Books
Books

Ivy Mix's 'Spirits of Latin America' Evokes the Ancestors

A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".


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Books

'Hex' Drinks Deeply from the Poisoned Chalice

Whereas Rebecca Dinerstein Knight's novel demonstrates moments of emotional intensity and humor, Hex's proclivity towards toxicity is overburdening.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.

Books

Journalist Jonathan Cott's Interviews, Captured

With his wide-ranging interviews, Jonathan Cott explores "the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination."

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.

Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Books

First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

Reading Pandemics

AIDS Play 'The Normal Heart' Is a Guide During COVID-19 and Political Indifference

When national leadership isn't addressing a pandemic as it should, Larry Kramer, as playwright and activist, pens the only viable response: "Everyone's entitled to good medical care. If you're not getting it, you've got to fight for it."

Books

'No Modernism Without Lesbians'

Philosopher and historian Diana Souhami's No Modernism Without Lesbians is a work of impeccable scholarship and a vibrant narrative about the essential and lasting philanthropy and patronage of the Arts by four remarkable lesbians.

Books

Rishi Reddi's 'Passage West' Longs for Life In-Between Worlds

In Rishi Reddi's Passage West, set amidst the lives of early South Asian immigrants to California, the state of being 'in-between' is constantly moulded by the longing to belong simultaneously to two worlds.

Books

'Conjure Women' Brings Forth Racism and Reproductive Rights

It is Afia Atakora's reiteration of the current calls for racial justice that positions Conjure Women as an unadulterated masterpiece.

Books

Weng Pixin's 'Sweet Time' Elevates the Art in Comics Art

Weng Pixin is an artist who happens to be working in the comics form.

Books

Unorthodox Storytelling

Deborah Feldman's memoir, Unorthodox, is more than a depiction, or even indictment, of the Satmar. It's an indictment of any patriarchal social system that shrinks young women's dreams to the size of a kitchen, and then blames them for it.

Reading Pandemics

Parallels of HIV/AIDS in Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America' and COVID-19 in Trump's America

Tony Kushner's Angels in America foreshadows our current state of sick politics and bodies and, in particular, the presence of Trump in a time of plague.

Books

It's Not Just Fashion, It's Visual Activism

Fashion is a verb for the LGBTQ+ community, and Closet Cases shows how people use style and artifacts to build a self-image that is both a statement and a truth.

Books

Is 'The Unsuitable' Comedy? Horror? Or Something Else?

Molly Pohlig's debut novel, The Unsuitable, applies a different twist to a guilty conscience.

Books

Jaki Shelton Green Blends Poetry and Protest on Timely 'The River Speaks of Thirst'

Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green's The River Speaks of Thirst is at once a political statement, cultural commentary, and an aesthetic milestone, a skillful commingling of galvanic activism and evocative poetry.

Books

'Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier'

The comics format of Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks' Astronauts is ideally suited for telling the story of how women fought and overcame sexism in the US Space Program, given the US government and military's ridiculous resistance to female astronauts.

Music

Soul Legend Eddie Floyd Shares His Musical Journey (interview + book excerpt)

Co-authored by Tony Fletcher, Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood features interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Bill Wyman, Paul Young, William Bell, Steve Cropper, and more. Eddie Floyd gives insights into some of his most beloved songs and relationships with Bell, Cropper and Wilson Pickett.

By the Book

The Art of Advertising (excerpt)

The Art of Advertising invites us to consider both the intended and unintended messages of the advertisements of the past.

Julie Anne Lambert
Reading Pandemics

Cookbooks and Contagion: Recipes for Caring from Fannie Farmer

Cookbooks are rarely read as political or even narrative texts. However, alongside the recipes and lists of ingredients is often rich information about the ideologies and social structures that the foods are consumed within.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Life Isn't Binary and Neither Is the Coronavirus Pandemic

Non-binary thinking offers new routes for adapting to life with COVID-19.

Culture

Listening in a Racial Crisis

America is good at broadcasting but it suffers from low-level listening literacy.

Books

Looking for the Next Best Version of America? Abrams Wrote the Book on How to Achieve It

"Try this at home": With her latest work, Our Time Is Now, Plotter-in-Chief Stacey Abrams offers a timely playbook for how to ensure free and fair elections in America.

Books

Bring That Beat Back: A Course in Hip-Hop Sampling 101

In Bring That Beat Back, critic Nate Patrin argues that hip-hop is essentially a forward-looking evolution of black American music with a deep reverence for its predecessors.

Books

When British Advertising Became Ubiquitous and Beautiful

Lambert tracks British social history through posters, cards, and other ephemera in the vividly illustrated The Art of Advertising.

Books

Music and Mind-Bending in David Mitchell's 'Utopia Avenue'

Woven into Utopia Avenue David Mitchell stitches a subtle critique of the impacts of the pot-heavy, lysergic-immersed, and heady music's ambitions on pop culture, moral choices, and even tripping itself.

Books

Lerone Bennett, Jr. Wrote Black History into Modern America at Ebony Magazine

E. James West's new book explores Lerone Bennett, Jr.'s impact as a popular Black historian. It's a gateway to a body of work that still speaks to Black rage, struggle and hope, yesterday and today.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic from the Janitor's Point of View

Timothy Sheard's murder mystery One Foot in the Grave explores pandemic in a hospital from the point of view of the lowliest, aka "essential", staff.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Books

'The Kill Chain': Why America Might Lose Its Next Big War

Christian Brose's defense-nerd position paper, The Kill Chain, inadvertently reveals that the Pentagon's problems (complacency, inertia, arrogance) reflect those of the country at large.

Books

'Lie With Me': Beauty, Love and Toxic Masculinity in the Gay '80s

How do we write about repression and toxic masculinity without valorizing it? Philippe Besson's Lie With Me is equal parts poignant tribute and glaring warning.

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.

Books

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.

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