Elevate Difference


Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex, and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

In this well-crafted ethnography, anthropologist Alexander Edmonds explores narratives and practices surrounding plastic surgery in contemporary Brazil. Cosmetic procedures, or estetica, have been increasing rapidly among the urban populations. Rather than simply lamenting the increase of plastic surgeries in a country famous for embracing the sensual, Edmonds instead explores the reasons why estetica has become so popular across race, class, and gender lines. Examining beauty culture in Brazil from an ethnographic perspective, he suggests in Pretty Modern that it is essential to understand what beauty means and does for differently located social actors.

Lily of the Nile: A Novel of Cleopatra's Daughter

Lily of the Nile is a treat for lovers of colorful historical fiction. An intriguing reconstruction of the ancient cult of the goddess Isis, the book is set in the last years of the first century B.C. in Alexandria and imperial Rome. The novel is told from the viewpoint of Cleopatra Selene, one of the children of Mark Antony and the most famous Cleopatra of all, the celebrated Queen of Egypt. Princess Selene is only ten years old when her parents commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of a victorious Octavian. Taken captive by the Romans, Selene must use all her intelligence and diplomatic skills to survive.

Veganize This!: From Surf & Turf to Ice-Cream Pie--200 Animal-Free Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

One of the struggles faced by many vegetarians, vegans, or any other person who has a restricted diet is that you can no longer eat the “comfort foods” you enjoyed earlier in your life. One of my favorite foods to eat when I was a child was beef stroganoff. I can still taste it when I think about the flavors, aromas, and even its delightfully sloppy appearance. Alas, I no longer eat red meat, so beef stroganoff is not a part of my culinary repertoire. And although I’ve made the low-rent version with mushrooms and cream sauce, the flavors and aromas that went along with this venture are just not as memorable.

Meat: A Benign Extravagance

Simon Fairlie’s contribution to the debate over how food choices influence the ecological and socioeconomic health of our communities, collected as sixteen chapters in Meat: A Benign Extravagance, probably will, as the foreword predicts, impact the future of sustainable agriculture. The scope of the project is grand, and Fairlie presents what appears to be both thorough research and sound reasoning regarding several interrelated issues. His readable, likeable style, and mostly objective tone, have led reviewers to interpret his findings in contradictory ways (i.e., we should cut back on meat/we should eat meat), which actually may be a testament to the book’s value.

Bipedal, By Pedal! #2: Confidential Mad Libs

Because it’s been about ten years, I forgot how funny mad libs could be, and the ones in Bipedal, By Pedal! #2 have proven to be a fun distraction during lunch breaks and in long grocery store lines. Take, for example, my mad lib from this morning: “On Wednesday, September 29th at 17:30 hours, the so-called 'bananas' are planning a bicycle rally in downtown Portland. From information supplied by C.I.D., their plans...were to gather coffees in the South Park Blocks, group into formations of twelve riders...and gyrate along a predetermined path.” Okay, it’s not the most mature form of entertainment, but that’s a large part of its appeal.


Those who are avid readers often fondly remember the books that seemed to have changed our lives. Many of the books that have stuck with me, I read during my teenage years. Adolescence is a time in life when people struggle with identity and seek to be understood. The books we connect with at this time can be an extremely powerful influence—sometimes as powerful as a friend, a counselor, or a family member. Not much time has passed since I was a teen, but young adult books seem a lot different to me now.

Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories

In a temporally queer attachment of my own, I was bound to Time Binds before it was even published. With versions of the preface, introduction, and three out of four chapters having already appeared in academic journals, Elizabeth Freeman’s arguments had already made an impression on me. This is not to say that Time Binds is a redundant publication. Bound together, the individual pieces only gain in strength, displaying Freeman’s commitment to theorizing the intersections of temporality, queer theory, and the body.

Alimentary Tracts: Appetites, Aversions, and the Postcolonial

The introduction to Alimentary Tracts begins with a Salman Rushdie quote about peppercorns and includes the phrase “symbolic anthropophagy.” Similarly to the first two sentences, the remainder of the book would continue to intrigue and baffle me. Alimentary Tracts consists of four long chapte

Pictures of You

Reading Pictures of You is like having encounters with people you randomly meet on the street, at the beach, on in a park.

Rape New York

Rape New York: Jana Leo’s title seems to defiantly ask its readers to ‘rape’ New York. It also simultaneously turns ‘rape’ into an adjective with which to describe New York City. Fascinated with this title, I pondered the difference a comma could have made. Rape, New York would then turn ‘rape’ into a borough of the city. This wordplay is not insignificant in Leo’s ultimate argument.

The Book Bindery

I just read a wonderful interview with the great poet Martin Espada, in which he talks about the beauty found in writing on all kinds of subjects. Espada himself has worked as a bouncer, a gas station attendant, and everything in between. His words immediately rang in my mind as I sat and devoured Sarah Royal's anecdotes on working in an actual book bindery in an industrial section of Chicago.

Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle

A giant hot pink book filled with nearly 500 pages of letters, emails, and images, when merely considered as an object, Kristine Stiles’s compilation of of artist Carolee Schneemann’s correspondence is intimidating, impressive, and a little bit sexy. The material is no less overwhelming. Carolee Schneemann is an artist whose art played with the boundaries of bodies and embodiment, and of taboo and the abject.

Unruly Girls, Unrepentant Mothers: Redefining Feminism on Screen

Unruly Girls, Unrepentant Mothers: Redefining Feminism on Screen by Kathleen Rowe Karlyn is a fascinating look into the movies and television I watched as a kid. As a woman in my mid-twenties, I can safely say that my age group, for the most part, was the target audience when the films and television shows mentioned in the book were being produced. Or, at least, one of the target audiences.

The Magic Children: Racial Identity at the End of the Age of Race

“I used to think that I was Indian. The world was filled with magic children, living in America under the spell of race. But one day I learned that racial identity was just something to imagine about myself, and I devoted several years of careful thought on the matter.

The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation

The Offensive Internet is a collection of essays that focus on abuses made possible by the freedoms provided by the Internet. The essays deal with the issues of privacy, free speech, cyber-bullying, misogyny, and anonymity.

Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth about Cow’s Milk and Your Health

Joseph Keon’s Whitewash aims to provide enlightenment on the industrialization of dairy farms: a place where happy cows no longer exist. Keon, a wellness consultant, nutritionist and fitness expert examines the production of milk while emphasizing the negative impact it has on the health of American consumers.

The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Twentieth Century

The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Twentieth Century is an anthology of influential essays written by top scholars that have defined the field of American girls’ history and culture over the last thirty years.

The Orphan Rescue

The Orphan Rescue opens in Sosnowiec, Poland in the late spring of 1937 as twelve-year-old Miriam and her grandfather take her younger brother David to an orphanage. Miriam’s grandparents have no other choice. The Depression has been a financially trying time for everyone, and when her locksmith grandfather injures his hand and can no longer work, the family is faced with a difficult decision.

The Girl With The Glass Feet

I am a bit of a daydreamer, as I imagine we all are. When I read, the same rule applies; while the letters unfurl on the page, the images unwind in my mind, doing as they will, relying on my knowledge of the world. I do not like intrusions into that universe. Ali Shaw is a daydreamer as well; however, his dreams have intruded into my own.

Hide and Seek: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exibitionists

Sometimes a sexually arousing or a sexually fulfilling experience does not necessarily have to involve physical contact with another person. This is the premise behind the erotica anthology Hide And Seek: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, in which the characters in the scenarios that enfold find sexual fulfillment and release from viewing others in the throes of sexual passion (be it with an attractive partner or with a vibrator).

Sub Rosa

The story of Sub Rosa is bizarre, surreal, intensely wonderful, and horrible at the same time. You must read this with an open mind and heart. The story focuses on Little, a runaway girl who is lost in the world and herself, who gets rescued by a "daddy" and whisked away to the land of Sub Rosa, a magical street of Glories and their working families. Glories are sex workers with charms—they all have different magical powers.

Miss Don’t Touch Me, Vol. 2

My knowledge of graphic novels is limited to having only read The Watchman. When you’re reading a book you imagine what the character looks like and maybe even the environment where she lives. When you experience a graphic novel, an interconnected array of words and colors awaits you much like what a child sees when looking at a picture book. I think it’s a fabulous genre and I look forward to reading more. _[Miss Don’t Touch Me, Vol.

Chasing Alliecat

In this action-packed thriller written for a young adult audience, author Rebecca Fjelland Davis brings multiple themes to the forefront, places them on the table and gets dirty—dirty as in riding mountain bikes in the woods of a small town and scarily getting involved with some unsavory characters in the wilds of northern Minnesota. With a plot interwoven with themes of death, friendship, family, and abuse, this novel provokes your senses and makes it all worthwhile.

Zinester's Guide to New York City

I love Ayun Halliday's writing voice. It balances a small, healthy dose of making fun of oneself with a snarky and sassy perspective of the world. Her world is New York City, which she describes so well in her adventures with her husband and kids in her zine, The East Village Inky. So I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that Ms.

The Story of Lee (Volume 1)

The Story of Lee is a graphic novel written by Seán Michael Wilson, the editor of AX: Alternative Manga. Wilson writes mainly for a mature international manga audience, and like most other Japanese style comics, it is serialized: I had the pleasure of reading just the beginning of a larger story arc.

The Cosmopolitans

The Cosmopolitans by Nadia Kalman is the story of a family of Russian immigrants reconciling their illusions of America with the reality of life in Stamford, Connecticut. Osip and Stalina are the patriarchs of the Molochnik clan, holding sway over a house of three daughters—Milla, Yana, and Katya—and Pratik, an exchange student from Bangladesh.

Widow: Stories

The collection of stories in Michelle Latiolais’ Widow pull at a common thread – shading, sketching, and putting together a picture of what it is like to walk the Earth as a woman who has lost her husband. While none of these women carry any outward signs of trauma, the lens through which each of them sees the world has shifted, leaving each of them off-kilter.

The Incident at New Providence

The Incident at New Providence begins with the uncomfortable reunion of two sisters who can fairly accurately be called Country Mouse and City Mouse. At that point, however, any resemblance to a cute children’s story comes to a screeching halt. Olivia Free-Woman has written a story with racism, sexism, sexual abuse, abortion, small town politics, and a lesbian heroine that feels entirely plausible. As with most entertaining fiction, the back story evolves throughout, leaving the reader intrigued without feeling too much in the dark. The action moves the story forward as Terri (City Mouse) discovers things she wishes she hadn’t about some of the people she grew up with, and her big sister Grace struggles to keep her from getting into trouble.

Revolutionary Women: A Book of Stencils

I'm all for learning more—and for disseminating information to a wide audience—about women who have played significant roles in history. All too often, women who have contributed to movements for change have been given all too little (or no) attention or credit. I agree that we need to have a more complete picture of the female revolutionaries who risked and sometimes gave their lives for a cause.