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MOVE

THE FORCES UPROOTING US

Nativists will hate it, but no matter. Khanna makes an urgent, powerful argument for more open international borders.

A nuanced discussion of the increasing importance of free movement across the planet.

“Almost no Western democracies are prepared for the new age of mass migrations,” writes Khanna, founder and managing partner of FutureMap and author of The Future Is Asian(2019) and other well-received books about global affairs. Climate change will force the evacuation of large portions of, for instance, the Indian subcontinent, and millions of people from that large region will move to places like Kazakhstan and other nations of Central Asia that may be relatively both more hospitable to agriculture and underpopulated. Realignments are likely to be regional. Residents of sweltering parts of western China will find themselves living in Russia (where, Khanna notes, Chinese settlers are already flocking to the southern shores of Lake Baikal), while residents of embattled Central American nations may bypass the U.S. for Canada, where increasing amounts of arable land are opening up thanks to the warming of the Arctic. These movements trend to the north, and while the countries most capable of receiving large numbers of migrants, particularly Canada and Russia, will meet them differently, Khanna argues that the north and its aging populace can use a shot of fresh energy. “Remember there is no zero-sum competition between local and foreign workers: A greater influx of labor itself stimulates the economy and creates greater demand for labor,” he writes. Khanna’s book is rich in implication: Air conditioning may have a deleterious effect on the environment, but it can be done better and more efficiently, allowing people to remain in places such as Abu Dhabi and Singapore. Regardless, he writes, we need to think our way toward “Civilization 3.0,” in which seasonal movement is possible, nations spend money on water desalinization and clean energy, and the vagaries of human geography are more nimbly taken into account.

Nativists will hate it, but no matter. Khanna makes an urgent, powerful argument for more open international borders.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982168-97-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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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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