Elevate Difference


Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas

Of the many things I accomplished in high school, “leading a political uprising” was suspiciously absent. Yet around the world, teenage girls are organizing their own social revolutions, a trend largely undocumented and unanalyzed before Jessica Taft’s Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas.

Mother Knows Best: Talking Back to the “Experts”

Given the sassy title and equally feisty cartoon woman on the cover of this book, I expected a bold, yet playful critique of so-called mothering “experts.” Much to my disappointment, what I encountered within was a collection of essays and research papers that were heavy in academic terminology and short on the fun.

Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses

I’ve always wondered what prompts people to write memoirs. It’s one thing to be a celebrity riding the wave of success, but quite another to be a regular Jane baring it all for the judgment of strangers. As a critic for publications as prestigious as The New York Times, Claire Dederer is no stranger to criticism; nor does she seem to fear it.

No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power

When I heard Gloria Feldt being interviewed on NPR, I thought I might have some problems with No Excuses, so I asked to review it and follow up with a telephone interview of Feldt. When I read the book, my first impression was confirmed. After an hour interview with Feldt, who I had met previously in Arizona, she seemed such a nice, genuine person concerned for women that I was torn about what to do with the review.

La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City

In her historical work La Calle, Otero focuses on the city of Tucson’s elimination of the Mexican cultural center known as “La Calle” in the late sixties.

A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s

Stephanie Coontz has taken on a project of mythical proportions with her latest work, A Strange Stirring, an examination of the impact Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique had on American society and culture in the 1960s. A Strange Stirring looks at both the book’s message to women during this stifling time and investigates the life of Friedan herself, giving the author credit for her truly remarkable work while laying bare some of the controversies surrounding the groundbreaking work.

Fatherhood 4.0: iDad Applications Across Cultures

From the outset, I was behind author Dalton Higgins’ endeavor in Fatherhood 4.0: iDad Applications Across Cultures. As an African-Canadian of Jamaican decent, Higgins writes to and for dads like him—multicultural, technologically and culturally current thirty-somethings figuring out how to parent in their contemporary Canadian society. And wouldn’t you know it, apparently he has quite the audience to speak to.

Irish Pages: The Home Place

Edited in Belfast, the biannual journal Irish Pages brings together writings from contemporary Ireland, across Europe, and around the globe.

These Here Are Crazy Times 2

Every so often, I’ll be on the phone with my ninety-one-year-old grandma and she’ll reveal a tidbit I’ve never heard before. The most recent revelation—admittedly several years ago now—was about her only serious boyfriend before meeting my grandpa. He hadn’t been interested in religion, and my gram just couldn’t envision a future with such a man, much as she loved him.

One Hundred Bottles

An intensely vivid and riveting story of abuse, pain, honesty, erotica and discovery-this combination of words may not sound appealing, but the provocative and imaginative novel of these topics woven together creates a graphic fall from the literary world into our laps of reading desire.

Teacher at Point Blank: Confronting Sexuality, Violence, and Secrets in a Suburban School

When Jo Scott-Coe began teaching in the same suburban California high school she’d graduated from four years earlier, she had to overcome her reluctance to call former teachers by their first names. Once that was accomplished, she set out to bring new life to the literature and writing classes she was assigned. In seventeen essays Scott-Coe lays bare the disappointments and frustrations that marred her eleven years in the classroom.


School is let out early because of a massive blizzard. Everyone is supposed to get home before the weather gets worse. But Scotty Weems and his friends decide to stay after for a couple hours to work on a shop project, figuring that one of their parents will be able to pick them up on the way home from work. This turns out to be a really bad (and really deadly) decision. Along with several other students and one teacher, they are trapped in the school by the snow. And it keeps coming. And coming. It doesn’t take long before this becomes a survival story.

Indigenous Writings from the Convent: Negotiating Ethnic Autonomy in Colonial Mexico

After the Spanish invasion of Mexico, the invaders converted the existing noble class of Indians to Catholicism so that the church could regulate the lives of its subjects and help the Spanish colonial administration. The noble class in colonial Mexico had special status and though never equal to the Spanish, they sometimes allied with them against the indigenous people. The nobles wanted to maintain their status and property, they had education and language, and the Spanish wanted to use them as intermediaries to govern the natives. Women lost power and authority under Spanish rule, but noble women tried to maintain their place, at least in the convent.

The Affect Theory Reader

As the first definitive collection of essays on affect studies, The Affect Theory Reader demonstrates how the affective turn in academia has been, and continues to be felt, throughout a variety of disciplines. Studies on affect produce qualified and valuable effects in the realms of aesthetics, ethics, and politics—to name just a few.

Best Bondage Erotica 2011

As the title would imply, this erotica anthology contains solely stories that involve bondage, the use of restraints for the purpose of sexual pleasure. Along with the use of bondage in sexual encounters comes the play of submissive and dominant roles. As one might expect, nearly half of stories in this book stick to standard dominate/submissive heterosexual roles, with men tying up women in various scenarios and then sexually dominating them.

Why Girls Fight: Female Youth Violence in the Inner City

Ness holds doctorate degrees in Human Development, Psychology, and Anthropology and in Why Girls Fight she blends the theories and research methods from these three fields to discuss female youth violence. Ness argues that the majority of studies tend to examine either individual factors in explaining and understanding youth violence or emphasize sociological, macro-level factors.

Adult Child of Hippies

The cover of Adult Child of Hippies is priceless. For anyone who started out life in the 1960s or 1970s, a version of this photograph of a mostly-naked, preadolescent girl sporting a flower in her mouth probably exists in the family album. Willow Yamauchi is banking on the fact that the rest of the book will resonate with readers just as strongly.

Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States

In their near-exhaustive catalogue of violence, discrimination, and systematic abuse of LGBT people in the United States, Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock outline the specific ways that the criminalization of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered people has perpetuated inequalities not only based on sexual identity but also within the complex interplay of race, class, and gender.

A Guide to Picking Locks, Number Two

Full disclosure here: I have never, ever picked a lock. I suppose it would be kind of neat to know how to bust into a door with a wafer tumbler lock, but I just never have really experienced the need. An excellent parlor trick, perhaps? A desire to emulate Houdini in a daring escape from the chains of certain death?

An American Radical: Political Prisoner in My Own Country

Twenty-seven years ago, activists Susan Rosenberg and Timothy Blunk were caught transporting explosives to a New Jersey storage facility. Although the pair had no immediate plans to use the incendiary materials, they—and their comrades in the May 19 Communist Party—were stockpiling them for a revolution they believed was imminent. Rosenberg’s searing memoir, An American Radical—a chronicle of sixteen years spent in four U.S.

Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion

Before Lady Gaga adorned her poker face with a diamond-encrusted lobster, there was the original eccentric fashionista Isabella Blow, the flamboyant muse to couture designers who, despite being the toast of London’s glitterati, would die at age forty-eight by her own hand. As a fashion director, she survived as one of Anna Wintour’s assistants to later become champion of the avant garde. From hot pink cobwebs to towering peacock feathers, there was nothing that Blow wouldn’t dare crown herself with.


XVI is not a feminist novel. I’m opening my review with this caveat because, as someone who owns a dog-eared copy of The Feminine Mystique, whose heroes are Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin, and who has, at times, stopped shaving her armpits (sometimes one just can’t be bothered), accounts of feminist content in Julia Kar

So Much Wasted: Hunger, Performance, and the Morbidity of Resistance

Traversing critical theory, body studies, psychoanalysis, philosophy, political theory, cultural studies, and performance studies, Patrick Anderson’s So Much Wasted captures the “politics of morbidity” embedded in the act of self-starvation.

Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes

Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes, a collection of thirteen essays edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo, offers an introspective exploration of Buddhist philosophy and practices. First published in 1995 and re-issued in 2010, these works are written by women who attended a California retreat in August 1989.


What does one do when far away from home? What if you never had a real home to begin with? Feelings of homesickness, uprooting one's life, and moving to a new location is considered one of the most stressful events a person can endure. Settling in another country where people speak a different language and abide by the parameters of a culture one is not accustomed to is just icing on an already challenging cake.

A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear

Set in Kabul in 1979, A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear is a surreal and beautiful account of the experiences of a young man who wakes up in the home of a widow following an altercation with checkpoint guards. Almost poetic in its descriptions, one sees the story develop through the cloudy and confused eyes of Farhad.

Morning Haiku

From my first taste of Byron at age twelve, I was hooked on poetry. As a teen, my reading went from the Romantics to Sylvia Plath to the Beats. By the time I belatedly discovered Sonia Sanchez, who has been publishing astonishing poetry since 1969, I was ready. This, I thought, this is poetry: not a word wasted, and all of them well-chosen; inspirational, revolutionary, and speaking straight to the heart.

The Pious Sex: Essays on Women and Religion in the History of Political Thought

I could comment extensively on each of the essays in The Pious Sex, but seeing as there are eleven in total (not counting the introduction) and I have limited space here, that will not be possible. At the beginning of the introduction, the editor, Andrea Radasanu, immediately apologizes for calling to mind “the worst of the prejudices associated with women over the ages: the characterization of women as superstitious and inherently irrational creatures that

Luka and the Fire of Life

The world according to Salman Rushdie post-fatwa is a very bad place. If his books from this era are anything to go by, most people are judgmental, small-minded, and intolerant. In this book, and its prequel Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Rushdie is passing that same worldview on to his sons. Buried under verbal twists and turns and puns and slapstick, Luka and the Fire of Life is about a boy undertaking a quest through a mythical world (created, it seems, by his father’s stories) to save his father’s life. He braves great challenges and finds courage he did not know he had. Ostensibly, Luka is on a quest to find his own voice, but the voice he actually finds his father’s.

The Last Pretence

In the South Indian town of Machilipatnam, Mallika gives birth to twins, Tara and Siva. Emotionally and psychologically damaged when her daughter dies during childbirth, Mallika finds herself unable to love Siva who is a constant reminder of Tara’s death. Pretending that Siva is Tara, both Mallika and Siva embark on a downward spiral of self-destruction that ends in tragedy.