RaveBookPageIn her debut essay collection...fandom is an expansive, transformative source of self-enlightenment ... As a fan and a professional critic, Phillips sees the value in pop culture’s ability to speak deeper truths, however uncomfortable, about society. Navigating pop culture as a Black fan can be a frustrating exercise in otherness, she writes, but fandom can also be a conscious act of reclamation ... Nerd spans decades of pop culture, smoothly weaving multiple interconnected webs. Phillips indulges in her obsessions, but she’s never afraid to critique and deconstruct. In this engaging compendium of cultural criticism, Phillips successfully proves that the complex discipline of fandom is a valuable piece of humanity’s flawed but hopeful history.
PositiveBookPageThe creative juggernaut peels back the onion-skin layers of his meteoric rise to international success ... Fashionistas and Vogue disciples will revel in this inside look at the fashion world and appreciate the author’s frank anecdotes about familiar members of the glitterati, but anyone who reads Enninful’s memoir will understand the importance of his professional and personal trajectory. A Visible Man is the culmination of blood, sweat, tears and limitless imagination.
Zakiya Dalila Harris
RaveBitch MediaIn her debut novel, The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris examines racism, microaggression, and tokenism through the lens of the optics-obsessed publishing industry. Harris, who previously worked as an assistant editor at Penguin Random House, brings firsthand knowledge and mindful skepticism to a contemporary psychological horror novel about the industry she knows inside and out ... Nella’s unnerving descent into paranoia bears some resemblance to Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out, but The Other Black Girl has an unsettling ending that treats resilience as a finite resource in danger of being depleted. Harris’s depiction of the publishing world is neither dishonest in its satire nor exaggerated in its critique of white liberal racism ... The Other Black Girl doesn’t exploit trauma or include gratuitous violence. Instead, the narrative’s Hitchcockian-level suspense heightens the horror of Nella’s experience.
PositiveBookpage... provides detailed insight into how America’s opioid problem can be pinned not to a single moment or person but to the negligence of systems intended to improve vulnerable people’s lives, and to the indifference of people in positions of power within that system. Rather than placing the blame on a definitive cause, this knowledgeable account emphasizes overarching systemic failures, rooted in the greed of those who are meant to \'do no harm.\' ... Told in nonchronological order, Bad Medicine isn’t a stuffy, detached reenactment of the trial. Bismuth provides the necessary background to contextualize the opioid crisis, the evolution of related laws and the requirements of legal procedures, but she also shares the personal chaos that influenced her courtroom battle, including the breakdown of her marriage and contentious divorce, the demands of parenting and the crushing dread of depression and anxiety ... Some readers may wonder why the narrative switches focus from chapter to chapter, hopping from the nitty-gritty aspects of building a case to reflections on the author’s inability to live up to her own expectations in her personal life, but the overall result shows Bismuth’s commitment to a higher calling ... The greatest strength of the book is the author’s ability to break down the legal jargon of the court system and the prosecution’s evidentiary path to conviction. The text links each piece of evidence in a clear path to confirm Li’s self-serving motivations, despite the jumps in the timeline. Bismuth humanizes Li’s patients and does not pass judgment on their substance abuse problems.
RaveBookpageShayla Lawson, the director of creative writing at Amherst College and author of three poetry collections, seeks to look beyond the notion that Black girls are magic. This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope not only spotlights the nuances of Black womanhood but also rejects the claim that their power is rooted in an inherently superhuman or supernatural disposition ... Whether she’s discussing the politics of Twitter popularity, the pitfalls of interracial dating, the ever-shifting cultural definition of \'black\' or the reality of gentrification, Lawson is a master of her craft. Her keen poetic sensibilities sharpen topics that may seem amorphous or expansive. She doesn’t present herself as the representative of all Black girls, but she seamlessly blends deeply personal memories with overarching moments in history and pop culture. The result is a sense of familiarity between the writer and the Black women who pick up this book ... Lawson’s voice can be smooth like honey or cut to the quick. This essay collection is a necessary study of self-enlightenment and the unique power of Black girls: We contain multitudes.
PositiveBookPage...a candid study of the hydra-like power of student loan debt and, as a result, the rising cost of freedom ... Arceneaux is entertaining as much as he is insightful. While pop culture references come fast and furious...they don’t distract or take away from the overall narrative themes. In less skilled hands, the humor would feel forced and repetitious. However, Arceneaux’s strength lies in his experience as a writer who found his voice online, having carved out a space where both vulnerability and nuanced critical thinking work together to reflect on the contradictions of our world. His voice is as familiar as that ride or die friend who isn’t afraid of your mistakes and has stuck around without judgment ... Arceneaux’s essays are a reminder that debt (particularly for the generation of young people who graduated on the heels of the 2008 recession) is not indicative of one’s character ... Student loan debt is not a death sentence but an indictment of broken systems and the unjust, corrupt institutions that keep them alive.
RaveBookPage...a timely work that combines the vulnerability of personal experience and the researched, fact-based reporting of nonfiction ... Goldberg’s writing is especially compelling when she focuses on specific clients she has helped ... While her tone is more conversational than rigidly academic, Goldberg provides solid research to supplement her anecdotes. An important, harrowing look into the dark underbelly of the internet, this book sheds light on the mistreatment of victims and on the society and justice system that often fail them.
PositiveBookPage\"The author’s tone, coupled with the overall narrative execution, shakes off the objective lens typically required of straightforward journalism. Bobrow-Strain is equal parts sympathetic and unabashedly honest in his re-creation of Aida’s life, seamlessly blending the intimate details of memoir into the historical and political context of U.S. immigration policies ... While Aida’s story is not meant to serve as the sole representation of life as an undocumented immigrant, it’s a sharp portrait of a country where equality is designed only for those deemed worthy.\
PositiveBookPageWith a clear-eyed view of the ripple effect of shocking acts of violence, Gergel traces how the blinding of Woodard ignited black communities, the NAACP and sympathetic allies to seek justice and demand that Truman take action. Combining research and a deep knowledge of the country’s legal system, Gergel exposes America’s longstanding legacy of brutalizing black bodies to preserve a vision of America fueled by the destructive force of white supremacy.
PositiveBookpage\"Combining nuanced reporting with the intimacies of personal experience, Allen showcases the lives of black millennials, which are rarely portrayed with accuracy in mainstream media ... In this insightful book, the idea of the American dream is proven to be a fairy tale at best, and a nightmare at worst.\
PositiveBookpage...With fine-combed research, Andrew Delbanco, the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University and 2012 recipient of the National Humanities Medal, argues that the Fugitive Slave Act was the centralized fuse that sparked the Civil War in The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War ... As Delbanco convincingly argues, the Fugitive Slave Act not only put a microscope on America’s fractured moral psyche, but its consequences seem to have echoed into the current political and social landscape. Racism, simultaneously an agent of white supremacy and a symptom, routinely shapes national policies and national identity. Ultimately, the Fugitive Slave Act was not a salve for the deepening fissures in the country’s conscience, but a reflection of America’s inability to grapple with its moral ambiguities. In the hands of an author strictly committed to objective, hard-nosed facts, The War Before the War would read as coldly authoritative and dry. Yet Delbanco treats his subject matter as a historical artifact, a sprawling puzzle and psychological case study, viewing America’s past acts as a troublesome blueprint for America’s present and possibly its future.
PositiveBookPageSoraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger is part cultural analysis and part call to arms. Chemaly...writes with clear-eyed conviction. Using an arresting combination of personal anecdotes, interviews and heavily researched data, Chemaly argues that women should reclaim their anger. She acknowledges that this process varies between women of different races, namely the ways in which white women can weaponize their privilege ... Nevertheless, women have historically been forced to undertake immense emotional labor that comes at the expense of their mental, emotional and physical health. For Chemaly, a liberated woman is one who can freely find strength in her rage.
Barbara K. Lipska
PositiveBookPageIn The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Lipska recounts her ordeal with equal parts raw honesty and clear-eyed conviction ... Lipska avoids sentimentality and doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that her descent into \'madness\' resulted in collateral damage among her loved ones; she was somewhat safe in the eye of the storm.
PositiveBookPageClark avoids sanctimonious judgments, but she isn’t afraid to painstakingly show how racism and state-sanctioned white supremacy shaped the socioeconomic policies of Flint.
RaveBookPage\"Throughout the circus narrative, Fontaine soberly recounts hospital visits with her mother in the Bay Area, her obvious love for her mother permeating each interaction like perfume. In this memoir that seamlessly balances grief, loss and wild-eyed determination, Fontaine makes a compelling case for using fear as an unexpected gift.\
MixedBookslutCantor's writing is slick but the highly specific quirks and personalized neuroses of the characters can be a distraction from the more concrete pieces of the narrative ... Readers expecting a madcap detective story might be surprised to learn that the novel only borrows from the genre, never completely embracing it. Ultimately, Cantor's prose uses language as a living extension of her characters, but sometimes overlooks the fact that language is only one working cog in their overall construction.