“Historical Game Changers” doesn’t have the teasing selling power of “Heartthrobs,” but it may nail John Wilkes Booth more...

HISTORICAL HEARTTHROBS

50 TIMELESS CRUSHES—FROM CLEOPATRA TO CAMUS

A hit-or-miss selection of notable personalities who made a dent in history.

That “the 50 people in this book made other people swoon” is debatable, even accounting for taste, but since the authors consider the nature of “hotness varied, from physical to intellectual to emotional,” much yardage is added to the meaning of “heartthrob.” On the upside of the book are the pithy character sketches, which get to the nub of their historical impact while keeping the language light. It can drift into campy or corny, but that probably comes with the territory. Each entry ends with short paragraphs marking why this person mattered, his or her best feature, his or her ranking on the “heat factor” (an index of their pros and cons), and the story of his or her sex life. This last, except in the most notorious cases—Lord Byron, George Sand—is either rumor or farce: Harriet Beecher Stowe? W.E.B. DuBois? The overarching issue is “heartthrob”—a hook that doesn’t deliver. The emphasis here is on sex appeal—why else make special note of their sex lives?—not just passion, and it is difficult to count Leni Riefenstahl, Bugsy Siegel and Benazir Bhutto in that number (though Eddie Chapman and Maya Deren are gusts of fresh air).

“Historical Game Changers” doesn’t have the teasing selling power of “Heartthrobs,” but it may nail John Wilkes Booth more squarely. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-10-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.

CONTINUUM

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more