Book Review: Rebecca Solnit, The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness

Rebecca Solnit’s books are a light in the darkness as she tirelessly demonstrates in essay after essay that small actions do work, that positive change is happening, and that everyday ways of living and being can be profound. Covering everything from the Arab Spring and Zapatista revolutions to the BP oil spill and climate change, these are important essays, when reminders that “the true revolutionary needs to be as patient as a snail” seem especially relevant.


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.