RaveLibrary Journal... laugh-out-loud essays ... Here, like in her previous books, Robinson’s writing feels like talking to an old friend, especially when she recounts living with her boyfriend during the pandemic and learning to embrace each other’s flaws. The author is at her most vulnerable when detailing her path to launching an imprint, Tiny Reparations Books, and the challenges she faced along the way ... Robinson has written her best book yet, and her relatable humor will have readers coming back for more.
PositiveLibrary Journal... a heartfelt love letter to Aaliyah ... The engaging narrative follows the life of Aaliyah Dana Haughton ... Drawing on interviews and primary sources, Iandoli sensitively details how Aaliyah was abused by R. Kelly, her former mentor and producer ... The well-written, fast-paced chapters come alive when recounting Aaliyah\'s efforts to find producers for her second album ... The author also carefully traces the last day of Aaliyah\'s life, when she and members of her crew died in a plane crash in the Bahamas ... Combining the passion of a longtime admirer with the investigative skills of a journalist, Iandoli pays homage to Aaliyah with a work that will delight fans.
RaveLibrary Journal[A] vivid oral history ... A particular highlight of this book are its reproductions of original notes and sketches, photographs of cast and crew, and the musical’s full script ... Beyond its obvious appeal to Broadway fans, this insider guide to creating art, including making mistakes and accepting criticism, will spark the interest of aspiring artists and writers.
PositiveLibrary Journal... expressive ... The author is at their best when delineating the difficulties of hypervisibility; of being at once seen and unseen as a queer disabled Black writer. The body, in all its forms, is a recurring subject here, and Emezi movingly contemplates a body’s mental and physical limitations. What sets the book apart is that its letters span time and place, from the author’s native Nigeria, to Malaysia, Brooklyn, New Orleans, and beyond, reflecting their life and search for freedom—including the moments when Emezi doesn’t know what their freedom might look like ... A must for fans of Freshwater; readers new to Emezi’s writing will find themselves drawn in by their way with words.
M Leona Godin
PositiveLibrary Journal... a sweeping work of social history, literary criticism, and memoir about blindness and sight ... The author devotes a chapter to the legacy of Helen Keller, though this could have been expanded into its own book ... Godin covers a lot of ground in this wide-ranging account. Though sometimes dense with detail, her writing stands out for the way it emphasizes that disability is often an afterthought when it comes to diversity, and that disabled people are not a monolith.
RaveLibrary Journal... an inviting collection about bread and pastry. With raw honesty, she recounts the impact of her mother\'s death at a young age, and her move from Orange County, CA, to her father\'s native Costa Rica as he attempted to find solace after grief ... The book\'s strength lies in its focus on grains that are easily accessible in grocery stores and online, including barley and rice. While all chapters feature inventive recipes, the oats section is a highlight, with star recipes like power oat bars ... Jullapat\'s conversational approach and winning recipes will draw in aspiring bakers and inspire existing ones.
PositiveLibrary JournalGranata’s poignant debut delves into loss and pain and living in the aftermath of tragedy ... Tim ultimately received a diagnosis of schizophrenia in his early 20s. Particularly moving sections of the book depict the family’s loss of anonymity when the crime makes headline news, and Granata’s visits to Tim in a psychiatric hospital in an attempt to reconnect with the brother he once knew. The author’s delicate writing succeeds in painting a full portrait of Tim and shedding insight on the ongoing stigma of mental illness ... Granata’s skills, as a writer and former English teacher, shine here; he not only brings a personal perspective to living alongside a family member with mental illness, but also shows that there isn’t a right way to grieve. A welcome memoir.
Quiara Alegría Hudes
PositiveLibrary Journal... riveting ... Hudes evocatively recalls life traveling between her abuela’s North Philly kitchen, her mother’s West Philly home, and her father’s farm in a homogenous Main Line suburb. Recollections of her mother’s and grandmother’s upbringings in Puerto Rico are rich with detail, as are depictions of aunts, uncles, and cousins who find their way in and around Philadelphia. Hudes is at her best when conveying the challenges of navigating two worlds—not feeling Puerto Rican enough to fully connect with her mother, and always feeling out of place when visiting her Jewish father and his new family. Her writing also thoughtfully details the shame and silence around AIDS, especially as it touched her family. To find solace amid grief and disappointment, Hudes turned to music and literature. The book’s powerful final chapters cover her time studying music at Yale and ultimately earning an MFA from Brown ... Hudes has written a can’t-miss love letter, in the form of a memoir, about the people and city that shaped her.
Matthew Gavin Frank
PositiveLibrary JournalA page-turning tale of suspense ... His thorough reporting on mineworkers, their pigeons, and towns that have struggled in the wake of mine closures makes for compelling reading. The author excels in allowing people to speak for themselves, adding personal touches to a history of greed and trauma ... Frank writes a fascinating story of grief and history that will draw readers in from the first page. Must-read narrative nonfiction.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe strongest parts of the book center on biographical sketches of Cherokee actor Will Rogers and how his grandfather signing the Treaty of New Echota, which led to the Trail of Tears, continued to haunt the family ... While only a handful of women are featured, insight from Cayuse/Nez Perce actress Elaine Miles and Kiowa/Apache comedian Adrianne Chalepah is welcome ... With no real comparison book, this well-documented history, though uneven at times, should spark interest and future research.
RaveLibrary JournalWhile the book is strong as a whole, recollections of his Mama and Grandmama, who wanted better for him, are especially poignant ... Moving and meditative, this reckoning on Blackness, manhood, and self adds to Laymon\'s legacy as an influential writer.
RaveLibrary Journal... a wide-ranging study of white, male identity ... Outstanding chapters also scrutinize the anger and fervor of Bernie Bros, resentment toward women in politics, right-wing attacks on higher education, and even the origins of football as a sport designed to foster a white, male ideal. The work remains strong throughout, as Oluo grounds her research in interviews and primary sources, while also describing the harassment her family has faced because of her writing ... Oluo calls on us to do better because we deserve better, and her words will resonate with all ready to look inward and enact change.
PositiveLibrary JournalThis irreverent look at film criticism will be popular among West\'s many fans and may provide insight for readers grappling with liking flawed films.
Connor Towne O'Neill
RaveLibrary JournalThe narrative excels in blending personal and historical throughout, but especially in Memphis, as the author visits a church on the site of Forrest\'s former slave mart and delves into the general\'s involvement in the 1864 Fort Pillow Massacre ... O\'Neill is a talented writer, and this powerful meditation on collective memory is necessary reading for knowing ourselves and our history.
RaveLibrary JournalThrough it all, she is refreshingly vulnerable and honest ... Another standout from Brosh that is both heartening and heartbreaking.
RaveLibrary JournalWith consideration and compassion, Montross has written a must-read that asks us to consider who our system is leaving behind.
PositiveLibrary JournalCiting a range of primary sources and firsthand interviews, Klein reiterates that the United States is sorted into racial, religious, cultural, and geographic identities, which have led to Democrats becoming more diverse and Republicans more homogeneous. He effectively explains the impact of weak parties and strong partisanship, which can lead to demagogues ... By combining political history with social commentary, this book will retain relevancy ... With YA crossover appeal, Klein’s accessible work is for anyone wondering how we got here; it shows how understanding history can help us plan for the future.
PositiveLibrary Journal... absorbing, fast-paced ... Wiener\'s descriptions of Silicon Valley expose an industry in which sexism and misogyny are commonplace, where work and personal identities blur and overlap as people become indistinguishable from their brands ... She excels when challenging the tech industry: questioning its reluctance to diversify and refusal to hold itself accountable for digital surveillance ... Wiener is a talented writer, and her story will engage fellow millennials who have found themselves obsessively refreshing social media or mindlessly scrolling to pass the time. Insight into the history of Silicon Valley, and the ideologies transforming society, are a bonus that will ensure the book\'s longevity.
PositiveLibrary JournalIntended to be a narrative homage to women in hip-hop, this latest work by Iandoli is that and more ... Iandoli gives female artists the recognition they deserve, while showing that there is still work to do. Place this book in the hands of fans of Hanif Abdurraqib and Jeff Chang.
RaveLibrary Journal... compelling ... Diaz writes affectionately about the emotional toll of schizophrenia ... A must-read memoir on vulnerability, courage, and everything in between from a standout writer.
RaveLibrary JournalGripping chapters on the complicated relationship with his mother, and her life with a heart condition, make for moving reading ... An unforgettable memoir that pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the very last page.
PositiveLibrary JournalIncorporating characters from her first book, Marais shows how the lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah overlap in unexpected ways ... As with her debut, Marais excels at creating compelling characters; readers will be turning the pages, wondering what life has in store for each.
PositiveLibrary JournalWith candor, Mulgrew shares her efforts at caregiving after her mom develops Alzheimer\'s and, later, her dad is diagnosed with cancer. The author\'s privilege shows in passages about her reliance on her caregivers of Mexican descent; however, she reveals the painful effects of a family\'s long-standing fear of doctors and lack of vulnerability ... Though long-winded at times, this intimate memoir shares the realities of loving flawed parents and coping with grief and loss; a worthwhile read.
MixedLibrary JounalWith humor and vulnerability, McInerny illustrates the emotional toll of pretending that everything was fine ... Chapters on the author\'s blended family are the strongest ... Yet, brief essays about feedback on her podcast feel out of place, interrupting the flow of the narrative, and reflections on the cultural expectations of her Catholic upbringing could have been expanded ... Spanning memoir and parenting, this supplemental purchase is best for large memoir collections; it can be read alongside the author\'s first book or on its own.
RaveLibrary JournalPuri\'s writing shines when it\'s most personal; considering the intersection between spirituality and science, and seeing people turn to or away from faith in times of illness ... An affecting read about the limits of medicine and embracing that which is beyond one\'s control. The stories of Puri\'s patients and their families will resonate with readers.
PositiveLibrary JournalIn sharing her evolution into a self-professed black feminist grateful for Beyoncé as a feminist icon, Cooper deftly examines friendships between black women. In her case, this often meant not being considered black enough ... An insightful read for teens questioning politics or faith and those looking to learn more about black feminism and social justice.