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So your friend is a reader or a writer. Easy gift. A new notebook and a Pilot G-2 pen for the writer and a book for the one that likes to read. With all the books out there though, finding the perfect one could end up being a search process that leaves you celebrating Christmas next July.
Not to worry. No Kill has you covered with our top must-reads for 2022.
Please note: most of our links will send you to Bookshop, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. If you can, please consider shopping through them or another independent seller before Amazon.
Activism and Sustainability
PLEASURE ACTIVISM: THE POLITICS OF FEELING GOOD
BY ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN
Feminist author adrienne maree brown shares her views about harm reduction, drugs, and sex work. She looks at how our current model criminalizing pleasure is harming communities, and how decriminalizing pleasure can be helpful. She also looks at how the legalized cannabis industry has been run predominantly by white people instead of giving back to the communities that were most affected by criminalization. This is an eye-opening read and will definitely lead to some interesting discussions between you and your friends if you choose to get them all a copy. A book club worthy read.
SUSTAINABLE BADASS: A ZERO-WASTE LIFESTYLE GUIDE
BY GITTEMARIE JOHASSEN
Is your friend interested in living a sustainable lifestyle, but doesn’t know where to start? This book covers the basics of sustainability from plastic to application in every area of life including recycling, fashion, and food. Your friend will be an expert in zero waste.
GIRLS TO THE FRONT
BY SARA MARCUS
Marcus details the history of the 90’s punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl. This book follows the influence that bands like Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsey, and Bratmobile had on the punk scene as well as in feminism. She also focuses on the ways it fell short, namely that this was a movement led and predominately followed by white cis bisexual women.
DRESS CODE: UNLOCKING FASHION FROM THE NEW LOOK TO MILLENNIAL PINK
BY VÉRONIQUE HYLAND
Hyland explores fashion and social status since Y2K. She explores the concept of the “It Girl” versus dressing for the self, and whether fashion will continue to be sectioned by gender or expanded beyond. She also discusses how fashion influences culture. Hyland’s fashion commentary has affected culture far before this book. She was the writer who first coined the term millennial pink in a 2016 essay for The Cut.
If your friend is a fashion enthusiast, be sure to pick up a copy.
GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR
BY MAIA KOBABE
This graphic memoir is near the top of the banned books list this year for discussing gender exploration and LGBT content. As always, No Kill finds banned books list as an excellent reading guide to see what is seen as forbidden in this modern world. Kobabe uses e/em/eir pronouns and e guides the reader through their journey of exploring their gender and sexuality to discover that em identify as asexual and non-binary.
TIME IS A MOTHER
BY OCEAN VUONG
Vuong’s poetry provides tender and intimate insights into his process of grieving the loss of his mother. He also reflects on love and his queerness. If you are looking for beautiful poetry to help your friend through a challenging time, this is the book for them.
DREAMING OF YOU: A NOVEL IN VERSE
BY MELISSA LOZADA-OLIVA
Did you know that poetry can be funny, witty, and sarcastic? Do you have a friend who loves witchcraft and Latina singer Selena? Melissa Lozada-Oliva has a mixture of all of this in her latest novel in verse. The speaker grapples with her identity as she brings Selena back from the dead to talk with her. Everything soon goes awry and she struggles to bring the spirits back to rest.
BRIGHT DEAD THINGS: POEMS
BY ADA LIMON
If you are looking to seduce your poet friend or lover, look no further than Ada Limón’s poetry. She is the current (24th) Poet Laureate of the United States as decided upon by the Library of Congress. This book is a heartfelt journey of self exploration and overcoming unfamiliarity and loss.
BY MELISSA BRODER
If your friend has or is currently struggling with an eating disorder, this might not be the right read for them.
This is a queer romance novel about a Jewish woman who struggles with her body image falling in love with an Orthodox Jewish frozen yogurt lady. Their star-crossed story explores the forbidden with queerness and indulging in deliciously greasy foods.
ALL THE THINGS WE DON’T TALK ABOUT
BY AMY FELTMAN
This book grapples with complex issues of identity, family, and queerness. The main character Morgan was raised by her father because her mother left when she was young. Just as Morgan goes through a breakup with her girlfriend, her mother comes back into her life fresh from her own queer breakup.
Whether you decide to purchase one of these books for a friend, or read them for yourself these are sure to entertain and delight. Remember to support local independent bookstores, secondhand bookstores, and libraries.
-By Sammie Wilhoit
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