An incisive collection of writing about how women’s anger “doesn’t have to be useful to deserve a voice.”

BURN IT DOWN

WOMEN WRITING ABOUT ANGER

An editor and journalist gathers 22 essays from a diverse group of contemporary women writers about the nature of modern female rage.

Catapult contributing editor Dancyger creates a cathartic space for both well- and lesser-known writers to express the various ways in which their anger has manifested in their lives. The opening essay, Leslie Jamison’s “Lungs Full of Burning,” sets the tone for the rest of the book. For years, Jamison took pride in being “someone who wasn’t prone to anger” until she realized that the sadness she often felt was really a manifestation of a rage society would not let her own. Monet Patrice Thomas follows Jamison with a discussion of how society considers angry black women to have “an attitude” and how, in general, they are allowed to feel only one emotion: fear. Reclaiming anger—and an abused body—is at the heart of Rios de la Luz’s essay “Enojada,” which details her experiences with sexual molestation suffered at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. In “On Transfeminine Anger,” Samantha Riedel describes the rage she felt as a gender-confused boy and then in the early years of her trans womanhood, when she railed against “the forces of misogyny and transphobia” only to end up hurting people she cared about. Destructive as anger can be, Reema Zaman shows how it can also liberate. Zaman depicts the moment she stood up to her bullying husband and told him, “I was born for life beyond you.” In “The Color of Being Muslim,” Shaheen Pasha talks about her rage at “the suffocating expectations of others,” both within and without the Pakistani American community, who saw her as being too Muslim or not Muslim enough. Powerful and provocative, this collection is an instructive read for anyone seeking to understand the many faces—and pains—of womanhood in 21st-century America.

An incisive collection of writing about how women’s anger “doesn’t have to be useful to deserve a voice.”

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58005-893-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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