Dive into the ANYR summer reading list: Part 2
We shared the first installment of our summer reading list with you last month — reminding all you activists that introspection is also action, and encouraging you to decompress with some inspirational pages. Because we can never get enough of that literary lovin’, we’re back at it this month with more suggestions for your revolutionary library! Your #DailyRevolution today is to set aside some time to curl up with a good book, and we’ve got a few more ideas about what you could read:
The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson
Part theory, part memoir, part therapy, this book by poet and professor Maggie Nelson examines gender, desire, marriage, and childrearing through the lens of her relationship to fluidly gendered partner Harry Dodge. We think the Chicago Tribune said it best: “In a culture still too quick to ask people to pick a side — to be male or female, to be an assimilationist or a revolutionary, to be totally straight or totally gay…[The Argonauts] is a shatteringly intelligent meditation on what it means not to accept binaries.”
Good for: Packing light on long trips; this book is tiny but dense.
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, by James Forman Jr.
In his ten years as a D.C. public defender, Yale law professor James Forman Jr. (who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and is the son of prominent Civil Rights activists) witnessed the enforcement of the War on Drugs firsthand. He saw majority-black juries and judges locking up black defendants, and majority-black police forces, school administrators, and even city councils drafting or enacting many tough-on-crime policies. In his book, Forman interrogates why black communities embraced the drug war, what pressures they were under to do so, and how this insight can (and SHOULD) inform crime and prison policy today.
Good for: The New Jim Crow-diehards looking for a fresh perspective.
Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? A Story of Women and Economics, by Katrine Marçal
Adam Smith is famous for his theory of the “economic man”: the idea that people are inherently selfish and only contribute to the economy to get something in return. Smith, it turns out, lived with his mother most of his life, a woman who did all the cooking and cleaning while her son theorized about an economy that had no place for her in it. In fact, most economic theory fails to factor in the domestic labor of women and caregivers. Here, Katrine Marçal pulls at that loose thread to unravel the story of how women “having it all” is an unattainable myth at best, and designed to take advantage of non-white minority labor, at worst.
Good for: A wedding gift to help new couples establish parity in their household economy.
I Love Dick, by Chris Kraus
Released in the late 1990s, today this book is speaking to a new generation of young feminists, artists, and unrequited lovers due to the Amazon/Jill Soloway adaptation series of the same name (starring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn). In this radical non-fiction “novel,” writer Chris Kraus dives headfirst into her obsession with a man, Dick, who for her symbolizes the cultural ideal of the stoic, aloof man. Through hundreds of letters to Dick, Chris flips off the taboos of desire, dissects who gets to speak and why, and examines what happens when the world tells a woman to keep her feelings to herself —and she refuses. Kraus’s book is a manifesto, telling us that it’s ok to live life messy and out loud.
Good for: Starting conversations at the beach, pool, rooftop bar, or wherever you’re reading this month.
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, by Jessica Hopper
The title alone is enough to make us pick up this book, but it doesn’t hurt that the pages are packed with witty, acerbic insight that reveals Jessica Hopper as an attentive, wise, and uncompromising participant-observer in the modern music scene. So much more than music reviews, this book contains commentary on gender, youth, and identity — in an age when it’s easy to get tired of talking about those things, Hopper keeps it lively, revelatory, and culturally-relevant.
Good for: Not-so-subtly indoctrinating your not-quite-feminist relatives on family vacation.
As a *bonus action,* share your #ANYRsummerread on Instagram or Twitter and tag @anewyearsrevolution.