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CABIN FEVER

THE HARROWING JOURNEY OF A CRUISE SHIP AT THE DAWN OF A PANDEMIC

A riveting real-life drama that may reawaken your Covid-19 fears.

The story of a stranded cruise ship at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this gripping work of narrative nonfiction, journalists Smith and Franklin share the stories of the passengers and crew of Holland America’s Zaandam. In early March 2020, the ship was set to depart Buenos Aires on a monthlong journey around the tip of South America before ending at a dry dock in Port Everglades, Florida. As the authors note, the majority of the more than 1,200 passengers were seniors from around the world—three-quarters over 65, and many were in their 80s. The ship also contained approximately 600 crew members from various nations who typically worked in close quarters seven days per week for more than 12 hours per day. Unknown to most passengers, “forty-eight minutes before the Zaandam’s departure, the U.S. State Department posted a warning about COVID-19 that was as unprecedented as it was unambiguous: ‘American citizens, especially those with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.’ ” Though news about the virus had been circulating, Holland America had refused refunds. Additionally, according to passengers, safety protocols were lax during boarding, despite assurances to the contrary, and social events continued largely as normal. At the first stops on their ports-of-call list, however, the passengers could sense the tension. Locals had become afraid of the virus arriving in their areas by cruise ship and wanted them out. When similar concerns spread around the world, ports began to close, and the ship faced dwindling supplies and an overwhelmed medical staff, which consisted of only two doctors and four nurses. The authors skillfully capture the fear and claustrophobia that set in as increasing numbers of passengers and crew members began to fall victim to the then-mysterious illness, requiring quarantine, as well as the struggles they faced during their journey back home and beyond.

A riveting real-life drama that may reawaken your Covid-19 fears.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-385-54740-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A JEW

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Two bestselling authors engage in an enlightening back-and-forth about Jewishness and antisemitism.

Acho, author of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, and Tishby, author of Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, discuss many of the searing issues for Jews today, delving into whether Jewishness is a religion, culture, ethnicity, or community—or all of the above. As Tishby points out, unlike in Christianity, one can be comfortably atheist and still be considered a Jew. She defines Judaism as a “big tent” religion with four main elements: religion, peoplehood, nationhood, and the idea of tikkun olam (“repairing the world through our actions”). She addresses candidly the hurtful stereotypes about Jews (that they are rich and powerful) that Acho grew up with in Dallas and how Jews internalize these antisemitic judgments. Moreover, Tishby notes, “it is literally impossible to be Jewish and not have any connection with Israel, and I’m not talking about borders or a dot on the map. Judaism…is an indigenous religion.” Acho wonders if one can legitimately criticize “Jewish people and their ideologies” without being antisemitic, and Tishby offers ways to check whether one’s criticism of Jews or Zionism is antisemitic or factually straightforward. The authors also touch on the deteriorating relationship between Black and Jewish Americans, despite their historically close alliance during the civil rights era. “As long as Jewish people get to benefit from appearing white while Black people have to suffer for being Black, there will always be resentment,” notes Acho. “Because the same thing that grants you all access—your skin color—is what grants us pain and punishment in perpetuity.” Finally, the authors underscore the importance of being mutual allies, and they conclude with helpful indexes on vernacular terms and customs.

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668057858

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon Element

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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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