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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Today’s pick is a wonderful book that is not what you think it is at first glance.

Book Cover of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat with art by Wendy MacNaughton

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat with art by Wendy MacNaughton

Samin Nosrat knows her way around the kitchen. She got her start at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA and has gone on to be a New York Times food columnist, appear on Michelle Obama’s Waffles + Mochi Netflix show, co-create and co-host the Home Cooking podcast, and so much more. Most people see this book and think it’s a standard cookbook with end to end recipes and maybe little paragraphs of anecdotes to break things up. While this book certainly has recipes, it is so much more than just a cookbook. It’s part reference and part cooking instruction and it will change the way you cook forever (and for the better)! Cookbooks tell you how to make certain things. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach you how to cook.

I grew up in a family that cooked a lot and so much of what we did centered around food. Before the Food Network existed, I’d watch cooking shows on PBS in the morning while I got ready for school. I am good at following recipes and once I read this book, I became so much better at winging it in the kitchen and throwing things together on a whim.

The main idea of this book is that by mastering the four elements of salt, fat, acid, and heat, you will be able to cook just about anything. I was skeptical at first but just about every sentence is a goldmine of knowledge. This moves you beyond just using iodized salt from a shaker or any ol’ olive oil and Nosrat is brilliant at not only explaining the how but the why. Why does something taste better when you use x instead of y? What is the importance of adding an acid while you cook? Or why would you in some cases use an acid as a finish?

This book is also packed with gorgeous illustrations, charts, graphs, decision-helper flowcharts, and so much more. There’s one page that opens up to an illustration of a wheel of fat, which describes what fats are most common for the origin of the cuisine you are cooking. There is a chart on recommended grain-to-water ratios and an absolutely world-changing chart of how to cook certain vegetables depending on the season of the year.

This book has changed my life and it is a must-read, must-own for any home cook.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

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Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Today’s pick is a graphic novel trilogy that taught me more about the 1960s Civil Rights Movement than I had ever known before.

Book cover of March Trilogy by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

March Trilogy by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Congressman John Lewis was one of the key figures of the U.S. civil rights movement. This trilogy of graphic novels is a first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. This was a particularly difficult read because we’re still fighting some of the same fights. It’s enraging. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s also motivating.

The books time hop, juxtaposing President Barack Obama’s inauguration with John Lewis’s childhood memories and civil rights movement memories. Of everyone who spoke at the March on Washington in August 1963, the one where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I have a dream” speech, John Lewis was the one still living at the time of writing these graphic novels.

Book One introduces nonviolent protest tactics. I think that when people think of nonviolence, they imagine no violence at all, which is wildly wrong. The protestors themselves were nonviolent and nonreactive, but the people they were against spit on them, tear gassed them, turned fire hoses on them, set dogs on them, set dogs on children. There is a lot of violence and violent imagery and violent language in these books and you should definitely know that going into it.

Book Two continues where Book One left off with the lunch counter sit-ins before diving into the freedom rides and ending with the march on Washington.

Book Three is a doozy. It’s a bit longer than the first two books and like the others it contains a lot of violence because nothing makes white supremacists and their organizations more violent than peaceful protestors. It begins with the bombing of the 16th street Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama then immediately to a couple different shootings of teenagers. This is all in the first 10 pages or so of the book. The focus of the rest of the book is on the civil rights protests and marches with the goal of forcing Alabama’s governor out of office and making it so that everyone had the right to vote.

As you can imagine, these graphic novels are an intense read and I highly recommend them.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Today’s pick is an anthology of queer comics that are insightful, intelligent, thoughtful, funny, information-dense, heartfelt, and sometimes heartbreaking.

Book cover of Be Gay, Do Comics: Queer History, Memoir, and Satire from The Nib Edited by Matt Bors

Be Gay, Do Comics: Queer History, Memoir, and Satire from The Nib edited by Matt Bors

This comics collection is from The Nib, “a daily publication devoted to publishing and promoting political and non-fiction comics. We run journalism, essays, memoir and satire about what is going down in the world, all in comics form, the best medium. It was founded in 2013.” I love the variety and range of the contributors and the subjects of the comics contained in this collection. There are comics by creators I’ve mentioned on Book Riot’s All the Backlist! podcast, like Maia Kobabe, Archie Bongiovanni, Mady G, and Melanie Gillman. There are also comics by creators that I think you should know about, like Bianca Xunise, Scout Tran, Trinidad Escobar, and more.

There are comics about coming out and comics about creators just realizing that they are queer. There are hilarious comics about gender reveals and pronouns. This book has many comics on queer history, such as one about Gad Beck, who was gay, Jewish, and fought the nazis (the original 1930s nazis, not the ones we have right now). There are multiple pieces on the ways in which hairstyles reflect and confirm queerness. There are comics on birth control and comics on how some people define non-binary for themselves.

One of the comics I deeply appreciate is titled Decolonizing Queerness in the Philippines by Trinidad Escobar. It is such an important reminder that homophobic and transphobic beliefs in many non-Western countries are results of colonization. It’s so easy for some Westerners to harshly judge these countries’ views on queerness or women’s rights or contraception without acknowledging their own role and the roles of their ancestors in bringing these views to these countries in the first place.

Another piece I appreciated is I Came Out Late in Life and That’s Okay by Alison Wilgus because hey, not all of us knew we were queer since we were 3-years’ old. It’s such an important comic for those of us who may feel left out of the narrative of being and knowing we’re queer since the day we were born.

This is a thoughtfully curated collection that I highly recommend.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Today’s pick is an intense read that was a New York Times bestseller and Lambda Literary Award winner.

Book cover of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

In addition to being intense, Hunger is a very important and sometimes difficult read. Roxane Gay is, in her own words, a woman of size. She wasn’t always “of size.” When Roxane Gay was twelve, she was violently sexually assaulted by a group of boys from her school. She says she “ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe.” When you are big, you are both invisible and highly visible all at once. Everyone has an opinion on your body, but few have consideration for you. Roxane Gay shares, in painful detail, how others try to punish her for her body and how she would crave the punishment and even punish herself. She begins by telling readers that, “The story of my body is not a story of triumph” yet it is a true story. (Side note: Body positivity doesn’t play a role in this book. This is not that kind of book.)

A large portion of the book is a rapid firing of abuse upon abuse as a person of size riding on airplanes, abuse from trolls on the internet, lack of consideration for ability when being a speaker. Will the chairs suit her body? How high is the stage? She also lays bare our society’s normalization of the abuse of fat people on shows like The Biggest Loser.

As I mentioned earlier, this is such an important book to read. It can be so easy to look at a person or a photo of a person and make judgments based on what you see. But you don’t see their story and no one sees your story. Hunger is Roxane Gay stepping forward and sharing her body’s story. It is not always a happy one. She shows vulnerability in her honesty about learning to nurture both her body and her spirit. It serves as a reminder that we’re all learning this and we’re all at different stages in our learning. This book is also a harsh reminder and wake-up call to be considerate of the reality of the bodies of others.

Content warnings: violent sexual assault, emotional abuse, eating disorders and eating disorder ideation, anti-fatness, and verbal abuse.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Today’s pick is a book that makes me feel good every time I read it.

Book cover of You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty is a Black, awkward, over-achieving, adorkable senior in high school in Campbell, Indiana, a small midwestern town that is pretty white and affluent and obsessed with prom. You know how some high schools are obsessed with football? Well, Campbell is out of control obsessed with prom and this has gone on for generations.

Liz (or Lighty, as some folks call her), is desperate to get out of this small town and go to Pennington college. Liz’s family does not have a lot of money and the scholarship she is depending on to get her to Pennington falls through; however, not all hope is lost. The people crowned prom queen and prom king get a nice chunk of scholarship money.

The absolute last thing Liz Lighty wants to do is join the competition for prom queen. She hates being the center of attention. Of course her nemesis (and the nemesis’s crew) will try to do everything to stop Liz from winning, which given Liz’s gpa, she might actually have a chance at with the help of her friends. It also means that she is going to have to cooperate with an ex-friend, Jordan.

Liz and her brother live with their grandparents. Her mom passed away young and her brother has sickle cell anemia. Liz intends to become a doctor, like her mom, to do sickle cell research.

But that’s not all! There’s a new girl in town, named Mack. Mack is also an outsider, a skater girl, and not necessarily prom queen material and she’s joined the competition as well, which complicates things because every time she is near Mack, Liz Lighty gets major butterflies. This book is queer and sweet and funny and when Liz and Mack are around each other, even I got butterflies. Also, I went into this book thinking that I was going to be able to predict everything but it’s full of surprises.

Content warnings for racism and homophobia and a deceased parent.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

Today’s pick is a speculative fiction novella that was so good, it could easily be read in a single sitting.

Book cover of The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle Book 1) by Nghi Vo

I’ll admit, when I started this book I had no idea what was going on. Reading it is like putting together a complicated puzzle without knowing what the final image is supposed to be. Partway through it starts to show itself a bit before presenting surprise after surprise. How this author fit so much in such a compact book is a magic of its own.

The book begins by introducing Chih and their companion, a neixin named Almost Brilliant who is also a talking bird. Chih is a Cleric from the Singing Hills Abbey and as such, they are a historian of sorts. They travel to a home on Lake Scarlet where they meet an elderly woman named Rabbit. Rabbit was the handmaiden of the Empress, and The Empress of Salt and Fortune is this Empress’s story, as told by her former handmaiden to the cleric Chih.

Each chapter begins with careful descriptions of a few objects, written with the words of someone cataloging the items. The someone, of course, is Chih. Rabbit then tells Chih the deeper meanings and stories of the sometimes seemingly benign objects they are documenting. Together, the objects reflect the tale of the Empress’s rise to power, starting with her being sent from the frosty north to the south, to marry the Emperor and bear him a child. Because she was foreign, she was not really accepted by the royal court and her handmaiden, Rabbit, was the closest person to her. The Empress eventually becomes known for her adoration of fortune tellers and mystics, often having them to the palace. After she has a child for the emperor, she is sent into exile and Rabbit with her. It’s when she is in exile that her real cleverness and power is proven.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Before we get into today’s book, don’t forget to check out our new line of bookish, Wordle-inspired merch! There are mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, and more. The campaign is temporary, so order yours now! Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

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

Today’s pick is an NAACP award-winner!

Book cover of More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are No Matter What They Say by Elaine Welteroth

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

Elaine Welteroth is best known for her phenomenal work at Teen Vogue, where she became the youngest Editor-in-Chief at a Conde Nast publication and only the second African American to hold such a title at Conde Nast. More Than Enough is her first memoir; however, given she is only in her 30s and continues to do amazing things, I’ll bet it’s not her last.

Elaine’s story arc is one that many high-achieving cis women can identify with. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and she was a fearless child who, while doing great things academically and even career-wise, made some boneheaded decisions when it came to relationships. She went through a period of making herself small, trying to fit into boxes that not only weren’t her shape, but weren’t for her at all.

While this is a memoir, there are also some really great pieces of advice in this book. One that resonated with me was when she got a coveted internship at Essence Magazine and they asked her where she wanted to be placed and she said she’d be happy anywhere. Truly what she wanted was to be in fashion. Her mentor told her then and there to always ask for what she wants.

As expected she talks a lot about her experience as a Black woman in a predominantly white industry as well as her experiences among many different subcultures of Black people because hey, we provide a range. And of course, she talks about both holding onto your dreams and working toward them as well as finding you’ve outgrown your dreams or that your goals have changed.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to.

Before we get into today’s book, don’t forget to check out our new line of bookish, Wordle-inspired merch! There are mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, and more. The campaign is temporary, so order yours now! Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

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

Today’s pick was adapted into film a few years ago starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Butler, and Janelle Monáe.

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

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

Shetterly grew up in Virginia and her father worked for NASA. Hidden Figures is nonfiction about the African American women who worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) which eventually morphed, with other groups, into the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). While the film version concentrates on NASA, and a few women, the truth is that African American women started working at NACA during WWII. It was only supposed to be a short commitment, but then it turned into so much more. The women started as mathematicians, or as they were called, “computers.” There was East Computing, where the white women computers were, and there was West Computing, which had the African American women.

I thought the book was better than the movie (and I liked the movie). The book offers so much more context and gravitas to what these women were achieving, especially during segregation, the Jim Crow Era, and the Civil Rights Movement. Shetterly points out how the racism in the U.S. was damaging (and still damages) how other countries viewed (and view) the U.S. and questioned the U.S. as a global superpower when our own citizens were not being treated fairly. It really lays bare the hypocrisy of opposing the treatment of Jewish people in Europe while here at home, our own citizens weren’t being afforded basic human rights.

I had no idea how incredibly significant the West computers were not only at NACA, then NASA, but as part of U.S. history. They not only were integral in aeronautics and the space race, but in integration as well. In addition to Katherine Johnson, we read about Dorothy Vaughan, who paved the way, and Mary Jackson, who went from computer to engineer, which was rare for African American women, especially at that time. The book also teaches us about so many more of the women and a handful of the African American men that we never hear about in the history books.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

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

Today’s pick is an older nonfiction book that continues to answer a lot of questions and has a lot of advice and information that can be so helpful.

Cover of Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, PhD

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, PhD

I’m a big fan of Nagoski’s Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, which I recommend every chance I get and wanted to also recommend Come As You Are. This book is focused on the sex lives and the sexual response cycle of cisgender women. This is because there is a bunch of research on the sexual response cycle and sex lives of cisgender women and not a lot of research on transgender women or nonbinary folks. That being said, a couple of the trans folks in my life have read this and told me they still were able to get some helpful information out of it. The language is definitely gendered, especially around anatomy, and that can turn some people off so I’m making sure you’re informed before you pick this book up.

Nagoski offers fresh ways of looking at things and dispels a lot of common myths around sex, such as the ideas that “women don’t want sex as much as men do” and “women that have a high sex drive have more testosterone.” One of the main, recurring focuses of this book is the Dual Control model of the sexual response cycle which is the idea that there is an accelerator and also a brake and sometimes they work together and sometimes they work in opposition. Nagoski fills the book with both anecdotes and advice on how to “turn on the ons and turn off the offs,” or to put it another way, how to press on the gas and ease up on the brake.

One of the things that Nagoski talks about that I deeply appreciate that is not talked about enough in sex ed is context and the power of context to either hit your gas pedal or hit your brake. And that the context that does one or the other for you may not be the same that does it for your partner. There’s also a context worksheet that helps you figure out these things for yourself as well as other questionnaires that can be helpful in figuring out your own brakes and gas pedals.

Come As You Are is a fun, informative read which I highly recommend.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.

Categories
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!

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

Today’s pick is one that had a lot of hype as a New York Times Bestseller and an Oprah’s Book Club pick and it totally lives up to it.

Cover of Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

This book absolutely blew my mind. Wilkerson examines the social hierarchies that exist in the U.S., such as race and class, through the lens of a caste system: the insidious underlying system of hierarchy that uses socially constructed identifiers like race, class, and so forth to maintain the privilege of those at the top and to keep those at the bottom, well, at the bottom. This book shows that if the caste systems of the United States, India, and nazi Germany were to be in a Venn Diagram, the diagram would practically be a circle.

I’d heard for years that the original nazis in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s had studied Jim Crow laws in America and it’s where they got some of their most disgusting and depraved ideas. I’d heard this, but I didn’t know the details. Readers: this book gives details, even details about the things done here in the U.S. that the nazis thought were “too extreme.” Yes, some facets and views of white supremacists in the U.S. were “too extreme” for the nazis. Wilkerson goes into horrifying detail about violence and lynchings and abuse so major content warnings there.

She writes about what she calls the Eight Pillars of Caste, those things that need to exist to uphold this framework. Things such as the idea of heritability, that your caste is determined by your family. Also an idea of purity versus pollution and certain groups being inherently superior versus the inherent inferiority of other groups.

While this book taught me a lot about history, this is not a history book. This is an examination of a still existing framework in which we live that affects everything from the media we consume to the healthcare we do or do not receive with the punishments and backlash that happen when someone dares to try to step out of the caste system, or do something above their perceived caste.

This book is a harrowing and necessary read to understand race in America.

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


That’s it for now, book-lovers!

Patricia

Find me on Book Riot, the All the Books podcast, and Twitter.

Find more books by subscribing to Book Riot Newsletters.