A profound autobiographical playlist and radically political call to action primarily for Amos fans.

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020

RESISTANCE

A SONGWRITER'S STORY OF HOPE, CHANGE, AND COURAGE

The inimitable musician memorializes her artistic journey through music and activism.

With great conviction, Amos believes “we are all confronting dark forces that aim to divide us as a world, as countries, as people, as artists, as creators.” This book is rooted in motivated political resistance and the preservation of artistic expressionism. As a 40-year veteran of the music industry, the author acknowledges pivotal moments throughout her career and lets her song lyrics shine at the beginning of each chapter. Amos begins with “Gold Dust,” reflecting back on her teenage self and the creative impulses that guided her as a young artist and a rising social and human rights activist. The author discusses how the “weight of processing conflict” fueled the writing of her hit “Little Earthquakes” and how the 2017 song “Bang” was intended to energize advocates of true democracy after Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. Never one to shy away from the controversial, complex, or incendiary, Amos expresses past and present frustrations with record label melodrama and the importance of continuing conversations about sexual abuse, female genital mutilation, government oppression, and attacks on LGBTQ rights worldwide. A section on 9/11 comes into vivid focus when Amos describes an eerie walk through a muted Manhattan as “the drums of war had begun beating." She continues, “as I write these words all these years later, we are still at war—in that very same war.” In addition to her politically charged thoughts, the author reflects poignantly on the end-of-life care and eventual loss of her mother, which occurred while she was writing this book. The concluding chapters address her grief and how she has been processing this absence by manifesting her beloved mother’s influence through prose and music. Though the narrative structure is haphazard, the result, nevertheless, is a dramatically inspired volume of lyrics and legacy presenting Amos as an artist, an activist, and a sharp, thoughtful musician with a commanding voice. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

A profound autobiographical playlist and radically political call to action primarily for Amos fans.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-0415-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

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. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 23

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more