A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom by Brittany K. BarnettWhat it is: lawyer and Buried Alive Project co-founder Brittany K. Barnett's impassioned memoir of the cases that helped define her career as a criminal justice reform advocate.
Read it for: an intimate and galvanizing narrative exploring racial bias in the American criminal justice system.
For fans of: Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy.
Eat a Peach by David ChangWhat it's about: chef, Momofuku restaurateur, and Ugly Delicious host David Chang's path to culinary stardom.
Topics include: Chang's upbringing in a religious Korean American family; his battles with bipolar disorder and suicidal ideation; career triumphs and missteps; his friendship with the late Anthony Bourdain.
Don't miss: the author's self-deprecating sense of humor, which he reveals in playful prose, cheeky footnotes, and rules for becoming a chef.
The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara PayneWhat it is: a richly detailed revisionist biography of Malcolm X that reveals previously unexplored aspects of his life and legacy.
What's inside: interviews with Malcolm X's colleagues, adversaries, family, and friends; archival materials from the FBI and NYPD.
Author alert: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Les Payne spent nearly three decades working on The Dead Are Arising before his death in 2018; his daughter and co-researcher Tamara finished his work.
Crazy Brave by Joy HarjoWhat it is: a reflective memoir from Muscogee poet, musician, and Native Writers' Circle Lifetime Achievement Award winner Joy Harjo.
Topics include: the author's fraught family dynamics and single teenage motherhood; her schooling at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
What sets it apart: Harjo's candid, lyrical writing conveys the "intricate and metaphorical language of my ancestors."
Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez CastilloWhat it's about: the author's traumatic coming of age as an undocumented immigrant, which was compounded by frequent ICE raids, his father's deportation back to Mexico, and the rigidity of the U.S. immigration system.
Want a taste? "We were still trying to cross, still moving in maddening helplessness, a revolving door without an exit."
Awards buzz: Children of the Land is a 2020 International Latino Book Award finalist.
Priestdaddy by Patricia LockwoodWhat it's about: When lapsed Catholic and prize-winning poet Patricia Lockwood and her husband fell on hard times, they moved back into the Kansas City rectory where Patricia grew up.
Featuring: Patricia's gun-toting, married priest father, content to live life wearing only his boxers; and her sweet but scatterbrained mother, whose devotion to the church doesn't keep her from making lewd jokes.
Is it for you? Lockwood's irreverent memoir of religion, family, and identity offers racy humor and eloquent reflections in equal measure.
The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia YangWhat it is: author Kao Kalia Yang's tribute to her father, Bee Yang, a Hmong song poet who passed on the traditions and culture of his Laotian homeland to his children through his kwv txhiaj (storytelling songs).
Why you might like it: the first half of Yang's moving memoir is written in the voice of her father; the second is told from her own perspective.
Author alert: Yang chronicled her family's immigration to America in her debut memoir The Latehomecomer.
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