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Books Like Us: Introducing a New Own Voices Video Series

by  | June 12
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A few months ago, our colleagues at Simon & Schuster embarked on a mission to discover when some of their authors were first able to connect with a character that reflected their own personal narrative. The results were transformative and emotional. Now, we’d like to introduce you to a new weekly video series, Simon & Schuster’s Books Like Us:

To watch a powerful video featuring I DON’T WANT TO DIE POOR author Michael Arceneaux, head over to Simon & Schuster’s Books Like Us page. Then check back there weekly for new videos with more of your favorite authors, including Jackson Bird, Stephen Graham Jones, Candice Carty-Williams, Maisy Card, Mary H.K. Choi, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Ross Mathews, Linda Sarsour, Marjan Kamali, Brittney Morris, and Daniel Mallory Ortberg.

And don’t miss these Get Lit articles featuring authors from the Books Like Us series!

I Don't Want to Die Poor

I Don't Want to Die Poor

by Michael Arceneaux

From the New York Times bestselling author of I Can’t Date Jesus, which Vogue called “a piece of personal and cultural storytelling that is as fun as it is illuminating,” comes a wry and insightful essay collection that explores the financial and emotional cost of chasing your dreams.

Ever since Oprah Winfrey told the 2007 graduating class of Howard University, “Don’t be afraid,” Michael Arceneaux has been scared to death. You should never do the opposite of what Oprah instructs you to do, but when you don’t have her pocket change, how can you not be terrified of the consequences of pursuing your dreams?

Michael has never shied away from discussing his struggles with debt, but in I Don’t Want to Die Poor, he reveals the extent to which it has an impact on every facet of his life—how he dates; how he seeks medical care (or in some cases, is unable to); how he wrestles with the question of whether or not he should have chosen a more financially secure path; and finally, how he has dealt with his “dream” turning into an ongoing nightmare as he realizes one bad decision could unravel all that he’s earned. You know, actual “economic anxiety.”

I Don’t Want to Die Poor is an unforgettable and relatable examination about what it’s like leading a life that often feels out of your control. But in Michael’s voice that’s “as joyful as he is shrewd” (BuzzFeed), these razor-sharp essays will still manage to make you laugh and remind you that you’re not alone in this often intimidating journey.

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Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning

by Rebecca Roanhorse

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine. Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology. As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive. Welcome to the Sixth World.

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Sorted

Sorted

by Jackson Bird

An unflinching and endearing memoir from LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird about how, through a childhood of gender mishaps and an awkward adolescence, he finally sorted things out and came out as a transgender man in his mid-twenties.

When Jackson Bird was twenty-five, he came out as transgender to his friends, family, and anyone in the world with an internet connection. Assigned female at birth and having been raised a girl, he often wondered if he should have been born a boy. Jackson didn’t share this thought with anyone because he didn’t think he could share it with anyone. Growing up in Texas in the 1990s, he had no transgender role models. He barely remembers meeting anyone who was openly gay, let alone being taught that transgender people existed outside of punchlines.

Today, Jackson is a writer, YouTuber, and LGBTQ+ advocate living openly and happily as a transgender man. So how did he get here? In this remarkable, educational, and uplifting memoir, Jackson chronicles the ups and downs of growing up gender confused. Illuminated by journal entries spanning childhood to adolescence to today, he candidly recalls the challenges he faced while trying to sort out his gender and sexuality, and worrying about how to interact with the world. With warmth and wit, Jackson also recounts how he navigated the many obstacles and quirks of his transition––like figuring out how to have a chest binder delivered to his NYU dorm room and having an emotional breakdown at a Harry Potter fan convention. From his first shot of testosterone to his eventual top surgery, Jackson lets you in on every part of his journey—taking the time to explain trans terminology and little-known facts about gender and identity along the way. Through his captivating prose, Bird not only sheds light on the many facets of a transgender life, but also demonstrates the power and beauty in being yourself, even when you’re not sure who “yourself” is.

Part memoir, part educational guide, Sorted is a frank, humorous narrative of growing up with some unintended baggage.

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Name Drop

Name Drop

by Ross Mathews

From Ross Mathews, the nationally bestselling author of Man Up!, judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and alum of Chelsea Lately, a collection of hilarious and irreverent essays about his experience with Hollywood’s most talked-about celebrities.

Pretend it’s happy hour and you and I are sitting at the bar. I look amazing and, I agree with you, much thinner in person. You look good, too. Maybe it’s the candlelight, maybe it’s the booze. Either way, let’s just go with it. Keep this all between you and me, and do me a favor? Don’t judge me if I name drop just a little.

Television personality Ross Mathews likes telling stories. He was always outrageous and hilariously honest, even when the biggest celebrity he knew was his favorite lunch lady in the school cafeteria. Now that he has Hollywood experience—from interning behind the scenes at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to judging RuPaul’s Drag Race—he has a lot to talk about.

In Name Drop, Ross dishes about being an unlikely insider in the alternate reality that is showbiz, like that time he was invited by Barbara Walters to host The View—only to learn his hero did not suffer fools; his Christmas with the Kardashians, which should be its own holiday special; and his news-making talk with Omarosa on Celebrity Big Brother, which, as it turns out, was just the tip of the iceberg. Holding nothing back, Ross shares the most treasured and surprising moments in his celebrity-filled career, and proves that while exposure may have made him a little bit famous, he is still as much a fanboy as ever.

Filled with tales ranging from the horrifying to the hilarious—and with just the right “Rossipes” and cocktails to go along with them—Name Drop is every pop culture lover’s dream come true.

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The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

“One of 2020’s buzziest horror novels.” —Entertainment Weekly

“More than I could have asked for in a novel.”—Tommy Orange, Pulitzer Prize finalist author of There There

“What Stephen Graham Jones does for me, is create new possibilities for Indigenous storymakers.” —Terese Marie Mailhot, New York Times bestselling author

A masterpiece. ” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

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