THE SEVEN NECESSARY SINS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS

A vociferous, highly motivational call to arms for the feminist movement.

A striking anti-patriarchal manifesto.

Written “with enough rage to fuel a rocket,” the second book from Egyptian American activist Eltahawy (Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, 2015) presents a platform of female empowerment and gender equality supported by seven essential traits (anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust) every woman should have in her feminist arsenal. The author advises women on how to individually resist and collectively deconstruct society’s “universal and normalized” patriarchal hierarchy by employing an interlocking series of “sins,” traditionally tabooed beliefs about women’s outward expressions of contrary opinion or personal power. Eltahawy’s opening is strong, with a chapter on how anger and rage are key components in the fight alongside ambition, sexual expression “outside the teachings of heteronormativity,” and an insistence that attention be paid to female voices instead of promoting efforts to silence them. The section on power seeks to engage women in business and social leadership. Eltahawy is at her most controversial when discussing what she believes are the leveling benefits of physical violence in the face of patriarchal crimes. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are moving personal stories, histories, and profiles that further reinforce her plan to dismantle the rampant injustices against women. The author’s prose is feverishly enthusiastic and laser-focused, powered by teenage emotional trauma from repeated sexual assaults while on pilgrimages to Mecca, where she was warned to stay silent but ultimately vocalized her outrage. She channels the rage about her violations toward the empowerment of other women in their embrace of feminism that is “robust, aggressive, and unapologetic…a feminism that defies, disobeys, and disrupts the patriarchy.” Her urgent narrative encourages women of all ages to resist classic compartmentalization and to raise their voices and demand equality within every sector of society. “Let us always tell girls they can be more than,” she writes.

A vociferous, highly motivational call to arms for the feminist movement.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1381-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

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

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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. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

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

“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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