Black feminists.” So good!

One Thing I Like

book cover four thousand weeks by oliver burkeman

One of my favorite books of 2021 was 4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. The book is about time management, but not in the way you might think. Instead of suggesting ways to fit more tasks into the absurdly short time we have on Earth, Burkeman instead writes about learning the best ways to use the 4,000 weeks we actually have. It’s a lovely mix of science, philosophy, literature, and spirituality that absolutely made me think about my life and my work in a different way than I did before. 

Burkman was recently interviewed on the On Being podcast where he talks about plans, resolutions, and how to embrace “a new relationship with time, our technologies, and the power of limits.” I haven’t quite finished the whole interview, but it’s just so, so great, I have to recommend 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

Books for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! Congrats on making it through another week, an accomplishment I do not take lightly given the state of the world we’re all living in right now.

This coming Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday recognizing the birthday of this noted civil rights leader. Although King was actually born on January 15, we’ve celebrated MLK Day on the third Monday of January since 1986. In recognition of that day, I want to share a few recent books on the life, family, and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

book cover three mothers by anna malaika tubbs

Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs

Many, many books have been written about the three men mentioned in the subtitle of this book, but very few have dug into the women who helped share them. In this book, Tubbs traces the parallel lives of Alberta King, Louise Little, and Berdis Baldwin – women who lived through some of the greatest changes in our nation’s history. It’s also a celebration of Black motherhood, and all of the anxiety that comes with sending Black men into the world. I liked this one a lot!

book cover nine days by stephen kendrick and paul kendrick

Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Win the 1960 Election by Stephen Kendrick and Paul Kendrick

Just weeks before the 1960 presidential election, King was arrested at a sit-in at a department store in Atlanta, leading to the first night King ever spent in jail. It was a harrowing moment, as the 31-year-old was transferred, at night, to a notorious state prison overseen by violent white guards. Over the next nine days, King’s imprisonment had an intense impact on the election… as well as galvanized three members of the Kennedy campaign to act, both to free King and help bring electoral victory.

book cover sword and the shield by peniel joseph

The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E. Joseph

This dual biography explores the ways the philosophies of Malcolm X and King have been pitted against each other as opposites – self-defense vs. nonviolence or Black power vs. civil rights – and why that framing is wrong. Instead, he argues that although the two men had some differences, they spent much of their lives inspiring and pushing each other in the movement for civil rights. I love books that come at familiar topics in new ways, so this one sounds great.

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

One Thing I Like

I am newly-obsessed with crossword puzzles. I’m trying to spend less time on social media, but having a hard time staying off my phone in those little moments of waiting throughout the day. I signed up for the New York Times Crossword app and have been gleefully working through the puzzle archive. I am, admittedly, still doing them with autocheck on… but I’m getting better!

book cover thinking inside the box by adrienne raphel

My new fascination reminded me of a book from several years ago, Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them by Adrienne Raphel. In the book, Raphel documents the history of the crossword puzzle, from the invention “practically by accident” in 1913 to contemporary puzzlers like those who compete in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. There’s some real nerdy stuff happening around here!


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

Remembering Joan Didion and E.O. Wilson

Hello and belated happy new year, nonfiction friends! I hope your holiday season was restful and restorative, and you were able to spend time with your family (or chosen family) in ways that felt safe and rejuvenating.

If you’ll indulge me for a minute, I’d like to open this edition with a cheer that Episode 100 of For Real, Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, came out this week. Alice and I have been recording the podcast since March 2018, and it’s been a real joy. If you haven’t listened before, it’s a fun and chatty episode – we talk about our podcast origin story, the bookish internet of the 2010s, and some of our favorite non-nonfiction books.

For the first newsletter of 2022, I want to catch up on some of the nonfiction news that came out in the last few weeks. Let’s get to it!

book cover the year of magical thinking by joan didion

In late December, pioneering journalist and essayist Joan Didion passed away at the age of 87. As a former journalist, Didion has always been one of my favorite writers – she had a distinctive voice and amazing observational skills that she honed at a time when it was a particular challenge for female writers to take on the “new journalism” style that men were exploring. Later in life, she also wrote two stunning books about loss – The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights – that guided me during a period of deep grief. If you’ve never read any of Didion’s work, Book Riot has a reading pathway that I highly recommend.

Science writer E.O. Wilson also passed away at age 92. Throughout his career, Wilson “pioneered the study of biological diversity” and added some important theoretical support to ideas about conservation. Wilson won two Pulitzer prizes for his work – On Human Nature (1979) and The Ants (1991).

book cover the devil in the white city

Keanu Reeves may be starring in Hulu’s adaptation of The Devil in the White City. Attempts to adapt Eric Larson’s book have been in the news since as early as 2003, but the news about Hulu didn’t break until 2019. Leonardo diCaprio and Martin Scorsese are set to executive produce. I’m deeply interested in this Keanu news!

And finally! After a lengthy trial and multi-week deliberations, Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty of four charges of defrauding investors to her company, Theranos. I am anxiously awaiting the final episode of Bad Blood: The Final Chapter, to get journalist John Carreyrou’s take on the end of the trial and the verdict – hopefully that’s coming soon!

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

One Thing I Like

Since the new year, I’ve rediscovered my love for classical music. In particular, I’ve really enjoyed listening to Yo-Yo Ma cello music, including his latest release, Notes for the Future, and some of the brief pieces he shares on Instagram.

I found two nonfiction connections for this pick – a children’s book, Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma by Joanna Ho and Teresa Martinez, and an Audible original, Beginner’s Mind, written and narrated by Yo-Yo Ma. I’m on the lookout for both.


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

Some of Book Riot’s Best Nonfiction Coverage

Hello hello hello, nonfiction friends! Due to the timing of the holidays, this is actually the last Friday send of True Story you’ll be getting in 2021. This year has truly just flown by for me, although many days, weeks, and months felt incredibly long. 

To round out the year, I’d like to use this edition of the newsletter to highlight some of my favorite nonfiction-related posts on Book Riot from the last six-ish months. There’s been some incredible writing there that I haven’t shared enough. In no particular order: 

If you need a pep talk, Dee suggests some of the most empowering nonfiction

If the brain fascinates you, Summer recommends books about the mind.

If you’re thinking about money, Neha rounds up some investment books for beginners.

If you’re a winter sports lover, Liberty collected great books about skiing and snowboarding.

If you love true crime but hate violence, Ashley has a great round up of true crime comics that aren’t about killers.

If you want to expand your nonfiction horizons, Rebecca suggests great nonfiction in translation and the best genre-bending nonfiction of 2021. She also wrote a great post on the book-length essay.

If you want to learn more about the death positive movement, Caitlin explains what that is and suggests some books for newbies.

If you’re interested in climate change or capitalism, Sarah rounds up some books at the intersection of both.

If you’re a sucker for an oral history (like I am), Aisling has eight awesome ones to suggest.

If the last two years have you thinking about public health, Jamie has gathered some impactful books talking about how important it is

If you love a good nonfiction debate, check out Yashvi’s suggestions for the best nonfiction books of the decade.

If things are feeling a bit dark lately, Kelly wrote about books on wonder and sparking joy.

If you love to read about reading, Senjuti rounds up excellent bibliomemoirs (such a good word).

If you need to brush up on critical race theory, Mikkaka suggests some books to help you make sense of the hubbub.

There’s so much more great stuff on the site, so definitely head over there to explore the nonfiction tag

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

One Thing I Like

I’ve been an avid bullet journal devotee for the last five or so years, so one ritual I always appreciate is wrapping up one journal and starting the next. My journals usually last about a year, so this is the time where I start to think about what new notebook I’m going to use, what changes I want to make, and what goals I want to think about in the next year. 

book cover the bullet journal method

One book I like to revisit is The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll, the “inventor” of bullet journaling. Caroll’s explanation of the system avoids all of the bells and whistles and fancy spreads you’ll see on Instagram to talk about how bullet journaling is really more about mindfulness than productivity. I also appreciate that the system is flexible, and allows you to plan based on what you need at a given moment. It’s been effective for me, and I can’t wait to use the new year as an opportunity to recenter.


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

Reading More about Doing Less

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! I don’t know about you, but the last couple of weeks have kicked me in the behind. Some potent mixture of work projects, holiday celebrations, travel planning, pandemic anxiety, and early darkness has left me feeling like doing little more than eating carbs and going to bed super early. 

It’s also got me thinking a lot about doing less and the ways in which we can all learn to cut ourselves some slack. It seems like that’s been a common theme for several years, resulting in many books on my TBR about this topic. Here are three on my list:

book cover drop the ball by tiffany dufu

Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu

This memoir, targeted specifically at women, is a call to action to let go and do less. Tiffany Dufu, a self-described “poster child for doing it all,” writes about realizing how difficult it felt to pursue her career and personal goals after the birth of her first child. Eventually, she came to the realization that the only way to move forward was to let go – change expectations, reduce her to-dos, and get help from others. This is the most achievement-oriented of the books on my list, but I suspect it will resonate with many people. 

book cover laziness does not exist by devon price

Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price

Devon Price is another recovering overachiever. After finishing college and graduate school early, they were diagnosed with anemia and heart complications from overexertion. This prompted an exploration into the “laziness lie” – an idea that began with the Puritans and continues to this day. The book looks at how people today work more than ever but feel like we’re not doing enough and how digital tools have contributed to this feeling of overwork. 

book cover the art of the wasted day by patrica hampl

The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl

This book is an exploration of leisure and an exploration of people who have found ways to disconnect from the demands of their lives to pursue lives of leisure in their own ways. In the book, Hampl goes off on pilgrimages to visit historical figures, as well as traces her own history and fascination with doing nothing and the things that letting go can bring. I loved this line from the description: “The real job of being human, Hampl finds, is getting lost in thought, something only leisure can provide.”

One Thing I Like

podcast graphic for bad blood the final chapter

Although I’ve mentioned it in past newsletter editions, I want to give another call out to John Carreyrou’s new podcast Bad Blood: The Final Chapter. The 11 episodes, so far, have been a satisfying extension of the work he did writing about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos in Bad Blood. Each episode explores a new angle of the story, incorporating new reporting, additional audio sources, and testimony from the trial happening right now. It’s fascinating and highly recommended!

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


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

Upcoming Books from Hannah Gatsby, Patrick Radden Keefe

Happy Friday, friends! This week has positively flown by, which makes me feel like the rest of the year will be over before we see it coming. I’m feeling a little stretched thin right now, with some work projects and volunteer commitments converging in a way that’s stressing me out… so I’m going to skip the rest of the preamble and get right to the news. 

For a final time, don’t forget, we’re hiring an Advertising Sales Manager! Do you like books and comics? Does helping advertisers reach an enthusiastic community of book and comics lovers intrigue you? This might be your job. Apply by December 5, 2021.

book cover ten steps to nanette by hannah gatsby

Hannah Gatsby is releasing a memoir in 2022! Ten Steps to Nanette will be released in March and “explore Gatsby’s path from the open mic to the global stage.” In addition to her professional and personal accomplishments, it will also explore her growth as a queer person and her struggles with autism and ADHD. 

Looking for an audiobook? The New York Times recommends several to download this winter, based on some formats they think work especially well – essay and oral history. 

Curious about formats in young adult nonfiction? In a recent edition of Book Riot’s YA newsletter, What’s Up in YA?, editor Kelly Jensen linked to a fascinating article about the five kinds of nonfiction that have evolved in the YA format. That’s a growing segment of nonfiction, so I thought it was interesting to learn about some of the categories and how they’ve changed. 

Author Hanif Abdurraqib shared an absolutely infuriating experience on Twitter about trying to get certified as a volunteer soccer coach. I don’t have any commentary, I just think it’s important to read.

Patrick Radden Keefe announced the title of his next book! Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels, and Crooks is coming out in June from Doubleday Books and will be a collection of articles from The New Yorker with themes of “skulduggery and intrigue.” I’m in!

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

One Thing I Like

book cover here for it by r. eric thomas

One of my favorite email newsletters is Here for It w/ R. Eric Thomas, which arrives every Sunday. A couple weeks ago he wrote about the cultural ceremony around a new Adele album, which made me feel seen and teased all at the same time and I don’t even mind it. This summer, he wrote a whole piece on artistic swimming, which was a hoot if you, like me, also love the Olympics. 

The nonfiction connection? R. Eric Thomas is the author of Here for It, or How to Save Your Soul in America, an awesome collection of essays about what it means to be “other” in the world. He’s done a lot of other stuff too, but this book and the newsletter are a great start.


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

Things We Think About After Thanksgiving

Hello fellow nonfiction nerds! If you’re lucky enough to have the day off today, I hope you’re able to spend it in a way you find relaxing and fulfilling. If you’re working or out in public, I hope people are kind and you’re able to find some peace as the holiday season kicks off. 

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, has a lot of different meanings too. For some, it’s a big day of shopping. For others, it’s a chance to reflect on the history of Indigenous people in the United States. Luckily, I have a couple of book recommendations for both!

Don’t forget! We’re hiring an Advertising Sales Manager! Do you like books and comics? Does helping advertisers reach an enthusiastic community of book and comics lovers intrigue you? This might be your job. Apply by December 5, 2021.

If You’re Thinking About Black Friday

consumed by aja barber

Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism by Aja Barber

In this book, Aja Barber digs into the fast fashion industry to explore how a culture of consumption is creating an environmental crisis. She also looks at how social media algorithms push shopping and purchasing, the racist and dangerous history of the textile industry, and how we can unlearn our habits about consumption for a better future. This one seems absolutely great – but if you’re interested in a sneak peek first, I suggest this interview with Barber on the Forever35 podcast.

book cover the day the world stops shopping by jb mackinnon

The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves by J.B. MacKinnon 

The premise of this book is a bit of a thought experiment – what would happen if we just stopped shopping? To answer, journalist J.B. MacKinnon set out to find answers from big box stores to tribal communities that consume at a perfectly sustainable rate. But then, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic happened… creating an opportunity to see the impacts of less consumption in real time. 

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

If You’re Thinking About Native American Heritage Day

cover image of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

There are more than 500 federally recognized Indigenous nations in the United States, descendants of the more than 15 million Native Americans who once lived here. In this book, historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz presents a history of the United States from the perspective of Indigenous people. She also connects this history of resistance to current events and struggles being led by Indigenous peoples.

book cover the heartbeat of wounded knee by daavid treuer

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

A common idea about Native American history is that it basically ended in 1890 with the massacre at Wounded Knee. In this book, Ojibwe historian David Treuer explores a different narrative – that the story of contemporary Native Americans is “one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.” The book blends history, reporting, and memoir to look at actions taken against Indigenous people and how they have pushed back.

One Thing I Like

book cover the art of gathering by priya parker

Turns out I can finish reading books! Last week I sped through The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker. Parker is a facilitator and conflict resolution expert who has facilitated gatherings for a variety of complex groups and gatherings. In this book, Parker argues that when we rely on routines and conventions we end up with gatherings that are boring or don’t meet their intended purpose.

She then walks through the steps she takes to help forge meaningful and memorable experiences at each gathering. Her steps are actionable and hopeful, and she uses her vast experience to show successes and failures in various gatherings. It’s really fascinating! If you’re not ready for a full book, Parker also has an email newsletter that I’ve really enjoyed 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!