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Cheers to Beacon’s Bestsellers of 2023!

By Christian Coleman

Image credit: Dewald Van Rensburg

Some are new, some are veteran crew. These are a handful of Beacon’s bestsellers of 2023! Let’s raise a glass of bubbly to the authors and to another year of bestsellers! Which ones were your favorites?



Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex

Nonsexual romantic love sounds like an oxymoron. Almost all definitions of the feeling of romantic love—separate from the social role of married partners or romantic acts like saying “I love you”—fold in the sexual dimension. People might not be having sex, but wanting sex is the key to recognizing that feelings are romantic instead of platonic. Sexual desire is supposed to be the Rubicon that separates the two. It’s not. Aces prove this. By definition, aces don’t experience sexual attraction and plenty are apathetic or averse to sex. Many still experience romantic attraction and use a romantic orientation (heteroromantic, panromantic, homoromantic, and so on) to signal the genders of the people they feel romantically toward and crush on.
—Angela Chen 


Being Heumann pb

Being Heumann: An Repentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist

At camp, I was not seen as a sick kid, excluded from dances and dates and kissing boys behind the football stadium. Nor was I seen as a crippled girl never expected to marry, for whom motherhood was not even a question. No one had told me that no boy would ever give me a second look. At camp we had parties, played loud rock music, and snuck off into the dark to make out. The counselors were young and fun. They strummed the guitar while we sang and danced to the likes of Elvis Presley, Chubby Checker, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, and the Shirelles. We knew all the words to “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper, and we danced in a way we never danced anywhere else. Camp was the only place we weren’t self-conscious about how we looked.
—Judith Heumann with Kristen Joiner 


Jesus and the Disinherited - Gift Edition

Jesus and the Disinherited

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I have heard a sermon on the meaning of religion, of Christianity, to the man who stands with his back against the wall. It is urgent that my meaning be crystal clear. The masses of men live with their backs constantly against the wall. They are the poor, the disinherited, the dispossessed. What does our religion say to them? The issue is not what it counsels them to do for others whose need may be greater, but what religion offers to meet their own needs. The search for an answer to this question is perhaps the most important religious quest of modern life.
—Howard Thurman 


Kindred Gift Edition

Kindred: Gift Edition

I had seen people beaten on television and in the movies. I had seen the too-red blood substitute streaked across their backs and heard their well-rehearsed screams. But I hadn’t lain nearby and smelled their sweat or heard them pleading and praying, shamed before their families and themselves. I was probably less prepared for the reality than the child crying not far from me. In fact, she and I were reacting very much alike. My face too was wet with tears. And my mind was darting from one thought to another, trying to tune out the whipping.
—Octavia E. Butler 


Man's Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.
—Viktor E. Frankl 


On Repentance and Repair pb

On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World

Let’s face it: It’s deeply uncomfortable to confront the fact that we have caused harm. Research has shown that feelings of guilt can impact how we feel in our bodies; it makes us feel literally weighed down, causing even basic tasks to require more effort than usual. And, of course, guilt—the awareness or belief that I have done something bad—can easily trigger, or morph into, shame, the belief that I am bad. It may be tempting to look for ways to hack the process, to get to that place where we no longer feel burdened by our conscience, where things feel better. Crossing that bridge over into reckoning with what we have done seems like the agonizing opposite of removing this heavy awareness. Instead of getting to the white, we have to walk straight into the crimson? That doesn’t seem right! It’s easy to panic, to try to figure out if there’s a way around the system. But the only way out is through. And trying to skip to the end without all the work in the middle means that, instead of making different choices, we repeat variations on that same crimson harm.
—Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg 


The Miracle of Mindfulness

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Our breath is such a fragile piece of thread. But once we know how to use it, it can become a wondrous tool to help us surmount situations which would otherwise seem hopeless. Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind, the element which reconciles our body and mind and which makes possible one-ness of body and mind. Breath is aligned to both body and mind and it alone is the tool which can bring them both together, illuminating both and bringing both peace and calm.
—Thich Nhat Hanh 


Owls and Other Fantasies

Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

On a December morning, two years ago, I brought a young, injured black-backed gull home from the beach. It was, in fact, Christmas morning, as well as bitter cold, which may account for my act. Injured gulls are common; nature’s maw receives them again implacably; almost never is a rescue justified by a return to health and freedom. And this gull was close to that maw; it made no protest when I picked it up, the eyes were half-shut, the body so starved it seemed to hold nothing but air.
—Mary Oliver, from “Bird” 


We Want to Do More Than Survive

We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

To begin the work of abolitionist teaching and fighting for justice, the idea of mattering is essential in that you must matter enough to yourself, to your students, and to your students’ community to fight. But for dark people, the very basic idea of mattering is sometimes hard to conceptualize when your country finds you disposable. How do you matter to a country that is at once obsessed with and dismissive about how it kills you? How do you matter to a country that would rather incarcerate you than educate you?
—Bettina L. Love 


You Just Need to Lose Weight NYT

“You Just Need to Lose Weight”: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People

Nearly every cultural message about fatness and weight loss insists that anyone can choose to lose weight, and many of us deeply believe that to be true. In truth, some fat people do choose fat bodies; some do not. But this cultural insistence that fatness is a choice isn’t about the veracity of that claim: it’s about minimizing fat people’s experiences, dismissing our needs, and perpetuating anti-fat bias. And in its determination to do so, it steamrolls over copious evidence that challenges the belief that thinness is a choice that’s always available to fat people.—Aubrey Gordon  




About the Author 

Christian Coleman is the digital marketing manager at Beacon Press and editor of Beacon Broadside. Before joining Beacon, he worked in writing, copy editing, and marketing positions at Sustainable Silicon Valley and Trikone. He graduated from Boston College and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Follow him on Twitter at @coleman_II and on Bluesky at