Eminent social scientists from Europe and North America take a fresh look at the vitality of civil society in the context of post-communist Eastern Europe, the West European welfare states, and the United States. This volume takes a fresh look at this classic theme in the context of post-communist Eastern Europe, the West European welfare states, and the United States, asking:
-- What patterns of participation characterize the new democracies of Eastern Europe?
-- What levels of civic activism are characteristic of contemporary Western democracies?
-- What factors account for differences among countries and changing patterns over time?
-- What do the findings suggest about the prospects for democracy in the 21st century?
Oprah's Bookclub 2016 Selection
"Riveting...a worthy investment...this book has real wisdom."
—New York Times Book Review
"A book with so much painful truth packed into its pages that every person who’s ever married or plans to marry should really give it a read."
"Provocative....I adore her honesty, her vulnerability, and her no-nonsense wisdom, and I know you will, too."
"This memoir isn’t really about Glennon rebuilding her relationship with her husband; it is about Glennon rebuilding her relationship with herself. Utterly refreshing and...badass."
The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.
Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out—three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list—her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.
Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another—and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, commit to living true—true to themselves and to each other.
Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.
If you’re looking to get married and you’re not, there’s most likely a very good reason: you. Hey, you’re certainly not a bad person! You just haven’t yet become the woman you need to be in order to have the partnership you want. That’s where this book comes in. Based on her wildly popular Huffington Post article, Tracy McMillan’s Why You’re Not Married . . . Yet dishes out no-holds-barred practical wisdom for women hoping to head down the aisle. And this new edition features even more candid advice and sisterly insight. McMillan points out the behaviors that might be in your blind spot and shows you how to adjust them to get the relationship you deserve. Do any of these chapter headings sound familiar?
• You’re a Bitch: How defensiveness can hide behind a tough exterior, and why being nice is never a sign of weakness.
• You’re a Liar: How to stop lying to men—and get honest with yourself—about the kind of relationship you really want.
• You’re Selfish: The big secret about marriage: It’s about giving something, not getting it.
A funny, insightful guide, Why You’re Not Married . . . Yet will change your life and the way you think about relationships, and it may very well lead you down the aisle.
“Very wise . . . Give this book to every single girlfriend [you] have.”—Marie Claire
“Equal parts BFF, boot-camp instructor, and relationship guru, Tracy McMillan will change the way you think about yourself and your relationships. This book is for every woman out there who wants to have a great marriage.”—Ricki Lake
Whether they conducted their research in life or in the lab, experts Tucker Max and Dr. Geoffrey Miller have spent the last 20+ years learning what women really want from their men, why they want it, and how men can deliver those qualities.
The short answer: become the best version of yourself possible, then show it off. It sounds simple, but it's not. If it were, Tinder would just be the stuff you use to start a fire. Becoming your best self requires honesty, self-awareness, hard work and a little help.
Through their website and podcasts, Max and Miller have already helped over one million guys take their first steps toward Ms. Right. They have collected all of their findings in Mate, an evidence-driven, seriously funny playbook that will teach you to become a more sexually attractive and romantically successful man, the right way:
- No "seduction techniques"
- No moralizing
- No bullshit
Just honest, straightforward talk about the most ethical, effective way to pursue the win-win relationships you want with the women who are best for you.
Much of what they've discovered will surprise you, some of it will not, but all of it is important and often misunderstood. So listen up, and stop being stupid!
In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior tries to tackle this question, isolating and analyzing the many ways in which children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear.
Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood's deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards.
Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.
Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the “free market” is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit.
Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they’re “worth,” that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and “big” government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.
Passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, Saving Capitalism is a revelatory indictment of our economic status quo and an empowering call to civic action.
From the Hardcover edition.
Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.
Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
“Schlosser has a flair for dazzling scene-setting and an arsenal of startling facts . . . Fast Food Nation points the way but, to resurrect an old fast food slogan, the choice is yours.”—Los Angeles Times
In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.
In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.
“As disturbing as it is irresistible . . . Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing . . . channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Schlosser shows how the fast food industry conquered both appetite and landscape.”—The New Yorker
Eric Schlosser is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Chew on This (with Charles Wilson).
"Parents . . . you will be wowed and awed by [Dr. Shefali]." —Oprah Winfrey
As seen on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday, a radically transformative plan that shows parents how to raise children to be their best, truest selves, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Conscious Parent.
What if I told you that you can put an end to all of your parenting struggles?
That you can learn to parent without fear or anxiety?
That you can end conflict with your children?
That you can create close and connected relationships within your family?
…Would you accept this invitation to a revolution in parenting?
We all have the capacity to raise children who are highly resilient and emotionally connected. However, many of us are unable to because we are blinded by modern misconceptions of parenting and our own inner limitations. In The Awakened Family, I show you how you can cultivate a relationship with your children so they can thrive; moreover, you can be transformed to a state of greater calm, compassion and wisdom as well.
This book will take you on a journey to transcending your fears and illusions around parenting and help you become the parent you always wanted to be: fully present and conscious. It will arm you with practical, hands-on strategies and real-life examples from my experience as a parent and clinical psychologist that show the extraordinary power of being a conscious parent.
Everyone in your family is ready to be awakened.
Will you take this journey with me?
In her highly anticipated sequel to My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife, author Sara Horn takes on one of the most widely debated subjects for a Christian wife-marital submission.
What does biblical submission look like for wives today? And why is submission viewed as such a dirty word by so many women and men in our culture, including Christians? Can a happily married couple live out the biblical model of submission and be the better for it?
Horn takes on a one-year experiment to seek answers to these questions and to explore what it means to be submissive as a wife and "helper" to her husband. The answers-and her discoveries-may surprise you.
This unique, entertaining, and thought-provoking personal account will challenge women to throw out their preconceived notions of what a submissive wife looks like and seek fresh leading from God for their lives and marriages today.
Straight from a veteran dad and husband come these insightful, unexpected, and occasionally offbeat ideas. Bestselling author Jay Payleitner digs deep to give practical insight into how a woman can see the ways her husband does want to connect...which may be different than what she expects encourage him-not overwhelm him-with her words understand why sex is such a big deal make space for him to step up and participate in family life be alert to his "hero moments" and respect and appreciate him
A husband does want to be close to his wife. Here are great steps to strengthening a marriage by making room for that closeness to happen.
With pragmatic recommendations on what government, business and labor should do to alleviate the economic crunch, The Big Squeeze is a balanced, consistently revealing look at a major American crisis.
A General Theory of Love demonstrates that our nervous systems are not self-contained: from earliest childhood, our brains actually link with those of the people close to us, in a silent rhythm that alters the very structure of our brains, establishes life-long emotional patterns, and makes us, in large part, who we are. Explaining how relationships function, how parents shape their child’s developing self, how psychotherapy really works, and how our society dangerously flouts essential emotional laws, this is a work of rare passion and eloquence that will forever change the way you think about human intimacy.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In All There Is, StoryCorps founder David Isay shares stories from the revolutionary oral history project, revealing the many remarkable journeys that relationships can take.
In these pages we discover that love is found in unexpected places: a New York tollbooth, a military base in Iraq, an airport lounge. We encounter love that survives discrimination, illness, poverty, distance—even death. Carrying us from the excitement and anticipation of courtship to the deep connection of lifelong commitment, All There Is enriches our understanding of love and of the resilience of the human spirit.
Dave Isay's newest book, Callings, will be published by Penguin Press on April 19, 2016.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Love is, as everyone knows, a mysterious and all-controlling force, with vast power over our thoughts and life decisions.
But is there something a bit worrisome about all this uniformity of opinion? Is this the one subject about which no disagreement will be entertained, about which one truth alone is permissible? Consider that the most powerful organized religions produce the occasional heretic; every ideology has its apostates; even sacred cows find their butchers. Except for love.
Hence the necessity for a polemic against it. A polemic is designed to be the prose equivalent of a small explosive device placed under your E-Z-Boy lounger. It won’t injure you (well not severely); it’s just supposed to shake things up and rattle a few convictions.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Con más de 5 millones de ejemplares vendidos mundialmente, esta guía clásica e indispensable —ahora en una edición actualizada —está repleta de lecciones que le enseñarán cómo:
• Disciplinar sin amenazas, sarcasmo, ni castigos
• Criticar sin degradar y elogiar sin juzgar
• Reconocer las emociones, opiniones e ideas de su hijo en vez de argumentar contra ellas
• Inculcar un sentido de responsabilidad en cada faceta de la vida de su hijo: desde las tareas del hogar y de la escuela hasta el cuidado de las mascotas y de hermanos menores
From the Trade Paperback edition.
My Brother is a 1997 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
-- Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion, Ecstasy Club, and Media Virus
This wide-ranging survey of the American economy at the turn of the millennium is stunning, surprising, and always entertaining. It gives us an unflinching view of the fabric of this country from the point of view of the people who keep it all moving. The more than 120 roughly textured monologues that make up Gig beautifully capture the voices of our fast-paced and diverse economy. The selections demonstrate how much our world has changed--and stayed the same--in the three decades prior to the turn of the millennium. If you think things have speeded up, become more complicated and more technological, you're right.
But people's attitudes about their jobs, their hopes and goals and disappointments, endure. Gig's soul isn't sociological--it's emotional. The wholehearted diligence that people bring to their work is deeply, inexplicably moving. People speak in these pages of the constant and complex stresses nearly all of them confront on the job, but, nearly universally, they throw themselves without reservation into coping with them. Instead of resisting work, we seem to adapt to it. Some of us love our jobs, some of us don't, but almost all of us are not quite sure what we would do without one.
With all the hallmarks of another classic on this subject, Gig is a fabulous read, filled with indelible voices from coast to coast. After hearing them, you'll never again feel quite the same about how we work.
In 1994, Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues at the University of Washington made a startling announcement: Through scientific observation and mathematical analysis, they could predict—with more than 90 percent accuracy—whether a marriage would succeed or fail. The only thing they did not yet know was how to turn a failing marriage into a successful one, so Gottman teamed up with his clinical psychologist wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, to develop intervention methods. Now the Gottmans, together with the Love Lab research facility, have put these ideas into practice.
What emerged from the Gottmans’ collaboration and decades of research is a body of advice that’s based on two surprisingly simple truths: Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways. The authors offer an intimate look at ten couples who have learned to work through potentially destructive problems—extramarital affairs, workaholism, parenthood adjustments, serious illnesses, lack of intimacy—and examine what they’ve done to improve communication and get their marriages back on track.
Hundreds of thousands have seen their relationships improve thanks to the Gottmans’ work. Whether you want to make a strong relationship more fulfilling or rescue one that’s headed for disaster, Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage is essential reading.
From the Hardcover edition.
According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is "that place in which we realize our humanity." If that's true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but "contaminated time."
Schulte first asked this question in a 2010 feature for The Washington Post Magazine: "How did researchers compile this statistic that said we were rolling in leisure—over four hours a day? Did any of us feel that we actually had downtime? Was there anything useful in their research—anything we could do?"
A New York Times bestseller, Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds, and a look at how to put the pieces back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration. She investigates progressive offices trying to invent a new kind of workplace; she travels across Europe to get a sense of how other countries accommodate working parents; she finds younger couples who claim to have figured out an ideal division of chores, childcare, and meaningful paid work. Overwhelmed is the story of what she found out.
This social worker is a Ph.D. student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Science at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He is the founder of The Renaissance Male Project Inc. and a New Voices Fellow 2005. He has made appearances on both national and regional television and radio shows, and print publications such as Essence magazine, The Toledo Blade, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Combining personal memoir and historical narrative, Striking Steel argues for reassessment of unionism in American life during the second half of the twentieth century and a recasting of "official memory." As he traces the history of union steelworkers after World War II, Metzgar draws on his father's powerful stories about the publishing work in the mills, stories in which time is divided between "before the union" and since. His father, Johnny Metzgar, fought ardently for workplace rules as a means of giving "the men" some control over their working conditions and protection from venal foremen. He pursued grievances until he eroded management's authority, and he badgered foremen until he established shop-floor practices that would become part of the next negotiated contract. As a passionate advocate of solidarity, he urged coworkers to stick together so that the rules were upheld and everyone could earn a decent wage.
Striking Steel's pivotal event is the four-month nationwide steel strike of 1959, a landmark union victory that has been all but erased from public memory. With remarkable tenacity, union members held out for the shop-floor rules that gave them dignity in the workplace and raised their standard of living. Their victory underscored the value of sticking together and reinforced their sense that they were contributing to a general improvement in American working and living conditions.
The Metzgar family's story vividly illustrates the larger narrative of how unionism lifted the fortunes and prospects of working-class families. It also offers an account of how the broad social changes of the period helped to shift the balance of power in a conflict-ridden, patriarchal household. Even if the optimism of his generation faded in the upheavals of the 1960s, Johnny Metzgar's commitment to his union and the strike itself stands as an honorable example of what a collective action can and did achieve. Jack Metzgar's Striking Steel is a stirring call to remember and renew the struggle.
At the start of her relationship with the intelligent and worldly John Perry, Barbara Bentley couldn?t believe her luck?so when things didn?t add up, she struggled to ignore her doubts. She kept trying to put the pieces together?unaware that some of them were simply missing. Even as he drained her credit, dodged her questions, manipulated her and misled her, she stayed with him, suppressing her growing suspicions. Ultimately he would try to kill her, proving himself not a protector and provider, but a predator.
This is Barbara?s courageous, compelling story, in her own words?of the slow, choking darkness that fell after the honeymoon was over, what it took to finally drive her to escape and start her life anew, and her tireless efforts to protect other women and help them learn from her example.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews from around the country, original survey research, and national labor force data, Moe and Shandy refocus the discussion of women who opt out from one where they are the object of scrutiny to one where their aspirations and struggles tell us about the far broader swath of American women who continue to juggle paid work and family. Moe and Shandy examine the many pressures that influence a woman’s decision to resign, reduce, or reorient her career. These include the mismatch between child-care options and workplace demands, the fact that these women married men with demanding careers, the professionalization of stay-at-home motherhood, and broad failures in public policy. But Moe and Shandy are equally attentive to the resilience of women in the face of life decisions that might otherwise threaten their sense of self-worth. Moe and Shandy find, for instance, that women who have downsized their careers stress the value of social networks—of “running with a pack of smart women” who’ve also chosen to emphasize motherhood over paid work.
This expanded edition includes four new chapters, covering recent ideas about human capital, fertility and economic growth, the division of labor, economic considerations within the family, and inequality in earnings.
"Critics have charged that Mr. Becker's style of thinking reduces humans to economic entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Becker gives people credit for having the power to reason and seek out their own best destiny."—Wall Street Journal
“A remarkable book that could very well change the way we think about poverty in the United States.” — New York Times Book Review
“Powerful . . . Presents a deeply moving human face that brings the stunning numbers to life. It is an explosive book . . . The stories will make you angry and break your heart.” — American Prospect
Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter, Brianna, in Chicago, often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends.
After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before — households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million households, including about three million children.
Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Through this book’s eye-opening analysis and many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge. $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.
“Harrowing . . . [An] important and heart-rending book, in the tradition of Michael Harrington’s The Other America.” — Los Angeles Times
Amid today’s rising anxieties—the economy, the scary state of the environment, the growing sense that the American Dream hasn’t turned out to be so dreamy after all—a groundswell of women (and more than a few men) are choosing to embrace an unusual rebellion: domesticity. A generation of smart, highly educated young people are spending their time knitting, canning jam, baking cupcakes, gardening, and more (and blogging about it, of course), embracing the labor-intensive domestic tasks their mothers and grandmothers eagerly shrugged off. They’re questioning whether regular jobs are truly fulfilling and whether it’s okay to turn away from the ambitions of their parents’ generation.
How did this happen? And what does it all mean? In Homeward Bound, acclaimed journalist Emily Matchar takes a long, hard look at both the inspiring appeal and the potential dangers of this trend she calls the New Domesticity, exploring how it could be reshaping the role of women in society and what the consequences may be for all of us.
This groundbreaking reporting on the New Domesticity is guaranteed to transform our notions of women in today’s society and add a new layer to the ongoing discussion of whether women can—or should—have it all.
“Both parents loved Adam. Neither parent imagined or wanted their child’s horrific end. This is why what Peter Lanza did by sharing his story with Andrew Solomon is so important. Lanza’s story fills important gaps in our understanding of how a beloved child became a killer—and reminds us as a society that we have an obligation to help families and children before they find themselves on irreversible paths of violence” (Time).
In today's global environment, negotiators who understand cultural differences and negotiation fundamentals have a decided advantage at the bargaining table. This thoroughly revised and updated edition of Negotiating Globally explains how culture affects negotiators' assumptions about when and how to negotiate, their interests and priorities, and their strategies. It explains how confrontation, motivation, influence, and information strategies shift due to culture. It provides strategic advice for negotiators whose deals, disputes, and decisions cross cultural boundaries, and shows how to anticipate cultural differences and then manage them when they appear at the negotiating table. It challenges negotiators to expand their repertoire of strategies, so that they are prepared to negotiate deals, resolve disputes, and make decisions regardless of the culture in which they find themselves.Includes a review of the various contexts and building blocks of negotiation strategy Explains how and why negotiation may be practiced differently in different cultures and how to modify strategy when confronted with different cultural approaches Explores the three primary cultural prototypes negotiators should understand
Negotiating Globally is ideal for those relatively new to negotiation, particularly in the global arena, and offers an overview of the various contexts and tactics of negotiation strategy. Written by an award-winning negotiation expert, this book provides an ideal framework for any and all global negotiations.
Called "the sleeper hit of the publishing season" (The Boston Globe), Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.
In this stirring new history, Philip Dray shows us the vital accomplishments of organized labor and illuminates its central role in our social, political, economic, and cultural evolution. His epic, character-driven narrative not only restores to our collective memory the indelible story of American labor, it also demonstrates the importance of the fight for fairness and economic democracy, and why that effort remains so urgent today.
Three generations of a family living under one roof reflect the dramatic transformations of an entire society in this memoir of life in 20th century China
When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xi’an, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huang’s grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.
Over the next fifteen years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandma’s burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Many years after her death, the family’s memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.
Megan Comfort spent years getting to know women visiting men at San Quentin State Prison, observing how their romantic relationships drew them into contact with the penitentiary. Tangling with the prison’s intrusive scrutiny and rigid rules turns these women into “quasi-inmates,” eroding the boundary between home and prison and altering their sense of intimacy, love, and justice. Yet Comfort also finds that with social welfare weakened, prisons are the most powerful public institutions available to women struggling to overcome untreated social ills and sustain relationships with marginalized men. As a result, they express great ambivalence about the prison and the control it exerts over their daily lives.
An illuminating analysis of women caught in the shadow of America’s massive prison system, Comfort’s book will be essential for anyone concerned with the consequences of our punitive culture.
Once the poster girl for doing it all, after she had her first child, Tiffany Dufu struggled to accomplish everything she thought she needed to in order to succeed. Like so many driven and talented women who have been brought up to believe that to have it all, they must do it all, Dufu began to feel that achieving her career and personal goals was an impossibility. Eventually, she discovered the solution: letting go. In Drop the Ball, Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations, shrink her to-do list, and meaningfully engage the assistance of others—freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.
Even though women are half the workforce, they still represent only eighteen per cent of the highest level leaders. The reasons are obvious: just as women reach middle management they are also starting families. Mounting responsibilities at work and home leave them with no bandwidth to do what will most lead to their success. Offering new perspective on why the women’s leadership movement has stalled, and packed with actionable advice, Tiffany Dufu’s Drop the Ball urges women to embrace imperfection, to expect less of themselves and more from others—only then can they focus on what they truly care about, devote the necessary energy to achieving their real goals, and create the type of rich, rewarding life we all desire.
If you’re like many parents, you might ask family and friends for advice when faced with important choices about how to raise your kids. You might turn to parenting books or simply rely on timeworn religious or cultural traditions. But when Dalton Conley, a dual-doctorate scientist and full-blown nerd, needed childrearing advice, he turned to scientific research to make the big decisions.
In Parentology, Conley hilariously reports the results of those experiments, from bribing his kids to do math (since studies show conditional cash transfers improved educational and health outcomes for kids) to teaching them impulse control by giving them weird names (because evidence shows kids with unique names learn not to react when their peers tease them) to getting a vasectomy (because fewer kids in a family mean smarter kids). Conley encourages parents to draw on the latest data to rear children, if only because that level of engagement with kids will produce solid and happy ones.
Ultimately these experiments are very loving, and the outcomes are redemptive—even when Conley’s sassy kids show him the limits of his profession. Parentology teaches you everything you need to know about the latest literature on parenting—with lessons that go down easy. You’ll be laughing and learning at the same time.
Far and Away chronicles Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts—political, cultural, and spiritual. From his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change. With his signature brilliance and compassion, Solomon demonstrates both how history is altered by individuals, and how personal identities are altered when governments alter.
A journalist and essayist of remarkable perception and prescience, Solomon captures the essence of these cultures. Ranging across seven continents and twenty-five years, these “meaty dispatches…are brilliant geopolitical travelogues that also comprise a very personal and reflective resume of the National Book Award winner’s globe-trotting adventures” (Elle). Far and Away takes a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences: “You will not only know the world better after having seen it through Solomon’s eyes, you will also care about it more” (Elizabeth Gilbert).