Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary: The USA is perceived as one of the most powerful countries in the world, yet it also has one of the highest maternal death rates. And those rates, already high, skyrocket if you happen to be a woman of colour, a gay or trans parent, or a working-class mother. In Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women, Lyz Lenz pulls apart these grim statistics to reveal just how harmful our cultural myths of motherhood have become.
From diminishing access to safe abortion, to the policing of pregnant bodies and the stigma of postnatal depression, the intimate and private act of creating a child has been dragged into the public arena for politicians to debate and everyone else to gossip over, or have an opinion about. Belabored is a furiously feminist manifesto that, finally, puts pregnant people, their bodies, and their choices at the centre. Continue reading Belabored by Lyz Lenz: Sarcastic, Unapologetic Feminist Statement
I recently finished listening to the audiobook of Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch, an exploration of what it means to be mixed-race in Britain that is both broad and deeply personal. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading Brit(ish). Continue reading Most Important Lessons from Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Feeling a debt of gratitude to his queer community’s elders, and determined not to let their stories be lost to history, Mason Funk established Outwords, a charity dedicated to travelling the length and breadth of America to interview LGBT+ elders. From swanky offices to rural snowstorms, the Outwords team seek queer stories wherever they can find them, determined to record as many of the movement’s perspectives as possible.
The result is The Book of Pride, a collection of interviews with LGBT+ pioneers, including John S. James (HIV treatment campaigner), Diana Rivers (author and women’s rights activist) and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (trans community leader). Continue reading The Book of Pride ed. by Mason Funk: Get Inspired by LGBT+ History!
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Sarah Krasnostein first meets Sandra Pankhurst at a forensic services conference, where Sandra is promoting her trauma cleaning company. The lives (and deaths) touched by Sandra through her work, from murder victims to obsessive hoarders, immediately make an impression and inspire Krasnostein to learn more.
There is one story, however, that will become the greatest fascination – one that holds all of these other disconnected and diverse lives together. It is the story of the trauma cleaner herself. Continue reading The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: Brave and Compassionate Biography
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Non-fiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Synopsis: Sir Trevor McDonald’s career as a journalist began at Radio Trinidad in his home country, where he tried his hand at everything from reading the news to commentating on water polo! When he moved to London to take a job at the BBC World Service, he had no idea that he was soon to become one of the top journalists of his day.
Working for ITN and Channel 4, his reporting work has taken him from a South Africa stricken by Apartheid to Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, and he has interviewed people as diverse as death row inmates and the dictator Saddam Hussein. Continue reading An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald: Astonishing Journalist’s Memoir
I recently finished listening to the audiobook of It’s Not About the Burqa, a collection of essays by British Muslim women that is edited by Mariam Khan. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading It’s Not About the Burqa. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from It’s Not About the Burqa
I recently finished listening to the audiobook of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of DiAngelo’s work. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading White Fragility. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis: Most of us have heard of the bystander effect. It can be a major limitation to moral action in a variety of situations, from life-threatening emergencies to sexist comments in the workplace. But what actually is the bystander effect? How does it occur? And why is challenging it so important for communities and social justice?
In her book The Bystander Effect, Catherine Sanderson uses decades of research to answer these questions, outlining the psychological basis of the bystander effect in a way that empowers us to step up, challenge harmful behaviour, and become active ‘moral rebels’ rather than passive bystanders. Continue reading The Bystander Effect by Catherine Sanderson: Data-Driven Moral Bravery
Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis: We’re living in a time when it can feel like we’re on completely different planets from some of the people we encounter – from bigoted grandparents to politicians on the news. In Talking Across the Divide, Justin Lee provides practical advice on bridging this seemingly uncrossable chasm.
It’s time to have some difficult but meaningful conversations, and maybe even make the world a little better in the process. Continue reading Talking Across the Divide by Justin Lee: Equip Yourself to Challenge Prejudice
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Non-fiction, Memoir
Synopsis: After the frustrations and bureaucracy of working as a GP cause Dr Amanda Brown to impulsively walk out of her practice, she is looking for a change. Her compulsion to challenge herself and make a difference lands her where she never thought she’d end up – treating prisoners in some of Britain’s toughest criminal institutions.
The Prison Doctor is the story of the incredible people she meets, as well as a compassionate insight into the individual lives that are placed into the hands of the justice system – for better or worse. Continue reading The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown: Unflinching and Compassionate Insight into the Prison System