10 New Books You’ll Want to Give (and Get) This Christmas

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1. Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot

This big, beautiful, illustrated hardcover offers profiles and portraits of pioneering women in sports history. Based on the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroes, Game Changers is a dramatic record of people who shattered their glass ceilings.

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2. Carry This Book by Abbi Jacobson

One of the stars of Broad City has a secret talent: drawing the imaginary contents of famous people’s personal bags. Ever wondered what Oprah carries in her purse? Abbi has some ideas. Continue reading

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The Boomstick Film Club: Ava’s Possessions

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Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

Horror comedies and demon possession movies are both having a moment, but Ava’s Possessions is the first film I’ve heard of that combines these genres. Director Jordan Galland’s 2015 indie is an amusing genre mashup, but it also uses possession and exorcism as metaphors for mental illness and addiction, presenting horror not as a one-time event but as an ongoing challenge.

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Another Place You’ve Never Been by Rebecca Kauffman

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Rebecca Kauffman’s debut novel, Another Place You’ve Never Been, begins with a short prologue, a story unrelated to the main cast of characters. In this haunting tale shared among the Ojibwa tribe of North Dakota, two brothers go for a swim in a murky pond. The younger boy is bitten by poisonous water moccasin snakes and later dies. In tribal lore, he becomes a spirit with transformative and healing powers; this story is repeated from neighbor to neighbor, from parent to child.

Then the children will retell the story to one another. They feel something different in each retelling. They are learning that sometimes it takes a thousand voices to tell one story.

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Would You Like Some Pho With Your ‘Murderous Rage’?

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“We will live!”—the last line, italics and all, of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer—is a full-throated cry for the world’s 100 million Vietnamese people, who are still largely unheard more than forty years after the end of their catastrophic war. With his new non-fiction essay collection, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, Nguyen expands and elevates the Vietnamese experience to challenge the economic and political order of the world (yes, the world) and the U.S. “war machine” that he believes maintains it.

That machine encompasses not only American government and weapons makers but also their “ministry of misinformation,” Hollywood. Racist, mostly white-controlled American corporations and the people who work for them also benefit and thus perpetuate the structure. “We are all implicated, not just soldiers but a lot of people in suits and dresses,” Nguyen says in an interview.

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HITTING SHELVES #40: Culdesac by Robert Repino

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Culdesac by Robert Repino comes out today!

It’s the only story ever written about a bloodthirsty bobcat with opposable thumbs who fights against a ragtag band of humans on behalf of an army of giant ants. Set in the same world as Mort(e) and its soon-to-be-released sequel, D’Arc, this is a crucial episode in Repino’s series about the War With No Name, a brilliantly bonkers cross between Watership Down and old Rambo movies, whose real-life political undertones grow more relevant each day.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of Culdesac?

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Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Elizabeth Greenwood

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Elizabeth Greenwood is the author of Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she teaches creative nonfiction. Greenwood grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts.

EB: How did you begin writing nonfiction?

EG: I began dabbling in nonfiction upon the suggestion of a favorite ex-boyfriend who liked my emails and urged me to try something a bit more ambitious. I blogged under a pseudonym for a while which was totally freeing. I’d always loved writing and revered books but had no clue how one went about becoming a writer, outside of academia. I was teaching English as a Second Language in the NYC public schools and wanted to make a switch, so I spent about a year asking everyone what they did for work and what they liked about it. Fortune smiled upon me when I was seated next to a woman at a dinner party who described her job as teaching writing at Columbia and taking classes, and getting paid to do so. Bingo. That was what I wanted to do.

EB: So you decided to pursue an MFA. But why nonfiction as opposed to fiction or poetry? Continue reading

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