Beth's Picks

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We All Want Impossible Things: A Novel By Catherine Newman Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780063230897
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Published: Harper - November 8th, 2022

This book captures the messy truth and strange mix of mundane and profound at the end of life better than anything I’ve ever read. I adored it. Newman perfectly shows how harrowing and beautiful and weird it is to be present with someone you love as they are dying. I laughed as much as I cried and had to immediately call the Edi to my Ash when I finished reading. This is presently my top contender for book of the year, and I can’t imagine any book moving me as much as this one did anytime soon.


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Jackal: A Novel By Erin E. Adams Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593499306
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Published: Bantam - October 4th, 2022

Adams' debut is great for fans of Candyman and Get Out, with its smart blend of paranormal and real world horrors. In Jackal, we follow Liz as she investigates why so many young Black girls go missing in her rural hometown, in the hopes of finding her missing goddaughter. Its twists keep you enthralled until the very end.


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This Story Is Not About a Kitten By Randall de Sève, Carson Ellis (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Randall de Sève, Carson Ellis (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593374535
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Published: Random House Studio - October 4th, 2022

This darling picture book captured my heart immediately! de Sève's fun use of rhyme and repetition, paired with Ellis' bright and playful illustrations, makes this story about community and kindness a perfect read-aloud.


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Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me By Erin Keane Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781953368317
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Published: Belt Publishing - September 27th, 2022

Part-memoir, part cultural commentary, Runaway by Erin Keane is filled with gripping stories about her mother’s life as a teen runaway in the 1970s and how this shaped her family. With deft prose, Keane seamlessly moves between her mother’s incredible (and at times, harrowing) stories and critique of how pop culture shapes us and determines whose stories are worth telling. This book will make you wonder about your own family, which of their stories are passed down and why. An engaging, thought-provoking read that’s perfect for those who love memoirs as well as those who usually shy away from the genre.


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Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands By Kate Beaton Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9781770462892
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Published: Drawn and Quarterly - September 13th, 2022

Kate Beaton's immersive graphic memoir about her time working in the oil fields of Alberta stays with you and rightly deserves a place in the graphic memoir canon. In Ducks, Beaton places you in a complicated world that few outsiders understand. Without ever using internal monologue, Beaton shows through character dialogue how this extractive industry causes harm well beyond environmental damage, taking a significant toll on people's health, relationships, identity, and dignity. With her grayscale illustrations, Beaton also effectively conveys how expansive, isolating, and, at times, beautiful, these fields are. A must read.
P.S. Take off the dust jacket for a perfect surprise.


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An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us By Ed Yong Cover Image
By Ed Yong
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593133231
Availability: Not currently in stock, but we are happy to backorder and notify you when it arrives.
Published: Random House - June 21st, 2022

Ed Yong's latest is perfect for people who love David Attenborough documentaries or enjoy going down Wikipedia rabbit holes. A magnificent and delightful journey through the different sensory worlds of animals, An Immense World will leave you awed and curious.


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A Prayer for the Crown-Shy: A Monk and Robot Book (Monk & Robot #2) By Becky Chambers Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781250236234
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Published: Tordotcom - July 12th, 2022

Wrap yourself in a warm towel fresh from the dryer and you'll get a sense of how you'll feel reading this book. In this sequel to A Psalm for the Wild-Built, we reunite with Dex and Mosscap on their journey to learn what humans need in a future where people seemingly lack nothing. Chambers had me laughing aloud and feeling seen in this hopeful novella that will do your spirit good.


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I'm Glad My Mom Died By Jennette McCurdy Cover Image
$22.39
ISBN: 9781982185824
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Published: Simon & Schuster - August 9th, 2022

Sharply written and deeply engrossing, Jennette McCurdy's I'm Glad My Mom Died is truly unputdownable. She writes with raw honesty (and humor) about her time as a child actor, her complicated relationship with her abusive mother, and her struggles with addiction and eating disorders. Taking in her story, I so wished I could reach back through time to protect young Jennette (trust me, the title is fitting). While hers is a difficult story to absorb, it's one that deserves to be heard.


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Fighting for YES!: The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann By Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Vivien Mildenberger (Illustrator), Judith Heumann (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Vivien Mildenberger (Illustrator), Judith Heumann (Afterword by)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781419755606
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Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - August 9th, 2022

Fighting For YES! gives us the story of disability rights activist, Judith Heumann, covering her childhood where she was regularly denied access to public education up to her leading successful campaigns for important disability rights legislation. Maryann Cocca-Leffler's text and Vivien Mildenberger's beautiful illustrations effectively portray Heumann's lifelong fight for the rights of disabled people and encourages the reader to explore how they, too, can work for change.


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Keeping Two By Jordan Crane Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781683965183
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Published: Fantagraphics - July 12th, 2022

I finished this book and wanted to immediately start it again. Crane beautifully captures how we can send ourselves, and our relationships, into doom spirals when we spend too much time acting out of fear and guilt. It's when we get past our own bullshit that we can truly connect and be present with people we love, and in the end, that's what matters most. Masterfully done.


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Days Like This By Oriane Smith, Alice Gravier (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Oriane Smith, Alice Gravier (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781990252099
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Published: Milky Way Picture Books - June 21st, 2022

I want to live in this book! The illustrations are phenomenal in their detail and their beauty, and they accompany the well-crafted text so well in this sweet story about the many wonders and perspectives one can find on a typical day.


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Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies (A Pies Before Guys Mystery) By Misha Popp Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781643859958
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Published: Crooked Lane Books - May 10th, 2022

Pie that leads to the demise of men who've greatly harmed women? I'm in! Misha Popp blends romance, mystery, and female empowerment in this fun and clever debut. Just the delightful escape I needed.


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Bodies on the Line: At the Front Lines of the Fight to Protect Abortion in America By Lauren Rankin Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781640094741
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Published: Counterpoint - April 5th, 2022

Abortion clinic escorts are heroes, and Rankin's book makes that abundantly clear. Bodies on the Line tells the stories of volunteer escorts across the country who have organized in their communities and risked their own safety to protect access to abortion care, including here in Kentucky. Rankin also provides context for how legislation and lack of enforcement impacted clinic access, even while Roe was still in place. A critical read for this moment.


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Flying Solo: A Novel By Linda Holmes Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525619277
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Published: Ballantine Books - June 14th, 2022

A charming novel that demonstrates well that there are countless ways to build a meaningful life and it's okay to break the mold. Throw in an old flame, laughs, intrigue, sincere reflection, and a small-town heist, and you're sure to be delighted.


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Welcome to the Grief Club: Because You Don't Have to Go Through It Alone By Janine Kwoh Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781523511716
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Published: Workman Publishing Company - February 1st, 2022

You might not expect to laugh much when reading a grief guide, but that's what I did reading Welcome to the Grief Club. In this compact and accessible book, Kwoh skips the platitudes and deftly addresses elements of grief--from grief triggers to normalizing all manners of feelings to marking deathiversaries--with wit, wisdom, and empathy. Paired with adorable, effective illustrations, Kwoh's book will resonate and make you feel less alone, whether your loss is recent or years old.


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Broken Horses: A Memoir By Brandi Carlile Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593237267
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Published: Crown - April 12th, 2022

Brandi Carlile's memoir is as vulnerable and open as her incredible songs. You don't have to already be a fan to get something out of her journey from poverty to Grammy winner, but I can't imagine anyone finishing this book not wanting to dive into her discography. Bonus: check out the audiobook, narrated by Carlile, for music interludes between each chapter.


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In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss By Amy Bloom Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593243947
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Published: Random House - March 8th, 2022

Do you need a good cry? Want a reminder of how beautiful mundane moments can be? In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss has you covered. Amy Bloom's memoir about loving and supporting her husband through early-onset Alzheimer's and his decision to use medical aid in dying is absolutely gutting and beautiful. I devoured this book in one sitting and was left weepy and awestruck by Bloom's honest portrayal of life with her beloved Brian. This book stays with you, and trust me when I say that is a gift.


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The Many Deaths of Laila Starr  By Ram V, Filipe Andrade (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Ram V, Filipe Andrade (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781684158058
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Published: BOOM! Studios - February 1st, 2022

A gorgeous graphic novel that follows death after she loses her job and is sent to live as a mortal. You'll appreciate the art and the ways the story has you examining and appreciating the simple, beautiful elements of your own life.


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From the Hood to the Holler: A Story of Separate Worlds, Shared Dreams, and the Fight for America's Future By Charles Booker Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593240342
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Published: Crown - April 26th, 2022

A life-long Kentuckian, Charles Booker deftly connects his personal story to issues facing communities across the state with compassion and honesty in his compelling memoir. From The Hood To The Holler will leave you feeling seen and hopeful about what is possible for the future of politics.


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Pleading Out: How Plea Bargaining Creates a Permanent Criminal Class By Dan Canon Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781541674677
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Published: Basic Books - March 8th, 2022

If you've somehow made it this far in life without understanding that the U.S. legal system is unjust, have I got the book for you! 


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New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support By Robin Marty, Amanda Palmer (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Robin Marty, Amanda Palmer (Foreword by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781644210581
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Published: Seven Stories Press - March 30th, 2021

REVIEW FOR 2019 EDITION: While Roe v. Wade being overturned seems unfathomable for some, there are many activists and organizations who have been preparing for this possibility for decades. Robin Marty's book provides a thorough guide for how people can act now to protect abortion access and what people can do to navigate a possible future without legal abortion. Alongside crucial information, Marty also provides history and context to how we got here. It's a book I hope we never need, but I'm sure grateful it exists. (To learn how you can support reproductive justice work in Kentucky, visit https://www.kentuckyhealthjusticenetwork.org/).


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How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question By Michael Schur Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982159313
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Published: Simon & Schuster - January 25th, 2022

Michael Schur, creator of the show The Good Place, brings that same insight and humor to How to Be Perfect. Focusing on what it takes to be a good person, Schur gives us a Philosophy 101 course that is as entertaining as it is accessible. A thought-provoking and fun read.


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Small Things Like These By Claire Keegan Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780802158741
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Published: Grove Press - November 30th, 2021

"We Belong to Each Other" is a regular mantra for one of my friends, and it perfectly gets at what Keegan's stirring novella is all about. Set in a small Irish town in 1985, this story explores complicity and asks who we really are when faced with a chance to help others.


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Fine: A Comic About Gender By Rhea Ewing Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9781631496806
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Published: Liveright - April 5th, 2022

What began as a college project exploring gender morphed into a decade of work that culminated in this illuminating graphic memoir. Rhea Ewing interviewed dozens of people across the gender spectrum in the Midwest U.S. and has distilled those conversations into this book. Featuring voices from a wide range of perspectives across gender, race, age, and class, FINE covers many topics integral to gender and many others that intersect, such as healthcare and housing. Interspersed with these voices is Ewing’s own voice as they take you along on their personal journey to better understand their own identity. A solid read that will have you better appreciating others’ experiences and encourage you to explore how gender impacts your own life.


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The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza By Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780063084087
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - May 10th, 2022

You had me at cat in space. This great graphic novel about a cat and a toenail-clipping robot on a mission to save the moon from rats is filled with unexpected and delightful twists and turns. Reminiscent of the beloved animated TV show ADVENTURE TIME, this book is filled with whimsy, adventure, and clever humor that kids and adults alike will enjoy.


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Ain't Burned All the Bright By Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781534439467
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Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - January 11th, 2022

Another compelling collaboration between author Jason Reynolds and illustrator Jason Griffin, Ain't Burned All the Bright is beautiful and timely. Without shying away from the harsh realities of racial injustice and COVID, this book still leaves you with a sense of hope. Reynolds' words paired with Griffin's incredible mixed-media art make for an incredible work that will be on your mind well after finishing it.


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The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows By John Koenig Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781501153648
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Published: Simon & Schuster - November 16th, 2021

John Koenig’s The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows captures the human experience as well as any great novel. Starting in 2009, Koenig has been creating and sharing new words to describe emotions we feel but lack language for. I wish I could easily upload all these words into my brain, à la The Matrix, and that these words were part of everyday language. A tremendous work. 


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Bodies Are Cool By Tyler Feder, Tyler Feder (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Tyler Feder, Tyler Feder (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593112625
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Published: Rocky Pond Books - June 1st, 2021

You see the term "body positivity" thrown around a lot these days when what people really mean is "self love." How utterly refreshing it was to read Feder's picture book that accurately presents body positivity--acceptance of ALL bodies, especially lifting up those that are marginalized. Beautiful illustrations of so many different types of bodies in everyday and celebratory settings, paired with joyful text, makes Bodies are Cool a perfect addition to anyone's library and a great resource to discuss acceptance and self-image with children.


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I Hope This Finds You Well: Poems By Kate Baer Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9780063137998
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Published: Harper Perennial - November 9th, 2021

Kate Baer’s erasure poems pull beauty, truth, and humor from unexpected places. From weight loss solicitation emails to comments of appreciation to emails deriding her politics and her body, Baer uses these sources to create poems that pack a punch. A solid collection worth revisiting regularly.


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Leave the World Behind: A Novel By Rumaan Alam Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062667649
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Published: Ecco - November 23rd, 2021

Prescient and eerie, Alam's novel takes you from vacation to mysterious disaster and forces you to examine what kind of person you might be when the world shifts in ways not yet clearly known. This was a slow burn with some shocking moments as well as beautiful scenes that are now etched into my brain. Not a post-apocalyptic novel, rather, a story that places you just at the end of before.


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The Me I Choose To Be By Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, Regis and Kahran Bethencourt (By (artist)) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316461542
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 19th, 2021

I loved this beautiful picture book. The imaginative, stunning, Afrofuturist photos of children by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt paired with a poetic, affirming essay by Natasha Tarpley make for an exquisite book that both kids and their grown-ups can enjoy.


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A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables) By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250765352
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Published: Tordotcom - October 5th, 2021

This reimagining of Sleeping Beauty features Harrow’s signature elements that I love: strong & smart female characters, wit that makes you audibly laugh, and prose that leaves you in awe of the magic of words. While a delightful read, this novella also doesn’t shy away from the darkness that is found in both our world and the fairytale world, and it is all the more powerful for it.


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All The Colors of Life By Lisa Aisato, Olivia Lasky (Translated by) Cover Image
By Lisa Aisato, Olivia Lasky (Translated by)
$24.00
ISBN: 9781646900114
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Published: Arctis - October 5th, 2021

This book captured me immediately. Aisato's illustrations are absolutely stunning; so many pages in this book could be stand-alone art pieces. While words are used sparingly, they join the art so well in conveying the beauty and struggle of the stages of life. I found solace in the beauty of this book and imagine many others would, too.


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A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1) By Becky Chambers Cover Image
$20.99
ISBN: 9781250236210
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Published: Tordotcom - July 13th, 2021

I absolutely adored this book. Chambers places us centuries into the future, and it is a bright, lush world. We follow a traveling tea monk who is joined along the way by a robot they meet in the wild, a robot who is seeking to learn what humans need. This was a comforting book that balanced warmth, humor, and existential questions (without the navel-gazing). I'm eager to see where this series leads.


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Don't Call Us Dead: Poems By Danez Smith Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977856
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Published: Graywolf Press - September 5th, 2017

Smith's second collection of poetry is stirring and devastating and absolutely beautiful. It's been a long time since a book of poetry stuck with me in the ways this one has, and I am so grateful to have encountered this work.


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The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History By David F. Walker, Marcus Kwame Anderson (Illustrator) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781984857705
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Published: Ten Speed Press - January 19th, 2021

A gripping history of the Black Panther Party and its wide-ranging impact and influence. Illustrated in a crisp, beautiful fashion, this book covers the Black Panthers' origins, major events, key players, bold actions, and enduring & complicated legacy.


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What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat By Aubrey Gordon Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780807014776
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Published: Beacon Press - November 16th, 2021

Aubrey Gordon has been writing powerful essays about her experience as a fat person under the pseudonym Your Fat Friend for several years. Now, she stands out with this work that effectively weaves research with personal storytelling and cultural critique. Gordon shares about the hostility she faces in moving through the world in a fat body while also highlighting the many ways anti-fat bias shows up in our society, from denial of healthcare to legal discrimination, and plenty more. This book will challenge you and cause you to examine your own internalized bias, and you'll be all the better for it.

 


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Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century By Alice Wong (Editor) Cover Image
By Alice Wong (Editor)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984899422
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Published: Vintage - June 30th, 2020

This collection of personal essays by disabled writers should be required reading for all nondisabled people. Edited by disabled activist, Alice Wong, Disability Visibility addresses topics as wide-ranging as the disability community: from the isolation of being deaf in prison to the need for fashion that accommodates medical devices to facing harassment just moving through the world, and plenty more.


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The Once and Future Witches By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316422017
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Published: Redhook - September 28th, 2021

A gorgeous novel set in the late 1890s that is still too relevant today with characters fighting to live just as they are and using magic to further their cause. I adored this beautiful story and was sad to say good-bye to the Eastwood sisters at the end. This book lifts up the power of women, of resistance, and will have you wanting to learn some spells.


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Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close By Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982111915
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Published: Simon & Schuster - July 6th, 2021

If you can't imagine your life without your close friends, this book will be deeply validating and rewarding. Friendship doesn't tend to be discussed at the same level as romantic relationships or familal relationships, but Sow and Friedman do a great job lifting up its importance--the joy and growth friendships bring and why they're worth the hard work. You'll want to talk to your people after reading this.


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What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia By Elizabeth Catte Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780998904146
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Published: Belt Publishing - February 6th, 2018

If you've read Hillbilly Elegy (or even if you haven't), read this book for a more nuanced and honest take on the Central Appalachian region. Catte packs a lot into these pages, including history of radical union organizing among coal miners to how the region has become "othered" and used as a scape goat for our country's ills. This is a must read for anyone living outside the region to better understand the history and complexity of Appalachia. 


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