AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In the vein of Notorious RBG, seventeen writers explore the multiple meanings of a young Latina politician who has already made history.
From the moment Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat a ten-term incumbent in the primary election for New York’s 14th, her journey to the national, if not world, stage, was fast-tracked. Six months later, as the youngest Congresswoman ever elected, AOC became one of a handful of Latina politicians in Washington, D.C. Just thirty, she represents her generation, the millennials, in many groundbreaking ways: proudly working class, Democratic Socialist, of Puerto Rican descent, master of social media, not to mention of the Bronx, feminist—and a great dancer.
AOC investigates her symbolic and personal significance for so many, from her willingness to use her imperfect bi-lingualism, to why men are so threatened by her power, to the long history of Puerto Rican activism that she joins. Contributors span a wide range of voices and ages, from media to the arts and politics:
The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.
The New Wilderness
Bea's five-year old daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away in front of her. The smog and pollution of the City--the over-populated, over-built metropolis where most of the population lives in buildings on top of buildings, where there is no room for parks or plants--is destroying her lungs. If they stay in the City, Agnes will die.
Across the country is the Wilderness State, a huge swath of protected land, remote and unwelcoming, a refuge for wildlife with nowhere else to go. It is a place of open spaces and clean air, wild animals, trees, forests, desert plains. No people have ever been allowed into the Wilderness State.
Until now. Bea and Agnes will be among the first. Along with a handful of others, they are invited into the Wilderness State, to live as nomadic hunter gatherers. This motley group of twenty people are part of a study to see if humans can co-exist with nature and not just dominate it as they have always done. Can they be part of the wilderness and not put too heavy an imprint on the land? They spend their days wandering through this grand country, hunting, gathering, avoiding animal attacks, bickering among themselves, and doing a surprising amount of paperwork. Their nit-picking overseers, The Rangers, wrangle with them and badger them into adhering to the rules of the Government, the most important being Leave No Trace. They slowly learn how to live, and survive, on the unpredictable, often dangerous land, and they build a new kind of community, fighting among themselves for power, betraying and saving one another. Each day they will walk to another point on the horizon and try to make sense of new lives they now spend closer to their animal soul.
A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom
This story starts with a family. For now, it is a father and a mother with two sons, one with his father’s violence in his blood, one with his mother’s artistry. One leaves. One stays. They will be joined by others whose deeds will determine their fate. It is a beginning.
Their stories will intertwine and evolve over the course of two thousand years. They will meet again and again at different times and in different places. From Palestine at the dawn of the first millennium and journeying across fifty countries to a life among the stars in the third, the world will change around them, but their destinies remain the same. It must play out as foretold.
Olive the Lionheart
In 1910, Olive MacLeod, a thirty-year-old, redheaded Scottish aristocrat, received word that her fiancé, the famous naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa.
So she went to find him.
Olive the Lionheart is the thrilling true story of her astonishing journey. In jungles, swamps, cities, and deserts, Olive and her two companions, the Talbots, come face-to-face with cobras and crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs that she adopts as her own. Making her way in a pair of ill-fitting boots, Olive awakens to the many forces around her, from shadowy colonial powers to an invisible Islamic warlord who may hold the key to Boyd’s disappearance. As these secrets begin to unravel, all of Olive’s assumptions prove wrong and she is forced to confront the darkest, most shocking secret of all: why she really came to Africa in the first place.
Grand: A Memoir
When Sara Schaefer is in first grade, her father warns her to always tell the truth because one lie leads to another and soon you will find yourself in a hole you can’t escape. A few years later, the Schaefer family is completely upended when it’s revealed that their grand life is based on a lie. Her parents become pariahs in their upper middle class community and go from non-religious people to devout church members. The idea of good and evil as binary, opposed forces is drilled into Sara and it becomes the perfect framework on which to build her anxiety and increasingly-obsessive thoughts.
The year she turns forty, Sara decides to take each member of her family on a one-on-one vacation culminating with a whitewater rafting journey through the Grand Canyon with her younger sister. The only problem is she’s terrified of rafting. Along the way, she grapples with unresolved grief over the death of her mother and the family scandal that changed the trajectory of her life.
The Eighth Detective
There are rules for murder mysteries. There must be a victim. A suspect. A detective.
Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked all the rules out – and wrote seven perfect detective stories to demonstrate. But that was thirty years ago. Now Grant lives in seclusion on a remote Mediterranean island, counting the rest of his days.
Until Julia Hart, a brilliant, ambitious editor knocks on his door. Julia wishes to republish his book, and together they must revisit those old stories: an author hiding from his past and an editor keen to understand it.
But there are things in the stories that don’t add up. Inconsistencies left by Grant that a sharp-eyed editor begins to suspect are more than mistakes. They may be clues, and Julia finds herself with a mystery of her own to solve.
A Private Cathedral
The Shondell and Balangie families are longtime enemies in the New Iberia criminal underworld and show each other no mercy. Yet their youngest heirs, Johnny Shondell and Isolde Balangie, rock and roll-musician teenagers with magical voices, have fallen in love and run away after Isolde was given as a sex slave to Johnny’s uncle.
As he seeks to uncover why, Detective Dave Robicheaux gets too close to both Isolde’s mother and the mistress of her father, a venomous New Orleans mafioso whose jealousy has no bounds. In retribution, he hires a mysterious assassin to go after Robicheaux and his longtime partner, Clete Purcel. This hitman is unlike any the “Bobbsey Twins from Homicide” have ever faced. He has the ability to induce horrifying hallucinations and travels on a menacing ghost ship that materializes without warning. In order to defeat him and rescue Johnny and Isolde, Robicheaux will have to overcome the demons that have tormented him throughout his adult life—alcoholism, specters from combat in Vietnam, and painful memories of women to whom he opened his heart only to see killed.
Kiss My Cupcake
Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn't plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn't spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.
From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there's also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they're forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it's possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.
Paris Never Leaves You
Living through World War II working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?
Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Ellen Feldman's Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.
A House Is a Body
Dreams collide with reality, modernity with antiquity, and myth with identity in the twelve arresting stories of A House Is a Body. In “Earthly Pleasures,” a young painter living alone in San Francisco begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities, and desire and ego are laid bare. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s professional crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy. And in the title story, an exhausted mother watches, hypnotized by fear, as a California wildfire approaches her home. Immersive and assured, provocative and probing, these are stories written with the edge and precision of a knife blade. Set in the United States and India, they reveal small but intense moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11