Books I've written about and recommended in Be Your Own Hero, my newsletter about being brave in small moments.
All purchases made on Bookshop help independent booksellers, and in 2023, any of my affiliate earnings from this shop will be donated to the Strong Hearted Native Women's Coalition in San Diego County.
Louise Julig (she/her/hers) is a creative nonfiction writer living in Southern California. Find her essays, performances and upcoming events at www.louisejulig.com.
Voice First: A Writer's Manifesto
Sonya Huber$23.95 $22.27
Unprotected: A Memoir
Billy Porter$28.00 $26.04
More than just another celebrity memoir. Billy Porter tells his compelling story with true vulnerability and verve. I highly recommend the audiobook just to hear how he says, "Well—werk!"
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats
Kristen Iversen$18.00 $16.74
A powerhouse of a book shows the long shadows the twin secrets of Iverson's father’s alcoholism and the Rocky Flats weapons plant cast over both her family life and the community of this Denver suburb. Thoroughly researched and superbly written.
I Made an Accident
Kevin Sampsell$24.95 $23.20
I love collages, especially ones that are quirky with lots of visual jokes. I Made an Accident is therefore perfect for me. Highly recommended
Lilly Dancyger$16.95 $15.76
A memoir of discovery based on the author's decades-long exploration of her artist-father's past in hopes of finding new ways to connect with his memory and legacy as an adult.
Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights
Katha Pollitt$23.00 $21.39
Pollit's clear language and cogent arguments make the case for abortion as a positive social good that we need not apologize for. This book fundamentally changed the way I look at abortion.
Louise Erdrich$28.99 $26.96
Louise Erdrich's novel, set in 2019-20, captures in the story of Native bookseller Tookie all the humor, poignancy, grief, and love of a family living in these times in Minneapolis. It's hard to describe and a bit of a slow burn, but these characters stayed with me long after the last sentence.
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
Brené Brown$30.00 $27.90
Brown deftly weaves research, data, stories, and quotes together in a way that's eminently readable. A reference on how our emotions manifest and how we can use that knowledge to foster connection.
Braving the Fire
Jessica Handler$17.99 $16.73
Jessica Handler gently and courageously guides the writer through writing about grief and loss. Includes writing exercises and stories from her own work.
Invisible Sisters: A Memoir
Jessica Handler$21.95 $20.41
Handler's beautifully written memoir of being the surviving sister of three is told with honesty and resilience.
The Only Good Indians
Stephen Graham Jones$16.99 $15.80
Fast-paced and riveting, this macabre novel with supernatural elements tells what went wrong in the lives of four American Indian men in the ten-year aftermath of an elk hunt gone awry.
Heavy: An American Memoir
Kiese Laymon$16.00 $14.88
This book is stunning in its immediacy, its intimacy, and its unflinching honesty. Kiese Laymon spares no one, especially himself, in this memoir filled with incisive reflection rooted in a deep and abiding love.
Postcolonial Love Poem: Poems
Natalie Diaz$16.00 $14.88
Diaz uses the vehicle of the body to explore themes of desire, erasure, and what it means to be Indigenous in America in this Pulitzer Prize-winning collection
Moments of Being: Second Edition
Virginia Woolf$16.99 $15.80
In these previously unpublished essays, Virginia Woolf explores her complicated relationships with her family in an eye-opening look at the waning Victorian era, and offers insights on writing and the creative life as only she can.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion$17.00 $15.81
Joan Didion's extraordinary chronicle of the year following her husband's death shows what it's like to confront unimagined grief and come out the other side.
You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism
Lacey Lamar and Amber Ruffin$28.00 $26.04
A humorous yet no-holds-barred accounting of the mind-boggling number and variety of racist encounters co-author Lacey Lamar has faced in her home state of Nebraska. Recommended for someone starting out on an anti-racism education or wants a book that focuses more on personal stories than the sweep of history.
Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason
This searing memoir unflinchingly examines the author's life as her marriage implodes, while at the same time situating herself in the greater context of women's place in contemporary society. Beautifully written and riveting.
Jim Dwyer$25.00 $23.25
A riveting account based on hundreds of oral histories, communications records, and contemporaneous news reports of what happened that day in that place.
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit$18.00 $16.74
Comes highly recommended, and anything by Rebecca Solnit writes is bound to be good.
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
Mira Jacob$20.00 $18.60
A graphic memoir that examines the messy bonds of family through the lens of growing up as a child of Indian immigrants in New Mexico in the '80s and as the mother of a biracial child in New York City in the 2010s. Could not put it down.
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski$17.00 $15.81
This science-based, feminist work is easy to read but extremely pithy. Emily and Amelia Nagoski pull back the cover on the patriarchal underpinnings of why women feel so burnt out, and what we can do about it.
The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett$27.00 $25.11
As good as everybody says. Every time I thought I could predict what was going to happen or how a character would behave, something much subtler transpired.
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Scott McCloud$26.99 $25.10
Fascinating. Even if you aren't a graphic artist or really into comics, I guarantee you will come away with some new ways of thinking about storytelling.
The Incredible Shrinking Woman
This memoir-in-essays explores themes of belonging and taking up space through the lens of being fat, Black, and Midwestern.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism
Robin Diangelo$16.00 $14.88
Is it the be-all, end-all book on racism? No. Is it still incredibly helpful? I think so.
Louise Julig (she/her/hers) is a creative nonfiction writer living in Southern California who writes Be Your Own Hero, a newsletter about being brave in small moments. Find her essays, performances and upcoming events at www.louisejulig.com.