Books

  Night MovesBy Jessica Hopper(University of Texas Press) In her latest book, music critic Jessica Hopper creates a loving portrait of early-2000s Chicago through vignettes that capture the city in all its gritty, weird glory. Centered loosely around the Wicker Park neighborhood, Hopper offers brief but vivid glimpses into her early years in a city she considers home. The book reads as part memoir and part history of a changing city without becoming bogged down in overwrought nostalgia. It’s possible to find the arc of Hopper’s...
When we named Phoebe Robinson the Queen Of All Media at our 25th anniversary party this summer, we weren't kidding: Robinson is a multi-talented multi-hyphenate. She's a podcast host (2 Dope Queens, with Jessica Williams, which is also an HBO special; and Sooo Many White Guys); actor (Ibiza, I Love Dick); screenwriter (Portlandia); essay writer (her 2016 essay collection You Can't Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have To Explain) followed years of blogging on her own site, Blaria); and standup comedian. Her...
Since I'm the queen of crap jobs, Barbara Ehrenreich is a hero to me. Her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, is something I return to time and again. For those not familiar with Nickel and Dimed, it chronicles Ehrenreich's experiment—inspired by welfare reform in the 1990s—to see if she could survive month-to-month working jobs considered “unskilled labor.” She spent time working at Wal-mart, in a nursing home, as a server and housekeeper and house cleaner. Along the way she found...
Girls Write Now: ?Two Decades of True Stories from Young Female VoicesBy Girls Write Now(Tin House Books) Girls Write Now, a book of personal essays written by high school girls, is both a feat of literary awesomeness and a slice of inspirational magic. Framed by defining quotes from today’s most influential feminists, including Roxane Gay and Gloria Steinem, these stories bring the reader through moments that have shaped their authors’ lives, from immigrant journeys across the sea to trips to the neighborhood laundromat. Every page...
The biggest reason I loved books when I was a kid was because they made me feel less alone. There were pivotal moments of identification with the narrators I was reading about, whether they were facing the same familial struggles or just had the same weird pet peeve as me. I’m white, and there was no shortage of characters who looked like me in the books, movies, and television I grew up with; I had the privilege of feeling seen and heard by my culture. Unfortunately,...
  Choose Your Own Disaster By Dana Schwartz(Grand Central Publishing) You might know Dana Schwartz from her prolific Twitter accounts (her alter ego, the satirical @GuyInYourMFA, has over 94,000 followers) but after reading the journalist’s first memoir-slash-choose-your-own-adventure novel, you’ll wish she was your real-life best friend, too. In Choose Your Own Disaster, Schwartz seamlessly moves from thoughtful and often hilarious observations into more difficult and heavy topics, including sexual assault, body image, and bulimia, all while refusing to shy away from the least glamorous details of...
Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to ActivismBy Nadya Tolokonnikova(HarperOne) In the first few pages of Read & Riot, author Nadya Tolokonnikova reminds readers that her protest of Putin’s authoritarian rule landed her and her Pussy Riot bandmates in a Russian prison. So it should come as no surprise that the type of resistance she proposes in this activism guide is not for the faint of heart. This is not a book to read straight through. Rather, it’s designed more as a reference guide. Each...
Training School for Negro GirlsBy Camille Acker(The Feminist Press at CUNY) With this impressive debut short story collection, author Camille Acker establishes herself as a gifted and agile writer with an assured and masterful voice. The collection is centered around the lives of ordinary residents of Washington, D.C., over the past several decades. From a young girl in the ’90s who is losing her older brother to forces that she doesn’t understand, to a motivational speaker’s spouse in the midst of a serious marriage crisis,...
  Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke FreeBy Linda Kay Klein (Touchstone) Imagine your sexuality as a lollipop. Who’s going to want a lollipop that someone’s already sucked on? This is the type of metaphor at the root of the trauma author Linda Kay Klein experienced at the hands of the white evangelical purity movement. When she’s not immersing readers into the same world she spent years trying to free herself from, Klein is sharing research,...
  Two sisters: one remembers magic, the other doesn't, and neither is supposed to know that magic even exists. This comic may sound like something from the Harry Potter series, but it is a lot sexier and way more colorful, featuring Latinx women, Los Angeles, beautiful people, and a hint of CW-esque drama. This is Sam Humphries' and Jen Bartel’s newest work, Blackbird. Our two sisters are named Marisa and Nina Rodriguez. Nina, the younger sister, has a feeling something terrible is going to happen—and then it...