Aladdin: Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari

We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories that Are Funny, Complicated, and True

In the introduction to Gabrielle Union's essay collection, We're Going to Need More Wine, the actress compares her book with a first date, when one is both excited and wary about how it might go wrong. She needn't worry--her first date with readers is a hit.

As the subtitle indicates, these stories are very funny and complicated, spanning from puberty to her current life as a movie star and famous athlete's wife. As a teen, her lack of sex education made her terrified of getting pregnant: "If you were raised Catholic like I was, you already know from Sunday school that... [y]ou could go to sleep and wake up carrying Baby Jesus." She's been guilty of some "light stalking" of an ex, "skulk[ing] my skully-hatted ass into his bushes so I could look in his window." Union isn't shy about making herself look ridiculous--one of the reasons she's so engaging.

But among the laughs are some devastating stories, none more so than the account of her rape at 19. Though she's since become an activist for survivors of sexual assault, the pain is still palpable in her retelling 24 years later. In another chapter, she writes about the time she wore mittens in her Chicago neighborhood to avoid scaring white neighbors, because "thugs don't wear mittens" and maybe mittens "will make my breathing and living on this planet permissible." It's a sobering observation. Union is as thought provoking as she is entertaining, someone with whom readers will want a second date. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd