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BLACK LOVE MATTERS

REAL TALK ON ROMANCE, BEING SEEN, AND HAPPY EVER AFTERS

Readers will come away with a robust education in Black love and literature.

An anthology that collects a refreshingly wide variety of perspectives on Black love.

In her first book, Pryde, a librarian, contributing editor to Book Riot, and co-host of the When in Romance podcast, sets out to discuss often overlooked narratives regarding the joyfulness of Black love. “For more than 400 years,” she writes in the introduction, “people of African descent have been treated abysmally in many nations of the world....Yet, whether free or enslaved, Black people throughout history have been able to find romantic love—regardless of their ability to marry—both inside and outside their own communities.” Over the course of a dozen essays, the contributors confront the absence of faces and stories like theirs. As they show, telling the truth about Black love is fraught with obstacles, and misconceptions about interest in Black experiences abound. “According to Pew Research,” writes Pryde, “the person most likely to read a book in the United States is a college-educated Black woman.” However, essayists highlight their experiences with publishers who tell them their work won’t sell. Others lay bare the tradition of the White-centered nature of most romance novels—and novels in general. In “Romance Has Broken My Dichotomous Key,” Sarah Hannah Gomez writes, “I’m biracial, black/white, Chicana, adopted, Jewish. That’s a lot of things, and I didn’t see myself in a lot of books growing up.” A theme of persistence emerges: Black writers must tell these stories no matter what, whether it involves self-publishing a book or designing a college course on Black love. The refreshing intersectionality of the book is reflected in such essays as “Finding Queer Black Women in Romance,” “Writing in the Gaps: Black Latinx in Romance,” and “Interracial Romance and the Single Story.” The text also includes a list of relevant, recommended books, movies, and TV shows.

Readers will come away with a robust education in Black love and literature.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-33577-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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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

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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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

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