Books

Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind

A Booksense Pick, Harvard Bookstore Bestseller, “favorite book of 2007″ from the Chicago Tribune. Called “a moving bio” by Entertainment Weekly (12/19/08)

The book is relevant to our times in profiling my friend Iris Chang, the author of the bestselling “Rape of Nanking,” as inspiration for fighting for social justice. But it goes beyond that to make the case for activists and journalists addressing “toxic” subjects to take deliberate steps for self-care and preservation. The book chronicles my real-life search to connect the dots about her mysterious 2004 suicide, and, meanwhile, clear up rampant misunderstandings about the bipolar disorder which likely claimed her life. The book is based on a eulogy I wrote about her for Salon.com.

All in My Head:

An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache

When first published in 2005, All in My Head was an early first-person account of chronic migraine. It was also a groundbreaking memoir of the wider “spoonie” movement (although she used her own “marbles” metaphor), taking women’s pain and fatigue out of the closet. Salon.com said it “connects the dots on this issue of women and chronic pain in a way nobody else has done.” Kirkus described it as “sharp, entertaining, informative, and blessedly free of poor-me- see-how- I-suffered- ism.” Reflecting the absurdity of having a 15-year long headache, the book is also a black comedy in its accounts of the extremes of both Western and “alternative” medicine in America. And to bust myths about women and pain, particularly about chronic migraine, it delivers an informed journalistic report.

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Her Way: YoungWomen Remake the Sexual Revolution

The first book on Gen X women’s sexual attitudes, which also applies to subsequent generations being more “individualistic” about sex: wanting to do sex on their own terms. Her Way demonstrates how and why 20- and 30-something women have evolved to act and think more like men sexually, while also creating their own distinct sexual patterns. Today’s young women are now the leaders of an unreported but sweeping “Sexual Evolution,” in which women take control of sex and redefine it from their perspective. In other words, do it “her way.” Unlike the countless prescriptive books that give women a romanticized take on what they should be doing, Her Way offers an eye-opening perspective on what they are doing.

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Feminist Fatale: Voices from the 20something Generation Explore the Future of the Women's Movement

Noted as the first post-Boomer, Gen X, or “Third Wave” feminist book (published in fall 1991, before the term “Third Wave” was coined). Praised by Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolf, the book was widely covered and reviewed, in such publications as the Washington Post, Elle, and Time. Relevant to all future generations about the challenge of overcoming the stigma of the word “feminism,” preserving past gains, and making future progress. Also makes a case for the organized women’s movement making a deliberate effort and priority to pass the torch. Written when I was 23 years old, this book explores a central conflict of Generation X women and those to follow: resistance to the label of “feminist,” but then support of the ideals of the women’s movement. Like Her Way, it is based on hundreds of original issues with a diversity of young women and incorporates current research and pop culture trends. Both books have been used as a textbook at many colleges.