What We Are Reading Today: Men We Reaped

Updated 13 July 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Men We Reaped

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Men We Reaped is one of the rare non-fiction books that seems destined to be a literary classic.
National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward “intertwines the story of her life growing up poor and Black in rural coastal Mississippi with the lives of five young men – including her brother – who died within a two-year span soon after she finished college,” said a review in goodreads.com.
Ward “writes with fire and passion as she captures the day-to-day and systemic injustices that she and her family faced and the struggles they went through,” it said.
“What’s also clear is the deep love and roots that tie her to the people and place where she was raised. This book will break your heart, make you think, and get you angry — all at once,” said the review.
The author details the difficulty of growing up poor and black in rural Mississippi.
She “writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent.”
The memoir places personal tragedy against the backdrop of systemic racism and poverty.


What We Are Reading Today: The Slow Moon Climbs by Susan Mattern

Updated 15 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Slow Moon Climbs by Susan Mattern

  • This book, then, introduces new ways of understanding life beyond fertility

Are the ways we look at menopause all wrong? Historian Susan Mattern says yes, and The Slow Moon Climbs reveals just how wrong we have been. Taking readers from the rainforests of Paraguay to the streets of Tokyo, Mattern draws on historical, scientific, and cultural research to reveal how our perceptions of menopause developed from prehistory to today. For most of human history, people had no word for menopause and did not view it as a medical condition. Rather, in traditional foraging and agrarian societies, it was a transition to another important life stage. 

This book, then, introduces new ways of understanding life beyond fertility, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Mattern examines the fascinating “Grandmother Hypothesis” — which argues for the importance of elders in the rearing of future generations — as well as other evolutionary theories that have generated surprising insights about menopause and the place of older people in society. She looks at agricultural communities where households relied on postreproductive women for the family’s survival.