July 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! 

The last few weeks have been challenging, to say the least. From threats to DEI programming to dangerous air quality to affirmative action being overturned, a lot of us are feeling overwhelmed, scared and exhausted.

At times like these, I look to the dedicated people doing the imperative work every day to address these issues. I take a deep breath and surround myself with positive, active messages of hope and hard work. It’s one of the reasons I appreciate Ms. so much! The articles always have a call to action so I feel a bit more in control and part of the solutions. 

When I’m feeling like I need a break or am allowing myself some rest, I take a look at Ms., meditate, garden or pick up a good book. Thankfully, there is no shortage of books to inform and inspire you, soothe and relieve you. The 31 books on this month’s list are a great place to find one!  

And don’t forget 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!

24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy

By Nora Neus (@NoraNeus). Beacon Press. 192 pages. Out now.

In the aftermath of the white nationalist riots of Aug. 11-12, 2017, journalist and former Charlottesville resident Nora Neus collected interviews and oral histories from many of the leaders, students and community members who fought back. The result is an imperative account of the events, the effects and the lessons learned.


I Write the Yawning Void: Selected Essays of Sindiwe Magona

Written by Sindiwe Magona. Compiled by Renée Schatteman. Wits University Press. 328 pages. Out now. 

Beloved South African writer Sindiwe Magona is well-known for her strong convictions, dedicated actions and powerful writing, all which she uses in service of women, those living in poverty, survivors of HIV/AIDS, and other marginalized people of her country. This collection of essays is engaging, inspiring and insightful.


A Place for Us: A Memoir

By Brandon J. Wolf (@bjoewolf). Little A. 222 pages. Out now. 

Activist Brandon J. Wolf survived the 2016 Pulse nightclub terror attack in Orlando. In honor of his Pulse family, he has written this fortifying debut to inspire hope and action for gun control as well as safety and justice for the queer community. 


And the Walls Came Down 

By Denise Da Costa (@DeniseDaCostaAuthor). Dundurn Press. 344 pages. Out now. 

This poetically written and layered debut features a woman who looks back on her challenging teen years from an adult’s perspective. She finds that her memories may have been idealized, but the lessons will last her a lifetime.


How We Do It: Black Writers on Craft, Practice, and Skill 

Edited by Jericho Brown (@jerichobrown). Amistad. 352 pages. Out now.

Curated by Black writers, this collection is inspiring, authentic, informative and illuminating. With new and previously published contributions by Tayari Jones, Jacqueline Woodson, Nikki Giovanni, Crystal Wilkinson, Jamaica Kincaid and 25 more, How We Do It will be indispensable for all writers. 


Trinity: A Novel

By Zelda Lockhart (@zelda.lockhart). Amistad. 272 pages. Out now. 

Zelda Lockhart has written a magnificent saga of heartbreak, intergenerational trauma and redemption. Brave and brilliant, this story will leave an indelible mark on its readers.


Mad World: The Politics of Mental Health

By Micha Frazer-Carroll (@micha_frazer). Pluto Press. 192 pages. Out July 5.

In her first book, journalist Micha Frazer-Carroll takes on the politics of mental health with accessibility, compassion and curiosity. She calls for critical, progressive thinking and radical change to systems that have been tools of oppression for far too long. 


All the Black Girls Are Activists: A Fourth Wave Womanist Pursuit of Dreams as Radical Resistance 

By EbonyJanice Moore (@ebonyjanice). Row House Publishing. 160 pages. Out July 11. 

This is an ode to Black women and girls everywhere. It is a recipe for wellness, a manifesta of the importance for Black women and girls to care for themselves, to release the chains of shame and to use radical imagination and dreams to resist the oppression and violence of white supremacy. Moore’s dedication to liberation is palpable and this book is fire.

Read the complete list at Ms. Magazine…