Trending Non-Fiction Books to Read in September

Summer may be over, but these three books are shining bright. If you’re in need of a new non-fiction book, this is a great place to start. Critically acclaimed by our editors and extremely relevant, each of these popular books is certainly a worthy addition to your TBR pile this Fall.

The Fire Within by Carol Henson

(History / United States)

As we heal and recover from a devastating year of wildfires, I found this book to be particularly timely and relevant. The Fire Within: A History of Women Wildland Firefighters in the United States is a fascinating and compelling documentation of the women who courageously battled wildfires in our nation’s forests and wildlands.

When you think about wildland firefighters across the world, odds are you first think of it being a male-only occupation. But that is certainly not the case. The story of women in wildland firefighting is not a new story. It’s just not well documented – until now. This book tells the story of women who stepped into non-traditional roles to pursue their dreams of fighting wildfires and dealing with nature’s most extreme elements. Meticulously researched and told by retired firefighter Carol Henson, this book is a must-read account of American history. Throughout the book, powerful women share who they are, why they fought fire, how they got started, and how they persevered through adversity.

Living while Black: My Experience with “Everyday Racismby Beverly Harris-Schenz

(Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs)

This is a significant book for every American to read. Written by the influential Professor Beverly Harris-Schenz, Living While Black uses personal stories to provoke thought, conversation, and a call to action against systemic racism.

Each story in this unique collection is derived from the author’s personal encounters and experiences, illustrating how racial bias, unfounded assumptions, and misunderstanding can pervade even the most ordinary situations. Incredibly insightful and impactful, the book calls on readers to ask themselves how they can make a difference. It opens readers minds allows them to see issues through a specific lens and view familiar contexts from an entirely new perspective. By bearing witness to the stories told by the author, readers will gain a new understanding of systemic racism’s insidious presence – and become empowered to act against it. From start to finish, the book is gripping and meticulously written. Author Beverly Harris-Schenz has made a profound impact on academia throughout her career – and has served as the first Black faculty member in the German departments at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Massachusetts, and Rice University.

We Belong: An Anthology of Colombian Women Coffee Farmers by Lucia Bawot

(Photography / Women)

As you sip on that steaming cup of coffee, I encourage you to put some thought into its origins. The coffee in your hands reflects people across the world – specifically women. We Belong tells their stories through a collection of intimate photographs and vignettes that bring coffee farmers to life. Through photographer Lucia Bawot’s lens, you see the vivid spectrum of life as a female coffee farmer.  

We Belong took shape over 18 months of travel, interviews, photoshoots, writing, editing, and designing. During this whirlwind period, Bawot visited the Colombian regions of Quindío, Cauca, Antioquia, Nariño, Huila, Tolima, and Magdalena — the regions with the largest number of women coffee producers. Throughout these travels, she met, interviewed, and photographed 62 women coffee farmers and pickers, ranging between the ages of 20 and 104.

Each of the 25 stories is complemented with a short-written feature and direct quotes from the farmer (in both English and Spanish). Additionally, each story includes the farmer’s age along with the size and location of her farm to help articulate just how diverse this group of invisible producers is – and to honor the importance of belonging. Whether or coffee is a part of your life or not, you’ll be blown away by these women’s stories.

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