We're thrilled to welcome friend of the blog, Jenny, back to Lady Business to talk about some of the nonfiction she's read or planning to read going forward. Onward for some awesome nonfiction recs!
Happy 2017, Lady Business readers! Or I guess I should say, solemn 2017, Lady Business readers. I hope we come to this new year with hope and bravery, ready to fight and call our senators and support each other. Here’s some of the nonfiction I’ll be reading in my spare time from resisting our Russian stooge cheeto president.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
All throughout December 2016, I told myself that my first read in 2017 was going to be James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, followed closely by the collection of essays, poems, and reflections The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward. I like the symbolism of starting the first year of the Trump presidency with an author as eloquent, timely, and furious as James Baldwin. I hope that the reminder that these battles never went away will help me to have the strength to keep on fighting throughout the year (and the one after it, and the one after).
The Fall of the House of Wilde by Emer O’Sullivan
Okay, this will not cast me in the most flattering light, so bear with me. My friend sent me an article entitled "10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Oscar Wilde," written by Emer O’Sullivan and probably not targeted to someone like me who has a whole Oscar Wilde shelf in the nonfiction section of her personal library. After guessing five of the things without clicking on the article, then perishing of indignation while reading it because of how little Emer O’Sullivan seems to like Oscar Wilde, the most likeable man in all of human history, I added The Fall of the House of Wilde to my reading list. I look forward to disagreeing with all of the author’s conclusions.
Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
In 2016, I learned about a stateless group called the bidoon who live (among other places) in the United Arab Emirates. Because the UAE does not like giving away citizenships, they came up with the solution of buying citizenships to the Comoros, a tiny, coup-prone island nation off the east coast of Africa, and bestowing them willy-nilly upon the bidoon. Strange, right? I absolutely love it when I discover odd little pockets of knowledge like this, and The Cosmopolites promises to give me more detail on the bidoon and other weirdnesses of citizenships bought and sold. Abrahamian explores the market in citizenships and what that market has to say about trends toward globalization and inequality.
Brazil: A Biography by by Lilia M. Schwarcz and Heloisa Starling
I am not giving up on my project to read one good history of every country in Africa, but I am not going to turn down a good history of a country in South America when Farrar, Straus, and Giroux drops one on my metaphorical doorstep. Coming in July 2017, this massive book promises to increase my knowledge of Brazilian culture and modern history by approximately 100%. Marketing materials have promised me that it’s a truly interdisciplinary book that deals with race and pop culture and economic changes. Yes thank you, I believe I will.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Elizabeth Kolbert published this book in 2014, and then for two and a half years, I didn’t trust my ability to comprehend Science sufficiently to read it. I kind of still don’t, but nevertheless, this is the year I’m finally going to read The Sixth Extinction. I first encountered it when the Best American Science and Nature Writing featured an excerpt from it that taught me about how we developed the concept of extinction, an idea I had never previously considered we had needed to discover. The rest of the book—which deals with exactly how comprehensively we are fucking up the planet for our fellow species—promises to be just as illuminating.
Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci
Something tells me that we’ll be leveraging social media as we wage our many protests over the next four years. Tufekci’s book Twitter and Tear Gas, forthcoming in May 2017, explores the role of internet actors in uprisings from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall Street movement to the recent coup attempt in Turkey. I love that she’s exploring protest movements in a range of different countries, and I hope to come away from her book with a better grasp on how to maximize the impact of protests and use social media tools to support people on the ground in locations where I can’t be.
What nonfiction are you looking forward to this year? "All of it" is an acceptable answer to the question.