Dian's Staff Picks
This is a must-read book for anybody interested in social justice. Dunbar Ortiz clearly articulates a history of settler colonialism and its negative impacts on Indigenous lifeways. This book was life-changing!
Raw, dark, laugh-out-loud hilarious at times, complex, and quintessentially millennial, with deeply cutting descriptions of Edie’s experience as a young Black woman trying to make sense of her life. Leilani paints vivid yet succinct descriptions of the multiple microcosms of NYC and suburban NJ as she explores Edie’s relationship to work, self, her parents, and a complicated open relationship (with a white couple who adopts a Black daughter). Leilani’s breakout novel reads like a memoir as if she is drawing from her own lived experiences, or creating a composite narrative of the daily experiences of many Black women today—always under the watchful and powerful gaze of whiteness and misogynoir. You’ll finish Luster before you know it.
Truthfully one of the greatest "kids" books out there. I received it as a big-kid when I graduated with my doctoral degree as a lesson for how to grow our small ideas into big actions that change the world.
Rankine's newest set of essays explores her interactions with white people in her life and her travels. A must-read for all white people and others interested in anti-racism. I read it in a weekend. This is a new take on our relationships to whiteness and anti-Blackness. An auto/ethnographic read that asks many questions of its white readers and leaves you asking many more of yourself.
I loved this book and read it in a couple sittings. It asks us what it means to be gay, what gay friendship looks like, and how to engage in gay life an ever-changing world.
If you're exhausted with the world, check out Maree Brown's book on creating social change starting with small groups and upscaling to larger systemic shifts. I read this book in a weekend and it changed my entire outlook on how I wanted to do social change work in my life. 10/10 recommend!
This is a must-read cookbook for any level of chef. Samin enlightens us on the for most important cooking elements, Salt Fat Acid and Heat. Check out her Netflix special and podcast too!!!
I've loved David Chang ever since visiting Momofuku, watching Ugly Delicious, and reading Lucky Peach. Getting an inside look at this mastermind chef was a *treat*. Don't miss his 33 rules to being a chef, his musings about a future America, and his stories of childhood growing up as a child of a Korean immigrant.
A fun, dark, and witchy novel about the lengths you'd go for and what you'd risk for love. This debut novel is a page turner filled with action, magic, and serpents. I finished the back half of the book in one night!
I'm kind of obsessed with this young reader about a 7-yr old Ojibwe girl who is navigating school and life, particularly her friendships and relationships with both white and Native folx in her world. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the read. Poignant lessons on friendship, Native lifeways and knowledge systems, being true to yourself, and kindness.
Minor Feelings explores those small gendered and racialized moments in life that reverberate across time. Park Hong articulates the traumas, experiences, and relationships held of Asian American/Korean American ppl in the U.S. and explores this groups relationship to anti-Black racism.
Kaur's latest book of poems brings us back into her world and covers topics we love to hear from her about such as self-love, loss, and relationships. Whenever I finish her collections, I always feel more empowered to take on the new day!
A must-read for anybody that is interested in creating socially just educational spaces, particularly for Black children. Love is a leading voice of a generation of scholar-teacher-activists pushing us all to do more to create a just future.
Dickey not only explores the strange, weird, and unknown, but also shares the way the mind fills in the gaps in our knowledge in order to help us understand the unexplained in the world. A fast, fun, and exciting read! Ever heard of Lemuria, meat falling from the sky, or bigfoot?!
Imagine: A woman who is an underwater deep sea welder, she’s married and as her relationship is fraying her husband suggests having a baby. At the same time, she secretly enters a competition to be the first humans on Mars. The story is ultimately about motherhood, desire, ambition, highly feminist, and reads quick.
What a special book that celebrates difference, beauty, family, and inspires each of us to recognize and celebrate our uniqueness. A must-read for all children! Beautiful art pairs with this important story of self-love.
A must-read for anybody interested in delving deeply into love, the psychology of love, and the power of patriarchy. This book is not just about amorous love, but also community love.
Poignant memoir about one of my favorite, and lesser known, parts of New Orleans, New Orleans-East. An enticing memoir of a family, race, class, and place.
An amazing collection of Black authors spend 2-3 pages each chronicling the experiences of African American people starting with 1619 to today. What a unique way to tell of a complex and rich history. A must read!
Pushing the boundaries of what we know as "good writing" Salesses makes strong arguments for reshaping the craft of fiction writing to account for the author's identities and a move away from centering whiteness in form.