A confident, confessional modern account of breaking free from image obsession.

EVERYBODY (ELSE) IS PERFECT

HOW I SURVIVED HYPOCRISY, BEAUTY, CLICKS, AND LIKES

Debut essays from the director of fashion and culture at Refinery29.

Though Korn, the former editor-in-chief at Nylon Media, worked at women’s magazines throughout her 20s, their constant use of thin, cisgender cover models often collided with her ideals of diversity, inclusivity, and body positivity. Before the concept of being “woke” gathered steam, the author promoted change, penning viral columns on subjects like body hair. “As women’s media grapples with how to be more positive and inclusive while covering topics like fashion and beauty,” writes the author, “I frequently find myself caught between two worlds—the world of empowerment culture and the world of perfectionism.” In addition to chronicling her rapid rise to the top of Nylon Media, Korn offers intimate forays into her struggles with anorexia, coming out as a lesbian, and finding meaningful love. The narrative serves as a poignant insider’s look at women's digital media as well as a tender retrospective on growing into adulthood in the early 2000s. The author is honest about her enviable position as a tastemaker, though some readers may not muster sympathy for her depictions of salary negotiations or dressing for Fashion Week. In the breezy, clever “Low-Rise,” denim trends inspire reflection on the complexities of sexuality, body image, gender presentation, progressive politics, and social media. “I was coming of age in a time when everything was hypersexualized,” she writes, “but I didn’t understand the relationship between that and actual sex, a disconnect that’s one of the main reasons I didn’t realize I was gay until after high school: it was like being disembodied.” Particularly incisive is Korn’s essay on feminist language being co-opted for profit while one of the author’s themes—that feminism and aesthetics needn't be at odds but that the beauty and fashion industry still need to change—is keenly observed, if familiar. Korn also offers darker reflections about personal and wider pressures on women.

A confident, confessional modern account of breaking free from image obsession.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2776-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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