The world feels bad, but books can distract you from that. Or, if not distract you, at least remind you that your bad feelings are not yours alone. Many other people feel bad and mad and hopeful and exhausted and anxious and joyful, and so, the point here is, you are not alone in feeling things. It is important, sometimes, to be reminded of that.
Anyway, here are some of the very good new books to read this month.
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All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung (available October 2)
For so many of us, our identity is inextricably tied up with that of our family and our family's history. For Nicole Chung—born in Seattle to Korean parents, adopted as an infant by white parents, and raised in mostly white, rural Oregon—identity was not implicitly understood, it was a constant questioning and navigation of experience and foundational myths, a search for an elusive truth, and a realization that "truth" can be more than one thing. With clarity, grace, and no small amount of courage, Chung has written a powerful memoir about her experience as an adoptee, an Asian-American, a daughter, a sister, and a mother. All You Can Ever Know is a candid and beautiful exploration of themes of identity, family, racism, and love. And while the answers Chung finds in her search for the birth family she never knew are fascinating, the power of this book lies in Chung's willingness to "question the things [she'd] always been told," even while knowing that she might find unsettling truths and an origin story unlike what she'd always thought had existed. Though this book is specific to Chung's experience and an important example of the complexities inherent to transracial adoption, its words will resonate deep within the core of anyone who has ever questioned their place in their family, their community, and the world.