Not just candid and clear revelations of abuse, but powerful demands for justice.



Fierce voices and muscular writing help contextualize the diversity of the #MeToo movement.

Edited by Oria (Fiction/Pratt Institute, New York 1, Tel Aviv 0: Stories, 2014), this short collection of essays, poems, and stories provides deeply personal perspectives on sexual harassment and gender-based violence. All of the contributors challenge assumptions and expose what Hafizah Geter calls “the bruises of patriarchy.” Amplifying the voices of survivors, the collection offers humor and power alongside trauma and pain. Samantha Hunt delivers a harrowing assessment of inherent dangers women face; Caitlin Donohue pens a letter of warning offered to her younger self (“Keep hold of your physical form. It is tangible proof of that which they say is theirs and must never be”); Honor Moore offers 17 brief entries exploring pervasive violence and a journey toward empowerment; Elissa Schappell chronicles an editor’s uncomfortable emails attempting to elicit a rape story. Throughout, thoughtful interrogations address how intersecting oppressions impact sexual violence and how behavior, from hinted threats to actual harm, may cumulatively wreak havoc, twist perceptions, and haunt survivors. Readers will connect with these narratives from trans women, women of color, and queer women, among others, confronting the invasive, cruel edges of misogyny and multiple forms of oppression. The contributors leave nothing unexamined, picking up complex themes of trust, self-destruction, forgiveness, and evolving notions of sexual assault. Examining the complicity of silence, internalized sexism, negotiated safety, childhood abuse, repeat offenders, and other issues, the pieces describe moments that add up to a potent cultural portrait of systemic, gendered hostility. As awareness of sexual violence continues to grow, this anthology functions as an empowered testament and treatise, a book for anyone interested in social justice. This important feminist work belongs on campuses and in community conversations. Other contributors include Melissa Febos, Kaitlyn Greenidge, and Karissa Chen.

Not just candid and clear revelations of abuse, but powerful demands for justice.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-944211-71-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: McSweeney’s

Review Posted Online: June 29, 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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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

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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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