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Tobin's Picks

Book Cover for I Can Barely Take 
        Care of Myself Close, Jen Kirkman
I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids

Nonfiction
Close your eyes and imagine for a moment you are at [insert family / religious holiday here]. Your Aunt So-and-So has had one too many cherry cordials, and has that loquacious look in her eye. Brace yourself, as you have learned so expertly to do, and count down from ten as she talks too loudly and/or too shrilly about babies and your lack thereof. You might come to fear these inevitable "heart-to-hearts", or have perfected the art of the 1000-yard stare when Aunty gets started, but worry not, because you are not as alone as you might feel. (I mean, you're still alone, we're all alone really, aren't we? Anywho!) If the above scenario hits a bit too close to home, might I suggest giving Jen Kirkman's book, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself, a try? Channel the healing power of laughter as you read through Jen's various, and often times hilarious, run-ins with that most condemnable of questions to all of Child-Free Kind, "So, do you have any kids?" Family, friends, and strangers have kindly fueled the fire of Kirkman's comedic talents in this book that is one part memoir, another part guide to surviving the barrage of questions only a child-free person would understand, and a whole lot of heart. Even if that heart just smoked your last Camel Light and is sleeping off a hangover on your couch. Check out I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman, I guarantee you will mostly not be disappointed.
Recommended by Tobin, May 2014

 
Book Cover for Love, InshAllah Mattu, Ayesha and Nura Maznavi co-editors
Love, InshAllah

Nonfiction
Very few outside of Muslim communities understand the intricacies, triumphs, and heartaches of searching for love while practicing Islam in the United States, especially when religious traditions and 21st-century dating protocols are involved. From arranged marriages to punk rock Muslimahs, queer sisters to online dating, Love, InshAllah, co-edited by Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, threads together passionate personal essays written by Muslim American women from all walks of life. Their stories open readers up to the hearts behind the hijabs, and what you find within these pages may surprise you by the similarities we share with our Muslim sisters. I laughed and cried, but most of all felt empathy and appreciation for their honest and beautiful storytelling. Love, InshAllah is a must-read for readers with a passion for love stories, and especially those curious about the experiences of Muslim American women on their own diverse journeys to discover that most universal of themes in all of our lives.
Recommended July 2014