Elevate Difference

Reviews by Jennifer Wedemeier

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage

Since I am apparently one of the only women between the ages of twenty-five and seventy-five who hasn’t read Eat, Pray, Love, I was delightfully surprised by Elizabeth Gilbert's latest work, Committed. Gilbert's engaging prose and witty, se

Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines that Wired America and Scarred the Planet

In Mass Destruction, Timothy J. LeCain carefully examines the industrial open-pit mining industry in America, and its technological, social, and environmental impact on our modern world. Full disclosure: Books like this have a tendency to take my enviro-angst to a whole new level.

Why Is My Mother Getting A Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask

Jancee Dunn’s second memoir, Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask, is a laugh-out-loud funny and often touching set of anecdotes about her life; her big, quirky family; her many quirky friends; and her quirky self.

The Get 'Em Girls' Guide to the Perfect Get-Together: Delicious Recipes to Delight Family and Friends

Once you get past the bright pink and purple cover with cartoonish women and the “you go girl” writing style of the introduction, The Get 'Em Girls' Guide to the Perfect Get-Together is actually a pretty good cooking and entertaining book. Confession: I’m a girl who actually does like pink, and entertaining, and cocktails with little pieces of fruit for garnish. I even like cartoons.

The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World

Many well-meaning people and organizations throughout the world have had grand visions for African and Indian aid over the years, but many of these projects and initiatives have not had a lasting impact for the poorest people. Author and Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz has written a book that will change the way you think about Africa, India, philanthropy, and probably your own life. Novogratz, who had been an international banker, knew she wanted to make a difference in the world. Like many of us, though, she wasn’t sure how.

The Little Book on Meaning: Why We Crave It, How We Create It

The Little Book on Meaning is truly a salve of a book; it is a positive and inspiring message for anyone with questions about life—and that’s pretty much everyone, right? Laura Berman Fortgang, “personal coach” and author of several motivational books, addresses the human need for meaning in our existence and the struggle to discern what that meaning might be.

Reforming the World: Social Activism and the Problem of Fiction in Nineteenth Century America

Reforming the World: Social Activism and the Problem of Fiction in Nineteenth-Century America explores the complex relationship between American social activism and literature in the nineteenth century. At times symbiotic, at times turbulent, this relationship was formed both by the power of literature and by the hopes and dreams of American social reformers for their country.

Cosmic Connection: Messages for a Better World

Cosmic Connection is a difficult book. Difficult because if you are not used to thinking about the world in multiple dimensions, the physical and spiritual, you will be taken aback by the author’s basic assumptions about life.

American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender Within the Ummah

Jamillah Karim takes an extremely complex and contentious set of topics—race, class, gender and faith—and skillfully examines them within the framework of the ummah, or the Muslim community.

Cute Couple

Kendra and Zach are cute. So cute, in fact, that they are the cutest couple in their circle of friends, and everyone tells them so. Repeatedly. However, in writer/director Courtney Moorehead Balaker’s first film, Cute Couple, Kendra and Zach undergo a couplehood identity crisis when an even more adorable couple comes along and changes the group dynamic. Balaker’s clever short comedy was the audience favorite at the Jackson Hole Film Festival in 2008, and it’s easy to see why.

From the Heart

Legacy Recordings released digitally remastered versions of fifteen Billie Holiday songs for Valentine’s Day, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. From the Heart is a collection of some of Holiday’s loveliest work: classics such as Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” Marks’ and Simon’s “All Of Me,” Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” and my personal favorite, J.

Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley

Desi Land, Shalini Shankar’s ethnographic exploration of Desi teenagers in Silicon Valley during the late 1990s, is a fascinating look at South Asian American youth culture at a pivotal moment in modern American history.  The setting of the book makes it particularly compelling: California during the dot-com boom, when a confluence of "model minorities" are populating an increasingly profitable and technologically advanced work force.

Dairy Queen

The word “charming” is too vague, and it makes me think of smarmy real estate descriptions, but…I…can’t…stop…myself. Dairy Queen is just so darn charming that I am forced to momentarily succumb. Catherine Gilbert Murdock has taken a traditional coming-of-age story about a tomboy in a small town and wrung some feisty new life out of it.


If the thought of being 13 again makes you more nauseous than nostalgic, Kickoff is not the book for you. However, if you feel free to channel your inner tween, read on. Donna King, also known as Jenny Oldfield, is the author of several children’s series novels, including the Horses of Half Moon Ranch.