The following are suggested books and other resources on topics covered in this issue.
For further reading and advanced hellraising:
An instant classic, Peter Menzel’s Material World: A Global Family Portrait (New York: Sierra Club Books, 1994) features more than 350 color photographs that, collectively, capture a day in the life of the human family. While Menzel’s photographs depict 30 families (in countries ranging from Iceland to Mongolia) surrounded by their material possessions, Charles C. Mann’s text illuminates the routines of their daily lives, which by turns seem unbelievable and hauntingly familiar.
But why travel the world to experience unusual habitats? Just peek into your child’s room. In photojournalist Adrienne Salinger’s In My Room: Teenagers in Their Bedrooms (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1995), we get a privileged glimpse into the lives of 43 young people, both through their words–often halting and oblique–and their living spaces–by contrast, fiercely individuated and expressive. Tobias Wolff introduces the collection.
Challenging the perception that feminism predominantly applies to Western, middle-class women, The Global Challenge of Local Feminisms: Women’s Movements in Global Perspective (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1995) is a richly documented testament to women’s struggles for gender equality in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Edited by Amrita Basu, it boasts more than 30 contributors, almost all representatives of the diverse communities and feminist movements they describe.
“Women have no wilderness in them,” the poet Louise Bogan lamented. Too bad she isn’t around to see Rough Guide’s More Women Travel (New York: Penguin Books USA Inc., 1995), which covers more than 60 countries. Alongside essays by dozens of bold, world-traversing women (no lack of wilderness here) is a lot of useful advice, including how to avoid “Delhi belly” and how to tour Morocco with a toddler.
Amnesty International launches its 1995 campaign for the protection of women’s human rights with a powerful 152-page booklet, Human Rights Are Women’s Right (New York: Amnesty International USA, 1995). The report weaves the stories of individual activists into its larger theme: Women and children bear the brunt of the world’s human rights abuses. The text is illuminated by often shocking photographs, both of the women’s daily struggles and their occasional, breathtaking moments of joy. For more information, contact Amnesty International at 322 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10001.
A comprehensive primer on the global population crisis, Beyond the Numbers: A Reader on Population, Consumption, and the Environment (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1994), edited by Laurie Ann Mazur, is a collection of essays by the world’s leading population experts. Prepared in anticipation of last year’s United Nations’ summit in Cairo, the book explores diverse perspectives on population control with an eye to finding common ground.
More controversial is Reproductive Rights and Wrongs (New York: Harper & Row, 1995), in which author Betsy Hartmann argues against placing the blame for environmental and economic problems on female fertility and attacks policies that coerce women into giving up their reproductive freedom. “What is needed is a genuinely pro-women alternative,” she writes, “which challenges population control.”
Discover the variety and vibrancy of the global music scene in The Rough Guide to World Music (New York: Penguin Books USA Inc., 1994), an encyclopedic listing of the best in Irish soul, Portuguese blues, Kenyan pop, and dozens of other indigenous grooves, complete with descriptions of the cultures and artists that produced them.
An extraordinary compilation, The Soul of Black Peru (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros. Records Inc., 1995) celebrates the ancient–yet still popular–rhythms of Afro-Peruvian music, an infectious blend of Spanish, Andean, and African traditions. The music has an immediate, visceral appeal, fusing sinuous vocals and rich instrumentation with some of the most danceable rhythms you’ll hear in this hemisphere.
In Blues in the East (Axiom/Island Records, 1994), singer/songwriter Liu Sola blends traditional Chinese music with blues, funk, and jazz to create a strange but powerful new fusion. Based on two classic Chinese texts, the album centers on the themes of friendship and exile, and features an impressive cast of ethnic and jazz instrumentalists, including harmolodic guitarist James Blood Ulmer and drummer Jerome “Bigfoot” Brailey.
A soaring collection in the African-American gospel tradition is Still On the Journey (Earthbeat!/Warner Bros. Records Inc., 1995), which celebrates the 20th year of renowned a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Children should check out Sweet Honey’s award-winning I Got Shoes (Music for Little People, 1994), a sampling from the world of black music, including classic spirituals and traditional African songs; the accompanying activity book showcases African art.
Tired of relying on doctors for the treatment of minor illnesses? New Choices in Natural Healing: Over 1,800 of the Best Self-Help Remedies From the World of Alternative Medicine (Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press, 1995), edited by Bill Gottlieb, features a wide range of self-healing options (including yoga, aromatherapy, homeopathy, and changes in diet) for more than 160 health problems–from asthma to varicose veins.
Be alert to the perils of certain drug, food, and supplement combinations with The People’s Guide to Deadly Drug Interactions (New York: St. Martin’s, 1995) by Joe and Teresa Graedon. This hefty guide shows which mixtures can be dangerous or troublesome (such as beta-carotene and alcohol, or birth control pills and certain antibiotics) in more than 200 easy-to-read charts.
For a few people out there, the end of work can’t come too soon. Provocateur Bob Black heaps scorn on the Protestant ethic in The Abolition of Work and Other Essays (Port Townsend, Wash.: Loompanics Unlimited, 1995), in which he points out that most of our so-called free time is “devoted to getting ready for work, going to work, returning from work, and recovering from work.” Black’s other essays, including “Theses on Groucho Marxism” and “A Lunatic Fringe Credo,” aren’t for the easily offended (he’s been physically attacked for his opinions), but they’re good for a quick dose of mental adrenaline.