The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams by David S. BrownWhat it is: a richly detailed portrait of historian and intellectual Henry Adams (1838-1918), a member of the Adams political family and author of the classic autobiography The Education of Henry Adams.
What sets it apart: David S. Brown's "critical profile" of his subject examines the imperialist attitudes of the Gilded Age gentry and addresses Adams' racist and anti-Semitic views.
Book buzz: The Last American Aristocrat was named a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.
Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya HuntWhat is it: a conversational essay collection from Grazia UK fashion director and London-based American expat Kenya Hunt.
What's inside: thought-provoking musings on religion, motherhood, police brutality, the limitations of #BlackGirlMagic, and more.
Featuring: guest essays from a handful of contributors (including Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams and fashion blogger Freddie Harrel) offering insights on their own experiences of Black womanhood.
How Did I Get Here? by Bruce McCall; introduction by Adam GopnikWhat it's about: New Yorker cartoonist Bruce McCall's humble beginnings and rocky path to career success.
Don't miss: a nostalgic chronicle of McCall's creative coming of age in New York City's postwar advertising scene (think Mad Men); reproductions of some of his famed New Yorker covers and illustrations.
Did you know? McCall briefly wrote for Saturday Night Live and The National Lampoon in the 1970s.
Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood by Christa ParravaniWhat it's about: Faced with mounting bills and a crumbling marriage, struggling West Virginia mom of two Christa Parravani contemplated having an abortion when she became unexpectedly pregnant at age 40.
Read it for: a nuanced take on complex women's healthcare issues.
Food for thought: "I can both want to have had reasonable access to abortion and love and want my son."
How to Make a Slave and Other Essays by Jerald WalkerWhat it is: a darkly humorous essay collection from Emerson College creative writing professor and Street Shadows author Jerald Walker.
Why you might like it: This wide-ranging National Book Award Finalist offers personal reflections on Black identity and culture, life in academia, parenting, disability, and more.
Try this next: For another incisive essay collection by a Black academic, read Kiese Laymon's How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.
Spotlight on: Healthcare Professionals
In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope by Dr. Rana AwdishWhat it's about: how critical care physician Rana Awdish coped after an unknown illness hospitalized her seven months into her first pregnancy.
Is it for you? The author's heartwrenching account chronicles her miscarriage, near-death experiences, and the years it took to recover from her maladies.
What sets it apart: Awdish's patient experience prompted her to reflect on how physicians should be more empathetic while providing care.
The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger; foreword by Philip Zimbardo, PhDWhat it is: clinical psychologist and Holocaust survivor Edith Eva Eger's moving memoir detailing how she learned to live with her traumatic past.
Read it for: the author's poignant and hopeful exploration of how her own experiences have helped her in her work with survivors of trauma.
For fans of: Man's Search for Meaning, written by psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl, a friend of Eger's and fellow Holocaust survivor.
The Beauty in Breaking by Michele HarperWhat it's about: emergency room physician Michele Harper's encounters with the patients who changed her life.
Why you might like it: Peppered with anecdotes about her own trials (an abusive father, a painful divorce, being a Black woman in a white male-dominated profession), Harper's candid memoir offers a hopeful, much-needed message of how to heal in times of adversity.
Book buzz: The Beauty in Breaking was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2020.
Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery by Henry MarshWhat it is: British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh's affecting and occasionally gruesome account of his three decades in the field.
Who it's for: Readers who prefer their bedside manner with a dose of brutal honesty will appreciate Marsh's blunt and darkly humorous debut.
Want a taste? "I often have to cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing."
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy, M.D.What it's about: Damon Tweedy discusses his experience as a Black physician in the world of medicine, from his education at Duke University Medical School to his work as a psychiatrist in North Carolina.
Why you should read it: Tweedy's intimate memoir also looks critically at disparities in health care for Black and white Americans.
Reviewers say: “An arresting memoir that personalizes the enduring racial divide in contemporary American medicine” (Kirkus Reviews).
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