Category: Book of the Week

Feminism & Contemporary Art: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s laughter By Jo Anna Isaak

Looks at the work of a diverse range of artists and explores the effect of feminist theory on art practice. The book provides a provocative and valuable account of the diversity and revolutionary potential of women’s art practice. Some of the featured artist includes Jenny Saville, Kathy Grove, and Lorna Simpson.

Art history/ Women’s Studies/Cultural Studies

The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights By By Kenji Yoshino

Published in 2006 is both an analysis on society’s views on race and sexuality and a collection of autobiographical anecdotes. Kenji Yoshino, the author, is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at the NYU School of Law. He wrote an article in the Yale Law Journal called Covering in 2002, but went into more extensive detail on the subject of covering using legal manifesto and poetic memoirs. The preface of the book best tells the meaning of covering:
“Everyone covers. To cover is to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the main stream. In our diverse society, all of us are outside the mainstream in some way […] every reader of this book has covered, whether consciously or not, and sometimes at significant personal cost.”

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Generally regarded as the definitive work on totalitarianism, this book is an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political movements. Arendt was one of the first to recognize that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were two sides of the same coin rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. “With the Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt emerges as the most original and profound-therefore the most valuable-political theoretician …more

Book of Night Women By Marlon James

The Book of Night Women is a sweeping, startling novel, a true tour de force of both voice and storytelling. It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they—and she—will come to both revere and fear.

The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans. But when she begins to understand her own feelings and desires and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman in Jamaica, and risks becoming the conspiracy’s weak link.

Lilith’s story overflows with high drama and heartbreak, and life on the plantation is rife with dangerous secrets, unspoken jealousies, inhuman violence, and very human emotion—between slave and master, between slave and overseer, and among the slaves themselves. Lilith finds herself at the heart of it all. And all of it told in one of the boldest literary voices to grace the page recently—and the secret of that voice is one of the book’s most intriguing mysteries. –

We The Media By Edited by Don Hazen and Julie Winokur

Filled with up-to-the-minute facts, figures, and commentary, We The Media features over 100 of the leading journalists, media critics, and experts in the country on: who owns and controls the media; how the rapidly expanding empires of Disney, Time Warner, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, and other media conglomerates affect what you see, hear and read; how political considerations and the radical right influence what gets on the air and who gets left out of the picture; and how advertising pervades virtually every second of your life. We the Media also highlights the alternatives – organizations, leaders, and the media makers who are successfully fighting the conglomerates and demanding that media and democracy go together. Our media system has been transformed and our lives will be changed in ways we don’t even know yet. But we can do something about it. We the Media is a survival guide to navigating the brave new media landscape.

A classic collection of poems by a master of American verse – Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes a celebrated American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist.  In 1923, Hughes traveled abroad on a freighter to the Senegal, Nigeria, the Cameroons, Belgium Congo, Angola, and Guinea in Africa, and later to Italy and France, Russia and Spain. One of his favorite pastimes whether abroad or in Washington, D.C. or Harlem, New York was sitting in the clubs listening to blues, jazz and writing poetry. The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including “The negro speaks of Rivers,” “The Weary Blues,” and many more. Enjoy!

Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World By Claudia Roth Pierpont

Passionate Minds is a series exploring the biographies and literary achievements of 12 modern women. The book is divided in to three sections. The first sections deals with sexual freedom in essays on Olive Schreiner, Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin, and famed Hollywood actress Mae West.  The second section examines race in the American south by writers such as Margaret Mitchell, Zora Neale Hurston, and Eudora Welty. The third focuses on politics and the interpretation of Nazis germany and soviet communism including the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, Ayn Rand, Doris Lesssin and a dual essay by Hannah Arendt and Mary Mcarthy.

Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry

Unsettling America is a collection of powerful, diverse poetry that is compelling in its mission—to challenge the idea of a static American cultural mythos. Its five sections each have a message of their own, though they all intersect with each other. Joy Harjo uses the backdrop of Anchorage to paint a picture of loss and survival and gives us a look at the harsh realities of life as a Native American in “Anchorage.” in “Praise the Tortilla, Praise the Menudo, Praise the Chorizo,” Ray Gonzalez reminisces the food of his boyhood. In the last poem of this anthology,”Growing Up Italian,” Maria Mazziotti Gillan realizes that she is proud to be an Italian. The poems in this anthology can be full of quiet longing and loss, and they can be angry and loud. However, the collection’s ending suggests a powerful uprising; it is full of hope that these voices will be heard and that all will be welcome at the negotiating table.

Terre Haute by Will Aitken

Terre Haute describes a year in the life of fourteen-year-old, Jared McCaverty, a bright and attractive young boy going through puberty in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jared, who comes from a wealthy family, is many ways a happy boy, but he is overweight, socially awkward, and gay.

Definitely a must read.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

“Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia “tells a story of three generations of Cuban women and their seperate responses to the revolution. Cristina’s feat is to tell it in a style as warm and gentle as “the sustaining aromas of vanilla and almond,” as rythmic as the music of Beny More.” – Time

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