Thursday, January 21, 2016

From Gloria Steinem


If I were marooned on a desert island, I would want a book on edible plants and building a raft, but here are ten I would choose for the pleasure of big and new understandings.

The Mermaid and the Minotaur, Dorothy Dinnerstein In a migratory past when both men and women raised children, men developed empathy, patience, attention to detail, and a sense of the value of life; all qualities now wrongly called “feminine.” Dinnerstein will convince you that men again raising children is the key to world peace.

Exterminate All the Brutes, Sven Lindquist By traveling in Africa while also learning from hundreds of books stored in his computer, Lindquist shows us that racism was invented to justify colonialism. Racism came home to Europe as the holocaust.

Two Thousand Seasons, Ayi Kwei Armah In the communal voice of a storyteller, this great Ghanaian novelist describes Africa before Arab and European invasions and slave-taking. He not only re-defines history, but how history is told.

The Sacred Hoop, Paula Gunn Allen By describing the Americas before Columbus and what is still the biggest genocide in history, she tells us that “the root of oppression is the loss of memory.” Otherwise, we would know that most of what we want in the future was once here. 

Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman From shell shock in World War I to childhood sexual abuse today, the reality of trauma has been denied. But as this indispensable book makes clear, “Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.” 

At the Dark End of the Street, Danielle McGuire For a decade before Rosa Parks began the Montgomery bus boycott, she had been protesting the rapes at bus stops of black women by white men. This book helps make the female half of the civil rights movement visible.

The Color Purple, Alice Walker Because she makes the invisible visible, and redeems people who seem irredeemable, she makes every reader feel visible and redeemable, too. 

Sex and World Peace, Valerie Hudson et al All the many forms of violence against females have now added up to fewer females on earth than males. Since violence against females is the normalizer of all other forms of violence, this book is vital, from family life to foreign policy.

The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston If a Chinese girl living in the back of a laundry in San Francisco can imagine herself as a woman warrior riding down from the hills of China to rescue her people, I can imagine myself off this island.

Dark Matter, Robin Morgan Though I plan to live to 100, this soon-to-be published book of poetry contains my favorite lines:

….It’s sweetness 
that turns leaving sour, joy that makes dying hard.” 

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