This December, we’re coming to our
subscribers with our top media picks of 2022, and today, it’s
books. Each week this month we’ll send out a list of media
recommendations, with personal notes from our staffers, to our
newsletter readers. If you like our reading list, join our supporters
and become a Friend of BSR today. We’ll have a year-end virtual
event on December 29 for staff, writers, and Friends, where we’ll
trade more of our top picks!
You may also enjoy listening to our
staffers chat on a recent BSR podcast episode. Kyle, Alaina, and Neil
talked about Japanese television shows and eye-opening non-fiction
books, among many, many other topics.
On to the recommendations!
Writer C.M. Crockford loved Age of Cage by Keith
Phipps. C.M. calls it "an exhaustive and insightful guide to
Hollywood as seen through Nicholas Cage's career."
Editor-in-chief Alaina Johns recommends A Disability History of
the United States, by Kim E. Neilson. "This surprisingly slim book
(published in 2012) takes us through pre-colonial times all the way
to the passing of the ADA and a burgeoning modern disability pride
movement. It packs in fascinating, well-sourced history and insights
surveying everything from Indigenous approaches to disability to
immigration to coal miners and industrial workers, war veterans,
asylums, Deaf culture, and the way disability is actually
inextricable from our historical notions of gender, ethnicity, and
Writer Anndee Hochman recommends The Life and Crimes of Hoodie
Rosen by Isaac Blum. Anndee reviewed it on our website this week. She
writes in the review that the book is "a thoroughly
up-to-the-minute YA novel, more nuanced than noir, a book whose soul
beats steadily through the sarcasm of its main character."
If I can throw in one of my reads this year, it's Nice Try:
Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results by Josh Gondelman. Josh
is a standup comedian and writer whose work endears you to him
instantly. This collection was a fun combination of straight-up
memoir essay and creative formatting of nonfiction.
Alaina also recommends Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall
Kimmerer. "I recommend experiencing this one on audio, as I did.
Over the course of many weeks I listened to the author's warm,
unhurried rendition of essay chapters that unfold gently across
little-known aspects of the natural world. You'll learn a lot about
plants, but you'll also dig into ways of living with cooperation,
respect, and abundance, grounded in the writer's Indigenous heritage.
In fiction, writer Melissa Strong recommends The Candy House by
Jennifer Egan, the "sibling" or "companion" to
her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. Melissa
adds: "I loved reuniting with Goon Squad's characters to explore
technology's impact on human connection."
Finally, writer Stephen Silver found Rethinking Fandom by Craig
Calcaterra to be "a fine exploration of what modern-day sports
fandom means, and how so much received wisdom about what sports
fandom means is wrong. Authored by the
lawyer-turned-baseball-blogger-turned-Substacker who analyzes the
game with a political tinge, Rethinking Fandom may be about sports,
but its lessons very much translate to all other forms of fandom."
That's it for our list of books! Don't forget to check the BSR site for other book reviews. Next week, we'll send to your inbox a list of listening options. What exactly do I mean? Stay tuned to find out.