MixedBookPageIsen’s debut essay collection reveals her as a multihyphenate talent—voice actor, singer, editor, writer, law school graduate—with a delicious knack for wordplay and language ... The strongest essay, which lends its name to the book’s title, examines the relationship white women have to power and pain ... A central weakness of the book: It already feels dated. Scanning the table of contents feels like reading a list of Twitter’s most popular trending topics from 2020. In the churn of the modern news cycle, it seems inevitable that not every moment referenced would have cultural staying power, but it’s especially frustrating when Isen chooses intentionally ephemeral data points ... She admits to \'keeping an eye on the writers at the vanguard, seeing what kind of behavior gets rewarded,\' and that’s reflected in the originality of Some of My Best Friends’ content—but it’s Isen’s original perspective and clever language that will win over readers.
PositiveBookPageCheung’s intimate memoir of Hong Kong explores what it means to live in and love a complicated city ... In Cheung’s hands, the problems, charms and complexities that characterize the city are illuminated with grace and intelligence. She refuses to write from a distance or cater to a white audience, dismissing the bland both-sidesism of modern journalism ... Cheung explores gentrification not just through statistics and citations but through a summary of the six different residences and 22 different roommates she lived with in just five years. An ongoing and citywide mental health crisis is discussed through her own struggle to access reliable psychiatric care. Most powerfully, The Impossible City asks how we can belong to and believe in a city and world that are frequently disappointing, and how we can continue to care about a future we may never see ... Cheung’s luminous memoir will appeal to both those familiar with Hong Kong and armchair travelers hoping to better understand the roots of the city’s political movements. Beyond that, The Impossible City will resonate with anyone who has struggled to love their city of residence in a time characterized by political dissent, racial strife and pandemic.