Layered with academic and poetic insights, Maggie Nelson’s memoir “The Argonauts” is a meditation on love, maternity, family, sexuality, and gender. It’s distinguished by a brutally tender chronicling of the physical and hormonal transitions of the author and her partner Harry Dodge, as Nelson undergoes artificial insemination and Dodge navigates a double mastectomy and testosterone injections. From the first paragraph Nelson establishes that this is not a book for the faint of heart or . . .
Convincing American women to transform workplaces by voting in family-friendly laws involves no small amount of cajoling—and for good reason. Even after decades of feminist manifestos and women’s empowerment tomes (or perhaps partly because of them), it can feel like an admission of deficiency to clamor for a new world order, like you aren’t Oprah or Hillary or Sheryl enough to win in a man’s world. That’s why personal growth books like Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” are so seductive. . . .
I had the honor of participating in a lively discussion on HuffPost Live recently about an outcry over the misrepresentation of slavery in a Texas textbook. The conversation in this case centered around a single misleading caption in a high school geography text, but the issue is much more widespread. So many wonderful points were made by host Nancy Redd and my fellow panelists Roni Dean-Burren and Mark Anthony Neal that I wanted to share the full text of our discussion in addition to the . . .
It’s a joy to look back at the evolution of Zora’s parties as captured on this blog. On her second birthday, just two short years ago, I declared myself a lover, not a planner, and outlined all the reasons why I didn’t “go all Martha Stewart on the occasion.” Still, I hinted that bigger things might be in store the following year. Turns out, I kept her third birthday party super simple, but went all out for a sendoff on the eve of our move to Austin. Fast-forward to Zora’s 4th birthday last . . .
I love this elegant story of kindness and cruelty. In just 32 pages, it distills the essence of human conflict--a persistent refusal to see the humanity in others and extend simple warmth and care. Set among school children, “Each Kindness” is told from the perspective of Chloe, a young girl who refuses to accept small gestures of friendship from Maya, the new girl. Maya wears spring shoes in the snow and plays alone, snubbed by classmates who laugh and name her "Never New" for her . . .
“You’re such a good boy,” Jazz Jennings’s mother always said. “No, Mama. Good GIRL,” returned Jazz, a transgender child who would grow up to write a picture book about her path to girlhood. Until that book, I Am Jazz, appeared on the Girls of Summer reading list, I had not thought about introducing the transgender experience to my three-year-old daughter. She’s got quite a girl-power library, but this particular narrative of individuality and self-acceptance was not represented. Realizing . . .
I drifted through the farewell party, feeling unmoored. Our house, no longer our home, stood empty a couple of blocks away. Our belongings were en route to a new city, our departure imminent. Yet here Zora and I stood in celebratory pause, having our last hurrah, a Happy Trails party to launch us toward our new home. I knew I would be back in Richmond again soon. I had a house to sell and projects to lead, but I didn’t know if I would be back again with Zora, and I needed to reassure . . .
I was reading Laura Vanderkam’s “I Know How She Does It” when news broke of the racist killing of nine churchgoers in South Carolina. At first, it felt meaningless to be mining the book for time-saving strategies and productivity tips as the nation (or some of it anyway) went into mourning. It felt absurd to read a self-help book when I could be toppling confederate monuments or lobbying for gun control. Yet I kept turning the pages. And I realized that in the face of senseless violence, . . .
“We’re in a society where we have to justify play. But play reminds you of your better self and how happy you can be. In play, there’s a wonderful lightness of being.” --Nadia Stieglitz, founder, Mice At Play Normally, I’m not a big Halloween person, but this year I felt like dressing up--mostly because Zora got a costume box for her birthday that came with a witch’s hat just my size. It’s way too big for her head, but it’s the perfect size to fit over my afro puff. Truth be told, I wear . . .
Are you an elite competitor in the Busyness Games? Do you find new and creative ways to divide your time and attention? If so, then “Overwhelmed” is a must-read. It methodically reveals the tangle of unrealistic personal expectations, social pressure, and workplace inflexibility that conspire to push modern American schedules to the brink. The book documents how, toward the end of the 20th century, busyness took on a kind of alluring high social status, distinct from previous eras. “What . . .