September Books of the Month with The Lev
We are thrilled to partner up with The Lev, a community pop up bookstore founded to build a community for women, and to promote women and people of color writers. Miriam Chan, the founder of The Lev, will present us here with her picks each month.
Miriam Chan of The Lev’s Picks
“On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope” by DeRay Mckesson
In On the Other Side of Freedom, activist DeRay Mckesson delivers a deeply intimate window into his own life to offer us a understanding of the nature of oppression and a new case for social justice. A must read for those who want to be a part of the conversation on race and social justice in America.
“If They Come For Us” by Fatimah Asghar
“my country is made / In my people’s image / If they come for you they / Come for me too in the dead”
Who knew a crossword puzzle or a bingo card can inspire and illicit fire in our emotions? Beyond its provocation of the poetry form, this collection of poetry is deeply moving heartbreaking, humorous, inspiring, soulful, timely -- there are not enough words to describe the brilliance that Fatimah Asghar has brought to each page. Part memoir, part history, part social contemporary, Poet Asghar explores her experiences as a Pakistani Muslim woman growing up in America. In recent years, Asghar also co-created and wrote the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls. And with that, the world is just beginning to get to know Fatimah Asghar.
“What We Were Promised” by Lucy Tan
As described in a recent interview with “Reading Women,” Lucy Tan reimagines the American dream in her striking debut novel, What We Were Promised. The novel follows a Chinese American family who had immigrated to America, and have recently moved back to their home country. With changing economic policies, China is not the same country they had left. The novel touches on complex themes such as alienation, being an immigrant and an expat, family and obligation, and the effects of China’s new class system. With her beautiful writing and insight, Lucy Tan will impress you, and have you longing for her next novel.
The Thirlby’s Pick
“Eat Up” by Ruby Tandoh
Ruby Tandoh wants you to eat what your grandmother would feed you, listen to your ancestral cravings, and view cuisine through feminist theory. She believes in viewing female friendships as you would baking a cake—a value of flavour, learning, and enriching experience over competition. She imbues this in her book, “Eat Up,” which is part memoir, part cultural criticism, and part cookbook. She presents foods that cross the barrier of diet culture that’s over-baked with recipes without this-that-and-more, many of which balloon our stomachs and siphon our wallets. Instead, Tandoh presents an anti-dogmatic diet, as it would be presented by a friend or family’s old recipe book, rather than the demigod positioning of many “nutrient experts” in the current wellness industry. An anti-“clean diet” to clean up your relationship with food.
About the Author
Miriam Chan is the owner and founder of The Lev. Prior to The Lev, Miriam helped grow operations at startup company Civis Analytics from 13 employees to 140+,and led western state operations on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012.
Miriam’s love for books started at an early age. Her fondest memories are of her parents taking her to the county library and local bookstore as a child. Her absolute favorite writers are Maggie Nelson and Jean Rhys but is currently crushing on Elaine Castillo and R. O. Kwon. When not in the bookstore, visiting local bookstores or supporting local LA businesses, Miriam practices yoga and is a certified yoga instructor from her training at Venice's Love Yoga.
The Lev is a pop-up community bookstore founded to build a community around women and books, and to promote women and people of color writers in Los Angeles. Our hope is that through human connection and reading, empathy is born.