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In time for the one-year anniversary of the Trump Inauguration and the Women’s March, this provocative, unprecedented anthology features original short stories from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors—including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Lee Child—with an in In time for the one-year anniversary of the Trump Inauguration and the Women’s March, this provocative, unprecedented anthology features original short stories from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors—including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Lee Child—with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen. When Donald Trump claimed victory last November, the US literary world erupted in indignation. Many of America’s leading writers and artists openly resist the current administration’s dogma and earliest policy moves, and they’re not about to go gently into that good night. In It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art, more than thirty of the most acclaimed modern writers consider the fundamental ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democracy—through fiction. Featuring artwork by some of today’s best known artists, cartoonists, and graphic novelists—including Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Marilyn Minter, and Eric Fischl—who cover political, social, and cultural issues, this anthology is a beautiful, enduring collection that will resonate with anyone concerned with the contest for our American soul.


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In time for the one-year anniversary of the Trump Inauguration and the Women’s March, this provocative, unprecedented anthology features original short stories from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors—including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Lee Child—with an in In time for the one-year anniversary of the Trump Inauguration and the Women’s March, this provocative, unprecedented anthology features original short stories from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors—including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Lee Child—with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen. When Donald Trump claimed victory last November, the US literary world erupted in indignation. Many of America’s leading writers and artists openly resist the current administration’s dogma and earliest policy moves, and they’re not about to go gently into that good night. In It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art, more than thirty of the most acclaimed modern writers consider the fundamental ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democracy—through fiction. Featuring artwork by some of today’s best known artists, cartoonists, and graphic novelists—including Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Marilyn Minter, and Eric Fischl—who cover political, social, and cultural issues, this anthology is a beautiful, enduring collection that will resonate with anyone concerned with the contest for our American soul.

30 review for It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art

  1. 4 out of 5

    catherine ♡

    Well...I'm super excited about reading this book and will update this review after every short story. Speak! Speak! by Julia Alvarez: Hm. Maybe it's because I'm not really a foodie, but I honestly did not connect with the end of this short story and I thought the poem was underwhelming. A shame, because the beginning of this short story was heart-stopping. Oh, Canada by Russell Banks: I quite liked this one, and the lines differentiating between refugee and immigrant were extremely touching. The Pa Well...I'm super excited about reading this book and will update this review after every short story. Speak! Speak! by Julia Alvarez: Hm. Maybe it's because I'm not really a foodie, but I honestly did not connect with the end of this short story and I thought the poem was underwhelming. A shame, because the beginning of this short story was heart-stopping. Oh, Canada by Russell Banks: I quite liked this one, and the lines differentiating between refugee and immigrant were extremely touching. The Party by Bliss Broyard: A little meh about this one, but I liked how the political commentary was more subtle. OKAY. DNF at 50%. I really tried to get through this and was excited for it, but a lot of the short stories just seemed very bland and slow, and in the end my reading slump won the battle.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    I'm astonished that more people did not like this book as much as I did. The title is a line borrowed from a poem by Allan Ginsberg. The book is an anthology of prose and art by some of America's best writers and artists. It was put together shortly after the election of Donald Trump as a means of reminding both Americans and the world that democracy and liberal attitudes still exist in the USA in spite of the election results. Some of the stories work better than others which is what you would I'm astonished that more people did not like this book as much as I did. The title is a line borrowed from a poem by Allan Ginsberg. The book is an anthology of prose and art by some of America's best writers and artists. It was put together shortly after the election of Donald Trump as a means of reminding both Americans and the world that democracy and liberal attitudes still exist in the USA in spite of the election results. Some of the stories work better than others which is what you would expect from an anthology that involves many different writers. For me, the cartoons did not work as well as the prose but I believe that is down to personal preference.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Veronica Rivera

    This book is a hodgepodge of all kinds of American writers that reflect what America is today a melting pot of several cultures that call America home. This book was published at the year mark of the current administration in Washington and reflects points of view and stories along with photography from American writers across the country. Some of the names are well known and some not as known but have writing accolades and awards. Recommendation for reading, since these are short stories, I actu This book is a hodgepodge of all kinds of American writers that reflect what America is today a melting pot of several cultures that call America home. This book was published at the year mark of the current administration in Washington and reflects points of view and stories along with photography from American writers across the country. Some of the names are well known and some not as known but have writing accolades and awards. Recommendation for reading, since these are short stories, I actually started with those authors I was familiar with and then worked my way around the book based on title of the piece written, some were experiences of the "new" immigrant as they became aware of their place in America, and some are stories of how we treat each other even today based on race, color, religion. Given that freedom of religion was part of why this country was founded oh so many years ago, why are we still dealing with some of those issues even today? Fair warning this book has received mixed reviews from 2 stars to 5 stars, and the reasons are just as diverse as the people who have read it, but as always disagreement can lead to discussion and that is what makes literature great to begin with.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    It Occurs to Me That I Am America is a decent attempt at a multicultural anthology in response to the election of Trump. Regrettably, the voices within are still predominantly white and cisgender voices despite offering greater diversity than most other collections. Given the topic of the collection, I expected better. I am please, however, that the authors opted to donate their proceeds to the ACLU. The contents consist predominantly of contemporary short stories with some historical and dystopi It Occurs to Me That I Am America is a decent attempt at a multicultural anthology in response to the election of Trump. Regrettably, the voices within are still predominantly white and cisgender voices despite offering greater diversity than most other collections. Given the topic of the collection, I expected better. I am please, however, that the authors opted to donate their proceeds to the ACLU. The contents consist predominantly of contemporary short stories with some historical and dystopian tales as well. You will also find a couple of poems and a few essays. Most of the entries are well-written and thought-provoking. Of particular note: The Party Bliss Broyard A initially straightforward seeming contemporary short story hides a subtle allegory Listen Susan Minot Is this a poem or a play? It could be either. Whatever it is, it is powerful and true. If They Come in the Morning S.J. Rozan This gave me chills. Absolute chills.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I appreciated many of the thoughtful stories in this collection. My very favorite was a short piece by Alice Walker titled "Don't Despair."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisajean

    Great concept, beautiful book, mediocre stories

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I was so disappointed in this book. Although there were a couple of stories and cartoons I enjoyed (The Walk (story); Tell Her Anyway (cartoon); Hate for Sale (poem); Mr. Crime and Punishment and War and Peace (story), I found most of the stories depressing, and some seemed like they were in the wrong book - how exactly were they illustrating the "I am America" theme? I guess what I was expecting was a different take on patriotism than what usually gets trotted out. Less of the self-righteous fl I was so disappointed in this book. Although there were a couple of stories and cartoons I enjoyed (The Walk (story); Tell Her Anyway (cartoon); Hate for Sale (poem); Mr. Crime and Punishment and War and Peace (story), I found most of the stories depressing, and some seemed like they were in the wrong book - how exactly were they illustrating the "I am America" theme? I guess what I was expecting was a different take on patriotism than what usually gets trotted out. Less of the self-righteous flag-waving and more of the true stories of everyday people and their experiences of being American, in all its variations. You are not a patriot just because you fly the flag outside of your home, yet have no idea what the Constitution says, what the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) fought and died for, and some real understanding of the history - blemishes and all - of this country. I guess I was hoping to be uplifted by these stories, inspired maybe. But the stories collected here seem to be written by people in a deep funk about our country's future. This is a feeling I can understand, but I was hoping to be reminded of the deep strengths and diversity of this country. There was some of that, but overall there was just a bit too much dystopian fiction for my taste. At the end, when I came to Alice Walker's piece (Don't Despair of all possible titles), where she shares her friend's belief that Hillary Clinton would have been just as disastrous a president as the current occupant of the White House, I just wanted to throw the book against the wall. Really? Really, Alice? I can't help but wonder if she still believes that, because, NO.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Melbie

    Wholeness. Well-being. Strength. Freedom. Escape. Rescue. Refuge. Spectacular! My favorite was the poem, Hate for Sale, by Neil Gaiman.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jason Robinson

    A powerful and accessible anthology of short stories, essays, and art collected by and sponsored by the ACLU in response to the first complete year of the Trump Administration.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Touchstone Books

    We are incredibly proud to be publishing this collection in support of the ACLU. For more information check out iamamericabook.com!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Glode

    When I started this, I knew it was heavily themed upon liberal ideas, which was okay with me. I enjoyed many of the stories, such as "Compline" and "Intersections". I didn't like the ones in which the author pretty much forced their political ideas in your face though. "Lucky Girl" was one of those, as the character was the epitome of revolving your entire life around your political ideals to the point you can't have a simple conversation without bringing up Trump. However, I'm not sure if that When I started this, I knew it was heavily themed upon liberal ideas, which was okay with me. I enjoyed many of the stories, such as "Compline" and "Intersections". I didn't like the ones in which the author pretty much forced their political ideas in your face though. "Lucky Girl" was one of those, as the character was the epitome of revolving your entire life around your political ideals to the point you can't have a simple conversation without bringing up Trump. However, I'm not sure if that was actually the author's point...I honestly can't tell. Overall, I enjoyed the stories where the reader was urged to make their own decisions on the issues displayed in each story. I'm not a fan of the others pretty much saying "you better agree with the author's idea or you're an asshole." 3/5, a lengthy array of stories from renowned authors like Joyce Carol Oates and Alice Walker exploring a diverse list of social issues like racism, homophobia, reproductive rights, education, etc.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    This book is a direct result of the current President of the United States and the sheer terror that many feel since the election of 2016. The general idea seems to have been: gather up nearly every writer in the US, ask them to write short fiction, put it all in a big Coffee Table anthology, add visual art and cartoons from American artists, and do it all for a good cause. In this case the cause is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.) So, it's a fundraiser for an urgent cause, populated by This book is a direct result of the current President of the United States and the sheer terror that many feel since the election of 2016. The general idea seems to have been: gather up nearly every writer in the US, ask them to write short fiction, put it all in a big Coffee Table anthology, add visual art and cartoons from American artists, and do it all for a good cause. In this case the cause is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.) So, it's a fundraiser for an urgent cause, populated by an amazing array of diverse and celebrated authors. This should have been great. Everyone seems to have at least been invited. Only one spot is left awkwardly empty. There is very little about diversity of religion and very little about religion at all, actually. Beyond that, the participants alone are a fabulous tapestry of America and a reminder that we are a country held together by ideals rather than race, color or creed. An anthology will never be consistently awesome. It just doesn't work that way. That said, the overall feeling is a bit worrisome. Some felt a bit phoned in. Some writers didn't write fiction while others who are not known for fiction give us wonderful stories. Some great fiction writers (looking at you, Neil Gaiman) wrote short poems, and the best pieces were not the fiction but the Introduction by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a lovely essay from Louise Erdrich about her bookstore and the love of books (and how books and literature become more important as our freedoms are threatened,) and the final letter, which serves as an afterward, from the ACLU. My very favorite piece is nonfiction. An essay by Ha Jin, "Finally I am an American at Heart" about how, now that he's seen the courts and many others fight back against the Administration, he "gets" the ideal of America – so much so that he's ready to go into combat to defend it if necessary. It moved me to tears. A refugee from China circa Tiananmen Square shines a light on the fact that the most genuine and clear-eyed Americans are often the newest ones. One thing that may have helped would have been to allow nonfiction writers to write nonfiction rather than asking them all to write fiction, having most – but not all – of them try, and some fail. It's a missed opportunity, but this is a wonderful idea, much like our country, and it's important that every writer put her own spin on the richness of our values. They pulled this together fast; it's a pretty table book that should make for a lovely gift, so at least the ACLU will get lots of money. Everyone, including the publishers/printers/writers/artists... donated their fees, royalties and time. A few more highlights: The Forward by Viet Thanh Nguyen starts the whole thing off with the most patriotic and achingly beautiful prose. He talks about American identity, the importance of storytelling, taking refuge in the libraries of Harrisburg PA as a child, and the subtext of “Make America Great Again.” He quotes another of my recent favorites – Colson Whitehead saying, "Be kind to everybody, Make Art and Fight the Power." He makes lovely sentences like "Shared humanity and Inhumanity... We are all storytellers of our own lives." and the best line, "Rather than making America 'great' again, we should make America love again." Also, forgive me for going on, but his story of why naming his son reminds us of both the American literary family and how much literature is connected to liberty. Things stay on a high with Julia Alvarez's,“Speak, Speak” which is a play on a taunt heard in school by a young, new American, “Spick, Spick." Her story is a lovely reminder that the finally-expanding world of American literature means young children will now know Latino, Black, Asian, Native and all kinds of other American literature. The voices we would have missed if the table stayed closed to men and women of color and immigrants from places other than Europe is almost unimaginable. We have Langston Hughes' poem, "I Too," in a school book to thank for Alvarez realizing that she, too, could add to the American literary world. That little poem gave her “a lot of gasoline” and we've certainly seen the results. Bliss Broyard's story has a great metaphor for the way liberals dropped the ball during the Obama years. Without the story, the quote is impossible to situate, but it is well worth reading her story simply for the metaphor. You'll know it when you read it. Mark Di Ionno's "Intersections" is probably the very best story of the bunch – in terms of fiction that meets the challenge of American ideals. He chooses a tough and nuanced topic (undocumented immigrant who has committed a crime and will now be deported.) He does a fabulous job of shading everyone affected, and gets a nuanced and intellectually stimulating story out without ever preaching or devolving into pedagogy. He takes something we might think of as "just plain common sense" and adds all of the layers of real humans living real life. I'd welcome a novel, please. Joyce Carol Oates story “Good News” about a young girl's valedictory speech sometime in the very dystopian American future is freakishly scary and was another one where I just wanted the story to go on and on. It also reminded me that I need to read more of her in general. Oates is immediately followed by one other standout dystopian portrayal, this time by Sarah Paretsky ("Safety First.") She manages to give V.I. Warshawski an off-camera role. There are many other good stories and submissions. These were my favorites, but others may find they like a different flavor of patriotism. And that's exactly the point.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Such a diverse collection, but only a few high points It Occurs to Me... is full of stories & art by big names, but only a few of their works stand out. The stories (and essays) do a better job of thoughtfully and searchingly addressing the theme of what it means to be an American. The Joyce Carol Oates story is quite striking, and caused me to seek out the full novel from which it was excerpted. The art is sort of tacked on at the end, and even with graphic art by Roz Chast and Art Spiegelman, Such a diverse collection, but only a few high points It Occurs to Me... is full of stories & art by big names, but only a few of their works stand out. The stories (and essays) do a better job of thoughtfully and searchingly addressing the theme of what it means to be an American. The Joyce Carol Oates story is quite striking, and caused me to seek out the full novel from which it was excerpted. The art is sort of tacked on at the end, and even with graphic art by Roz Chast and Art Spiegelman, it feels too overtly political. Not that “political” is bad in this context, but this material will either preach to the already-converted, or it will turn off the brainwashed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Some of the entries seemed unfocused or out of scope, but as a whole this book brings together many diverse perspectives on what it means to be an American in many different walks of life. Characters of different beliefs, backgrounds, and desires are shown to be equally American.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie

    This book was something I expected to like. I wanted to like. But it seems thrown together a little haphazardly. Even the well renowned authors works were sloppy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Pre-roadtrip random pick at the library. Flash forward 11 CDs and 13.5 hours over the course of three weeks. As with another book on CD I started with the wrong CD and accidentally heard last three stories out of 50 first. In retrospect only one of those was in my top 20. What an interesting journey to hear this new works by such a variety of authors, read alphabetically if one puts in the CDs properly, by ten readers. The first story that had me riveted was by Bliss Broyard, with a quick next K Pre-roadtrip random pick at the library. Flash forward 11 CDs and 13.5 hours over the course of three weeks. As with another book on CD I started with the wrong CD and accidentally heard last three stories out of 50 first. In retrospect only one of those was in my top 20. What an interesting journey to hear this new works by such a variety of authors, read alphabetically if one puts in the CDs properly, by ten readers. The first story that had me riveted was by Bliss Broyard, with a quick next KO by Stephen L. Carter. After that I was a lost cause. I loved the variety, some were personal essays, others I think might qualify as a novella. Supposedly 50 authors "consider the fundamental ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democracy." I guess utter absence of those principles in some of the stories proves the point. All of the pieces made me think, one made me cry. Elizabeth Strout's I just plain loved for its character arc and the final words. This was an amazing experience over the last few weeks to be in the words of these 50 artists.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This is a collection of short stories, poetry, art, essays and graphic novel panels as a reaction to the election of Donald Trump. In just over three pages Mary Higgins Clark, who I don’t think I’ve ever read, writes about a 92 year- old veteran of World War II watching a Veterans Day parade and remembering his twin. So much character in so few words! “Intersection” by Mark Di Ionno is about a criminal defense attorney defending a Dreamer from a hit and run. He did it; like his victim, he is a g This is a collection of short stories, poetry, art, essays and graphic novel panels as a reaction to the election of Donald Trump. In just over three pages Mary Higgins Clark, who I don’t think I’ve ever read, writes about a 92 year- old veteran of World War II watching a Veterans Day parade and remembering his twin. So much character in so few words! “Intersection” by Mark Di Ionno is about a criminal defense attorney defending a Dreamer from a hit and run. He did it; like his victim, he is a good person and he admits it. Neil Gaiman’s poem “Hate for Sale” has this stanza: “Hate for sale. You’ll feel superior./ Hate for sale. You’ll make the news./ Hate the families who come here fleeing war./ Hate the gay, the trans, the new, the Jews.” (143) Joyce Carol Oates and Sara Paretsky have written back- to- back dystopias set ten minutes into our future. But I cried while reading “If they Come in the Morning” by S.J. Rozan is about a Holocaust survivor who goes with her neighbors seventy years later to protest a Neo- Nazi march. “When I was a child growing up in middle Georgia, I thought all white men were like Donald Trump,” writes Alice Walker in the essay, ”Don’t Despair.” She goes on, “They too seemed petulant and spoiled, unhappy with everything they were not the center of, brutal towards the feelings of those beneath them and comfortable causing others to act pout of hate. How did we survive this?” (355) There are many submissions in the collection, I didn’t like them all, but I loved some of them. I borrowed this from my public library.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    It Occurs to Me That I Am American: New Stories and Art is an anthology of short stories, poetry, art, essays, cartoonist, and graphic novelists edited by Jonathan Santlofer with a forward written by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This anthology came about shortly after Donald Trump has taken the office of the President of the United States. His early policies had banded together America's leading writers and artist together to resist the current administration policies. The result is this anthology, publis It Occurs to Me That I Am American: New Stories and Art is an anthology of short stories, poetry, art, essays, cartoonist, and graphic novelists edited by Jonathan Santlofer with a forward written by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This anthology came about shortly after Donald Trump has taken the office of the President of the United States. His early policies had banded together America's leading writers and artist together to resist the current administration policies. The result is this anthology, published a year into the Trump Administration. For the most part, I really like most of these contributions. The contributions I really enjoyed (listed in alphabetical order): Julia Alvarez ("Speak, Speak"), Bliss Broyard ("The Party"), Mary Higgins Clark ("Veterans Day"), Neil Gaiman ("Hate for Sale"), Mark Di Ionno ("Intersections"), Ha Jin ("Finally I am an American at Heart"), Elinor Lipman ("People Are People"), Viet Thanh Nguyen's Introduction, Joyce Carol Oates ("Good News"), Sarah Paretsky ("Safety First"), S.J. Rozan ("If They Come in the Morning"), Richard Russo ("Top Step"), Paul Theroux ("Stop & Shop"), and Alice Walker ("Don't Despair"). Like most anthologies there are weaker contributions, but there were few and far in-between that it didn't affect my enjoyment of the anthology and subconsciously thought of them as outliers. In reality, I think there were just one or two stories that I didn't enjoy or couldn't connect to. All in all, I think It Occurs to Me That I Am American: New Stories and Art is a wonderful collection of short stories, poetry, art, essays, political cartoons, and comic panels in response to the very controversial polices of the Trump Administration and all for a good cause – American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cathryn Conroy

    This impressive collection of short stories, essays, poetry and art was compiled as a liberal reaction to Donald Trump's presidency and what many perceive to be a slow eroding of our American rights. It is a literary act of resistance! Some top names in American literature participated, including Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Russo, Alice Hoffman, Paul Theroux, Elizabeth Strout, Joyce Maynard and Alice Walker to name only a few. Many of these short stories are so powerful they took my breath away. I This impressive collection of short stories, essays, poetry and art was compiled as a liberal reaction to Donald Trump's presidency and what many perceive to be a slow eroding of our American rights. It is a literary act of resistance! Some top names in American literature participated, including Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Russo, Alice Hoffman, Paul Theroux, Elizabeth Strout, Joyce Maynard and Alice Walker to name only a few. Many of these short stories are so powerful they took my breath away. I had to stop reading, close my eyes and just think. Some are big, bold and shouting in your face. Others speak softly with subtle messages that are all the more spooky for their quiet presentation. Two are absolutely appalling in their level of violence. Unfortunately, the quality of the stories is uneven with a few being so poorly written that I wondered why they were even included in this prestigious collection—and that is why I gave the book four stars instead of five. What this is NOT is a diatribe against Trump and Republicans. What this IS is an imaginative discourse on what it means to be an American from a variety of points of view. The teenage girl refugee who can't fit in. A teenage boy working in a grocery store and trying to figure out his future. A 20-something woman who volunteers in a dog shelter. An elderly female survivor of the German concentration camps who confronts today's neo-Nazis and skinheads. A Veterans' Day parade. A party on Martha's Vineyard that turns tragic. Bonus: Proceeds from the book benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Starla Nichols

    This is an amazing read. It took me much longer to read. As the library had only a 2 week check out option and I had to renew it 5 times to finish, But I finally did. (It took a month for me to rad, but I also had it checked out with other books so it took some time to begin it as well) My favorite art is Bridget Jones "Tell Her Anyway". I tried to research her and could not find much. So I am amazed and touched she gets to "debut" in this book. I felt like, since I was on a time restriction fro This is an amazing read. It took me much longer to read. As the library had only a 2 week check out option and I had to renew it 5 times to finish, But I finally did. (It took a month for me to rad, but I also had it checked out with other books so it took some time to begin it as well) My favorite art is Bridget Jones "Tell Her Anyway". I tried to research her and could not find much. So I am amazed and touched she gets to "debut" in this book. I felt like, since I was on a time restriction from the lending library, that this collection could have published as a 2 or 3 set piece rather than 1 whole. But I could not figure out how it could be split in to separate entities. It was an amazing read nonetheless and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    As with any anthology, some works you will like, some you will not. Glad I read it all, though.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Matthews

    The gamut of ponder and thought -- enticing, inspiring, engulfing. I wish it would be one of our textbooks for writing or Freshman first year experience.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tracy St Claire

    I am glad to see a volume that gives all the proceeds to the ACLU, with writers supports its work donating their entries. I wish I bought this retail now, instead of library-borrowing. The entries were varied in quality as you can expect, but most were top notch as all the entries were from top writers and award winners. I loved the story by Joyce Carol Oates, but though that Lee Child and Neil Gaiman both phoned in their story/poem. They lent mostly their name to this project. Thankfully others t I am glad to see a volume that gives all the proceeds to the ACLU, with writers supports its work donating their entries. I wish I bought this retail now, instead of library-borrowing. The entries were varied in quality as you can expect, but most were top notch as all the entries were from top writers and award winners. I loved the story by Joyce Carol Oates, but though that Lee Child and Neil Gaiman both phoned in their story/poem. They lent mostly their name to this project. Thankfully others took their time to write stunning entries. The standout exception, as others have noted, is White Baby. I don’t know what the writer wanted us to do with that entry. Assume black people have horrifying fantasies or intentions? It is offensive to everyone. I am not for censorship of violence per se — just maybe better judgment in weeding out bad writing. That is different from censorship. That is all. Buy the book! Support the ACLU, the organization that filed suit and won the court case for the families that are now being reunited, and MANY other good works. They no longer defend Nazi marchers, BTW, if that is what holds you back.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    So, I didn't read every page of this - I went through and looked at all of the art and appreciated it. I also read about 7 of the stories from my favorite authors. At that point I was so depressed I had to stop. I understand the purpose of this and it is a beautiful book both content and presentation. However, I am currently feeling like that cartoon that says I am balancing my staying informed and staying sane. I love that lots of artists are coming together and bringing their voices to the fore So, I didn't read every page of this - I went through and looked at all of the art and appreciated it. I also read about 7 of the stories from my favorite authors. At that point I was so depressed I had to stop. I understand the purpose of this and it is a beautiful book both content and presentation. However, I am currently feeling like that cartoon that says I am balancing my staying informed and staying sane. I love that lots of artists are coming together and bringing their voices to the forefront. That needs to happen especially now when there is such a push to silence everyone from the media to the talk show hosts to the artists.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    This is a collection of short stories and art by noted American writers and artists who donated their royalties to the ACLU. Some stories are strong and very timely commentaries about the turn our government has taken since 1/20/17, about challenges to the rights of women, immigrants, and people of color. Others didn't hold my interest, but with about 30 pieces, you can treat this book like a sampler and pick and choose at will. I found the art less accessible, although I really liked "It occurs This is a collection of short stories and art by noted American writers and artists who donated their royalties to the ACLU. Some stories are strong and very timely commentaries about the turn our government has taken since 1/20/17, about challenges to the rights of women, immigrants, and people of color. Others didn't hold my interest, but with about 30 pieces, you can treat this book like a sampler and pick and choose at will. I found the art less accessible, although I really liked "It occurs to me that our President is the Ugliest American (an alphabet)" and a graphic of the U.S. Constitution with most of the words redacted.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Gemmell

    A lovely cover and illustrations make you comfortable leaving this on the coffee table for a while. Then you start to read and, of course, are reminded of the current political situation and the reason for this collection's existence. Your shame may see you placing the book on a dark shelf after all. It's not a book you read cover-to-cover in one session. You need too many breaks to wring your hands and shake your sorrowful head. Neil Gaiman's poem, Hate for Sale, is the soundbite takeaway. Reco A lovely cover and illustrations make you comfortable leaving this on the coffee table for a while. Then you start to read and, of course, are reminded of the current political situation and the reason for this collection's existence. Your shame may see you placing the book on a dark shelf after all. It's not a book you read cover-to-cover in one session. You need too many breaks to wring your hands and shake your sorrowful head. Neil Gaiman's poem, Hate for Sale, is the soundbite takeaway. Recommended.

  27. 5 out of 5

    kb

    Full disclosure: I did not listen to every story in this collection. I found myself dragging through around 20-30% into listening, and realized I didn't like one of the narrators. I started skipping through and listened to stories by authors I knew/was more interested in. Overall, this is a good collection of essays/stories/poems, with a really great thematic undertone/current events. I just couldn't really follow or get into it. I think it might have been more successful for me if I had read th Full disclosure: I did not listen to every story in this collection. I found myself dragging through around 20-30% into listening, and realized I didn't like one of the narrators. I started skipping through and listened to stories by authors I knew/was more interested in. Overall, this is a good collection of essays/stories/poems, with a really great thematic undertone/current events. I just couldn't really follow or get into it. I think it might have been more successful for me if I had read the printed version.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bree Taylor

    An impromptu pick up at the library that took me MUCH longer to read than I thought it would. As with most anthologies, some of the stories were excellent. Others were just uninteresting. I was particularly moved by a number of stories that will stay with me for life - because of the interesting twist at the end. I was particularly unmoved by stories that seemed trite or had a "been there done that" quality. Four stars because some of the stories truly deserved 5+ stars and others were barely more An impromptu pick up at the library that took me MUCH longer to read than I thought it would. As with most anthologies, some of the stories were excellent. Others were just uninteresting. I was particularly moved by a number of stories that will stay with me for life - because of the interesting twist at the end. I was particularly unmoved by stories that seemed trite or had a "been there done that" quality. Four stars because some of the stories truly deserved 5+ stars and others were barely more than 2.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This is a lovely collection— a group of smart and talented artists responding to a dark moment in our collective history. Lots of pieces worth reading, but I was especially struck by Elinor Lipman’s memories of death-camp survivors who came to America, Richard Russo’s fine acount of his working-class dad, and Paul Theroux’s lovely story of learning to identify with the people who work at the Stop ‘n’ Shop, rather than those who manage it. A birthday gift from my wife, who knows me well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diogenes

    3.5 stars The authors and artists who comprise this anthology of what America is, to them, are not fans of President Trump. For example, a redacted Declaration of Independence by Jan Kent, titled Blackout, proves the adage that a picture is more powerful than a thousand words. But some stories have nothing to do with the president, unless you realize that they epitomize an America that is not the one he wants to create.

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