Time magazine called Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2014. The next year, it won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. I wouldn’t have known. The book was sitting on my nightstand, making me feel slightly guilty.
I’d just sat down to put the finishing touches on the introduction to my book, IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO—a self-help book about marriage—when I heard the teaser for an upcoming interview with Jessica Lamb-Shapiro on “Fresh Air.” She’d written a book called PROMISE LAND: MY JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA’S SELF-HELP CULTURE, and from what I picked up in the sound bite, it seemed that she and Terry Gross were about to make light of me, my readers, and the book I was about to package up and send out to publishers.
Fine, I thought. Better to know in advance what the skeptics will say.
Like death and taxes, crime is unfortunately a global constant. Lucky for us, many brilliant authors have written engrossing, riveting, and often moving nonfiction books about criminal cases throughout history. From Europe to Asia and beyond, discover some of the most engrossing true-crime books from around the world.
I was 15 when I first read THE FIRE NEXT TIME by James Baldwin. A tiny volume first published in 1962, THE FIRE’s incendiary look at racial injustice in mid-century America excoriates the American dream as “a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels.” It is personal memoir. It is literary essay. It is unflinching report. It is passionate letter addressed to black boys who are making the transition to black men in race-dominated America. It is searing testament. It is blazing pain.
“The Queen of Katwe” will hit the silver screen in Disney’s highly anticipated adaptation this month and stars Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo. Like “The Blind Side,” the film brings to life the story of an underdog whose drive and commitment allows them to overcome incredible odds in life and in sports. The new film is based on THE QUEEN OF KATWE: ONE GIRL’S TRIUMPHANT PATH TO BECOMING A CHESS CHAMPION by Tim Crothers—a true, moving, and triumphant account of a young girl who rises out of unlikely circumstances to become an international chess star.
Many will thumb their noses at straight-up self-help books—and yet, like me, they still need a lot of guidance on how to not be a total jerk in this world. For my dear, dear friends such as this, I’ve collected some of my favorite books that may advise in that arena.
The beginning of a new school year always brings so much promise and possibility—cracking open the spines of new books to challenge you, engage you, take you to new worlds. In honor of back-to-school season, here are twelve eye-opening, thought-provoking books for a master class of your own.
When Ranya Idliby’s daughter was in grade school, she asked whether, as Muslims, they celebrated Christmas or Hanukkah. The question made Ranya think about her own faith and wonder why she knew so little about other religions. She recruited two other suburban moms—Suzanne Oliver, a devout Christian who had been raised Catholic but had converted to the Episcopal Church, and Priscilla Warner, who defined her Jewishness more as a cultural imperative than a religious one—to write a children’s book with her about the similarities, differences, and connections between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
For any person who appreciates looking at beautiful people reading smart books—this list is for you. @HotDudesReading is an Instagram sensation and they recently published HOT DUDES READING—a book full of their famous Instagrams of good-looking men reading. We’ve collected some of the best books the hot dudes are reading in their glamour shots here, and we are very pleased to find that they read really good books!
American history is anything but a stodgy affair; it’s exciting, tragic, suspenseful, and horrifying. Probably even more surprising is that it can make you laugh—if you have the right teacher, that is. And Sarah Vowell, author of the new LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES and former editor of “This American Life,” is a great teacher. Her previous book, ASSASSINATION VACATION, is the perfect example of how history, especially when it is not about the victors, is fascinating, funny, and heartbreaking.