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The Latino community doesn’t exist as a monolith. Latin Americans hail from over 20 countries, each with its own unique ethnicity and culture. African, Spanish and Indigenous influences vary wildly but are consistently present in most groups. Labels like Hispanic or Latino don’t snugly fit this growing population, and some people shrug them off entirely.

Lauded author and Washington Post columnist Marie Arana admits early on in LatinoLand: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority that she is “working with a deficit” in her attempt to capture the diverse experience of American Latinos. Yet by embracing the variety of this diaspora—and its people’s conflicting views on race, religion and politics—she comes as close to success as one can get.

The book at first functions as a survey, with brief chapters on Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans and other Latino groups. While these historical accounts might not unearth anything unknown to Latin American scholars, Arana’s punchy writing style is engaging, informative and full of pleasant surprises, like her tale about the first Dominican to settle New York in the 1500s, centuries before a bodega opened in Washington Heights. 

Arana also tackles the plurality of Latino identities from other angles, including the morphing religious affiliations of Hispanic Americans and a thoughtful dismantling of the myth of the “Latino vote.” Short profiles contextualize the broader themes and history lessons; some of the stories related here are harrowing, some amusing, others mundane. The horrors of colonialism, segregation and genocide are everpresent.

LatinoLand features interviews with an impressive swath of Latinos, from undocumented custodians and emboldened activists to federal policymakers and religious leaders—though at times there does seem to be a reliance on higher-educated professionals. While Arana celebrates the diversity of American Latinos and doesn’t push for any kind of assimilation, she also appeals to traditional American values when making the case for Latino acceptance, pointing to their contributions to business, academia and the military. But her most salient argument is that Latinos have contributed so much more to this country than what’s acknowledged in the mainstream; by spotlighting unsung heroes like climate scientist Mario Molina and labor champion Dolores Huerta, she gives them their due. 

As Arana pieces together a vibrant collage of American Latino lives, she communicates her belief that solidarity is possible among this fractured cohort. Perhaps, one thinks, it can emerge from the shared experience of being underestimated and undervalued.

Reporter Marie Arana paints a thoughtful portrait of how Latinos have shaped—and been shaped by—the United States in this punchy cultural history.
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Morgan Parker, acclaimed poet and winner of a 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award for her collection Magical Negro, marries memoir with cultural critique in an unsparing, intimate and provocative book of essays, You Get What You Pay For, which infuses the titular idiom with the perspective of her wronged race. “Becoming a person,” she writes in the first essay, “forming an identity, had been a sham assignment from the start—for an African American person, there is a multistep process of backtracking and reinterpreting hundreds of years of American history, peeling apart film from adhesive to hold under the light and make out a cloudy reflection.”

Parker was named after a minor character in “The Cosby Show,” who, in her single appearance, comically eats olives despite knowing she’s allergic to them. Parker writes: “I come from . . . self-destructive impulses, swallowing what I shouldn’t, becoming a punchline.” Later, writing for the feminist platform Lenny Letter, she attended Cosby’s trial for sexual assault. “I’m one of maybe three Black women in the room . . . wrestling with that familiar triple-consciousness chicken or egg. Am I Black today or a woman? Where do I pledge allegiance? Which injustices should I fight first?”

Parker tells of her depression, anxiety and self-hatred, which she describes as “something palpable, something ugly and inadequate and all wrong.” She interrogates the relationships between Black people and treatment for mental illness, citing her father’s assertion that “Black people don’t go to therapy.” Eventually, she did. When a white therapist admitted she knew nothing about the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown’s death, Parker moved on. With time, she began to link her mental illness to that of her ancestors’ experience as slaves and the century-and-a-half of racism that has followed, “finally com[ing] to understand [self-hatred] as extension of the white supremacist ideologies permeating and governing the nation of which I am a citizen.”

The 22 essays in You Get What You Pay For cycle through Parker’s urgent concerns about white supremacy, police brutality, her often tenuous mental health and her ongoing search for love. She handles these heavy issues with incisive humor and a poet’s eye for detail. The “you” in that titular idiom becomes “we.”

Morgan Parker examines how racism and intergenerational trauma can affect mental health in her provocative, incisively humorous debut essay collection.
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As many as 114,000 Americans who die each year are unclaimed by relatives. Their remains are buried without ceremony, often in mass graves, unwitnessed by anyone who knew them. What circumstances conspire for human beings to meet this end? And what do their deaths say about how we treat the living? Pamela Prickett and Stefan Timmermans unearth some of their stories, unpacking questions both existential and practical in their groundbreaking The Unclaimed: Abandonment and Hope in the City of Angels.

The authors spent eight years investigating the bureaucratic hurdles, legislative failings and social ruptures that contribute to 1,600 unclaimed people in Los Angeles each year. Los Angeles County law stipulates that only next-of-kin can claim remains, but 1 in 4 adult Americans report being estranged from close family members. When relatives can be located, the costs associated with claiming remains are often too steep for them to bear; other times, they have no interest in claiming at all. What’s more, “bureaucratic apathy” and a muddled system relies on three separate departments to investigate the unclaimed.

The Unclaimed follows the stories of four Angelenos who went unclaimed for very different reasons: a reclusive elderly woman whose few surviving family members refused to claim her; a middle-aged woman beloved by her church family who, by law, could not claim and bury her; a veteran who slipped through the cracks; and a quiet man whose assets granted him a funeral that no one attended. Prickett and Timmermans also portray the death investigators who try to locate relatives with varying degrees of success; these civil servants are frustrated and exhausted, their departments understaffed and under-resourced. And the portraits the authors paint of the two civil servants who inter the unclaimed at the Boyle Heights cemetery—the “potter’s field” of L.A.—are extremely moving. Relying on 231 interviews, direct observation of death investigations, extensive research into 600 deaths, attendance of dozens of funerals and cremations, and more, Prickett and Timmermans humanize the dead with aching specificity, granting these few the honor that so many others deserve.

“If you die and no one calls out for you, did your life have meaning?” the authors ask. As the subtitle of the book suggests, there is hope, because more and more people are answering that call. In 2017, a pastor began organizing a memorial service for the unclaimed that draws droves of witnesses; veterans congregate to send off their siblings in arms; a nonprofit buries unclaimed infants in a special cemetery. The writing in this last third of the book sometimes veers into sentimentality, naming conclusions that readers can recognize themselves. But on the whole, The Unclaimed is a gripping and compassionate account that leaves us with a feeling of social and personal responsibility for our kin, our community and ourselves.

Gripping and groundbreaking, The Unclaimed investigates the Americans who are abandoned in death and what they tell us about how we treat the living.
STARRED REVIEW

Top 10 books for February 2024

Beloved and buzzy authors such as Tia Williams, Francis Spufford and Katherine Arden took new and exciting directions in February!
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The author of the marvelous Winterlight trilogy makes her grand return to historical fantasy with this haunting tale set during World War I. Former nurse

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Book jacket image for A Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williams

Tia Williams broke out in a big way in 2021 with her emotional second-chance romance, Seven Days in June, and her follow-up novel sounds like

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Book jacket image for The Last Stand by Antwan Eady

Antwan Eady, author of the lovely Nigel and the Moon, unites with Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey! The acclaimed sibling duo wrote and illustrated This Old

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Book jacket image for Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar

It’s a special gift when a favorite poet writes a novel. Martyr! is Kaveh Akbar’s fiction debut, after poetry collections Calling a Wolf a Wolf

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In 1911, 12 Black men were delivered to the forest in rural Maryland and began building their new residence, the State Hospital for the Negro

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Award-winning author Amber McBride teams up with acclaimed poets Taylor Byas and Erica Martin to curate an electric, extraordinary lineup of contemporary and classic Black

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Book jacket image for City of Laughter by Temim Fruchter

Temim Fruchter’s remarkable debut novel is a book full of belly laughs, intergenerational wonder, queer beauty, Jewish history and storytelling that reshapes worlds.

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Book jacket image for Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford

Visit an alternate America where European colonization never took place in this intricately plotted police procedural from Francis Spufford.

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Book jacket image for The Gardener of Lashkar Gah by Larisa Brown

Larisa Brown’s The Gardener of Lashkar Gah tells the harrowing story of the Afghan aid workers that NATO left to their fates when the Taliban

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Book jacket image for The Cancer Factory by Jim Morris

Jim Morris’ urgent, heartbreaking The Cancer Factory traces how a known toxic chemical destroyed the health, happiness and lives of Goodyear factory workers.

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Beloved and buzzy authors such as Tia Williams, Francis Spufford and Katherine Arden took new and exciting directions in February!
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More than 50 years since the founding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, it would be reasonable to assume that modern U.S. factories are safe places to work. Surely, workplace-caused mesothelioma, silicosis and cancers are things of the past, suffered only in the bad old days before safety regulations forced employers to take care of their employees’ health. But Jim Morris, veteran journalist and author of The Cancer Factory: Industrial Chemicals, Corporate Deception, and the Hidden Deaths of American Workers, knows better.

Morris focuses on Goodyear’s Niagara Falls plant, which manufactured anti-cracking agents for tires using ortho-toluidine, a powerful carcinogen that’s been known to be linked to bladder cancer since 1895. The Cancer Factory traces how this chemical destroyed the health, happiness and lives of the men who worked with it—and were sometimes even submerged in it—on a daily basis, without any safety equipment or knowledge of the dangers they were facing, even into the 21st century. 

Morris interviewed many families for the book, but none illustrates the matter more clearly than the family of Ray Kline, a Goodyear employee who worked for decades with some of the most carcinogenic chemicals at the plant with no protection. His clothes were drenched with the chemicals, and his wife, Dottie, who laundered them, eventually gave birth to two children with fatal birth defects. Their surviving daughter, Diane, grew up and married Harry Weist, another Goodyear factory worker. Ray and Harry both developed aggressive bladder cancer, enduring years of chemo, surgeries and epic misery.

Morris makes the case that the Goodyear bladder cancer cluster is emblematic of a much larger problem. He argues that corporate greed, broken regulatory agencies and hamstrung unions ensure that exposure to dioxins, asbestos, silica and hundreds of other hazards are not distant memories of our industrial past, but the lived reality of millions of workers today. Heartbreaking and infuriating, Morris’ storytelling jars the reader out of complacency. With luck, The Cancer Factory can also be an instrument for change.

Jim Morris’ urgent, heartbreaking The Cancer Factory traces how a known toxic chemical destroyed the health, happiness and lives of Goodyear factory workers.

For much of her career, Nell Greenfieldboyce has written about science for NPR, reporting on a range of topics, among them a giant collective of octopuses, asteroid dust, the color of dinosaur eggs and signs of life on Mars. In Transient and Strange: Notes on the Science of Life (Norton, $27.99, 9780393882346), Greenfieldboyce adds the personal to the scientific, threading the two together to create a memoir in essays.

In the book’s opening essay, “The Symbol of a Tornado,” Greenfieldboyce recounts a phase that most parents will recognize: the quest to calm her preschool-age son’s nighttime fears. When he first asks her about tornadoes, she eagerly lays out the facts—a misstep that only intensifies his anxiety. The essay braids substantial reporting on the history and science of tornadoes with her earnest fumbling as she tries to help her kids feel secure in an insecure world.

Some of Transient and Strange’s essays hew closer to science writing—in one, she charts the scientific community’s resistance to accepting black holes—while others go more deeply into personal essay territory, excavating pieces of her youth. The sweet, quirky “Automatic Beyond Belief” ties an ancient toaster to her parents’ faith, the stability of her childhood and her predictions about what her children will remember about their younger years. The 50-page essay that closes the book, “My Eugenics Project,” is a standout. It describes Greenfieldboyce’s strategies for coping with the knowledge that she and her husband might pass a devastating genetic mutation on to their children, her obsessive quest to solve this problem and how it has affected her marriage and family.

Throughout, Greenfieldboyce doesn’t spare herself or put on a wise affect; we see and relate to her foibles and fumbling. Transient and Strange is a book that you can read as the memoir of a woman who’s measuring the shape of life at its midpoint, and also as a series of essays riffing on a range of science-related topics. Either way, it’s a thoughtful, heartfelt and idiosyncratic collection.

Nell Greenfieldboyce’s thoughtful, idiosyncratic memoir in essays twines the personal with the scientific.
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On vacation in Rome in her early 20s, Elizabeth Flock was drugged and raped by a tour guide. She couldn’t defend herself during the attack, and she never reported it to the police. Over the years, she often wondered whether she would be better off if she had killed him the following morning. In The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice (Harper, $32, 9780063048805), Flock, now an Emmy-winning journalist who has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times and The Atlantic, examines three women who did what she couldn’t do. It turns out the answer to her question is “maybe, but probably not.”

The figure of the avenging female is powerful and frightening. Flock notes that the Furies of ancient Greek mythology, who tormented Orestes, were hideous and pitiless—the stuff of nightmares. Flock makes a compelling argument that women who stand up for themselves are still seen in this same light. The three “furies” in the book certainly appear powerful and frightening, at least at first glance. The first, Brittany Smith, a young mother from Alabama, was imprisoned for murder after shooting the man who had brutally beaten and raped her. Flock travels to northern India to report on Angoori Dahariya, a Dalit woman who organized thousands of women to use bamboo canes to punish domestic abusers. In Syria, she reports on Cicek Mustafa Zibo, who joined an all-female militia to protect Kurdish women from the ISIS terrorists who were raping, torturing and murdering them.

Flock deeply admires these women for refusing to accept the terms of a society that prefers a dead, submissive woman to a living one who defends herself. But Flock also sees their frailty and their struggles. Brittany had lost custody of her four children due to her addiction to methamphetamines; at the time of her crime, she was off drugs and “confident all that was behind her.” Angoori can judge situations too quickly, sometimes with disastrous results. And Cicek is so traumatized by her physical and psychic war wounds that she becomes increasingly cut off from her family and her humanity. The women are drawn in shades of gray, and that is what makes The Furies so powerful. Brittany, Angoori and Cicek are not mythical figures, but ordinary, flawed humans who fight for their lives, their dignity and justice—despite the cost.

In The Furies, investigative reporter Elizabeth Flock follows three women who struck back at their abusers.

Anyone immediately transported to a riverside pier by the lyric “So open up your morning light” will love Thea Glassman’s Freaks, Gleeks, and Dawson’s Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed Television. “Today’s teen shows are leading the charge when it comes to progressive, diverse, and creative storytelling,” Glassman writes, but they wouldn’t exist without the seven predecessors she covers in her impressive debut: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “My So-Called Life,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “The O.C.,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Glee.”

In a wealth of new interviews with creators, writers, actors, crew and more insiders, Freaks, Gleeks, and Dawson’s Creek shares behind-the-scenes details that will delight devoted fans and excited newbies alike. While all of the shows drew heavily from their creators’ own teenage years, Glassman points out the unique choices and approaches that made each iconic. For example, “Fresh Prince” subverted typical sitcom format and “painted a nuanced picture of the Black experience. “My So-Called Life” inspired the first online campaign to save a show, and “Dawson’s Creek” had the first openly gay character in the teen sphere.

While Glassman acknowledges controversies that touched each show, she focuses on the creativity, heart and hard work that led to a groundbreaking era of teen TV. After all, as writer and pop-culture maven Jennifer Keishin Armstrong writes in her introduction, “There is no drama like teenage drama, in life and in fiction.”

This survey of seven teen shows explores how they broke ground with creativity, heart and hard work, paving the way for the genre’s progressive and diverse oeuvre today.

Insider deputy editor Walt Hickey won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Illustrated Reporting and Commentary. His wide-ranging, captivating You Are What You Watch: How Movies and TV Affect Everything makes it easy to see why.

The average American spends three-plus hours a day consuming media. “Across a lifetime,” Hickey writes, “that’s 22 percent of our time on Earth!” No wonder we’re curious about how media affects us. He asserts that, contrary to those who consider our favorite media a “bogeyman, a brain melter, a violence inciter, a waste,” it actually is “complex, fascinating, and often rather good.”

Hickey fascinates as he demystifies pop culture, sharing the outcomes of his experiments and studies. He’s a data journalist, and cheeky and informative visuals—charts, graphs, maps and little photos of famous people’s heads—bolster his pro-pop-culture assertions and illuminate personal stories, such as when he subjected his nervous system to a “Jaws” rewatch to discern which scenes most affected him. Colorful charts like “Movies Make People Exhale the Same Chemicals at the Same Times” bring his research into focus. He notes that when “The Hunger Games” film debuted in 2012, USA Archery’s merchandise sales quintupled. Similarly, the premieres of 1943’s “Lassie Come Home” and 1992’s “Beethoven” were both followed by spikes in the popularity of collies and Saint Bernards.

The author’s keen eye for detail and ability to see connections across genres enliven the narrative beyond theory and talking points. From the WWE to the Tax Reform Act of 1976, Scooby-Doo to geopolitics, Hickey offers a bounty of enthusiasm for our favorite stories.

Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Hickey champions pop culture with a cornucopia of studies, experiments and visuals in You Are What You Watch.
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Sheila Liming’s Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time is a thoughtful manifesto on the inherently subversive and joyous act of socializing. In seven chapters about different types of hanging out (“Dinner Parties as Hanging Out,” “Hanging Out on the Job,” etc.), Liming explores the fading art of leisure and its cultural roots.

Liming defines hanging out as a conscious act of refusal in a production-obsessed society. “Hanging out is about daring to do nothing much,” she writes, “and, even more than that, about daring to do it in the company of others.” She acknowledges that it is a peculiar time—amid the COVID-19 pandemic—to call for a return to the in-person hang, but this context is precisely why we are realizing the importance of spending idle time in physical communities. We cannot let corporate capitalism snatch away what is left of our free time, Liming argues. “Time is being stolen from us—not for the first time . . . but at newly unprecedented rates.”

Hanging Out reads as a chattier, slightly more precious version of How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell. The book embraces its call for intentional meandering with wide-ranging references and a loose narrative structure. An English professor, Liming is unsurprisingly the most compelling when she incorporates literary criticism into her treatise. While the personal stories drag, the fiction references crackle. This is particularly true in her analysis of “party literature” in the chapter “Hanging Out at Parties,” in which Liming looks at several 20th-century novels and examines the different ways parties have functioned as social mechanisms.

What is quickly revealed in Liming’s contemplative writing is that hanging out—and all of its possible ramifications, limitations and effects—is too enormous a subject to comprehensively discuss. Instead, Liming uses her time to argue for the importance of mingling with others and finding time, even in an increasingly virtual world, to enjoy the hang.

Sheila Liming’s Hanging Out reveals how the joyous act of socializing is inherently subversive.

In 1967, the Supreme Court invented a new legal principle called qualified immunity that limited the public’s right to sue certain government employees. Seemingly designed to protect government officials from frivolous lawsuits, in practice, it mostly shields the police from being sued for misconduct, even if they’ve violated someone’s constitutional rights. In effect, it makes it perfectly legal for the police to infringe on citizens’ rights.

How did we get to the point where the people who are sworn to protect the law do not have to follow it? In her book, Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable, UCLA law professor Joanna Schwartz deftly explains the complicated web of laws and policies that exist in the United States for the sole purpose of protecting the police. In the process, she shines a light on every aspect of the justice system, from the federal jury system, which is disproportionately white and middle class, to Supreme Court decisions that make little sense in the context of everyday life.

After studying police accountability for decades, Schwartz’s expertise in criminal justice law shines in Shielded. The book is part research and part history, and it’s filled with important case law, most of which the average person won’t have heard of. These important courtroom precedents determine how the police are allowed to engage with the public, such as whether or not police need a warrant to search you when you’re minding your business walking down the street. (They don’t.) But this is no legalese-filled academic treatise. It’s incredibly engaging because Schwartz smoothly weaves the human story into each case she explains. After all, there is a real person behind every story of police misconduct. Someone was brutalized or their rights were ignored, and this book explains exactly how the police were allowed to get away with it.

Although these laws have been in place for decades, Schwartz doesn’t believe that they are unstoppable or that police misconduct will continue to go unpunished indefinitely. In addition to dissecting the problem, she also offers ideas for solutions, such as educating the public on the failures of criminal justice law and requiring the police to pay a portion of civil settlements. Shielded is a meaningful, well-researched and readable work that will open many discussions about this important social issue.

Shielded is a meaningful, well-researched work that will open many discussions about the U.S. laws that exist for the sole purpose of protecting the police.

Yoga classes, cleanses, wellness retreats: We’ve all heard these and other remedies marketed as “self-care” for life in an exhausting and distressing world. But debut author Pooja Lakshmin wants readers to know that, while these types of self-care may make us feel temporarily better, they are part of an ineffectual system that keeps people (especially women and minorities) feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. As the psychiatrist and New York Times contributor writes in her introduction to Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included), “This book is my letter to every woman out there who has flirted with hopping in the car and running away from it all.”

Lakshmin wants to help readers find ways to more authentically enjoy their everyday lives, and she uses anecdotes about her patients to illustrate what this might look like. For example, there’s Shelby, who shifted from viewing breastfeeding as imperative to something that just didn’t work out (and that’s OK!), and Clara, who started her own business after realizing teaching was no longer sustainable.

How did they get there? Via Lakshmin’s four principles for real self-care: setting boundaries without guilt, practicing self-compassion, exploring your real self and asserting power. Helpful tools, exercises, scripts and a “Real Self-Care Compass” smooth the way to the gratifying final stage, which is “facing, straight-on, the toxicity and trauma that our culture brings to women . . . and it’s only when a critical mass of women do this internal work that we will come to collective change in our world.”

Daunting? Sure. Doable? The author believes so, and she contends that the hard, ongoing work is worth it. After all, she is writing as a fellow traveler alongside her readers. “I ended up falling for Big Wellness in the worst way,” she writes. “I joined a cult!” While her time with the cult, which practiced “orgasmic meditation,” did offer some benefits (she worked with neuroscientists at the Rutgers fMRI orgasm lab, and the meditation practice “was healing for me in profound ways”), when she left the group, she was deeply depressed for quite some time. 

Over time, Lakshmin realized that “real self-care is not a noun, it’s a verb—an ongoing internal process that guides us toward profound emotional wellness and reimagines how we interact with others.” In her heartfelt and empathetic Real Self-Care, she shares how she moved beyond shame and regret to a happier, more true-to-herself life, something she believes readers can do, too. Lakshmin’s first step: reclaiming the term self-care by imbuing it with self-knowledge, sustainability and joy.

Psychiatrist Pooja Lakshmin wants to reclaim the term self-care by helping readers find ways to more authentically enjoy their everyday lives.
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Jenny Odell’s 2019 book, How to Do Nothing, was a massive success that established her as an authority on attention in the digital era. Since its publication, a groundswell of writers have attempted to imitate Odell’s unique combination of cultural criticism, academic research and nature writing. But Saving Time proves that no one can do Odell like Odell.

As Saving Time explores why we believe time to be scarce and how this has informed our digital-age obsession with efficiency and productivity, it adds a practical approach to the work Odell started in How to Do Nothing. These fixations, Odell explains, are not new. They’re the products of industrialized capitalism and wage labor that we’ve internalized as virtue. “Now it’s not just the employer who sees you as twenty-four hours of personified labor time,” she writes. “It’s what you see when you look in the mirror.”

Read our interview with Jenny Odell about ‘Saving Time,’ her brilliant, hopeful critique of our obsession with efficiency.

Saving Time is a fascinating book to read during the recent rise in labor organizing. Odell looks at many forms of labor rights and resistance throughout history, from 19th-century worker movements to the ongoing “lying flat” movement in China, started by a young Chinese factory worker who quit his job in 2016 to ride his bike 1,300 miles to Tibet, living off of part-time work and “chilling.” The “lying flat” movement was met with an unsurprising backlash once it made its way to the United States, similar to the anger around the recent “quiet quitting” phenomenon. In response to people who oppose these kinds of anti-work movements—people who would prefer that everyone maintain the status quo of scrambling to get ahead—Odell writes that “advice for winning the rat race assumes that you’re running in it, rather than peeling away from a vanishing dream,” identifying the gap between those who have bought into the bootstrap myth and those who have refused it.

Alongside these threads of historical analysis, Odell also makes space for her contemplative relationship with nature, her quiet reminder of the beauty and joy that exist outside of the capitalist grind. But Saving Time is not a list of flat aphorisms about mindfulness, nor is it a screed. Rather, it’s a carefully constructed vision of hope with meaningful advice that will linger. What is it that you want to do, Odell asks, and why aren’t you doing it? It is possible to free yourself from the all-devouring cult of productivity, and Odell imagines a world where we have all done so. “If time were not a commodity, then time, our time, would not be as scarce as it seemed just a moment ago,” she writes. “Together, we could have all the time in the world.”

Many writers have imitated Jenny Odell’s unique style since the publication of How to Do Nothing, but Saving Time proves that no one can do Odell like Odell.

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