Title: If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution
By: Vincent Bevins
In If We Burn, acclaimed journalist and author of The Jakarta Method, Vincent Bevins sets out to answer a pivotal question: How did mass protest backfire in the 2010s? From the Arab Spring, to the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, to the "V for Vinegar" explosion in Brazil, to Ukraine's Euromaidan revolution, to the civil war in Syria, and the student uprisings in Hong Kong in 2019, Bevins aims to understand and present the factors that worked against these democratic protests across the world. In doing so, he shows the ways in which the conventional wisdom in 2010 was wrong but more importantly, what protestors at the time wish they had done differently. Through first person testimony coupled with a fresh analysis of the past, Bevins takes us back to the protests that defined a decade, adding needed clarity and understanding to how such fervent displays of political angst and calls for change were eventually lost. If We Burn is a unique and telling exploration of how a time of upheaval and change was met with vastly different outcomes than the idealism that produced it
Title: Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I: The Mother and Daughter Who Forever Changed British History
By: Tracy Borman
Anne Boleyn may be best known for losing her head, but as Tudor expert Tracy Borman reveals in a book that recasts British history, her greatest legacy lies in the path-breaking reign of her daughter, Elizabeth.
Much of the fascination with Britain’s legendary Tudors centers around the dramas surrounding Henry VIII and his six wives and Elizabeth I’s rumored liaisons. Yet the most fascinating relationship in that historic era may well be that between the mother and daughter who, individually and collectively, changed the course of British history.
Title: There Will Be Fire: Margaret Thatcher, the IRA, and Two Minutes That Changed History
By: Rory Carroll
A bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded at 2:54 a.m. on October 12, 1984. It was the last day of the Conservative Party Conference at the Grand Hotel in the coastal town of Brighton, England. Rooms were obliterated, dozens of people wounded, five killed. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in her suite when the explosion occurred; had she been just a few feet in another direction, flying tiles and masonry would have sliced her to ribbons. As it was, she survived—and history changed.
Title: Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World
By: Christian Cooper
Better Living Through Birding exults in the pleasures of a life lived in pursuit of the natural world and invites you to discover them yourself. Equal parts memoir, travelogue, and primer on the art of birding, this is Cooper’s story of learning to claim and defend space for himself and others like him, from his days at Marvel Comics introducing the first gay storylines to vivid and life-changing birding expeditions through Africa, Australia, the Americas, and the Himalayas. Better Living Through Birding recounts Cooper’s journey through the wonderful world of birds and what they can teach us about life, if only we would look and listen.
Title: Poverty, by America
By: Matthew Desmond
In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow.
Title: Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden
By: Camille T Dungy
In resistance to the homogenous policies that limited the possibility and wonder that grows from the earth, Dungy employs the various plants, herbs, vegetables, and flowers she grows in her garden as metaphor and treatise for how homogeneity threatens the future of our planet, and why cultivating diverse and intersectional language in our national discourse about the environment is the best means of protecting it.
Definitive and singular, Soil functions at the nexus of nature writing, environmental justice, and prose to encourage you to recognize the relationship between the peoples of the African diaspora and the land on which they live, and to understand that wherever soil rests beneath their feet is home.
Title: The Devil's Element: Phosphorus and a World Out of Balance
By: Dan Egan
The story of phosphorus spans the globe and vast tracts of human history. First discovered in a seventeenth-century alchemy lab in Hamburg, it soon became a highly sought-after resource. The race to mine phosphorus took people from the battlefields of Waterloo, which were looted for the bones of fallen soldiers, to the fabled guano islands off Peru, the Bone Valley of Florida, and the sand dunes of the Western Sahara. Over the past century, phosphorus has made farming vastly more productive, feeding the enormous increase in the human population. Yet, as Egan harrowingly reports, our overreliance on this vital crop nutrient is today causing toxic algae blooms and “dead zones” in waterways from the coasts of Florida to the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes and beyond. Egan also explores the alarming reality that diminishing access to phosphorus poses a threat to the food system worldwide—which risks rising conflict and even war.
Title: Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America
By: Audrey Clare Farley
Girls and Their Monsters chronicles the extraordinary lives of the quadruplets and the lead psychologist who studied them, asking questions that speak directly to our times: How do delusions come to take root, both in individuals and in nations? Why does society profess to be “saving the children” when it readily exploits them? What are the authoritarian ends of innocence myths? And how do people, particularly those with serious mental illness, go on after enduring the unspeakable? Can the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood help the deeply wounded heal?
Title: Standing in the Forest of Being Alive
By: Katie Farris
Standing in the Forest of Being Alive is a memoir-in-poems that reckons with erotic love even as the narrator is diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at the age of thirty-six during a time of pandemic and political upheaval. With humor and honesty, the book portrays both the pleasures and the horrors of the lover, the citizen, and the medical subject. How can we find, in the midst of hell, what isn’t hell? And whom can we tell how much we want to live? An intimate, hilarious and devastating look into some of the most private moments of a life―even if they happen to occur in a medical office with six strangers looking on. This book is for anyone who's ever asked how to live in the face of suffering, and doesn't expect an easy answer. Standing in the Forest of Being Alive looks unflinchingly at painful realities, posing the question "What isn't hell?" and finds the answer in a powerful eros, letting a loved one pull laughter out of the narrator's reluctant mouth like a "redvioletcerulean handkerchief."
Title: The Book of (More) Delights: Essays
By: Ross Gay
What delights us is what connects us, what gives us meaning, from the joy of hearing a nostalgic song blasting from a passing car to the pleasure of refusing the “nefarious” scannable QR code menus, from the tiny dog he fell hard for to his mother baking a dozen kinds of cookies for her grandchildren. As always, Gay revels in the natural world—sweet potatoes being harvested, a hummingbird carousing in the beebalm, a sunflower growing out of a wall around the cemetery, the shared bounty from a neighbor’s fig tree—and the trillion mysterious ways this glorious earth delights us.
Title: Have I Told You This Already? Stories I Don't Want to Forget to Remember
By: Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham has graced countless television screens with her quick-witted characters and hilarious talk show appearances, earning a reputation as a pop culture icon who always has something to say. In her latest book, Have I Told You This Already?, Graham combines her signature sense of humor with down-to-earth storytelling. Graham shares personal stories about her life and career—from her early days spent pounding the pavement while waitressing in New York City, to living on her aunt’s couch during her first Los Angeles pilot season, to thoughts on aging gracefully in Hollywood.
Title: The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder
By: David Grann
On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty’s Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as “the prize of all the oceans,” it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.
But then ... six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death—for whomever the court found guilty could hang.
Title: You Just Need to Lose Weight: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People
By: Aubrey Gordon
The co-host of the Maintenance Phase podcast and creator of Your Fat Friend equips you with the facts to debunk common anti-fat myths and with tools to take action for fat justice.
Aubrey Gordon equips readers with the facts and figures to reframe myths about fatness in order to dismantle the anti-fat bias ingrained in how we think about and treat fat people. Bringing her dozen years of community organizing and training to bear, Gordon shares the rhetorical approaches she and other organizers employ to not only counter these pernicious myths, but to dismantle the anti-fat bias that so often underpin them.
Title: Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs: A Journey Through the Deep State
By: Kerry Howley
Who are you? You are data about data. You are a map of connections--a culmination of everything you have ever posted, searched, emailed, liked, and followed. In this groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction, Kerry Howley investigates the curious implications of living in the age of the indelible. Howley's subjects face a challenge new to history: they are imprisoned by their past selves, trapped for as long as the Internet endures. A soap opera set in the deep state, Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs is a free fall into a world where everything is recorded and nothing is sacred, from a singular writer unafraid to ask essential questions about the strangeness of modern life.
Title: Quietly Hostile: Essays
By: Samantha Irby
The success of Irby's career has taken her to new heights. She fields calls with job offers from Hollywood and walks the red carpet with the iconic ladies of Sex and the City. Finally, she has made it. But, behind all that new-found glam, Irby is just trying to keep her life together as she always had. Her teeth are poisoning her from inside her mouth, and her diarrhea is back. She gets turned away from a restaurant for wearing ugly clothes, she goes to therapy and tries out Lexapro, gets healed with Reiki, explores the power of crystals, and becomes addicted to QVC. Making light of herself as she takes us on an outrageously funny tour of all the details that make up a true portrait of her life, Irby is once again the relatable, uproarious tonic we all need
Title: Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World
By: Naomi Klein
What if you woke up one morning and found you'd acquired another self--a double who was almost you and yet not you at all? What if that double shared many of your preoccupations but, in a twisted, upside-down way, furthered the very causes you'd devoted your life to fighting against?
Naomi Klein is one of our most trenchant and influential social critics, an essential analyst of what branding, austerity, and climate profiteering have done to our societies and souls. Here she turns her gaze inward to our psychic landscapes, and outward to the possibilities for building hope amid intersecting economic, medical, and political crises. With the assistance of Sigmund Freud, Jordan Peele, Alfred Hitchcock, and bell hooks, among other accomplices, Klein uses wry humor and a keen sense of the ridiculous to face the strange doubles that haunt us—and that have come to feel as intimate and proximate as a warped reflection in the mirror.
Title: Carmageddon: How Cars Make Life Worse and What to Do About It
By: Daniel Knowles
In Carmageddon, journalist Daniel Knowles outlines the rise of the automobile and the costs we all bear as a result. Weaving together history, economics, and reportage, he traces the forces and decisions that normalized cars and cemented our reliance on them. Knowles takes readers around the world to show the ways car use has impacted people’s lives—from Nairobi, where few people own a car but the city is still cloaked in smog, to Houston, where the Katy Freeway has a mind-boggling 26 lanes and there are 30 parking spaces for every resident, enough land to fit Paris ten times. With these negatives, Knowles shows that there are better ways to live, looking at Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Tokyo, and New York City.
Title: Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock
By: Jenny Odell
This dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book offers us different ways to experience time—inspired by pre-industrial cultures, ecological cues, and geological timescales—that can bring within reach a more humane, responsive way of living. As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days alongside gardens growing, birds migrating, and cliffs eroding; the stretchy quality of waiting and desire; the way the present may suddenly feel marbled with childhood memory; the slow but sure procession of a pregnancy; the time it takes to heal from injuries. Odell urges us to become stewards of these different rhythms of life in which time is not reducible to standardized units and instead forms the very medium of possibility.
Title: Black Women Writers at Work
By: Edited by Claudia Tate
Through candid interviews with Maya Angelou, Toni Cade Bambara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alexis De Veaux, Nikki Giovanni, Kristin Hunter, Gayl Jones, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Margaret Walker, and Sherley Anne Williams, the book highlights the practices and critical linkages between the work and lived experiences of Black women writers whose work laid the foundation for many who have come after.
Responding to questions about why and for whom they write, and how they perceive their responsibility to their work, to others, and to society, the featured playwrights, poets, novelists, and essayists provide a window into the connections between their lives and their art.