A powerful collection that is very much of the present moment of resistance but will also endure.

GIRL GURL GRRRL

ON WOMANHOOD AND BELONGING IN THE AGE OF BLACK GIRL MAGIC

Essays highlighting the successes, challenges, and perseverance of Black women in the 2010s.

“It’s a wondrous thing to be Black,” writes Hunt, a trailblazing global fashion editor and style director. In her debut book, she reflects on “a decade’s worth of personal and cultural milestones.” What made the last decade an “age of Black Girl Magic”? An internet boom, a new wave of feminism, a renaissance of Black creativity, and “the first-person essay economy” combined to give Black women heightened visibility, which Hunt and her co-essayists celebrate while noting how the magic of ordinary Black women began to “get left out, lost.” A quarter of the essays in Hunt’s collection are penned by others writing candidly on their personal, professional, and political journeys. These include Ebele Okobi, Facebook’s public policy director for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey, who reflects on the loss of her brother, who was killed by police in California. Taken together, the essays form a chorus of Black diasporic voices across continents, covering the politics of Black hair, self-acceptance and White beauty standards, activism, motherhood, “the abysmally poor maternal health outcomes of Black women in the US,” and more. Hunt, a gifted storyteller, has a strong voice all her own, and she explores a host of current concerns, including Black grief and “what happens when the Internet and social media do the eulogizing.” She considers the Black church’s “fraught history with women” through the lens of singer Aretha Franklin’s public funeral. Amid the “angst and chaos,” Hunt hopes readers also see Black women as people who are “loving…growing, and finding the meaning in life as we go.” And we do see their fullness in this collage of insightful analyses of the messy places where race, culture, and technology intersect.

A powerful collection that is very much of the present moment of resistance but will also endure.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-298764-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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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Fans of Rogen will enjoy his laid-back, whimsical memoir.

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YEARBOOK

Everyone’s favorite stoner recalls his childhood, youth, and first stirrings of Hollywood success.

“My friends are thrilled when their kids don’t shit all over their floors,” writes Rogen. “As an adult, I get little to no praise for doing the same.” It’s a characteristic line; Rogen leans heavily on the seven words with which George Carlin made so much hay, with a dash of Borscht Belt shtick (“The hardest part about being Jewish is…the grandparents”) and some occasional high-concept material. The author reveals that he inherited a touch of his father’s Tourette’s mixed in with his mother’s gentleness, the blend of which resulted in a kind of easygoing ADHD best treated with lashings of marijuana. When he learned that a teenage friend had smoked pot with her brother, he asked how it felt. “It burns your throat like crazy,” she replied, to which Rogen responded, “Awesome.” Other drugs come and go in these pages—MDMA, for one, which can certainly make a pitch meeting difficult. And then there’s this: “If you’ve ever been grocery shopping while an inhuman amount of hallucinogenic mushrooms are [sic] aggressively taking over your system, you know that shit ain’t easy.” Indeed. Rogen’s not inclined to badmouth, though from time to time, his critical bone is tickled (“all the movies to come out of Project Greenlight fucking suck butt”). He also makes it clear, through encounters with the likes of Kanye West, Nicolas Cage, and George Lucas, that Los Angeles is the world headquarters of eccentricity bordering on madness. As a good Canadian, too, Rogen can’t help but get in a few digs at the rest of the country, as when he considers the reluctance of the federal government to legalize pot, “because it’s just too effective a way to persecute minorities and keep prisons full, which are things that they love to do in America.”

Fans of Rogen will enjoy his laid-back, whimsical memoir.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984825-40-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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