Tag: Book review

Difficult Truths: A Review of Anuradha Bhagwati’s Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience

Anuradha Bhagwati is not a dude-bro. She doesn’t defend “Murica” with blind reverence. She does not fit the common trope of an American Marine. She could, however, outrun and outshoot many of those who do. But these skills probably did not help the horrifying truth that, during her service in the Marine Corps, she rarely… Read more →

A Very Lost Cause Love Affair; or, Is It Possible to Write a Good Civil War Romance?

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you: I love romance novels. Seriously — after signing up sort of as a joke, I fell hard for Audible’s Escape Package and binged books about everything from Vermont apple farmers to Regency wallflowers. And while some people might want their escape reading to be as far… Read more →

Colonial Politics are Reproductive Politics: A Review of Brianna Theobald’s Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century

This year, a panel of experts on reproductive health in Indigenous communities gave a briefing to Congress asking for, among a host of other demands, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The panel argued for more attention toward the effects of such restrictions on Native people amid a flurry of abortion bans that limit reproductive… Read more →

Showing Up, Building Community, and Creating Grace: A Review of Lindy West’s The Witches Are Coming

At 11 am CT on January 20, 2017 — just as Donald Trump was being sworn in as the forty-fifth President of the United States in Washington, DC — I was sworn in as a brand new American citizen in Rock Island, Illinois. It was an odd day. On the one hand, knowing that the… Read more →

“If you liked this interview, you’ll love this book”: A Review of Sarah Milov’s The Cigarette: A Political History (2019)

On March 2019, writers Danuta Kean and Isobel de Vasconcellos released The Emilia Report, comparing how 10 male and female writers received broadsheet coverage in the same book market necessary for literary recognition. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, their survey uncovered that new books by men receive 56% of review coverage. Despite being bestselling authors,… Read more →

The Racist Misogyny behind Your “Does My Butt Look Fat in This?”: Reading Sabrina Strings’ Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

Every so often, a book comes out that arrives as both an answer to a question and an answer to a prayer. For me, Sabrina Strings’s Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia is emphatically both. My scholarly superpower, and an annoying one it is too, is finding the holes in the… Read more →

“Our Dogged and Deadly Archnemesis”: A Review of Timothy C. Winegard’s The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

In 2015, mosquito-borne pathogens caused approximately 830,000 deaths worldwide. Malaria alone killed 435,000 people in 2017. Statistical extrapolations suggest that mosquito-borne viruses and parasites have killed roughly half of all humans who have ever lived.1 While yellow fever, dengue, and malaria have long been the most virulent of these diseases, newer zoonotics (diseases transmitted from… Read more →

Searching for Solidarity in Madeline Miller’s Circe

Released just over a year ago, Madeline Miller’s Circe has since appeared on several bestseller lists and earned even more awards, and it makes for the perfect canon-challenging #BeachRead. The novel presents a rich array of themes, stories, and questions that push it past a simple pleasure-book. The narrative centers the mysterious figure of Circe,… Read more →

The Queer Truth: Sarah Schulman’s People in Trouble

For years, when I would tell stories of my time in 1980s San Francisco to friends or students, some of my listeners would say, “It sounds kind of like Rent.” “No,” I would say, “It’s more like Sarah Schulman’s novel People in Trouble, but San Francisco rather than New York.”1 The friends and students to… Read more →

Notes on Outrages from Reviewer #2

Naomi Wolf’s latest book, Outrages, was supposed to be released in the United States on June 18, 2019. In May 2019, BBC host Matthew Sweet had Wolf on his show and challenged her misinterpretation of a key legal term. One argument in the book is that legislative changes in 1857 institutionalized homophobia in the United… Read more →