August 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! 

Hello, friends!

As we head into the dog days of summer in the northern hemisphere, it’s a time when I enjoy getting into (or out of!) the sunny, warm weather and losing myself in a great book. 

I particularly enjoy books that are as entertaining as they are informative. Books that I just want to burn through because they are so good. Some call them “unputdownable,” and I dare say that on this list, you’ll find 30 that are just that.  

Another one that’s unputdownable? It’s 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Revolution, and it’s available for pre-order now! This celebration of the groundbreaking feminist magazine will go on sale Sept. 19 from Knopf; pre-order yours and get it sent to your door. Love the magazine? Buy the book!

Happy reading!

The Apology

By Jimin Han (@jiminhanwriter). Little, Brown & Co. 304 pages. Out Aug. 1. 

This is a wonderful book in that it is beautiful and memorable, but it is also full of wonder! Centering on a 105-year-old woman and her sisters in South Korea, it spans generations and worlds, exploring secrets, family, traditions, loyalty and loss.   


Crip Authorship: Disability as Method

Edited by Mara Mills (@maramills) and Rebecca Sanchez. NYU Press. 384 pages. Out Aug. 1. 

This illuminating collection of essays focuses on the variety and value of crip creation, methodology, writing and research. With contributions from Mel Y Chen, Jaipreet Virdi, Emily Lim Rogers, Ellen Samuels and many more, it is urgent and original.



By Naomi Hirahara. Soho Crime. 312 pages. Out Aug. 1.

In this follow-up to her award-winning Clark and Division—which can be read as a standalone—Naomi Hirahara once again immerses readers in a gripping crime mystery while eloquently highlighting the challenges and inequalities facing Japanese Americans after World War II. 


Family Lore: A Novel 

By Elizabeth Acevedo (@acevedowrites). Ecco. 384 pages. Out Aug. 1. 

Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award-winning author of The Poet X, has blessed us with her first novel for adults. As she experiments with form and perspective, Acevedo tells the story of one Dominican-American family gathering for the “living wake” of one of their own. This is magical, sumptuous storytelling.


Fit for the Gods: Greek Mythology Reimagined

Edited by Jenn Northington (@iamjennirl) and S. Zainab Williams (@szainabwilliams). Vintage. 400 pages. Out Aug. 1. 

By masterfully playing with race, gender and queerness, this refreshing anthology reimagines the classics of Greek mythology. It features retellings by some of your favorites, including Sarah Gailey, Alyssa Cole, Valerie Valdes, Suleikha Snyder, Zoraida Córdova, and more. 


Las Madres: A Novel

By Esmeralda Santiago. Knopf. 336 pages. Out Aug. 1. 

This sweeping and supple story centers on three Puerto Rican women and their daughters living in the Bronx who plan a vacation to Puerto Rico to uncover a long-buried mystery. Layered and intricately woven, this novel covers themes of trauma, sexuality, identity, forgiveness and healing.


Lush Lives 

By J. Vanessa Lyon (@jv_lyon_words). Roxane Gay Books. 352 pages. Out Aug. 1. 

The second book from Roxane Gay’s new imprint is this debut centering on several women in Harlem as they make sense of queer love, layered relationships, life’s legacies and one inherited brownstone. 


A Council of Dolls: A Novel

By Mona Susan Power (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe). Mariner Books. 304 pages. Out Aug. 8.

This is the powerful story of three Yanktonai Dakota women who, as girls, each had a very different doll that they turned to for friendship and protection in the midst of intergenerational trauma. In empathetic and loving prose, Power highlights the wisdom, love and healing that allows for the survivance of Native peoples on this land. 


Free Them All: A Feminist Call to Abolish the Prison System

Written by Gwenola Ricordeau (@gwenola.ricordeau). Translated by Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge. Verso. 192 pages. Out Aug. 8.

With a new foreword by Silvia Federici, this volume makes a feminist case for the abolition of the prison system as we have known it. Ricordeau deftly explores the harms of incarceration and the path to a more just system for all.

Read the complete post at Ms. Magazine…