August 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. It’s already August and the heat is on. And while we are working hard to save the world, we must take time to read, rest and renew.

These 27 books are bound to support you, learn you, trouble you and try you. They may even heal you. So take some time and take care.

Beyoncé’s Ode to Black Joy: Merging Past and Future in ‘Renaissance’

Renaissance, Beyoncé’s seventh solo album, offers a much different vibe and one that also represents an intergenerational inheritance engulfed in the pleasures of Black dance music vibrating across the various subcultures of Black communities around the world.

Black women—across genders, sexualities and communities—have been the blueprint, and Beyoncé’s Renaissance proves that.

We Heart: P!nk’s New Protest Anthem, ‘Irrelevant’

On July 18, the music video for P!nk’s new song, “Irrelevant,” dropped and has since been deemed a ‘protest anthem.’ She explained, “As a woman with an opinion and the fearlessness to voice that opinion, it gets very tiring when the only retort is to tell me how irrelevant I am. I am relevant because I exist and because I am a human being. No one is irrelevant. And no one can take away my voice.”

The proceeds from the new track will be donated to Michelle Obama’s national, nonpartisan voting initiative When We All Vote.

Oakland Museum of California’s ‘Hella Feminist’ Exhibit Grieves, Celebrates, and Provokes

In a world where the meaning of “feminism” is increasingly being questioned by those on both the right and the left, a thoughtful contemplative examination of the term’s history and future can be hard to find. But the Oakland Museum of California’s “Hella Feminist” exhibition does just that.

(“Hella Feminist” is on view at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California from July 2022-January 2023.)

We Deserve Diverse Books: ‘The Right Is Wrong’

During the 45 years that award-winning author Nikki Grimes has been publishing children’s and young adult novels, she’s seen massive changes in the industry. Protagonists today are far more diverse, featuring more protagonists of color and characters who are disabled, non-binary, questioning or LGBTQIA+.

Right-wing organizations think many children’s books are offensive and have launched a campaign to squelch this progressive turn.

“The right is wrong. A more inclusive, accepting and humane world is possible.”

Ms. Muse: ‘Only Freeish’ in America

“For the first time in my life, I felt allergic to poetry. A radical, rogue Supreme Court decided Americans with uteruses no longer have the human right to control our own bodies but are subject to the whims of our state. I couldn’t bear to read a poem. … Then came Independence Day. The painful irony of a July 4 on the heels of such profound loss of liberty left me suddenly hungry for words. I needed poems the way some need scripture.”