October Reads for the Rest of Us – Ms. Magazine

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

The aims of these lists are threefold:

  1. I want to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male;
  2. I want to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us; and
  3. I want to challenge and encourage you all to buy, borrow and read them! 

Happy autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)!

As I write this, we are observing the autumnal equinox, where the daylight hours exactly equal the nighttime hours. So in the States, we are gearing up for fall, and in the Midwest where I am, we are sucking every last drop of sunlight out of the sky before it grows darker and colder. 

I normally love seasonal changes; to me, they always signal renewal and transformation, grateful goodbyes and making way for new ventures. Wherever you are, I am hopeful you have time for reflection, gratitude and planning for whatever the future holds for you. 

Just be sure to make some time to read one or two of these 30 new books, or whatever goes well with your pumpkin spice latte or hot apple cider! 

Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom

By Derecka Purnell (@dereckapurnell). Astra House. 320 pages. Out Oct. 4.

Somehow I missed including this one when the hardcover came out in October of 2021. But here’s the paperback, with new material, just when we need it! 

Blood Red

Written by Gabriela Ponce and translated by Sarah Booker (@sarahkbooker). Restless Books. 192 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

Now available in English, this sharp and singular stream of consciousness story of one woman’s experiences of divorce, embodiment, love, womanhood, power and freedom. Wicked in all the best ways.

The Color Line: A Novel

Written by Igiaba Scego (@casamacombo). Translated by John Cullen and Gregory Conti. Other Press. 544 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

An ode to Black migrants’ artistry, ambition and experiences as the “other,” The Color Line examines the unbreakable bond between two women living over a century apart. 

Finding My Voice: On Grieving My Father, Eric Garner, and Pushing for Justice

By Emerald Garner with Etan Thomas and Monet Durham. Haymarket Books. 180 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

This is the searing memoir of Emerald Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, who was brutally murdered by police in 2014.

The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs

By Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (@leahlashmiwrites). Arsenal Pulp Press. 272 pages. Out Oct. 4.

As only they can, Piepzna-Samarasinha has written a thoughtful volume of songs, letters, messages and stories for and about the life-sustaining work of disabled people during COVID (and always).

It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror

Edited by Joe Vallese (@joevallese). The Feminist Press at CUNY. 400 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

Your nonfiction Halloween read is this fantastic anthology of writing about horror, all from deliciously queer perspectives. It includes contributions from Carmen Maria Machado, Prince Shakur, Tosha R. Taylor, Sarah Fonseca, and more, writing their takes on your favorite spooky flicks.

Organize, Fight, Win: Black Communist Women’s Political Writing

Edited by Charisse Burden-Stelly (@blackleftaf) and Jodi Dean (@jodi7768). Verso. 336 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

In this groundbreaking collection, Burden-Stelly and Dean have compiled a treasure trove of historical, political and seminal writings about Communism from Black women’s perspectives. Includes pieces by Claudia Jones, Charlotta Bass, Alice Childress, Dorothy Burnham and so many more. 

River Woman, River Demon: A Novel

By Jennifer Givhan (@GivhanJenn). Blackstone Publishing. 330 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

Full of magick and mystery, Givhan’s latest explores tradition, power, creativity and connection in her signature lush, sensual prose. 

The Storyteller’s Death

By Ann Dávila Cardinal (@anndcardinal). Sourcebooks Landmark. 336 pages. Out Oct. 4. 

If it’s mystical, masterful storytelling you crave this month, you’ll want to pick up award-winning writer Cardinal’s latest, which explores themes of loss, blessings, ancestry and mystery. 

Comrade Sisters

By Stephen Shames (@stephenshames)and Ericka Huggins. Acc Art Books. 192 pages. Out Oct. 10.

This stunning volume is an ode to the imperative, yet often unappreciated, roles of women of the Black Panther Party. Complementing Ericka Huggins’ superlative text are candid photos by Stephen Shames, many of which have never been published before.  

Read the rest of the list at Ms. Magazine