Book Review: Roxane Gay, An Untamed State

This book is very difficult to read and that is exactly why it is so important.

I had a crazy surreal feeling as I read this book that I had read it already. But the end was unfamiliar so I’m not sure. But it’s possible: when this book was published I was just starting to come out of an intense period of mourning, transitioning into grief. There are a lot of holes in my memory from that period of my life….

Book Review: Jesmyn Ward, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race

Rare is the book that you wish hadn’t ended at the same time you wish it didn’t ever have to be written. A thoughtful collection of poetry and prose  examining the state of racism after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August 2014 brought attention to the epidemic of police shootings of unarmed Black men in the US. At times heartbreaking, at times uplifting, this should be required reading for everyone. I especially loved Garnette Cadogan’s “Black and Blue,” pedestrian that I am.

Book Review: Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions

It was, and still is, a sort of blame-the-victim framework, this insistence that women modify their presence in public space, or just give up and stay in, rather than we transform public space (or men) so that women have the right to walk down the street unharassed. The same blame has been applied to women in nearly every situation in which they are attacked by men, as a way of not blaming men.

Thank you Elle for letting me know of Solnit’s latest work, another slim volume of powerful feminist essays to follow last year’s impactful Men Explain Things to Me. From addressing that mother of all questions to celebrating a turning point in the women’s movement to an insightful review of the movie Giant, Solnit offers her usual thoughtful commentary on current feminist issues today. Witty, humorous, and yet sobering all at the same time, Solnit is the rare author who can make you laugh out loud and burst into tears all in the same paragraph. I can never wait to read what she offers next.

Love is a constant negotiation, a constant conversation; to love someone is to lay yourself open to rejection and abandonment; love is something you can earn but not extort.

Book Review: Helen Dunmore, Talking to the Dead

On the surface, Nina and Isabel appear to be like many close sisters, finishing each others thoughts and sentences and, above all else, fiercely loyal, despite many betrayals over the course of their relationship, big and little. After Isabel’s difficult birth of her first child, Nina, a traveling freelance photographer, goes to her older sister’s aid at her country house outside of Brighton, England. There the past confronts the sister’s as waves crashing on the shore as they struggle through the hottest summer in two hundred years, each consumed with their own savage version of the truth of the defining moment of their childhood, while betrayal takes on new levels and meaning. Excellent, compelling story with a riveting narrator that I was unable to put down much of Sunday.