Sarah Morice-Brubaker's Christmas picks
Jes Baker’s Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living (Seal Press), will be a handy book to have around in early January, when our culture’s annual rites of body shaming make big money for weight-loss companies. For those of us who have difficulty mustering up affirming self-talk about our bodies, Baker, known in her blogging guise as The Militant Baker—has written a bookful. For something different, check out Kaycie D.’s illustrated deck of cards, Elements: Experiments in Character Design (KcDStudios, etsy.com). If you’re a nerd or live with a nerd, you stand a good chance of bringing joy with these cards. Every element of the periodic table has been anthropomorphized into a comic book character. The character illustrations began as her senior project in art, but media coverage has turned it into a popular whimsical gift. My favorite element character is Molybdenum: an unsmiling, stocky lady holding an automatic drill and sporting pigtails. On a more serious note, Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is on lots of best-of-2015 lists—exactly where it belongs. A book to read alongside it is Negroland: A Memoir, by Margo Jefferson (Pantheon), about a woman growing up in the black upper class. It is not a rejoinder to Coates, by any means; it provides a complementary perspective. Jefferson’s favorable economic circumstances do not protect her from racism. Finally, I am told there are one or two people left who have not yet listened to the soundtrack of the Broadway hit Hamilton (Atlantic). If you’re one of them, I humbly suggest that you go listen to it right now. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creation is a hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, and yes, I know that sounds odd. But Hamilton is very, very good. “You’ll Be Back,” sung by Jonathan Groff’s King George as the consummate bad boyfriend, has some of the funniest lines in all of musical theater.