Quarter One Non-Fiction Reading 2022

Quarter one is done and how is that even possible?

A little behind with this post (and a few others) but better late than never right? I had planned to try read more than three works of non-fiction a quarter but, as it turns out, two of these were heavy hitters and took me a lot longer to read than I anticipated. All three were great though and I highly recommend.

Survival of the Thickest: Essays by Michelle Buteau – 5

This is probably really a 4 star read in terms of writing but I really fell in love with Michelle so I’m giving her all the stars! 😀

It started out with all the laughs but there was also some pretty tough topics talked about and a good reminder that sometimes, a person can be pulling off ‘happy’ and ‘funny’ but behind closed doors they are really struggling. So just be kind to people!

Apparently Netflix has picked this up as a series and I for one will be watching it.

If you’ve watched television or movies in the past year, you’ve seen Michelle Buteau. With scene-stealing roles in Always Be My Maybe, First Wives Club, Someone Great, Russian Doll, and Tales of the City; a reality TV show and breakthrough stand-up specials, including her headlining show Welcome to Buteaupia on Netflix, and two podcasts (Late Night Whenever and Adulting), Michelle’s star is on the rise. You’d be forgiven for thinking the road to success—or adulthood or financial stability or self-acceptance or marriage or motherhood—has been easy; but you’d be wrong.

Now, in Survival of the Thickest, Michelle reflects on growing up Caribbean, Catholic, and thick in New Jersey, going to college in Miami (where everyone smells like pineapple), her many friendship and dating disasters, working as a newsroom editor during 9/11, getting started in standup opening for male strippers, marrying into her husband’s Dutch family, IVF and surrogacy, motherhood, chosen family, and what it feels like to have a full heart, tight jeans, and stardom finally in her grasp.

Survival of the Thickest: Essays by Michelle Buteau
Survival of the Thickest
Amazon UK

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, Alex Haley – 5

“I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”

Malcolm X

Malcolm X’s autobiography is a journey! As a white woman who has grown up with white privilege in a VERY white country it was at times an uncomfortable read. Malcolm X was nothing if not direct. The most fascinating thing about this man though was his openness to grow and learn. He openly admits to being wrong about things he was once passionate about and he learns and moves forward. Honestly, our inability to change or admit we are wrong feels like one of our biggest downfalls as humans. To see this play out in a linear way in his book was awe-inspiring. You can’t help but think how he would have continued to evolve had he lived longer. For instance, there was some hardcore misogyny early on in the book but you could see flickers of change in later chapters, maybe being the father of all daughters was beginning to change his thinking. He was a force and one I think the world needed. He was a great loss, not only to the civil rights movement, but to the world.

This book is another one of those books that white ‘christian’ Americans love to ban, this group of people love to hate but can’t cope with that hate being reflected back at them. It seems to make them particularly uncomfy when the criticism is justified. The go to is ‘BAN IT’!! Not a great look to be honest with you. Very ‘communisty’. They are definitely not a group of people who are open to learning and admitting they’re wrong about something. A less evolved group of people that’s for sure.

Through a life of passion and struggle, Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself “the angriest Black man in America” relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind.

An established classic of modern America, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” was hailed by the New York Times as “Extraordinary. A brilliant, painful, important book.” Still extraordinary, still important, this electrifying story has transformed Malcom X’s life into his legacy. The strength of his words, the power of his ideas continue to resonate more than a generation after they first appeared.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, Alex Haley
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Amazon UK

Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Ada B. Wells, Alfreda M. Duster – 5

I picked this up about a day after finishing Malcom X. Go big or go home I guess!

This book might be one of the best autobiographies I ever read. That may be surprising because it’s all very fact based and can be a little dry at times but it’s one of the best because she had the foresight to know that history would either cut her out or rewrite her story, so she started to write her story. Therefore we are lucky enough to get to know about this incredible woman through her own eyes. Her story literally ends mid sentence and that in itself is powerful.

I picked Ida B. Wells as my Women Taking Charge – #MindforBooksPrompt where I did a little bit of an Ida deep dive. I kind of want to make everyone I meet read her book and read anything about her. I want movies and plays and musicals. She deserves for all the world to know her story and be inspired by a level of bravery very, very few people could ever hope to have.

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was one of the foremost crusaders against black oppression. This engaging memoir tells of her private life as mother of a growing family as well as her public activities as teacher, lecturer, and journalist in her fight against attitudes and laws oppressing blacks.

“No student of black history should overlook Crusade for Justice.”—William M. Tuttle, Jr., Journal of American History

“Besides being the story of an incredibly courageous and outspoken black woman in the face of innumerable odds, the book is a valuable contribution to the social history of the United States and to the literature of the women’s movement as well.”—Elizabeth Kolmer, American Quarterly

“[Wells was] a sophisticated fighter whose prose was as thorough as her intellect.”—Walter Goodman, New York Times

“An illuminating narrative of a zealous, race-conscious, civic- and church-minded black woman reformer, whose life story is a significant chapter in the history of Negro-White relations.”—Thelma D. Perry, Negro History Bulletin

Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Ada B. Wells, Alfreda M. Duster
Crusade for Justice Amazon UK

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

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