12 books that will make you a better person in 2018

12 books that will make you a better person in 2018

Are you ready for a shocking statistic?

Whether it's your phone, computer or laptop, the average UK adult now spends around 9.5 hours a day staring at screens, presumably flicking carelessly between various media channels while tweets and Facebook posts sear our retinas.

That's more time staring at screens than the average person spends asleep every night.

And it's getting worse for young people, too, with the World Health Organisation warning that a dramatic rise in screen time is putting children at risk.

But you know what doesn't put people's health at risk?

Books. Well, asides from the odd paper cut or if the author has some particularly trash ideas.

That's why we've pulled together 12 books preparing to hit the shelves in 2018, the reading of which - we reckon - will make you a better person.

They certainly won't make you any worse, anyway.

Basically, it's a list of some really great and exciting books we think you should know about because they might just enrich your lives.

With 12 books and a confirmed 12 months in the next full calendar year, it's almost as if you could set yourself some kind of challenge...

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Co-authored by journalist Asha Bandele, this essential read tells the story of one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement and how her life experiences led to starting the organisation.

The pair seek to change the culture that declares innocent black lives are expendable while reminding us that protest in the interest of the vulnerable comes only from a place of love.

With the far-right and white supremacists gaining power and support the world over, this poetic memoir and reflection on humanity couldn't be more necessary or timely.

Meaningful, empowering and defiant, this queer person of colour is exactly the kind of voice we need to be listening to as we shift into the New Year.

Released: 16 January

Trans Britain: Our Long Journey from the Shadows by Christine Burns

Over the last five years, transgender people have refused to stay silent and more and more have they begun to make themselves heard.

It's what led to American Vogue naming 2015 'the year of trans visibility'. From the TV and cinema screens to the ballot box, transgender people have rightfully forced their way into the zeitgeist.

From the catwalks of Paris and Milan, to Albert Square in Eastenders, and even on shows like Question Time and Good Morning Britain, trans people are standing up to be counted.

This book, edited by esteemed and award-winning trans rights campaigner Christine Burns, chronicles their journey from a marginalised community into today's very visible phenomenon, told in the words of those who were there to witness it first-hand.

Basically, it's everything you wanted to know about the where trans people came from and the movement of trans rights, but never knew how to politely ask; told to you by the only people who should be making a commentary on the community - trans people themselves.

Released: 25 January

BRAVE by Rose McGowan

If we remember 2017 for one thing, let it be the way that women refused to be silenced anymore; instead, speaking out about the sexual harassment and injustice they've suffered at the hands of privileged men.

Actor, model and Weinstein-accuser Rose McGowan is one of the voices that has shouted the loudest. BRAVE is her raw, honest and poignant memoir-slash-manifesto, fearlessly exposing the truth about the misogynistic multibillion-dollar industry we know as Hollywood.

"BRAVE is the story of how I fought my way out of cults and reclaimed my life," says Rose.

I want to help you do the same.

Released: 30 January

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

Despite being still only in her twenties, Morgan Jerkins is one of the fiercest, smartest and most important critics writing in Trump's America.

Sitting, as she says, at the intersection of her blackness, womanhood and feminism, This Will Be My Undoing is a collection of personal essays interweaving her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today.

A brutally honest writer who isn't afraid of tackling tough and controversial topics, this will be the much-needed tonic to any hate that's thrown around in the next 12 months.

Released: 30 January

The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois

This oral history of the groundbreaking 1993 play Angels in America, as told by the artists who created it and the audiences forever changed by it, also doubles up as a moving account of the AIDS epidemic and an essential queer history text.

When Tony Kushner's magnum opus hit Broadway it won the Pulitzer Prize, swept the Tonys, launched a score of careers and, more importantly, changed the way gay lives were represented in popular culture.

It was adapted in 2003 by HBO starring Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, and this year an acclaimed revival in London starred Andrew Garfield and Russell Tovey. Without hyperbole, it is one of the most important products in the history of theatre.

Twenty-five years since its Broadway premiere, Butler and Kois bring together the stars, directors, producers, crew and Kushner himself to tell the story of Angels in America both on and off stage and dissect its legacy, from the staunch activism of the AIDS crisis through to the civil rights triumphs of the current era.

And just in time for the 2018 Broadway revival!

Released: 13 February

What Are We Doing Here? Essays by Marilynne Robinson

New essays by Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson on theological, political and contemporary themes, based on the modern political climate and the mysteries of faith.

Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers on America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, her prose and humanity are on full display.

One of Barack Obama's favourite thinkers, Robinson impels us to action and offers us hope.

And if there are two things we could do with a little more of next year, it's action and hope.

Released: 20 February

Forgotten Women by Zing Tsjeng

Forgotten Women is the new feminist book series from Broadly editor Zing Tsjeng, with the first two instalments The Scientists and The Leaders published on 8 March - International Women's Day. Aiming to uncover the lost herstories of influential women who have refused over hundreds of years to accept the hand they've been dealt, the series will show how the present and indeed the future is formed and shaped by women.

The Scientists celebrates 48 unsung scientific heroines whose discoveries have transformed our world - from Mary Anning, the amateur palaeontologist whose fossil findings changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life, to Emmy Noether, dubbed The Mighty Mathematician You've Never Heard Of.

The Leaders, on the other hand, weaves together 48 portraits of pioneers who made "huge yet unacknowledged" contributions to our history, from 16th century Irish pirate queen Grace O'Malley to the spearhead of the modern transgender right movement Sylvia Rivera.

To say this series is "empowering" doesn't do it justice. Buy a copy for your daughters, sisters, mums, aunts and nieces - just make sure you buy a copy for your sons, brothers, dads, uncles and nephews, too.

Released: 8 March

Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Timely, moving and darkly funny stories examining black identity in a supposedly post-racial era.

Each captivating story dives into the lives of new and utterly original characters. Some are darkly humours - from the two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide.

Others are devastatingly poignant, such as the tale of a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence.

These exquisite stories are satirical, captivating, and further the ever-necessary conversation about the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship.

Released: 10 April

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee

One of the most talked about queer writers of the past few years, off the back of his acclaimed and best-selling novel The Queen of the Night, Alexander Chee will release his debut essay collection in 2018, exploring his education as a man, writer and activist - and how we form our identities in life and art.

In these essays, he reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, a lover and a friend, while examining some of the most formative experiences of his life, including his father's death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, and, yes, the election of Trump.

"Incendiary" may be a word that's thrown around far too often these days, but it couldn't be more deserved when talking about Alexander Chee's writing.

Released: 17 April

Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships by Juno Roche

Transgender activist, campaigner and writer Juno Roche discusses sex, desire and dating with leading figures from the trans and non-binary community in this frank, funny, poignant and very necessary book.

Calling out prejudices and inspiring readers to explore their own concepts of intimacy and sexuality, the first-hand accounts celebrate the wonder and potential of trans bodies.

Fox Fisher and Owl, Kuchenga and Meg-John Barker are among the trans visionaries who feature.

Empowering, while pushing the boundaries of how society views gender, sexuality and relationships, this collection shows that all trans people deserve to feel brave, beautiful and sexy.

Released:19 April

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay

If you didn't know the laws and rules around consent and harassment at the start of the year, you certainly did by the end of it.

This provocative collection of essays that address the aggression and violence women face daily is deftly edited by New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay, with contributions from the likes of Ally Sheedy, Gabrielle Union and Amy Jo Burns.

Not That Bad is a valuable and revealing anthology, collecting original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence and aggression they face, and where they are routinely second-guessed, discredited or bullied for speaking out.

In a perfect world, a book like this wouldn't have to exist.

But the dichotomy is that this book's very existence will hopefully take us one step closer to that world.

Released: 5 May

The Last Romeo by Justin Myers

You might know him best as The Guyliner; razor-sharp GQ columnist and the cornerstone of the gay Twitterati, who made his name with his eponymous, anonymous and hilarious dating blog called, urm, The Guyliner.

But in 2018, the Yorkshire-born writer steps out from behind his online persona for his debut novel The Last Romeo.

This candid story follows James, who also happens to have an online dating blog, which gains him legions of fans and the validation he's always craved.

But when his wild night with a closeted Olympian goes viral and sends his Twitter fame through the roof, he realises in his search for 'the one' that some things are better left unshared.

Well, they say write what you know...

We can't remember the last time there was this much buzz in the literary world over a same-sex love story.

We've already started the office pool over who's going to play James in the inevitable movie adaptation.

Released: 31 May

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