Elissa Washuta is white and Native, bipolar, and lost her virginity to rape. Her first book, My Body is a Book of Rules, is a modern coming-of-age memoir that reaches into these tangles of the body and mind through American pop culture. “I didn’t want to create just a rape memoir, or a bipolar memoir, just a memoir of one small segment of my life,” she says. “Everything I have experienced has been so intertwined.”
As summer is quickly coming to a close, take some time to bask in the sun and soak in a good book. Here are some short, sweet, stellar reads for the rest of August, all works are recent releases from independent publishers.
Ariel Schrag started her career making autobiographical comics in high school. Her comics exploring her life and queer identity articulated in a deft style what it feels like to grow up as a misfit. Her debut text-only novel Adam (out this June from Houghton Mifflin) is also about a nerdy teen who doesn’t fit in. But in a departure from her earlier work, this time the self-conscious protagonist is an adolescent boy.
I don’t know if it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a box set of Austen novels must pass on her love of Pride and Prejudice to her children, but it was certainly true in my family.
As a child, Sheila Bapat watched her mom do all the housework. Abroad, visiting family in India, she saw her female relatives do the same. Over at her friends' houses, she observed their moms take care of all things domestic as well—politicizing Sheila from an early age to see the relationship between gender, justice, and domestic work. In her new book, Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights (Ig Publishing), Sheila has studied these relationships and the workers on the forefront of demanding justice.