Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Racism
  • Fatmisia
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Attempted suicide
  • Death of a child
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All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them? Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Physical child abuse recounted
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth & premature delivery

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross

In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today…. Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Slavery
  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Rape
  • Child sexual assault
  • Murder
  • War themes
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The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson

The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson

Casey Wilson has a lot on her mind and she isn’t afraid to share. In this dazzling collection of essays, skillfully constructed and brimming with emotion, she shares her thoughts on the joys and vagaries of modern-day womanhood and motherhood, introduces the not-quite-typical family that made her who she is, and persuasively argues that lowbrow pop culture is the perfect lens through which to understand human nature. Whether she’s extolling the virtues of eating in bed, processing the humiliation over her father’s late in life perm, or exploring her pathological need to be liked, Casey is witty, candid, and full of poignant… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Depression & postpartum depression
  • Alcohol consumption & abuse
  • Febrile seizure, on-page
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a grandfather
  • Death of a mother from a heart attack
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Will by Will Smith and Mark Manson

Will by Will Smith & Mark Manson

One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had. Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale—but it’s…. Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Child abuse
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Death of a parent

Rust and Stardust by T Greenwood

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11-year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworths, she has no way of knowing that 52-year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute–unless she does as he says. This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the… Read more,

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Rape & child sexual abuse
  • Suicide
  • Kidnapping
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Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon

Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

Beyond the Gender Binary, spoken word poet Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full colour. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression. The only limit is your imagination.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Gender dysphoria
  • Coming out
  • Hate crimes
  • Bullying & cyberbullying

Ain’t Never Not Been Black by Javon Johnson

Ain’t Never Not Been Black by Javon Johnson

Engaging with themes of masculinity, racism, love, and joy, Johnson is at once critical and creative. His spoken word performance transfers effortlessly to the page, with poems that will encompass you. This is a book about blackness and survival, and how in American these are inseparable. In a world of individualism, who can you hold close? In a world of danger, what makes you feel safe? From a poem written in the form of a syllabus, to another about the time his grandmother literally saved his life, Johnson’s creative expression is constantly enacting the feminist mantra, “the personal is political.”

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Racism & racial slur
  • Cancer
  • Murder
  • Police brutality & violence
  • Gun violence
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Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep. Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Helen invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing songbirds from the Empire State Building as they migrate through the Tribute of Light, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Classism
  • Depression
  • Animal cruelty
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And We Rise by Erica Martin

And We Rise by Erica Martin

In stunning verse and vivid use of white space, Erica Martin’s debut poetry collection walks readers through the Civil Rights Movement—from the well-documented events that shaped the nation’s treatment of Black people, beginning with the “Separate but Equal” ruling—and introduces lesser-known figures and moments that were just as crucial to the Movement and our nation’s centuries-long fight for justice and equality.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Slavery mentioned
  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Lynching
  • Police brutality
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