M/A Utne Weeder 2001

Our staff's selection of good reads


| March/April 2001


Sex & Single Girls Lee Damsky, editor (Seal, $16.95). A clear, honest depiction of female sexuality—in all its quirky splendor. While some of the essays are kinky, what’s even more satisfying about this collection is the feeling that the authors are, for the most part, letting it all hang out, presenting women for what we really are: living, breathing human beings, not airbrushed centerfolds or brainless fantasy fodder. —Andy Steiner

Between Two Fires: Intimate Writings on Life, Love, Food and Flavor by Laura Esquivel (Crown, $14.05). From the author of Like Water for Chocolate comes a sweet, intimate little book of vignettes on the magic of food and love. Filled with recipes, biography, and poetic observations, the book is layered with sensuous thought. Reading it is like eating a good dessert. —Mark Odegard

Susan Glaspell: A Critical Biography by Barbara Ozieblo (University of North Carolina, $22.50). A vital but forgotten voice in American literature who deserves the credit for discovering playwright Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell was a key player in the dazzling bohemian crowd of Greenwich Village celebrated in Warren Beatty’s film Reds. This academically inclined biography charts Glaspell’s fascinating progression from a well-mannered but freethinking girl in Davenport, Iowa, to an early feminist novelist, to an expatriate in Greece, then back to America, where she won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1931. —Jay Walljasper

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $24.95). From Paul Revere’s ride and the mysterious comeback of Hush Puppies to Peter Jennings’ smile and the secret of teenage smoking, Gladwell explores the world of mavens, innovators, connectors, and salesmen and their remarkable ability to shape our world. —Craig Cox

A Free Range Childhood: Self Regulation at Summerhill School by Matthew Appleton (Foundation for Educational Renewal, $18.95). Imagine a school where children aren’t drilled into compulsory obedience and hammered into pre-cut molds, but rather allowed to develop at their own pace. Founded in 1921 by A.S. Neill, Summerhill School in England is such a place, where learning is based not on adult coercion, but on self-governance and an atmosphere that fosters responsibility. This hopeful and fascinating account by a former Summerhill house- parent provides crucial reading for parents and educators, as well as anyone interested in child psychology. —Chris Dodge