Books

Thick: And Other Essays By Tressie McMillan Cottom (The New Press) Tressie McMillan Cottom’s essay collection, Thick, illuminates social structures that assure the failure of many, but most especially Black women. From dismissal of Black pain to capitalism’s hunger for inadequacy, the truths Cottom tackles not only need to be heard but also demand to be believed. Readers will feel both engaged by the author’s quippy cadence and impressed by her absolute authority on the subjects of beauty, media, money, and how these forces intersect with Black feminism. The...
  Southern Lady Code: EssaysBy Helen Ellis(Doubleday) Helen Ellis, the bestselling author of American Housewife, has done it again! Southern Lady Code is an equally funny collection of essays about how Ellis’ upbringing in Alabama shaped who she is today. Throughout the book, her mother gives advice about how to survive and succeed as a woman. When instructing her daughter on how to protect herself, Ellis’ mother says, “Helen Michelle, what you do is empty a fake lemon juice lemon and fill it with hairspray. When you squeeze...
    One From the Heart BROOKLYN-BASED STYLIST LaTonya Yvette inspires a dedicated following with her eponymous lifestyle blog, as much for the creative way she layers an outfit as for her honest reflections on motherhood and her changing body. Her first book, Woman of Color (Abrams Image), is a memoir, but it is also a map for living, filled with beautiful images and how-to sections that break down such essentials as tying a hair wrap and dealing with grief or bullies. But Yvette’s viewpoint isn’t the only...
In each issue of BUST, Amber Tamblyn reviews a book of poetry. From our May/June 2019 issue, here's her review of Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson Andrea Gibson has been one of the world’s most important spoken-word poets for well over a decade. But with their latest collection, Lord of the Butterflies (Button Poetry Press), the non-binary author has evolved into something far more profound; a deeply inspired writer, wholly unafraid of life’s unknowns. The book takes a potent and critical look at the...
    The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the RipperBy Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Forget everything you thought you knew about Jack the Ripper, the most infamous unidentified serial killer of the 19th century. Historian Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five tells another version of the events of 1888, taking a closer look at the five victims whose stories have been all but ignored. This is not that surprising since, historically, victims have never been the focus of serial killer tales.  Here, the five...
City of Girls: A NovelBy Elizabeth Gilbert(Riverhead Books) It’s hard to avoid being charmed by Vivian Morris, the 90-something-year-old protagonist of Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest novel, City of Girls, as she tells the story of her early days in New York City. Vivian’s honest, unabashed excitement in her youth will even let you overlook what she describes as her unwavering self-interest, the kind of self-involvement that means she has no sense of the coming war or what it could mean for the men and women of the...
  Australian author Minnie Darke (a.k.a Danielle Wood) is a Gemini with a Virgo rising, which could have something to do with her love of Scrabble, books, and freshly sharpened pencils. This month, her long career as a writer and author is set to collide with the zeitgeist with the release of her first romantic-comedy novel, Star-Crossed.  The novel opens with astrology skeptic Justine tampering with magazine horoscopes to influence her old friend Nick (Aquarius, struggling actor, and true believer). Of course, the predictions of the stars never turn out quite...
  Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To GuideBy Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark(Forge Books) This memoir by My Favorite Murder podcast hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark is a must-read for fans. And the duo’s wisecracking-but-tender stories are sure to lure in new admirers as well. Many who first tuned in to MFM to share in the hosts’ fascination with true crime also fell in love with their frankness and friendship, and this book expands on their stories. Their off-the-cuff quips—which have become like...
  Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and RevolutionBy Amber Tamblyn(Crown Archetype) On the cusp of her 30th birthday, actor/writer/director Amber Tamblyn felt like her career was getting away from her, and she wasn’t sure what came next. She was experiencing a “Saturn Return,” an astrological phase that refers to the return of Saturn every 29 years to its location at your birth. It is meant to bring clarity and determination to your new phase of life—what Tamblyn calls an “era of...
  Nearly 195 years after John Keats’ death, even the most non-poetic amongst us can still quote the first line of Endymion: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever…” Yet, upon its release in 1818, Endymion was so harshly reviewed by Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine that Lord Byron was prompted to write that the sensitive Keats had been “snuffed out by an article.” And what an article! Between referencing the “imperturbable driveling idiocy of Endymion” and snidely referring to Keats as “Johnny” and “Mr. John,” John Gibson...