A fascinating, gripping, moving memoir perfect for anyone interested in learning more about gender identity or about the...

TRANNY

CONFESSIONS OF PUNK ROCK'S MOST INFAMOUS ANARCHIST SELLOUT

A visceral memoir that deftly explores Grace’s experience fronting seminal punk band Against Me! as well as the years she spent grappling with gender dysphoria.

From the time she was 5 watching Madonna perform “Material Girl,” Grace, who was born in 1980 as Thomas James Gabel, knew that she wanted to be a woman. Her father was an Army officer, and Grace’s family moved frequently. In 1991, Grace’s parents divorced, and she moved to Naples, Florida, with her mother. Frequently bullied by her peers, she turned to music as an escape. After playing in local bands and getting into the punk scene, Grace decided to create her own solo music project, Against Me!, which eventually grew into a successful and highly influential punk band. The author traces her band’s slow but significant rise to fame, discussing the many issues she faced as they rose—most significantly, the constant worry that the originally anarchist group was “selling out” as well as the debilitating substance abuse that went hand in hand with a touring lifestyle. Grace also explores her constant feelings of gender dysphoria, her attempts to suppress them, and, eventually, her realization that they were not going to go away, which ultimately led to acceptance. Throughout, the author’s voice is candid and raw, and she delivers a touching, occasionally heartbreaking firsthand narrative of what it feels like to be born in the wrong body. “By coming out,” she writes, “I indirectly triggered changes around me….People I’d known for years and saw every day cycled out of my world. It wasn’t that they were transphobic or unsupportive, it was just that things were different.” The book is also a revealing look behind the scenes at the music industry and what it takes, and means, for a band to “make it.”

A fascinating, gripping, moving memoir perfect for anyone interested in learning more about gender identity or about the complicated inner workings of the music business.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38795-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2016

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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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