Elevate Difference


The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Nineteenth Century

In 1982 Harvard professor Carol Gilligan published In a Different Voice, a revolutionary body of research articulating the unique psychological experience of being female in America. Responding to research that drew conclusions from studying boys, Gilligan’s exploration of the female experience was one of the first to focus on girlhood as an independent site for research rather than as a sub-category of Women’s Studies.

Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

A2K. Robot or revolution? A2K is a movement dedicated to dissemination of information to increase access to knowledge; hence, the acronym. Encompassing HIV/AIDS activists working for access to antiretroviral therapy in developing countries to college students downloading music for free, A2K is, at its heart, challenging intellectual property rights to enhance to fit our changing world.

Love, Honor, and Betray

Before I started to read it, this book held lots of promise; the cover tells of the author’s previous books being on the New York Times bestseller list. Unfortunately, I had not had the pleasure of reading any other of Kimberla Lawson Roby’s books. Since reading Love, Honor, and Betray, I have come to realize that one of its characters, the Reverend Curtis Black, was at the centre of a series of an eight books by the same author.

Confronting Global Gender Justice: Women’s Lives, Human Rights

Confronting Global Gender Justice provides the reader a refreshing survey, albeit difficult to digest at times, of current issues and debates within the context of women’s rights as human rights. The chapters reflect the lived experiences of women and not just theory masked behind empty words.

Accountability and White Anti-racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work

“Actively listen... You cannot help if you do not hear... Actively listen...” These words swirl across the cover of Accountability and White Anti-racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work. The book is a collection of eleven articles by white anti-racist activists reflecting on their experiences with accountability.

The Natural Wedding: Ideas and Inspiration for a Stylish and Green Celebration

“... the average wedding can send 14.5 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—roughly double an individual human's carbon footprint for a year.” So writes the author Louise Moon in the introduction to her book, The Natural Wedding. As the founder of EcoMoon, which specializes in designing green weddings, Moon is uniquely qualified to guide those who aspire to be responsible stewards of our planet.

Transnational Social Work Practice

Transnational Social Work Practice is definitely not a book intended for a popular audience. That it is a textbook was clear to me before I even laid eyes on the book, when I noted that the list price on Amazon.com—for this slim 241-page volume—was $50.


By the age of nine, Michelle LeBeau has already taken more than a few knocks. Her mom has disappeared—whereabouts unknown—and her dad has unceremoniously dumped her with his aging parents in tiny Deerhorn, Wisconsin and left town. Michelle is Deerhorn's first biracial resident—half Japanese, half white—and she is not allowed to forget it. Her only friends are a loving spaniel and her grandparents, a charismatic retiree named Charlie, and his dutiful wife, Helen.

WTF? Women: How to Survive 101 of the Worst F*#-ing Situations With the Ladies

The first time I flipped through this book, I felt like throwing it in the trash. The humor is crude and the tone misogynistic. But then I sat down and read it more carefully (not that it necessarily requires a careful reading). And I discovered that reading it was a lot like watching the performance of a stand-up comedian.

Dreaming in French

On the surface, Dreaming in French sounds like the type of book I would love. It’s about a strong-willed girl named Charlotte growing up in Paris during the 1970s until she and her mother are forced to move to New York. I love anything about Paris, especially during the 1970s with its yé-yé girl singers that ruled the charts, inventive fashion, and sexual freedom.

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

There is something quite redemptive about the 2010 edition of Ntozake Shange's experimental “choreo-poem,” For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf, which is published as a tie-in to Tyler Perry's underwhelming film adaptation, For Colored Girls.

Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance

You may already know (and I hope you do) that zoos and circuses aren't good places for animals. But how do we know? Jason Hribal's Fear of an Animal Planet argues that we only need listen to what the animals themselves are telling us. He fills the pages with story after story of animals who "misbehave": who escape, who refuse to perform and reproduce, who attack (and often kill) human handlers.

Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Science

Though I enjoy a good yoga session as much as any middle-class white woman my age, my natural state is one of tooth-chattering anxiety. Anyone who knows me well could tell you that my yin and yang are not harmonious, but now I have the endocrine profile to prove it—a set of chromosome repeats in my DNA that has manifested itself in serious hormonal disruption, a.k.a. premature ovarian failure, a.k.a. early menopause.

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

I was pleased as soon as I ran my fingers over the pleasantly matte dust jacket of Stuff. My pleasure only grew once I dove in: authors Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee smoothly meld case study and psychological analysis for an engaging read.

Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke and Finding Home

I’m sharing this book with everyone I know. Caitlin Shetterly’s Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke and Finding Home is a strong memoir about a young couple going broke in the recession and it gives readers the satisfying feeling of walking around someone else’s shoes for 250 pages. We’re all connected by some basic humanity and a good memoir reinforces this connection as we don the cloak of another with ease.

Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community

When Tamara Mose Brown had her first child in 2004, she began going to different Brooklyn, New York parks on sunny afternoons. In each, she found dozens of West Indian nannies caring for the babies and toddlers of the largely White middle- and upper-income denizens who lived nearby. Questions about both the nannies' work and the race, class, and gender dynamics of their lives prompted Brown—the Canadian-born daughter of Trinidadian immigrants—to begin spending time with these women. Their conversations were eye-opening. For one, Brown came to realize the centrality of paid childcare to U.S.

Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures, 1960s to Now

Signs of Change is both a coffee table book and a full-color history lesson. For those who prefer an alternative to a boring textbook, this book is the ticket. In September of 2008, Exit Art began a traveling art exhibit to showcase the works of artists whose materials reflect cultural and social uprisings around the world, including posters, photographs, and graffiti. The pages are full-color and let the art take center stage, but historical context is provided in a way that is educational without being stifling.

Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock

One of the best things about reviewing books is the exposure I get to the fabulous females in feminist history who would otherwise be consigned to the cobwebby corners of academic obscurity had some enterprising writer not plucked them from the depths and held them up for the delight of feminist history nerds. This was what I experienced with Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic, which is part biography and part collected works of Ida Craddock.

The Summer Without Men

The basic storyline of The Summer Without Men, while not startling or original, seemed full of possibility: husband cheats, wife goes to her childhood home for a respite to recover, and along the way makes potentially hopeful discoveries about herself. I anticipated a bitter beginning, full of hurt feelings, with some healing by the end. However, either the moment of redemption never arrived, or it was obscured by the lack of clarity in the narrative.

Morning Haiku

In her introduction, Sanchez—a member of the “Broadside Quartet” who published her first volume of poetry in 1969 and is most often associated with the Black Arts Movement—recalls her discovery of haiku at the 8th Street Bookshop in New York at the age of twenty-one. “I slid down onto the floor and cried and was changed. I had found me.” It may seem hard to sum up a person in three lines and seventeen syllables; Sanchez solves the problem by writing poems composed of groups of haiku. These poems certainly feel like personal reflections on people and places that have impacted the poet.


Initially, it was the synoptic descriptions of Solo that drew me in. I saw phrases like “enigmatic,” “thought-provoking,” and “demanding,” along with geographical settings such as Berlin, Bulgaria, and New York City. The cover artwork interested me as well. It depicts the white silhouette of a man against a seafoam blue background; he has a cane and his upper body is dissolving into birds.

The Young Lords: A Reader

Before reading The Young Lords: A Reader, I had never heard of the Young Lords Party. The original Young Lords were a loosely organized group that emerged from a street gang fighting the gentrification of Puerto Rican neighborhoods in Chicago.

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

While the dramatic story of Anne Boleyn is familiar to many, very few actual facts are present in the typical retelling. In The Lady in the Tower, historian Alison Weir takes a day by day look at the life of Anne Boleyn and the social and political culture which influenced her fate. In her time, Anne Boleyn was one of the most recognized women in the world.

Give Me Liberty

Give Me Liberty, by Valerie Joan Connors, is terrible. The book reads like someone narrating a Lifetime movie: one-dimensional, wooden, and worst of all, boring. You can guess what is going to happen well before it does, no characters are anything but exactly what you expect them to be, and the writing is pedestrian.

Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes That are Good to the Earth and Great for Your Bod

Assuming you’ve never heard of Skinny Bitch and its burgeoning franchise, here’s a quick primer. A diet book, marketed as a tough love, no-nonsense takedown of women who whine about their diets and think there is nothing they can do to change their bodies, ambushes its readers with a surprise crash course on the evils of eating animal products, meant to shock women into choosing a vegan diet.

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued

Like many of my generation, I am a child of divorce. I watched as my newly single mother struggled to work, find and pay for childcare, and afford lawyers that could compete with my father’s during endless days of court. I watched as we plummeted into poverty while my wealthy father’s lifestyle barely changed. I am the daughter of a woman who chose to sacrifice her career to raise me, and who was subsequently penalized by a system that encouraged her to do precisely that.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2011

As the title indicates, Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 is a compilation of short erotic fiction from a variety of authors, both established and obscure. What the title fails to express is that this is not just yet another compilation of middle-of-the-road lesbian erotica. This edition, unlike others before it, centers on lesbian outsiders, the ones whose radical gender bending and subversive sexuality sometimes makes the rest of us just a little bit squeamish.

The Autobiography of Jenny X

The Autobiography of Jenny X is amazing. Every time you think you know what is going to happen, author Lisa Dierbeck takes the story in a different, exciting direction.

Freak Nation: A Field Guide to 101 of the Most Odd, Extreme, and Outrageous American Subcultures

As the subheading states, Freak Nation is truly a field guide to American subcultures. Its format presents each group as if it were a species of bird in a bird-watching guide.

Passage to Manhood: Youth Migration, Heroin, and AIDS in Southwest China

Heroin. AIDS. Migration. Development programs. Gender roles. In Passage to Manhood: Youth Migration, Heroin, and AIDS in Southwest China, Shao-hua Liu examines each of these issues and how they relate to Nuoso youth. An anthropological researcher, the author delves into how China’s evolution from the traditional to the modern intersects with drug use, disease, and development.