Looking back at the last twelve months, our best selling new titles reflected the conversations taking place in our community around issues of local and global importance. Conversations that we’re proud to have been a part of! And while some of these gems have enjoyed mainstream acclaim, no doubt most found their way into the arms of our patrons as a result of social media, book clubs, and recommendations from other readers on parallel paths of discovery.
Additionally, unlike our list from last year, these titles are all published in 2016. So there isn’t any overlap (although, The New Jim Crow was our all-around best seller and it was published way back in 2012).
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
“Once again, Maggie Nelson has created an awe-inspiring work, one that smartly calls bullshit on the places culture—radical subcultures included—stigmatize and misunderstand both maternity and queer family-making. With a fiercely vulnerable intelligence, Nelson leaves no area un-investigated, including her own heart. I know of no other book like this, and I know how crucially the culture needs it.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Valencia and How to Grow Up
Bædan 3: A Journal of Queer Time Travel
“Bædan marks a further attempt to pose and to flesh out a queer critique of civilization. Queer not only in the sense of coming from those outside and disruptive of the Family, but also in the sense of a critique weirder than its more orthodox cousins. We imagine the Bædan project as an effort to pose the critique of civilization otherwise, to begin from another place. In this issue (and beyond…) we have conjured a strange bestiary of thinking, trying to unearth and trace the tradition of anti-civilization thought in the literature of queerness and in queerness as immanent critique.”
Birth Work as Care Work: Stories from Activist Birth Communities by Alana Apfel
“Becoming a birth supporter, getting to be an attendant to the miracle of childbirth, has transformed my social justice work... Learning to listen, learning to trust the body and the people, and learning to breathe will transform our movement work. Birth Work as Care Work demonstrates these lessons through showing us ways we can learn together to support the birth of new worlds.”
—Adrienne Brown, coeditor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes by Diane Ehrensaft PhD
“A critically important book to all those who support and/or love trans and gender non-conforming children and youth. It's well-written, accessible, thorough, and enlivened by combined profiles of some of the children, youth, and families whom Ehrensaft has helped to council.”
—Shannon Wyss, GoodReads.com
Learning Good Consent: On Healthy Relationships and Survivor Support edited by Cindy Crabb
"What this book does is to stress consent: not 'no means no,' or even 'yes means yes,' but 'Do you want me to stay here with you?' 'Are you here?' 'I thought I wanted this, but I'm not sure now.' 'Do you think we should take this farther?' I'm moved that this book is here. It matters."
—Alison Piepmeier, author of Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism
Princeless Book 1: Deluxe Edition by Jeremy Whitley
“Whitley (writer) and Goodwin (artist)’s Princeless offers a fresh and literally bright view of the young, female heroine of color and her struggle to create her own sense of agency in a world where princesses wait for princes to rescue them. Princeless comments on the various issues facing women in comic books today, from impractical outfits juxtaposed by slapstick humor and jokes that entertain all ages.”
—Tony Le, RaceBending.com
Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Schatz Kate
“[F]resh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success…pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits.”
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
“Brilliant…With Swing Time, Zadie Smith identifies the impossible contradiction all adults are asked to maintain — be true to yourself, and still contain multitudes; be proud of your heritage, but don’t be defined by it. She frays the cords that keep us tied to our ideas of who we are, to our careful self-mythologies. Some writers name, organize, and contain; Smith lets contradictions bloom, in all their frightening, uneasy splendor.”
—Annalisa Quinn, NPR.org
Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism edited by Cindy Milstein
"From the arresting title through thirteen brilliant essays, this reader is a gem. Alliances and the problem with ally politics, decolonization demands, a defense of riots, exposing gender violence, fighting back against police violence, and contesting white supremacy are among the timely issues presented in militant terms… a handbook for every social justice activist."
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
Wild Fermentation 2nd Edition by Sandor Katz
“...a journey through time, taste, and anthropology, with a unique and refreshing look at the current state of the world… I laugh out loud when I think about this book being read by the public. It’s full of easily digestible radical analysis and the matter-of-factness of Sandor’s fabulous lifestyle among the radical faeries living in the rural wilderness of middle Tennessee.”
—The Fifth Estate
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States edited by Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré and Alana Yu-lan Price
"Would some communities be safer without police? That’s the question at the heart of Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?, a collection of essays and reportage penned by some of Truthout’s most compelling and enlightened thinkers—including #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza. With heartbreaking, glass-sharp prose, the book catalogs the abuse and destruction of black, native, and trans bodies. And then, most importantly, it offers real-world solutions."
—Chicago Review of Books
Writing Home: The Story of Author Thomas Wolfe by Laura Boffa
Local author and educator Laura Boffa explores Wolfe's early life from his childhood home in Asheville, NC to his travels around the Midwest, and eventual return to Asheville. It is the story of one young man's journey to become a writer, a journey filled with triumph, longing, and a desire to follow one's dream.