The Chronology of Water: A Memoir
I’ve been reading almost exclusively memoirs and personal essays for over a decade. The women who generously wrote about their bodies—the bowels, the breasts, the bad sex—lit up the path for me when I was drowning in my own body shame and body confusion. Every year I read at least 50 memoirs, and the ones on this list are the ones I revisit over and over. I also study writing with Lidia Yuknavitch at Corporeal Writing, where I first heard six years ago that “the body has a point of view.” I love this as a writer and a reader. So much of women’s bodies and experiences has been hidden away or unstoried, but those days are coming to a close, and these writers are leading the way.
Christie Tate has just been named the top student in her law school class and seems to finally have got her eating disorder under control. So why is she driving through Chicago fantasising about her own death?
Desperate, she joins Dr. Rosen’s psychotherapy group, and through his unconventional methods, he challenges everything she thought she knew, about herself and others. In group, secrets are not allowed. This means telling a group of strangers everything – about her struggle with bulimia, her failed sex life, her overwhelming sense of loneliness, and acute longing for a relationship. And as she keeps sharing her thoughts and feelings and listens to the others doing the same, her life slowly begins to change.
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We think you will like This One Summer, Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose, and Black Girl, Call Home if you like this list.
From Susan's list on The best scary books (or books about summer) for kids.
Okay, this one isn’t scary. But This One Summer is an awesome coming-of-age GN about two young girls who spend a fateful summer at a lake house. While the themes of family dysfunction and the onset of sexual understanding make this skew a little older, the Tamakis really capture the details of not just summer, summer crushes, and summer communities, but also friendship and tween girls in general. Funnily enough, the two of us always hated summer – as kids, we spent them indoors with equal parts air conditioning, books, TV, and for Susan, cats. (Umm, and it hasn’t really changed that much since then.)
From Mobi's list on The best books about the magic of bees (for ages 10-14).
In this collection of poems and short prose pieces, Young People’s Poet Laureate (2019-21) Naomi Shihab Nye, takes inspiration from honeybees to encourage us to refresh our spirits by honing our attention and treating others with kindness. While many of the poems concern the nature and wonder of bees and the threats they face, other pieces address subjects as diverse as crickets, egrets, kiwi cake. The poet does not shy away from the heftier subjects of war and injustice because she knows young people are hungry to discuss those things, too. This is a perfect collection to draw from to inspire students in a writing class. I know because I have used her poems in that way. Some of my favorite poems are in this collection.
From Leslie's list on The best collection of queer themed books.
I love pretty packaging, so it's no surprise that Mans' Black Girl, Call Home stopped me in my tracks. The cover art, an over-the-shoulder shot of a young Black girl, her head bedazzled in a rainbow assortment of brightly colored barrettes. For me and Black women across the globe, the image evokes instant nostalgia. Luther on the radio. Me between my mama's legs. And the smell of Blue Magic hair grease slathered on the back of her hand.
Both painful and empowering, Mans' candid approach to feminism, race, and LGBTQ+ identity is wrapped in undeniable realness. Whether readers identify as Black and queer or simply as women on the path to healing, Mans' rhythmic collection of truths inspires self-acceptance and sisterhood. Do yourself a favor — order the audiobook and be blown away by Mans' heartfelt spoken word!