RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksThe Crying Book is a stunning work, a constellation of prose poems that plumb the depths of crying: how it feels, why it matters, and, perhaps most importantly, what it means ... Christle sets out to understand the significance of crying in every possible human context, adopting social, historical, and biological lenses to conduct her inquiry. Christle deftly balances her roles as researcher and research subject ... It is Christle, our own weeping subject, that makes The Crying Book so affecting. She studies tears tenderly, even intimately, motivated by a heartfelt desire to understand. What could have easily been a dry but informative volume on crying and its many meanings becomes a more holistic portrait of crying ... she proves to be a graceful navigator across that sea of tears, charting a path full of discoveries and arresting observations.
Carmen Maria Machado
RaveZYZZYVA[Machado]...both summons the past and reanimates her former self; she bends genre to her will, excavates meaning from chaos. She reconstructs the limits of form and narrative and structure, delivering a spectacular literary performance ... Machado wields language like a weapon then applies it like a salve. Her craftsmanship is especially evident in the structure of the book, which is styled as a series of vignettes, each playing with form and centered around a specific genre or trope ... But this isn’t about showing off Machado’s ability to deftly vault between genres (though she certainly can). Every new incarnation of the Dream House gives us a new line of sight, another perspective through which we can construct reality. Machado dissects the complexities of abuse, love, sex, and violence, all through a distinctly queer lens ... In the Dream House is no mere confessional: Machado also widens her aperture to analyze our larger culture ... Spending time with Machado inside the Dream House can feel uncomfortable, even claustrophobic—this is by design. It’s on us to linger in that discomfort, to feel—even just temporarily—as trapped and forsaken as Machado has ... Reading her memoir could in a sense destroy you, but it will reconstruct you, too, leaving you better than before you found it.
RaveZYZZYVAHowe is introspective, curious, and content when she is by herself. Many of the poems in Love and I celebrate the comforts of being alone ... autobiographical asides—brief flashes when Howe transforms herself from spectator to subject, and reveals herself to us—make for some of the collection’s most compelling moments ... In her poems, Howe paints vivid scenes and ho[m]es in on unexpected details, the kind that only catch the eye of the lonely. A keen observer and frequent traveler (she does most of her writing in transit), Howe’s gaze is wandering but sharp ... We spend time both inside the poet’s head and within her well-crafted scenes, leisurely bouncing between introspection and dialogue, opinion and observation ... When Howe does turn her focus to the notion of love and its many permutations, the results are enthralling. She speaks bluntly about the pains of attachment, abandoning lush imagery to get right to the heart of things ... Love and I is a meander through a singular mind, a mind that observes more sharply than many of us could ever hope to ... Her approach may not always be accessible, but Howe’s inquisitiveness, generosity, and care are easy to appreciate and impossible to resist.
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksThroughout I Like to Watch, Nussbaum dedicates a rectifying amount of space to shows by, for, and about women. She takes much deserved deep dives into series that may not otherwise be taken seriously ... Above all, Nussbaum has elevated the work of women like few other television critics have. Her feminist lens does not limit her brilliance as a critic—it is instead a significant source of that brilliance ... I Like to Watch creates a new canon and celebrates a more inclusive notion of quality, beyond the confines of \'prestige\' ... as essential a critical companion as any of [Pauline] Kael’s books, and it establishes its author as Kael’s peer and heir—whether Nussbaum agrees or not.