An eBook short.
A radical, how-to guide for using exponential technologies, moonshot thinking, and crowd-powered tools, Bold unfolds in three parts. Part One focuses on the exponential technologies that are disrupting today’s Fortune 500 companies and enabling upstart entrepreneurs to go from “I’ve got an idea” to “I run a billion-dollar company” far faster than ever before. The authors provide exceptional insight into the power of 3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, networks and sensors, and synthetic biology. Part Two draws on insights from billionaires such as Larry Page, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos and reveals their entrepreneurial secrets. Finally, Bold closes with a look at the best practices that allow anyone to leverage today’s hyper-connected crowd like never before. Here, the authors teach how to design and use incentive competitions, launch million-dollar crowdfunding campaigns to tap into tens of billions of dollars of capital, and finally how to build communities—armies of exponentially enabled individuals willing and able to help today’s entrepreneurs make their boldest dreams come true.
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY:
NPR, ESQUIRE, The LA Times, and NEWSWEEK
WINNER OF THE STRANGER GENIUS AWARD
Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can't be funny.
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.
From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.
With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.
The book collects dozens of Hurley's essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including "We Have Always Fought," which won the 2013 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume.
Unapologetically outspoken, Hurley has contributed essays to The Atlantic, Locus, Tor.com, and others on the rise of women in genre, her passion for SF/F, and the diversification of publishing.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Publishing Co., 1995), this anthology will be most useful to
instructors who must try to do justice to Aristotle in a semester-long
ancient-philosophy survey, but it will also be appropriate for a variety
of introductory-level courses. Introductory Readings provides accurate,
readable, and integrated translations that allow the reader to follow
Aristotle's use of crucial technical terms and to grasp the details of
his argument. Included are adaptations of the glossary and notes that
helped make its parent volume a singularly useful aid to the study of
In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.
These landmark writings are, in Lorde's own words, a call to “never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which is...”
“[Lorde's] works will be important to those truly interested in growing up sensitive, intelligent, and aware.”
—New York Times
A Skimm Reads Pick
From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today--written as a letter to a friend.
A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie's letter of response.
Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions--compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive--for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can "allow" women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.
What's wrong with black women? Not a damned thing!
The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black-woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves.
When African women arrived on American shores, the three-headed hydra—servile Mammy, angry Sapphire, and lascivious Jezebel—followed close behind. In the '60s, the Matriarch, the willfully unmarried baby machine leeching off the state, joined them. These stereotypes persist to this day through newspaper headlines, Sunday sermons, social media memes, cable punditry, government policies, and hit song lyrics. Emancipation may have happened more than 150 years ago, but America still won't let a sister be free from this coven of caricatures.
Tamara Winfrey Harris delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more, taking sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black women. She counters warped prejudices with the straight-up truth about being a black woman in America. “We have facets like diamonds,” she writes. “The trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling.”
¡Chicana Power! provides a critical genealogy of pioneering Chicana activist and theorist Anna NietoGomez and the Hijas de Cuauhtémoc, one of the first Latina feminist organizations, who together with other Chicana activists forged an autonomous space for women's political participation and challenged the gendered confines of Chicano nationalism in the movement and in the formation of the field of Chicana studies. She uncovers the multifaceted vision of liberation that continues to reverberate today as contemporary activists, artists, and intellectuals, both grassroots and academic, struggle for, revise, and rework the political legacy of Chicana feminism.
Serano's well-honed arguments and reputation as a thought-leader stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. In this provocative manifesto, she exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.
In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activists must work to embrace and empower femininity—in all of its wondrous forms.
In CliffsNotes on Mythology, you'll review the myths from seven different cultures and gain an overview of the stories that people have lived by from ancient times to the present. The gods and their stories depict life's lessons and personal relationships and present a moral code of human conduct. These stories are also a map to understanding history.
This CliffsNotes guide covers Egyptian, Babylonian, Indian, Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies, as well as the Arthurian legends. Features that help you figure out these important works includeAn introduction to mythologyThe main gods of various culturesReview questionsRecommended readingsGenealogical tables of major gods
Classic literature or modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
What is a womanist? Alice Walker sets out to define the concept in this anthology of early essays and other nonfiction pieces. As she outlines it, a womanist is a person who prefers to side with the oppressed: with women, with people of color, with the poor. As a writer, Walker has always taken such people as her primary subjects, and her search for paths toward self-possession and freedom always holds out hope for the transformative power of compassion and love. Whether she’s taking on nuclear proliferation, the promise and problems of the civil rights movement, or her own creative process, Walker always brings to bear a fearless determination to tell the truth.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alice Walker including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
Annotated and with an introduction by Susan Gubar
In an agential realist account, the world is made of entanglements of “social” and “natural” agencies, where the distinction between the two emerges out of specific intra-actions. Intra-activity is an inexhaustible dynamism that configures and reconfigures relations of space-time-matter. In explaining intra-activity, Barad reveals questions about how nature and culture interact and change over time to be fundamentally misguided. And she reframes understanding of the nature of scientific and political practices and their “interrelationship.” Thus she pays particular attention to the responsible practice of science, and she emphasizes changes in the understanding of political practices, critically reworking Judith Butler’s influential theory of performativity. Finally, Barad uses agential realism to produce a new interpretation of quantum physics, demonstrating that agential realism is more than a means of reflecting on science; it can be used to actually do science.
Puar combines transnational feminist and queer theory, Foucauldian biopolitics, Deleuzian philosophy, and technoscience criticism, and draws from an extraordinary range of sources, including governmental texts, legal decisions, films, television, ethnographic data, queer media, and activist organizing materials and manifestos. Looking at various cultural events and phenomena, she highlights troublesome links between terrorism and sexuality: in feminist and queer responses to the Abu Ghraib photographs, in the triumphal responses to the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision repealing anti-sodomy laws, in the measures Sikh Americans and South Asian diasporic queers take to avoid being profiled as terrorists, and in what Puar argues is a growing Islamophobia within global queer organizing.
Plato's account of Socrates' trial and death (399 BC) is a significant moment in Classical literature and the life of Classical Athens. In these four dialogues, Plato develops the Socratic belief in responsibility for one's self and shows Socrates living and dying under his philosophy. In Euthyphro, Socrates debates goodness outside the courthouse; Apology sees him in court, rebutting all charges of impiety; in Crito, he refuses an entreaty to escape from prison; and in Phaedo, Socrates faces his impending death with calmness and skilful discussion of immortality.
Christopher Rowe's introduction to his powerful new translation examines the book's themes of identity and confrontation, and explores how its content is less historical fact than a promotion of Plato's Socratic philosophy.
She was the first woman to run for president. She was the first woman to address the U.S. Congress and to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street. She’s the woman Gloria Steinem called “the most controversial suffragist of them all.” So why have most people never heard of Victoria Woodhull? In this extensively researched biography, journalist Mary Gabriel offers readers a balanced portrait of a unique and complicated woman who was years ahead of her time—and perhaps ahead of our own.
“One of the most controversial American women of the late nineteenth century springs to life in this study that leaves no stone unturned.” —Publishers Weekly
“[A] deftly written biography . . . of a hell-raising visionary.” —Mirabella
“A meaty slice of feminist history peppered with Victorian drama.” —Civilization
This edition features new material about starting a discussion group based on the book.
In this new book Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge provide a much-needed, introduction to the field of intersectional knowledge and praxis. They analyze the emergence, growth and contours of the concept and show how intersectional frameworks speak to topics as diverse as human rights, neoliberalism, identity politics, immigration, hip hop, global social protest, diversity, digital media, Black feminism in Brazil, violence and World Cup soccer. Accessibly written and drawing on a plethora of lively examples to illustrate its arguments, the book highlights intersectionality's potential for understanding inequality and bringing about social justice oriented change.
Intersectionality will be an invaluable resource for anyone grappling with the main ideas, debates and new directions in this field.
Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman’s creator. Beginning in his undergraduate years at Harvard, Marston was influenced by early suffragists and feminists, starting with Emmeline Pankhurst, who was banned from speaking on campus in 1911, when Marston was a freshman. In the 1920s, Marston and his wife, Sadie Elizabeth Holloway, brought into their home Olive Byrne, the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most influential feminists of the twentieth century. The Marston family story is a tale of drama, intrigue, and irony. In the 1930s, Marston and Byrne wrote a regular column for Family Circle celebrating conventional family life, even as they themselves pursued lives of extraordinary nonconformity. Marston, internationally known as an expert on truth—he invented the lie detector test—lived a life of secrets, only to spill them on the pages of Wonder Woman.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history. Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights—a chain of events that begins with the women’s suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.
This edition includes a new afterword with fresh revelations based on never before seen letters and photographs from the Marston family’s papers.
With 161 illustrations and 16 pages in full color
Regardless of your background or bedroom resume, someone or something has probably made you feel that way at some point. This was what Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson discovered when they created the wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast. What started as an outlet to interview—
You guessed it!—guys they'd fucked, quickly evolved into an enormous community of Fuckers around the world, and a place to share stories of kinks gone wild, trauma, assault, and the overall confusion among people who don't know what the fuck they are doing (in other words, everyone).
F*CKED brings these raw, ridiculous, and serious conversations from the podcast to the page. It is a guide to love and sex for anyone -- female, male, trans, or undecided—who is fed up with double standards and the stigma surrounding sexual beings. It is for anyone who has ever felt afraid to be their authentic self. Corinne and Krystyna won’t talk down to you or coddle you because you’re better than that. They won’t explain why he’s just not that into you, because it doesn’t fucking matter. This book will teach you how to deal with shit, brush your shoulder off, and move on. You'll also learn about:Why shame is completely made up and how we can stop giving into itSexual exploration and how it sometimes ends in a trip to the ERStuff we should stop doing: Snooping, nitpicking our bodies, and faking orgasmsAsking your sexual partner uncomfortable questionsHow to get yourself out of an unsafe situationMasturbation, threesomes, porn, sex toys, butt stuff, and much, much more
Despite what Rom-Coms and magazines tell you, you can handle sexual exploration without the assistance of a man, a glass of rose, and a Xanax. More importantly, you’re fine all by yourself. This is the book Bridget Jones should’ve read instead of writing that shitty diary in the first place.
“Outstanding . . . [Isobel Coleman] takes us into remote villages and urban bureaucracies to find the brave men and women working to create change in the Middle East.”—Los Angeles Times
In this timely and important book, Isobel Coleman shows how Muslim women and men across the Middle East are working within Islam to fight for women’s rights in a growing movement of Islamic feminism. Journeying through Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Coleman introduces the reader to influential Islamic feminist thinkers and successful grassroots activists working to create economic, political, and educational opportunities for women. Their advocacy for women’s rights based on more progressive interpretations of Islam are critical to bridging the conflict between those championing reform and those seeking to oppress women in the name of religious tradition. Socially, culturally, economically, and politically, the future of the region depends on finding ways to accommodate human rights, and in particular women’s rights, with Islamic law. These reformers—and thousands of others—are the people leading the way forward.
Featuring new material that addresses how the Arab uprisings and other recent events have affected the social and political landscape of the region, Paradise Beneath Her Feet offers a message of hope: Change is coming to the Middle East—and more often than not, it is being led by women.
Praise for Paradise Beneath Her Feet
“Clearly written, deeply moving, and wonderfully enlightening.”—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God
“[An] engrossing portrait of real Muslim women that reveals how Islamic feminists . . . are working with and within the culture, rather than against it . . . to forge ‘a legitimate Islamic alternative to the current repressive system.’ Coleman doesn’t diminish the enormity of the struggle, but she argues convincingly that it might yet rewrite Islam’s future.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A nuanced view of Islam’s role in public life that is cautiously hopeful.”—The Economist
“Eye-opening . . . Deeply religious, profoundly determined and modern in every way, these are twenty-first-century women bent on change. Hear them roar and see a future being born before our eyes.”—Booklist
With cool humor and rich intellect, Gloria Steinem strips bare our social constructions of gender and race, explaining just how limiting these invented cultural identities can be. In the first of six sections, Steinem imagines how our understanding of human psychology would be different in a witty reversal: What if Freud had been a woman who inflicted biological inferiority on men (think “womb envy”)? In other essays, the author presents positive examples of people who turn stereotypes on their heads, from a female bodybuilder to Mahatma Gandhi, whose followers absorbed his wisdom that change starts at the bottom. And in some of the most moving pieces, Steinem reveals something of her own complicated history as a writer, woman, and citizen of the world.
Bordo also shows how generations of polemicists, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers imagined and re-imagined Anne: whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto “mean girl,” feminist icon, and everything in between. In this lively book, Bordo steps off the well-trodden paths of Tudoriana to expertly tease out the human being behind the competing mythologies.
The organizations that Springer examines were the first to explicitly use feminist theory to further the work of previous black women’s organizations. As she describes, they emerged in response to marginalization in the civil rights and women’s movements, stereotyping in popular culture, and misrepresentation in public policy. Springer compares the organizations’ ideologies, goals, activities, memberships, leadership styles, finances, and communication strategies. Reflecting on the conflicts, lack of resources, and burnout that led to the demise of these groups, she considers the future of black feminist organizing, particularly at the national level. Living for the Revolution is an essential reference: it provides the history of a movement that influenced black feminist theory and civil rights activism for decades to come.
Best-selling author Joan Chittister takes a very real look at what it means to have a feminist spirituality--a "heart of flesh"--in today's culture. She unmasks the effects of sexism on both men and women and describes a spirituality that makes healthier, happier human beings of us all.
According to Chittister, the patriarchal culture that has shaped our world has also brought us to the edge of destruction with its dualisms, hierarchies, and inequality. She outlines the historical realities that produced this situation and describes how patriarchal culture and spirituality maintain their hold on us. She then argues that there is another way which is better and introduces us to a feminist worldview that, in recognizing the full humanity of women, leads all of us to new, better ways of being and relating.
Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men offers a dynamic vision of spirituality from one of our finest writers of spiritual literature.
THE CITY OF LADIES provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints. The book also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.
Meet the Female Chauvinist Pig—the new brand of “empowered woman” who wears the Playboy bunny as a talisman, bares all for Girls Gone Wild, pursues casual sex as if it were a sport, and embraces “raunch culture” wherever she finds it. If male chauvinist pigs of years past thought of women as pieces of meat, Female Chauvinist Pigs of today are doing them one better, making sex objects of other women—and of themselves. They think they’re being brave, they think they’re being funny, but in Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy asks if the joke is on them.
In her quest to uncover why this is happening, Levy interviews college women who flash for the cameras on spring break and teens raised on Paris Hilton and breast implants. She examines a culture in which every music video seems to feature a stripper on a pole, the memoirs of porn stars are climbing the bestseller lists, Olympic athletes parade their Brazilian bikini waxes in the pages of Playboy, and thongs are marketed to prepubescent girls. Levy meets the high-powered women who create raunch culture—the new oinking women warriors of the corporate and entertainment worlds who eagerly defend their efforts to be “one of the guys.” And she traces the history of this trend back to conflicts between the women’s movement and the sexual revolution long left unresolved.
Levy pulls apart the myth of the Female Chauvinist Pig and argues that what has come to pass for liberating rebellion is actually a kind of limiting conformity. Irresistibly witty and wickedly intelligent, Female Chauvinist Pigs makes the case that the rise of raunch does not represent how far women have come, it only proves how far they have left to go.
The 2008 campaign for the presidency reopened some of the most fraught American conversations—about gender, race and generational difference, about sexism on the left and feminism on the right—difficult discussions that had been left unfinished but that are crucial to further perfecting our union. Though the election didn’t give us our first woman president or vice president, the exhilarating campaign was nonetheless transformative for American women and for the nation. In Big Girls Don’t Cry, her electrifying, incisive and highly entertaining first book, Traister tells a terrific story and makes sense of a moment in American history that changed the country’s narrative in ways that no one anticipated.
Throughout the book, Traister weaves in her own experience as a thirtysomething feminist sorting through all the events and media coverage—vacillating between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and questioning her own view of feminism, the women’s movement, race and the different generational perspectives of women working toward political parity. Electrifying, incisive and highly entertaining, Big Girls Don’t Cry offers an enduring portrait of dramatic cultural and political shifts brought about by this most historic of American contests.
"Foundations of Futures Studies "fulfills Bell's five main purposes for writing this two-volume effort: (1) to show that futures studies, like other fields from anthropology to zoology, exists as an identifiable sphere of intellectual activity; (2) to create a teaching instrument that can be used as a basic text for core courses in futures studies; (3) to futurize the thinking of specialists in other disciplines; (4) to contribute to the further development and improvement of futures studies; and (5) to provide tools to empower both ordinary people and leaders to act in ways that create better futures for themselves and their societies. Bell maintains that despite its sometimes doomsday rhetorical style and widespread use by special interests, futures studies offers hope for the future of humanity and concrete ways of realizing that hope in the real world of our everyday lives. It will appeal to all interested in futures studies, as well as sociologists, economists, political scientists, and historians.
Bi takes a long overdue, comprehensive look at bisexual politics—from the issues surrounding biphobia/monosexism, feminism, and transgenderism to the practice of labeling those who identify as bi as either “too bisexual” (promiscuous and incapable of fidelity) or “not bisexual enough” (not actively engaging romantically or sexually with people of at least two different genders). In this forward-thinking and eye-opening book, feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist Shiri Eisner takes readers on a journey through the many aspects of the meanings and politics of bisexuality, specifically highlighting how bisexuality can open up new and exciting ways of challenging social convention.
Informed by feminist, transgender, and queer theory, as well as politics and activism, Bi is a radical manifesto for a group that has been too frequently silenced, erased, and denied—and a starting point from which to launch a bisexual revolution.
Is the human species becoming dehumanized by the condition of his environment? So "Human an Animal "is an attempt to address this broad concern, and explain why so little is being done to address this issue. The book sounds both an urgent warning, and offers important policy insights into how this trend towards dehumanization can be halted and finally reversed. Dubos asserts that we are as much the product of our total environment as of our genetic endowment. In fact, the environment we live in can greatly enhance, or severely Hmit, the development of human potential. Yet we are deplorably ignorant of the effects of our surroundings on human life. We create conditions which can only thwart human nature.
So "Human an Animal "is a book with hope no less than alarm. As Joseph Wood Krutch noted at the time, Dubos shows convincingly "why science is indispensable, not omnipotent." Science'can change our suicidal course by learning to deal analytically with the living experience of human beings, by supplementing the knowledge of things and of the body machine with a science of human life. Only then can we give larger scope to human freedom by providing a rational basis for option and action. Timely, eloquent, and guided by a deep humanistic spirit, this new edition is graced by a succinct and careful outline of the life and work of the author.
The three plays of the Oresteia portray the bloody events that follow the victorious return of King Agamemnon from the Trojan War, at the start of which he had sacrificed his daughter Iphigeneia to secure divine favor. After Iphi-geneia’s mother, Clytemnestra, kills her husband in revenge, she in turn is murdered by their son Orestes with his sister Electra’s encouragement. Orestes is pursued by the Furies and put on trial, his fate decided by the goddess Athena. Far more than the story of murder and ven-geance in the royal house of Atreus, the Oresteia serves as a dramatic parable of the evolution of justice and civilization that is still powerful after 2,500 years.
The trilogy is presented here in George Thomson’s classic translation, renowned for its fidelity to the rhythms and richness of the original Greek.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Ann Romines interweaves personal observation with scholarly analysis to address these questions. Writing from a feminist perspective and drawing on resources of gender studies, cultural studies, and new historicist reading, she examines both the content of the novels and the process of their creation. She explores the relationship between mother and daughter working as collaborative authors and calls into question our assumptions about plot, juvenile fiction, and constructions of gender on the nineteenth-century frontier and in the Depression years when the Little House books were written.
This is a book that will appeal both to scholars and to general readers who might welcome an engaging and accessible companion volume to the Little House novels.
Today’s political climate leaves no doubt that American women are still being assaulted by the same antifeminist backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestseller. When it was first published, Backlash made headlines for puncturing popular media myths like the “infertility epidemic” and the “man shortage.” The statistic-defying, willfully fictitious coverage, Faludi pointed out, contributed to an anti-woman backlash. The fifteenth anniversary edition, with an updated preface by the author, brings backlash consciousness into the 21st century.
Faludi’s words seem especially prophetic in post-Trump America. That glass ceiling remains unshattered, women are still punished for wanting to succeed, and reproductive rights are still hanging by a thread. But Backlash is an alarm bell for women of every generation—waking us up to the dangers that we all face.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Wall Street Journal
Katie Roiphe’s writing—whether in the form of personal essays, literary criticism, or cultural reporting—is bracing, wickedly entertaining, and deeply engaged with our mores and manners. In these pages, she turns her exacting gaze on the surprisingly narrow-minded conventions governing the way we live now. Is there a preoccupation with “healthiness” above all else? If so, does it lead insidiously to judging anyone who tries to live differently? Examining such subjects as the current fascination with Mad Men, the oppressiveness of Facebook (“the novel we are all writing”), and the quiet malice our society displays toward single mothers, Roiphe makes her case throughout these electric pages. She profiles a New York prep school grad turned dominatrix; isolates the exact, endlessly repeated ingredients of a magazine “celebrity profile”; and draws unexpected, timeless lessons from news-cycle hits such as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “love child” revelations. On ample display in this book are Roiphe’s insightful, occasionally obsessive takes on an array of literary figures, including Jane Austen, John Updike, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, and Margaret Wise Brown, the troubled author of Goodnight, Moon. And reprinted for the first time and expanded here is her much-debated New York Times Book Review cover piece, “The Naked and the Conflicted”—an unabashed argument on sex and the contemporary American male writer that is in itself an exciting and refreshing reminder that criticism matters. As steely-eyed in examining her own life as she is in skewering our cultural pitfalls, Roiphe gives us autobiographical pieces—on divorce, motherhood, an emotionally fraught trip to Vietnam, the breakup of a female friendship—that are by turns deeply moving, self-critical, razor-sharp, and unapologetic in their defense of “the messy life.”
In Praise of Messy Lives is powerfully unified, vital work from one of our most astute and provocative voices.
From the Hardcover edition.
Annotated and with an introduction by Maria DiBattista