Current Issues

Caste The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson - Book Review

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Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593230251
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Published: Random House - August 4th, 2020

This book should be on any and every reading list, especially in this era of civil and social unrest and is a perfect pairing with books like How To be An Antiracist by Kendi or Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr. What I love about Wilkerson's book is her passion, anger, fears and her sense of justice do not cloud her journalistic abilities but are enhanced by her skills at being a storyteller and a researcher. Those passions illuminate and reverberate with the reader through her personal accounts as well as her histories of the whole concepts and misconceptions of "race". I personally think this book should be required reading for Social Services and the Police Dept. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio - Book Review

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$26.00
ISBN: 9780399592683
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Published: One World - March 24th, 2020

As a Harvard-educated undocumented immigrant, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is in a unique position, able to compassionately connect with other undocumented immigrants around the country and excoriate the systemic policies that revile them. Part cultural investigation, part memoir, she hops from NYC to Miami, from Flint, Michigan to her Connecticut home in search of these paperless pillars of American society—their stories are enraging and sad, but their personalities and nuances are vibrant, compelling, familiar. What struck me most, though, was Cornejo Villavicencio's voice: poetic but approachable, manic but precise, caustic but inviting, both subtle and urgent. The specificity of her observations lends her prose a sparkling, fiction-like quality, acute yet conversational, an old friend teaching you something new. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau


How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780525509288
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Published: One World - August 13th, 2019

A moral "How To" book for our time. Kendi's antiracism evolved fitfully: racist leanings outgrown; assimilation rejected; hatred of racists discarded; finally, awareness that dismantling racist policies is paramount. Erudite and personal, Kendi acknowledges the difficulty, satisfaction, and purpose of becoming an antiracist. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell - Book Review

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$30.00
ISBN: 9780316478526
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Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 10th, 2019

Though bursting at the seams with those charming anecdotes and digressions typical of Gladwell, Talking to Strangers strikes a much more serious note than most of his other works. Simply put: this book is relevant, in every sense of the word. Gladwell unveils how our preconceived biases and tendency to trust others by default have led to many of the problems that shape our current political and cultural landscape, including recent failures in foreign policy, policing, espionage, finance, and sexual assault investigations. With case studies ranging from Amanda Knox to Sylvia Plath, Gladwell synthesizes a mountain of research on human interaction into an accessible and illuminating book. ~ Reviewed by Patrick Molluso


Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9781982105310
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Published: Scribner - March 31st, 2020

Veteran newspaper reporter Eyre, operating by the credo that "the hallmark of crusading journalism is sustained outrage," reveals the twisted legalities and persistent pressure that finally revealed the pharmaceutical industry's complicity in West Virginia's deadly opioid crisis. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9780525522263
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Published: Viking - October 8th, 2019

A gem among the manure of hot takes about how we got to here. Taking social media as his beat, New Yorker writer Marantz embedded himself with the internet cretins who tweeted while America burned. He shows how the trollish likes of Mike Cernovitch and Milo Yiannopolis seized the national conversation away from gatekeepers like CNN and the New York Times, and steered it towards a fateful reckoning at the Charlottesville Unite the Right valley. There's a bit of Didion and Foster Wallace to Marantz's writing, but he has fashioned a tapestry of keyboard warriors who cry about free speech but are unable to accept the sometimes violent consequences of their superficial supplement-addled thinking. A stick of TNT that's lit in every sense of the word. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley


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