Up-and-down humor that sometimes gets to the heart of the realities of being black in America.

YOU CAN'T TOUCH MY HAIR

AND OTHER THINGS I STILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN

A black female comedian lays it all out there.

Stand-up comic and co-star of the WNYC podcast 2 Dope Girls, Robinson has a lot to complain about, starting with the need people have to touch her hair. In case readers fail to pick up on her humorous vibes regarding hair, the author includes a second chapter on the history of black hair in film, TV, and other media. Throughout the book—a hybrid of humor, truth-telling, and poking-fun-at-life-in-general—Robinson delves into what it means to be a woman and black and, more importantly, a black woman in today’s American society. Filled with references to pop culture and plenty of hashtags, the narrative addresses issues like how to avoid being the one black friend in a group of white people, the difficulty of being hired to play a role in a show because you’re either too black or too light, and why NFL players need to treat women better. She gives readers her list of nine guilty pleasures (No. 1: “Ranking Members of U2 in the Order of Whom I Want to Sleep With”; The Edge is first) and a list of demands for a future female president, including penalizing those who perpetuate the thigh-gap obsession. She also explains why “Lisa Bonet is Bae. Queen. Jesus” and waxes poetic on why she takes her laundry home to her parents’ house. “If a person were to play [the dryer] in a movie—don’t ask me why—it would be played by Meryl Streep,” she writes. “The dryer is that damn good.” Although the humor is forced and tiresome in places, Robinson does hit the mark on some important issues, and fans of her podcast will enjoy the book.

Up-and-down humor that sometimes gets to the heart of the realities of being black in America.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-312920-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Plume

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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