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Books: Three Picks for July

Trevor Noah's memoir, historical non-fiction and self help for oddballs


Born a Crime

Born in South Africa to a Swiss father and a Xhosa mother, life for Trevor Noah began with a criminal act: his birth. Under apartheid law romantic relationships between whites and people of other races were strictly forbidden, carrying a prison sentence of up to five years. Because of this, Noah spent the early part of his childhood a secret from the outside world, not being able to be seen in public with his father, with a family who was in constant fear of being found out. The book’s 18 essays detail young Noah’s life before The Daily Show came calling, along with coming of age stories of a rebellious childhood as a mixed race boy living on cultural fringes, and never quite fitting in.   

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah is available at Amazon.com for RMB102. 


The Radium Girls 

In the early 1900’s radium was touted as a new miracle drug. The material was added to hands of wrist watches so they’d glow in the dark. After World War I, hundreds of girls in the U.S. were hired as dial painters. As a result, their bodies were often covered with the substance, most even ingested it by pointing the tip of their paint brush with their tongues. Before long the girls began to fall ill, their bones literally deteriorating from the inside out while growing cancerous legions courtesy of the radioactive chemical. Dozens of women on their death bed sue the factory resulting in a game changing legal battle that modified American worker’s rights forever.   

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is available at Amazon.com for RMB64. 


Weird in a World That’s Not

Part memoir, part guide, this book is a career manual of sorts for new millenials who fancy themselves special snowflakes of the workforce. Jennifer Romolini describes her shaky career trajectory, from being an underachiever in college, to working as a waitress for the better half of her twenties, before later going on to carve out a successful career as a writer and editor. She attributes her successes and failures to a quirky personality. Some of the career advice might seem basic, advice on resume, networking and interview tips come to mind. What this book does right is offer a glimpse of how one can achieve success without giving in completely to societal norms. 

Weird in a World That’s Not by Jennifer Romolini is available at Amazon.com for RMB88. 

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