Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America by Michael Eric DysonWhat it is: a thought-provoking collection of essays, interviews, and speeches exploring the intersection between Black self-presentation and entertainment in America.
Read it for: revered scholar and public intellectual Michael Eric Dyson's searing insights on the joys and limitations of Black representation.
Further reading: Hanif Abdurraqib's A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance.
Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution by Woody HoltonWhat it's about: how Black and Indigenous Americans, enslaved people, and women helped shape the outcome of the American Revolution, despite their conflicts with the colonists.
Why you might like it: Award-winning historian Woody Holton's revisionist account reveals the little-known (and often suppressed) moments that spurred rebellion.
For fans of: richly detailed histories that place the American Revolution in a fresh context, like Joseph J. Ellis' The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783.
Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages by Dan JonesWhat it is: a sweeping and accessible 1,000-year history of Europe's Middle Ages that chronicles how both the ruling classes and everyday folk defined the era.
Don't miss: an appraisal of Islam's influence that prioritizes the religion's own history rather than the West's response to it.
Reviewers say: "will satisfy readers of popular history, particularly of the epic variety" (Library Journal).
Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World's Most Contested City by Andrew LawlerWhat it's about: the 19th-century race to find biblical treasures buried beneath Jerusalem's streets.
Why it matters: Archaeological history continues to play a role in territorial claims made by contemporary Israelis and Palestinians.
Author alert: Andrew Lawler is the author of The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.
100 Things We've Lost to the Internet by Pamela PaulWhat it is: a whimsical and nostalgic survey of 100 things that have been lost or made irrelevant in the internet age, written by New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul.
What we've lost: handwritten letters, photo albums, maps, mixtapes, kitchen phones, meet-cutes, privacy, civility, social cues, and more.
Food for thought: "Every time the Internet swings the door wide open, the consequences are at once liberating and dire."
Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt's Roaring '20s by Raphael CormackWelcome to... early 20th-century Ezbekiyya, the thriving nightlife district in Cairo, Egypt.
Starring: seven women -- including singers, actresses, and dancers -- who defied the era's mores to make their mark in a city experiencing unprecedented social and political upheaval.
Why you might like it: This evocative and well-researched chronicle captures all the glitz and glamor of a little-known era in Egypt's history.
The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in... by Bradford PearsonWhat it's about: the Eagles, a high school football team of Japanese American boys interned at Wyoming's Heart Mountain Relocation Center.
For fans of: Thoughtful histories that chronicle Japanese Americans' resilience during World War II, but don't shy away from the racism they endured, like Daniel James Brown's Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II.
Gold, Oil, and Avocados: A Recent History of Latin America in Sixteen Commodities by Andy RobinsonWhat it is: a sobering account that explores the recent history of Latin America through the extraction and exploitation of its natural resources.
What's inside: sixteen chapters, each offering an incisive focus on a specific commodity under threat.
Try this next: Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story by Marie Arana.
Our Work is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer & Trans Resistance by Syan Rose; foreword by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha What it is: a thought-provoking anthology collecting interviews and firsthand accounts from queer and trans activists.
Art alert: Bold expressionist illustrations complement the volume's candid poetry and prose.
Reviewers say: "A unique, empowering addition to LGBTQ+ literature" (Kirkus Reviews).
Awakening: #MeToo and the Global Fight for Women's Rights by Rachel Vogelstein & Meighan Stone; foreword by Tarana BurkeWhat it's about: how #MeToo activism has impacted women in Brazil, China, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sweden.
Read it for: diverse and eye-opening perspectives on a global movement whose focus has often been on the United States.
Featuring: a foreword by Me Too movement founder Tarana Burke; resources for advocacy work.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
If you are having trouble unsubscribing to this newsletter, please contact NextReads at 919-489-3713, 3710 Mayfair Street, Durham, NC 27707