Valeria Luiselli has crafted a powerful essay on teh Central American immigration crisis after volunteering as an interpreter for NYC's federal immigration court. Centered around the 40 questions she is required to ask the undocumented immigrants, Luiselli writes with clarity about the stories of the children she interviews and the harrowing realities of the situations that brought them to that interview. What results is a necsesary and engaging indictment that provokes both rage and empathy, while informing and calling for something better. Must-read nonfiction.
Recommended by Kelsey.
Don't be fooled by the size of this slim volume. Shapiro's taut, graceful memoir packs a lifetime's worth of rumination about her 18-year marriage, and what it means to permanently tie your life and story to someone else. In these pages, Shapiro shows the enriching effects of both time and memory on her own marriage, and her writing is so exquisite that you'll want to underline a different passage on every page. Beautiful!
Recommended by Erika.
New York Times Best SellerFrom 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 Skimm Reads Pick
"Hard times are coming, when we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We'll need writers who can remember freedom -- poets, visionaries -- realists of a larger reality. . . ."
This release of Thomas Moore's famous work of political philosophy is worth a look, not just for the text itself, but also for the supplementary materal. It begins with two introductions by China Melville and is finished by several essays from Ursula K. LeGuin. Both have looked at the concepts of utopias and dystopias substantially in thier own work and have truley interesting things to say about the concept.
The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as "waste people," "offals," "rubbish," "lazy lubbers," and "crackers." By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called "clay eaters" and "sandhillers," known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society--where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics--a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ's Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
From the acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos, a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself.
Nadja Spiegelman, the daughter of famed cartoonist Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly, has written a brave and graceful memoir that traces the origins of the tense relationship she has always felt with her mother. Through difficult and intimate interviews with her mother and grandmother, Spiegelman discovers the complexity of memory and how our shapings can intricately affect the present. Compassion, understanding, and forgiveness weave through the memoir as she uncovers surprising patterns and parallels between the lives of four generations of women. Amazingly, this memoir never drips into sentimentality, but is written with a clear and poetic voice that I look forward to hearing more of in the future. By far one of my favoritie reads this year.
Highly recommended by Kelsey.
In this book, Klosterman looks at the state of the world today, particularly science and art, and talks about how the future might view the early 21st century. He argues that they will be remembered drastically differently in 200 years. Klosterman makes a lot of really interesting points and argues them well and with humor. You will NOT agree with everything he has to say. In fact, I found something to get angry about every couple of pages. But, man is it fun to argue your way through this book with Klosterman.
Recommended by Wayne
This memoir -- which reads more like a series of personal vignettes -- from the founder of Feministing.com is a raw and uncomfortable read that gives voice to the moments of sexism and objectification in Valenti's life that too often women are told to shrug off. Though Valenti has led a very different life than I have, I found that many of her stories felt similar to stories I had experienced or heard from friends. This is a bold and brave book that is unflinching in its look at what it can mean to be a woman in this society, and calls for something better.
Recommended by Kelsey