Elevate Difference

Reviews by Liz Simmons

The Fat Studies Reader

The Fat Studies Reader is a collection of groundbreaking essays in this interdisciplinary field. The book is divided into six sections that include a historical overview of fatness, fat studies in health and medicine, social inequality, discrimination in popular culture, and embracing fatness.

Dowaha (Buried Secrets)

Dowaha (Buried Secrets) is the second feature film by Tunisian director Raja Amari. The film follows the story of Aicha, a teenage girl who lives with her spinster sister and older mother in the basement of a crumbling, abandoned mansion in a remote area. The women are hiding from something unknown and live in a different reality of total seclusion, other than the occasional trip into town to sell piecework at a fabric shop.

2010 Slingshot Organizer

It warms my heart that the Slingshot Collective is still producing this legendary anarchistic day planner. Although this is the sixteenth year that the Slingshot organizer is in print, I am pretty sure that the first time I ever saw one was after the 1999 anti-WTO protests in Seattle. Unfortunately I didn’t go to the protests (because I was in high school and my parents wouldn’t let me). Luckily, my boyfriend at the time brought one back for me as a protest souvenir.


Hailing from Athens, Georgia, Maserati play methodical, well thought out, and percussion-driven instrumental music, described by some as post-rock. I saw Maserati play in Portland earlier this year when they opened for the majestic MONO, one of my favorite bands of all time, also on the Temporary Residence label.

Earth in Our Care: Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability

In Earth in Our Care: Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability, Chris Maser sets out to explain the interconnectedness of life on this planet and the importance of promoting the functioning of healthy ecosystems.

"What is an Apparatus?" and Other Essays

"What Is an Apparatus?" and Other Essays, is a collection of three essays by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. Although only fifty pages, this collection is quite difficult for the reader unfamiliar with Agamben's work. In the first essay, “What is an Apparatus,” the author engages with Foucault’s concept of the apparatus (_dispositif _in French).

The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood

Helene Cooper’s memoir about growing up in Liberia and moving to the United States paints a portrait of a girl trapped between two cultures and countries worlds apart from one another. Cooper is the descendant of freed African American slaves who returned to Africa to found Liberia in the early 1800s. Her upbringing was a privileged one, as a member of the small Liberian upper class composed almost entirely of the descendants of Black American settlers.

Le Papier ne Peut pas Envelopper la Braise (Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers)

[Paper Cannot Wrap up Embers] provides a numbing portrait of the everyday lives of young Cambodian women who have been forced into prostitution in the aftermath of decades of war and genocide.

Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir

If I had to choose only one genre of book to read for the rest of my life, I would choose memoirs.

Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuilt and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina was one of those events that it was impossible not to be affected by because the images we all watched on our televisions and in the newspapers were so horrible. There was a sense of shock that U.S. citizens could be treated so poorly in their own country. Yet this outrage seems to have faded along with the general public’s memory of the storm. Hurricane Katrina will forever alter the course of history in New Orleans and the life paths of thousands of families from the region.

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Besides weapons and drugs, sex trafficking is the most profitable type of illegal trafficking in the world.

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

I don’t usually have high hopes for books based on films. Luckily, Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, which is based on the documentary by the same name, rises above what one would typically expect from this genre. Chock full of large color photos and interviews with crafters from fifteen cities around the country, this book provides a window into the modern craft movement in America.

Water First: Reaching the Millennium Development Goals

Four thousand children die every day as a result of the lack of access to clean water. Water First opens with this unbelievable figure, along with a montage of poverty-stricken African children. Luckily, the film moves beyond voyeuristic sentimentalism and goes on to make the case that access to clean water should be recognized as one of the most important global issues.  The country of Malawi is used as a case study, along with the nonprofit organization Fresh Water Malawi, run by retired firefighter Charles Banda.