Category: Non-Fiction

Birthday Girl’s Best Reads!

Michelle Obama is the queen we all need daily advice from. But since she’s sadly not on our speed dials, we will have to draw as much influence and inspiration from her recommended book list. For her birthday, we have put together a number of books this mega powerhouse of a lady thinks we should read. Make sure you snag these books as fast as possible if they aren’t already in your bookshelf!

 

1. an american marriage by tayari jones

image via amazon

Similar to BecomingAn American Marriage discusses race, gender roles, and of course, love. A newly married couple, Celestial and Roy, find their lives turned upside down when he is convicted of a crime he did not commit. Left on her own while Roy starts a 12-year prison sentence, Celestial drifts away from him, emotionally. So what will happen to their marriage now?

 

 

2. the grapes of wrath by john steinbeck

image via abe books

Published in 1939, this story is set against the backdrop of economic depression and ecological hardship, and has remained hugely popular to this day, and is a staple in Michelle’s list. It follows the fortunes of a family as they travel the iconic Route 66 from Oklahoma to California in search of a better life.

 

3. song of solomon by toni morrison

image via amazon

It’s no secret that Michelle is a Toni Morrison fan, because back in 2011, during Take Your Child to Work Day, Obama noted Song of Solomon was the book that made her love reading. Song of Solomon is a coming of age story that discusses, in a literal and figurative sense, what it means to fly. The book has stirred up quite some controversy as it confronts many topics some have found uncomfortable, including racism, murder, and abusive relationships.

 

 

4. white teeth by zadie smith

image via amazon

“I love the way the story weaves together so many complex and powerful forces that affect our lives and our relationships – family and parenting, religion and politics, and so much more. Plus, it’s just plain funny. I love books that make me laugh every now and then.”, says Michelle.

 

5. educated by tara westover

image via amazon

Michelle says: “It’s an engrossing read, a fresh perspective on the power of an education, and it’s also a testament to the way grit and resilience can shape our lives. Tara’s upbringing was so different from my own, but learning about her world gave me insight into lives and experiences that weren’t a part of my own journey.”

 

 

6. conversations with myself by nelson mandela

image via by amazon

“I like to flip through it from time to time because it always seems to give me an extra boost when I need it. I cherish this both because it was signed by him and because he gave it to me as a gift when my family visited his home in 2011.” says Michelle.

 

 

Michelle Obama is the inspirational spirit animal everyone needs, and although she may not be the First Lady anymore, her book list is a portrayal of her vision and guidance, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with everyone.

 

featured image via book riot


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Explore Audible’s Top Picks of 2019

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that reading doesn’t always have to be you, a book and a comfy seat. More so than ever before, people are listening to their literature on laptops, on smartphones, and on the go. Audible is the best option for this, as it’s available across plenty of devices with a wide range of titles.

Audible has released a map that takes a look at 2019 listening data to see which titles were “more uniquely popular in some states compared to the rest of the country”. Our map below shows each state’s top Audible titles from 2019.

 

 

The shortest route across the US in a car would take four days or ninety-six hours. Forget about your killer soundtrack and instead, think about how many audiobooks you could get through in that time! If you wanted to do it properly, you could go state-by-state and take on each state’s favorite audiobook as you move. Luckily, Audible and Bookstr are here to help. The above infographic shows us which audiobook has been most popular (i.e. listened to more than any other) in each US state.

Let’s take a closer look.

 

Northwest

 

Midwest

 

Southwest

 

Southeast

 

Northeast

 

 

One thing is for sure, self-help is popular country-wide, with many states learning how to Stay Sexy, set Atomic Habits and Not Give a F*ck. George R.R. Martin reigns in several states, proving himself King of The North(east). Fiction and non-fiction are popular all over the country, with fantasy and celebrity novels not contained to any one region.

 

 

Now that you have all you need for a literary road trip across the United States, fill up the tank, download Audible and get moving. Happy listening!

Here are the titles by state:

Maine The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Maryland  The Woman in The Window by A.J. Finn

New Hampshire The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Vermont City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Virginia Call Sign Chaos by Jim Mattis, Bing West

Massachusetts Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

New York Principles by Ray Dalio

Pennsylvania The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Connecticut Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Delaware Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Ohio Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Rhode Island Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Kentucky Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

West Virginia Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Tennessee The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron, Suzanne Stabile

Indiana Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg

Illinois Life Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler

Iowa Take Control of Your Life by Mel Robbins

Missouri The Institute by Stephen King

Oklahoma Killers of The Flower Moon by David Grann

Kansas A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Nebraska #IMOMSOHARD by Kristen Hensley, Jen Smedley

South Dakota Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Wyoming Wolf Pack by C.J. Box

Colorado Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Utah Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Nevada Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop

Arkansas Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Mississippi Cemetery Road by Greg Iles

Alabama It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst

Florida How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Georgia 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

North Carolina Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Michigan A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Wisconsin Heads Will Roll by Kate McKinnon, Emily Lynne

North Dakota Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Montana The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Washington Dune by Frank Herbert

Oregon Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgarrif, Georgia Hardstark

California Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

Arizona The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

New Mexico Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light by Stan Lee, Kat Rosenfield

Hawaii Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

South Carolina The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Minnesota Neon Prey by John Sandford

Idaho Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Texas Atomic Habits by James Clear

Alaska Good Omens by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

Louisiana A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

New Jersey Unfreedom of The Press by Mark R. Levin

District of Colombia Becoming by Michelle Obama

 

You can explore it even closer below: 

Created by Parisha Patel, who you can find here and here.

lite blue-book map

All images via PARIsha patel


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Racism Stirs the Pot for the Romance Writers Group

The Romance Writers Group or the R.W.A., have lost eight board members and the former president. They have resigned their positions due to their reaction and treatment of a member after that member criticized another member’s book. The member, Courtney Milan, who was a former board member and on the ethics committee, accused another member, Kathryn Lynn Davis, of using racist language in her novel, Somewhere Lies the Moon. Milan went on Twitter to vent her frustrations with the novel.

 

Image via Thread Reader

 

Milan, who is Chinese-American, took offense to the way Davis described a 19th Century Chinese women in the book. According to Milan, the woman was described as having slanted almond eyes and she was also described as being not only quiet but quiet because that’s how she was raised. Milan believes those descriptions are stereotypes that promote violence against women. Davis, of course, disagreed with Milan and argued that her words were historically accurate based on the years of research she did. So, she complained to the ethics department of the R.W.A, that she is also a member of. According to Milan, the R.W.A doesn’t have an ethics code for social media, especially if it’s not from the R.W.A’s account. Regardless, due to Davis’s complaint, Milan has been suspended from the R.W.A and banned from for life from holding a leadership position of any kind.

 

Image via TeachmeTonight

 

Milan, and her friend and fellow R.W.A. member, Alyssa Cole, went to Twitter to vent their frustrations with the group. Milan felt betrayed by their actions towards her. Other romance authors, like Nora Roberts and Cynthia Eden, voiced their opinions in favor of Milan on social media as well. After that, the R.W.A. took back what actions were taken towards Milan, which resulted in the resignation of the eight board members and the former president. Davis even came to Milan’s defense and said the group’s actions exceed the expectations of her complaint. Now, with all the backlash, they are trying to hire members outside of the committee, and are working towards being better in the future.

 

 

Featured Image via TheMarySue

 


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Salinger Fans Unite For NYPL Exclusive Exhibition!

Great news for Salinger fans, as the New York Public Library presents an extremely rare glimpse into the life and work of author J.D. Salinger with a rather extensive exhibition, giving insight into the famous author’s life.

 

image via the independent

 

The exhibit includes a number of manuscripts, letters, photographs, books, and personal items that have been exclusively extracted from Salinger’s personal archive, the J.D Salinger Literary Trust, now run by his son Matt Salinger. This will be the first time these items—on loan from the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust—have ever been shared with the public.

 

image via nytimes

 

The exhibition is organized by Matt Salinger and his wife Colleen Salinger, along with Declan Kiely, Director of Special Collections and Exhibitions at The New York Public Library.

 

 

The great news is, the exhibition is free! Coinciding with J.D. Salinger’s birthday, the exhibition will be on display until January 19, 2020 in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

More than 200 items spanning Salinger’s life will be featured. This will include the original typescript of The Catcher in the Rye, revised by the author, along with the original typescripts of some of Salinger’s other shorter fiction work, including Franny and Zooey.

There is also an original pencil portrait by E. Michael Mitchell, who made the original cover design for The Catcher in the Rye, and a collection of family photographs from Salinger’s childhood, youth, and later life, including photos from his World War II service.

 

image via Smithsonian magazine

 

Some of the more personal items include; a bookcase from Salinger’s bedroom filled with books from his personal library, and items from Salinger’s childhood, including a bowl which he had made at summer camp when he was about 10 years old, notebooks, passports, honorable discharge papers from the army in which he identified his civilian occupation as “Playwright, Author, ” and personal artifacts such as his pipes, eyeglasses, wristwatch and the cup he drank coffee from every morning.

 

image via nypost

 

Among these items, his typewriter and his film projector, were also present.

 

image via the wall street journal

 

The exhibition also includes a description of J.D. Salinger’s life and profession written by Salinger himself, showcasing a rare glimpse into how the author viewed himself. The description was written as part of a 1982 legal document. The description reads, in part:

“I am a professional short-story writer and novelist. I write fiction and only fiction. For more than thirty years, I have lived and done my work in rural New Hampshire. I was married here and my two children were raised here. . . . I have been writing fiction rather passionately, singlemindedly, perhaps insatiably, since I was fifteen or so . . . I positively rejoice to imagine that, sooner or later, the finished product safely goes to the ideal private reader, alive or dead or yet unborn, male or female or possibly neither.” – J.D. Salinger

 

 

Please note, while the exhibition is free, there are no bags or cellphones allowed and of course no photographs. It’s absolutely worth the experience and the influence is staggering, to just be able to immerse yourself in a place where one of the most influential authors is put on display in all his glory.

featured image via afar

 


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Fighting Through The Tears

When we were born, the first thing we did was cry. We came out looking for food and then used our tears to control our parents to give us what we want; be it changed a diaper, a bottle, or just plain old attention. As we developed into the men and women that we are today, we now save our tears for the big heartbreaks, pain, and sadness. If you’re like me and you laugh way too hard, then you tend to cry in moments of joy as well.

The award-winning poet, Heather Christle, dives into dissecting how crying can both help and hurt us, using history and science. Dealing with her own struggles with depression and the birth of her child, Christle faces “her joy, grief, anxiety, impending motherhood, and conflicted truce with the world.”

Image Via Amazon.in

The Crying Book describes the delights and surprises of crying by bringing understanding to mental illnesses and the expressions of women’s agency. Christle explores this human behavior not only within herself, but how crying has been represented within the world. One of which is “the ways in which white women’s tears have been used to persecute people of color.” For me, that brings up the story of Emmett Till, who was accused in 1955 of whistling at a white woman and was beaten to death. It brings tears to my eyes to even think of something like that, but that’s the point of Christle’s book — to help you face your emotions head-on and the thoughts they evoke.

Image Via Fanthom Mag

As a new mother, Christle fears postpartum depression as it may affect her abilities as a parent. Instead of suppressing those emotions, she continues to dive into them in order to make them less strange. “Rather than denying that self-pity can be pleasurable, she reveals how that pleasure comes from enfolding oneself in imagined care.”

Instead of denying your tears, gain a better understanding of how people in history have dealt with them, and maybe it will help you do the same.

Featured Image Via The Adroit Journal

 

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