Next book

THE OVERLOOKED AMERICANS

THE RESILIENCE OF OUR RURAL TOWNS AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR OUR COUNTRY

A hopeful and provocative analysis bound to raise discussion.

A lively dismantling of preconceptions about the rural U.S.

Currid-Halkett, a professor of public policy and author of The Sum of Small Things and The Warhol Economy, makes a convincing case that the sharp divide we have come to imagine exists between urban and rural America is more a result of lazy or prejudiced journalism than reality. Using an intriguing combination of statistical analysis and extensive telephone interviews with a range of residents, she argues that “the depiction of rural America as a cultural backwater, rife with pathologies and problems,” doesn't reflect the lived experience of the 20% of Americans who live in areas defined as rural. In fact, residents of these areas have lives as “varied and diverse” as those in cities. In particular, the author found very little evidence of anger directed by residents of rural areas toward city dwellers. Examining “the ongoing narrative of the poor, angry Trump voter” and taking a deep dive into the data, she found “not that Trump voters are angry, poor, and left behind, but rather that they are in regions with high home ownership and low unemployment” and that “most people voted for him not because they felt left out of the economic system or desired a deeper reckoning, but rather because they wanted to.” (Many readers may wonder why they wanted to.) The author suggests that when urban Americans think about rural America, they tend to think about Appalachia and, in particular, West Virginia, areas that have been ravaged by opioid abuse but whose experiences do not reflect small-town life as a whole. Currid-Halkett, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania and now lives in Los Angeles, found the process of getting to know her interviewees, often over a long period of time, a positive experience. “To sit on the phone for an hour or so with each of these people,” she writes, “was one of the most heartening experiences of my life.”

A hopeful and provocative analysis bound to raise discussion.

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781541646728

Page Count: 432

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

Next book

WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

Next book

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Close Quickview