NONFICTION – How Sex Changed the Internet, and the Internet Changed Sex by Samantha Cole
CW: discussions of sexual violence, violence against women, online abuse
Vice journalist Samantha Cole has spent years researching the relationship between sex and the internet, and how it’s influenced by larger systems of oppression. This expertise shines through in her debut book coming out in November 2022. It examines how the internet transformed sexual and romantic encounters while the demand for sex, in turn, propelled technological advances. It touches on how algorithms are weaponized against marginalized people, how tech billionaires profit off the online sex industry, how online communities give people the chance to explore their gender or sexuality, and much more.
- Emma Bainbridge, News Editor
FICTION – The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
By way of Gethen, a planet of androgynous and ambisexual humans, this seminal feminist sci-fi examines our species anew through the diary of an exiled Prime Minister, the field notes of a monosexual extraterrestrial emissary, and transcriptions of endemic myths. Part political drama, part character study, and part ethnographic travelog, The Left Hand of Darkness offers cogent and lucid reflections on love, death, time, and God. The focus on mutable sexuality in a book first published in 1969 gives current readers a chance to explore how our understanding of sex and gender has changed since then.
– Will Barry, Commentary Editor
ESSAY COLLECTION – The Address Book by Deidre Mask
In this collection of essays and anecdotes about various present-day and historic cities around the globe, Mask explores what street addresses (or lack thereof) may reveal about how power is distributed across racial, political, and class lines. Mask begins with the way-finding, tax-collecting and policing origins of street addresses and ends by envisioning a potentially more equitable future for those without a fixed address. She covers subjects that range from confederate street names in Hollywood, FL, how addressed streets have helped stop epidemics, and how having an address opens a pathway to receiving important government services (such as acquiring an ID and improving sanitation systems).
– Anna Zavelsky, Coordinating Editor
FICTION – If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga
An American woman with Egyptian origins decides to move to Cairo and falls in love with a man from Shobrakheit. Through this relationship, Naga reimagines the notions of identity, home, and belonging. The novel is told in a nontraditional narrative style. It is divided into three parts, each using a different narrative tool to convey its themes and ideas. The poetic nature of Naga’s prose helps guide the reader through the vast array of people, experiences, and emotions that the characters go through.
– Yehia Anas Sabaa, Culture Editor
FICTION – The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
CW: violence, classism, sexual assault
In The Dispossessed, we observe the anarchist planet of Anarres, a Petri dish-like examination of the effort to achieve individual freedom in the absence of government, and the lapses in society as hierarchies are slowly established to achieve this goal. Le Guin weaves an intelligent and thought-provoking story that unfolds similar to a thought experiment would. We engage directly with the people of Anarres, and the tension between their desire for a communal utopia and the inevitable creep toward bureaucracy, conformity, and petty power struggles.
– Zach Cheung, Features Editor