Control Freak: My Epic Adventure Making Video Games
by Cliff Bleszinski
What it is: The designer of Unreal and Gears of War offers an eye-opening personal account of the video game industry as it grew from niche hobby to hundred-billion-dollar enterprise.
Read it for: Bleszinski's self-deprecating humor and discussions on the challenges that have long faced the gaming community, including sexism and a lack of representation among both designers and the characters they create.
Is it for you? "Devoted gamers curious to know how the sausage gets made will find this warts-and-all tale fascinating" (Publishers Weekly).
Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen BrowerWhat it is: the first authorized biography of silver screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, written by the bestselling author of The Residence.
Why you might like it: As nuanced as it is gossipy, this well-researched portrait captures Taylor's indomitable spirit and legacy "like one of her own epic screen adventures" (Booklist).
What's inside: letters, diary entries, photographs, previously unseen interview transcripts, and interviews with 250 loved ones and colleagues.
Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat & Family by Rabia ChaudryWhat it's about: attorney and Undisclosed podcast host Rabia Chaudry's fraught relationship with food and her body, spurred by her Pakistani Muslim family's immigration to America shortly after her birth.
Read it for: Chaudry's candid, hard-fought journey toward self-love, peppered with wry musings on fad diets, workout woes, family expectations, and the limitations of fat acceptance.
Featuring: mouthwatering recipes for chaat, ghee, roti, and more.
Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki MurakamiWhat it is: beloved novelist Haruki Murakami's (IQ84) engaging guide to the craft of writing.
What's inside: 11 conversational and self-deprecating essays revealing the author's origins as a writer, creative process, and sources of motivation and inspiration.
Book buzz: Novelist as a Vocation was named a Most Anticipated Book by Esquire, LitHub, The New York Observer, and Vulture.
Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States by Samantha AllenWhat it's about: trans reporter Samantha Allen's 2017 road trip spent exploring queer communities in conservative parts of the United States.
Places visited: bathroom bill protests in Texas; a youth center in Provo, UT; a drag bar in Jackson, MS; the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, IN, and more.
Reviewers say: Allen's Lambda Literary Award finalist "is a soothing and motivating balm" (Library Journal).
Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land by Noé Álvarez
What it is: a lyrical memoir by the son of Mexican immigrants that chronicles his working-class Washington State upbringing and his 2004 participation in the four-month, 6,000-mile Indigenous people's Peace and Dignity Journey, a relay-style run from Canada to South America.
What's inside: dangers (a mountain lion, unfriendly motorists, injuries); tensions between the runners; gatherings with Native American and First Nations groups; thoughtful musings about running and place.
Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of... by Bill BufordWhat it's about: New Yorker writer Bill Buford worked in the kitchen at Washington, D.C.'s famed Citronelle restaurant to learn about French cooking before moving to Lyon in 2008 with his wife and three-year-old twins to really dig into the subject, and stayed for almost five years.
Who it's for: readers who appreciate haute cuisine, stories of families abroad, or vibrant foodie travelogues with amiable guides.
About the author: Buford also wrote about living and cooking in Italy in 2006's Heat.
Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan JerkinsWhat it's about: Bestselling author Morgan Jerkins, who lives in New York and was raised in New Jersey, traveled to Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California for insight as she thoughtfully explored how the Great Migration affected families, especially her own.
Further reading: For more on the Great Migration, pick up Isabel Wilkerson's award-winning history The Warmth of Other Suns; for another book combining family memoir, travelogue, and modern Black history, try Candacy Taylor's Overground Railroad.
Winter Pasture: One Woman's Journey with China's Kazakh Herders by Li JuanWhat it is: an award-winning memoir that combines nature and travel writing; an eye-opening look at a disappearing way of life; the lyrical English-language debut of a Chinese journalist.
The starting point: Though Li Juan had trouble finding a nomadic group who would take an unmarried 30-something Han Chinese woman along on their winter migration, a small Kazakh family of herders agreed.
What happened: Working with the father, mother, and teen daughter, Juan built a home using manure, gathered snow for water, endured nights with temps below zero, and took care of camel, sheep, and cattle.
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