June 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us – Ms. Mag.

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! 

And so it is summer! 

Are you enjoying it? Are you on a beach with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other? I wish I was!

But alas, I am in Wisconsin—which is actually in the midst of a warm spell—in my office finishing up this list. Luckily, I will have time later to grab my favorite beverage (good ol’ G&T) and relax on the deck. 

I wanted to take this time to remind you that you can now pre-order 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Revolution! This celebration of the groundbreaking feminist magazine will go on sale Sept. 19 from Knopf, but pre-order yours and get it sent to your door. Love the magazine? Buy the book!

Until then, check out any (or all!) of these 30 June releases which are sure to enthrall, enlighten, educate and excite you—wherever you happen to be. 

Once Our Lives

By Qin Sun Stubis (@QinStubis). Guernica Editions. 366 pages. Out June 1. 

Qin Sun Stubis has written this sweeping creative memoir of her family’s history in Shanghai from World War II through the Cultural Revolution. Reading like a novel, it is engaging, endearing, heartbreaking and hopeful. 


And Then He Sang a Lullaby 

By Ani Kayode Somtochukwu (@ani_kayode). Roxane Gay Books. 304 pages. Out June 6.

Ani Kayode’s absorbing debut centers two gay men in Nigeria who must face anti-gay legislation and society’s homophobia as well as their own challenges and conditioning. This is the first title from Roxane Gay Books, and you don’t want to miss it.


Crow Mary: A Novel

By Kathleen Grissom. Atria Books. 368 pages. Out June 6. 

This is the compelling story of a Native woman in the late-1800s who struggles to balance her loyalty to her Crow tradition and family and her love and dedication to her white trader husband. Based on a true story, the author worked closely with descendants to render a gripping tale that illustrates the strength and integrity of Crow Mary.


A Disappearance in Fiji

By Nilima Rao. Soho Crime. 288 pages. Out June 6.

Nilima Rao has written a magnetic and atmospheric mystery debut set against the backdrop of 1914 Fiji. Rao expertly layers themes of classism and racism with an immersive storyline of kidnappings and colonialism. 


The Garden of Second Chances: A Novel

By Mona Alvarado Frazier (@AlvaradoFrazier). SparkPress. 376 pages. Out June 6. 

As someone who has spent decades working with incarcerated youth, Mona Alvarado Frazier is an expert and it’s clear she poured her knowledge—and her heart—into this story. In it, an undocumented teen mom who is accused of killing her husband learns to make meaning and hope in the despair of a prison cell.


Get Rooted: Reclaim Your Soul, Serenity, and Sisterhood Through the Healing Medicine of the Grandmothers

By Robyn Moreno (@RobynNMoreno). Hachette Go. 288 pages. Out June 6.

After spending years as a badass boss and overwhelmed working mom, Robyn Moreno knew something had to give. In Rooted, she candidly shares her spiritual journey learning curanderismo, or traditional Mexican healing practices. This is an inspirational and magical story of ancestry, authenticity and alchemy.


House Woman 

By Adorah Nworah (@AdorahNworah). Unnamed Press. Out June 6. 

This debut centers a Nigerian woman faced with an arranged marriage and life in Texas, the realities of which don’t quite match up to her expectations. Described as a “delicious thriller,” read it to uncover what secrets it holds.


Innards: Stories

By Magogodi oaMphela Makhene (@magogodimakhene). W. W. Norton & Company. 224 pages. Out June 6.

The relationship I’ve been lucky enough to have with South Africa is one of my most cherished. This magnificent debut collection of stories set in Soweto centers Black South Africans and township life through apartheid and beyond. Undiluted, challenging and defiant, this is liberating writing. 

See the complete list at Ms. Magazine…