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  1. 7.2 hrs • Feb/13/2017 • Unabridged

    Welcome to the troubling age of sex-denialism—the age of gender-neutral labels, rigidly enforced equality, unisex spaces, and the systematic eradication of sexual difference. In her debut book, Sex Scandal, journalist Ashley McGuire investigates the alarming nationwide push to ignore the natural, biological distinctions between men and women that have been at the core of functioning human society since the dawn of time. McGuire reports shocking examples of progressive sex-denialism—from American schools, offices, bathrooms, and bedrooms—and reveals the most startling and alarming trend of all: that the frontline victims of our new “gender-neutral” world are young women and girls, the very people progressive activists claim to be championing.

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    Sex Scandal

    Read by Erin Bennett
    7.2 hrs • Feb/13/2017 • Unabridged
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  2. 10.2 hrs • Nov/30/2016 • Unabridged

    On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto―a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. The term stuck.In this sweeping and original interpretation, Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and its revival by the Nazis to the present. As Duneier shows, we cannot understand the entanglements of race, poverty, and place in America today without recalling the history of the ghetto in Europe, as well as later efforts to understand the problems of the American city.This is the story of the scholars and activists who tried to achieve that understanding. Their efforts to wrestle with race and poverty in their times cannot be divorced from their individual biographies, which often included direct encounters with prejudice and discrimination in the academy and elsewhere. Using new and forgotten sources, Duneier introduces us to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, graduate students whose conception of the South Side of Chicago established a new paradigm for thinking about Northern racism and poverty in the 1940s. We learn how the psychologist Kenneth Clark subsequently linked Harlem’s slum conditions with the persistence of black powerlessness in the civil-rights era, and we follow the controversy over Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family. We see how the sociologist William Julius Wilson redefined the debate about urban America as middle-class African Americans increasingly escaped the ghetto and the country retreated from racially specific remedies. And we trace the education reformer Geoffrey Canada’s efforts to transform the lives of inner-city children with ambitious interventions, even as other reformers sought to help families escape their neighborhoods altogether.Ghetto offers a clear-eyed assessment of the thinkers and doers who have shaped American ideas about urban poverty and the ghetto. The result is a valuable new understanding of an age-old concept.

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    Ghetto

    10.2 hrs • Nov/30/2016 • Unabridged
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  3. 3.8 hrs • Nov/01/2016 • Unabridged

    In December 2012, the exuberant video “Gangnam Style” became the first YouTube clip to be viewed more than one billion times. Thousands of its viewers responded by creating and posting their own variations of the video—“Mitt Romney Style,” “NASA Johnson Style,” “Egyptian Style,” and many others. “Gangnam Style” (and its attendant parodies, imitations, and derivations) is one of the most famous examples of an Internet meme: a piece of digital content that spreads quickly around the web in various iterations and becomes a shared cultural experience. In Memes in Digital Culture, Limor Shifman investigates Internet memes and what they tell us about digital culture.Shifman discusses a series of well-known Internet memes—including “Leave Britney Alone,” the pepper-spraying cop, LOLCats, Scumbag Steve, and Occupy Wall Street’s “We Are the 99 Percent.” She offers a novel definition of Internet memes: digital content units with common characteristics, created with awareness of each other, and circulated, imitated, and transformed via the Internet by many users. She differentiates memes from virals, analyzes what makes memes and virals successful, describes popular meme genres, discusses memes as new modes of political participation in democratic and nondemocratic regimes, and examines memes as agents of globalization.Memes, Shifman argues, encapsulate some of the most fundamental aspects of the Internet in general and of the participatory Web 2.0 culture in particular. Internet memes may be entertaining, but Limor Shifman makes a compelling argument for taking them seriously.

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    Memes

    Read by Karen Saltus
    3.8 hrs • Nov/01/2016 • Unabridged
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  4. 6.3 hrs • Oct/25/2016 • Unabridged

    Feminism is all about demanding equality and learning to love yourself. But not too much—men hate that! From the writers of Reductress, the subversive, satirical women’s magazine read by over 2.5 million visitors a month, comes HOW TO WIN AT FEMINISM: The Definitive Guide to Having It All—And Then Some!This ultimate guide to winning feminism—filled with four color illustrations, bold graphics, and hilarious photos—teaches readers how to battle the patriarchy better than everybody else. From the herstory of feminism to how to apologize for having it all, readers will learn how to be a feminist at work and at home with tips that include:How to do more with thirty-three cents less,How to be sex-positive even when you’re bloated,How to love your body even though hers is better,The nine circles of hell for women who don’t help other women,Designer handbags to hold all your feminism, andHow to get catcalled for your personality.How to Win at Feminism is a fresh take on women’s rights through the lens of the funniest women in comedy today. With this book as your wo-manual, you’ll shatter that glass ceiling once and for all (but you’ll still need to clean up the mess).

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  5. 11.6 hrs • Oct/25/2016 • Unabridged

    In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations—both pre- and post-transition—to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.Serano’s well-honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. In this provocative manifesto, she exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today’s feminists and transgender activists must work to embrace and empower femininity—in all of its wondrous forms.

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    Whipping Girl

    Read by Julia Serano
    11.6 hrs • Oct/25/2016 • Unabridged
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  6. 10.5 hrs • Oct/04/2016 • Unabridged

    On an average day in America, seven young people aged nineteen or under will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning Guardian journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during the course of a single day in the United States. It could have been any day, but Younge has chosen November 23, 2013. From Jaiden Dixon (9), shot point-blank by his mother’s ex-boyfriend on his doorstep in Ohio, to Pedro Dado Cortez (16), shot by an enemy gang on a street corner in California, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the powerful human stories behind the statistics.Far from a dry account of gun policy in the United States or a polemic about the dangers of gun violence, the book is a gripping chronicle of an ordinary but deadly day in American life, and a series of character portraits of young people taken from us far too soon and those they left behind. Whether it’s a father’s unspeakable grief over his son who was at the wrong place at the wrong time, a mentor who tries to channel his rage by organizing, or a friend and neighbor who finds strength in faith, the lives lost on that day and the lives left behind become, in Younge’s hands, impossible to ignore, or to forget. What emerges in these pages is a searing portrait of youth, family, and the way that lives can be shattered in an instant on any day in America.At a time when it has become indisputable that Americans need to rethink their position on guns, this moving narrative work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. In his journalism, Younge is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and looking twice where others might look away. There are some things, he argues, that we have come to see as normal, even when they are unacceptable. And gun violence is one of them. A clear-eyed and iconoclastic approach to this contentious issue, this book helps answer the questions so many of us are grappling with, and makes it even harder to just look away.

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    Another Day in the Death of America

    Read by Mirron Willis
    10.5 hrs • Oct/04/2016 • Unabridged
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  7. 8.6 hrs • Oct/04/2016 • Unabridged

    Bestselling author, basketball legend and cultural commentator Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explores the heart of issues that affect Americans today.Since retiring from professional basketball as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, six-time MVP, and Hall of Fame inductee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has become a lauded observer of culture and society, a New York Times bestselling author, and a regular contributor to the Washington Post, Time magazine and Time.com.He now brings that keen insight to the fore in Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality beyond Black and White, his most incisive and important work of nonfiction in years. He uses his unique blend of erudition, street smarts and authentic experience in essays on the country’s seemingly irreconcilable partisan divide—both racial and political, parenthood, and his own experiences as an athlete, African American, and a Muslim. The book is not just a collection of expositions; he also offers keen assessments of and solutions to problems such as racism in sports while speaking candidly about his experiences on the court and off.Timed for publication as the nation debates whom to send to the White House, the combination of plain talk on issues, life lessons, and personal stories places Writings on the Wall squarely in the middle of the conversation, as many of Abdul-Jabbar’s topics are at the top of the national agenda. Whether it is sparring with Donald Trump, within the pages of Time magazine, or full-length features in the the New York Times Magazine, writers, critics, and readers have come to agree on what the Washington Post observed: Abdul-Jabbar “has become a vital, dynamic and unorthodox cultural voice.”

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    Writings on the Wall

    Read by Ben Adducchio
    8.6 hrs • Oct/04/2016 • Unabridged
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  8. 11.4 hrs • Sep/27/2016 • Unabridged

    More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young woman, nine of the original contributors are back—along with sixteen captivating new voices—sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body image, health, and aging: the critical flash points of women’s lives today.“Born out of anger,” the essays in The Bitch in the House chronicled the face of womanhood at the beginning of a new millennium. Now those funny, smart, passionate contributors—today less bitter and resentful, and more confident, competent, and content—capture the spirit of postfeminism in this equally provocative, illuminating, and compelling companion anthology.Having aged into their forties, fifties, and sixties, these “bitches”—bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists—are back … and better than ever. In The Bitch Is Back, Cathi Hanauer, Kate Christensen, Sarah Crichton, Debora Spar, Ann Hood, Veronica Chambers, and nineteen other women offer unique views on womanhood and feminism today. Some of the “original bitches” (OBs) revisit their earlier essays to reflect on their previous selves. All reveal how their lives have changed in the intervening years—whether they stayed coupled, left marriages, or had affairs; developed cancer or other physical challenges; coped with partners who strayed, died, or remained faithful; became full-time wage earners or homemakers; opened up their marriages; remained childless or became parents; or experienced other meaningful life transitions. As a “new wave” of feminists begins to take center stage, this powerful, timely collection sheds a much-needed light on both past and present, offering understanding, compassion, and wisdom for modern women’s lives, all the while pointing toward the exciting possibilities of tomorrow.

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    The Bitch Is Back

    Read by Teri Schnaubelt
    11.4 hrs • Sep/27/2016 • Unabridged
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  9. 6.8 hrs • Jun/28/2016 • Unabridged

    From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class.Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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    Hillbilly Elegy

    Read by J. D. Vance
    6.8 hrs • Jun/28/2016 • Unabridged
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  10. 10.3 hrs • Jun/07/2016 • Unabridged

    The New York Times bestselling author of The Kennedy Women chronicles the powerful and spellbinding true story of a brutal race-based killing in 1981 and subsequent trials that undid one of the most pernicious organizations in American history—the Ku Klux Klan.On a Friday night in March 1981, Henry Hays and James Knowles scoured the streets of Mobile in their car, hunting for a black man. The young men were members of Klavern 900 of the United Klans of America. They were seeking to retaliate after a largely black jury could not reach a verdict in a trial involving a black man accused of the murder of a white man. The two Klansmen found nineteen-year-old Michael Donald walking home alone. Hays and Knowles abducted him, beat him, cut his throat, and left his body hanging from a tree branch in a racially mixed residential neighborhood.Arrested, charged, and convicted, Hays was sentenced to death—the first time in more than half a century that the state of Alabama sentenced a white man to death for killing a black man. On behalf of Michael’s grieving mother, Morris Dees, the legendary civil rights lawyer and cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a civil suit against the members of the local Klan unit involved and the UKA, the largest Klan organization. Charging them with conspiracy, Dees put the Klan on trial, resulting in a verdict that would level a deadly blow to its organization.Based on numerous interviews and extensive archival research, The Lynching brings to life two dramatic trials, during which the Alabama Klan’s motives and philosophy were exposed for the evil they represent. In addition to telling a gripping and consequential story, Laurence Leamer chronicles the KKK and its activities in the second half the twentieth century, and illuminates its lingering effect on race relations in America today.The Lynching includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs.

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    The Lynching

    10.3 hrs • Jun/07/2016 • Unabridged
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  11. 7.1 hrs • Jun/07/2016 • Unabridged

    A riveting account of the two years literary scholar Mikita Brottman spent reading literature with criminals in a maximum-security men’s prison outside Baltimore, and what she learned from them—Orange Is the New Black meets Reading Lolita in Tehran.On sabbatical from teaching literature to undergraduates, and wanting to educate a different kind of student, Mikita Brottman starts a book club with a group of convicts from the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland. She assigns them ten dark, challenging classics—including Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Poe’s story “The Black Cat,” and Nabokov’s Lolita—books that don’t flinch from evoking the isolation of the human struggle, the pain of conflict, and the cost of transgression. Although Brottman is already familiar with these works, the convicts open them up in completely new ways. Their discussions may “only” be about literature, but for the prisoners, everything is at stake.Gradually, the inmates open up about their lives and families, their disastrous choices, their guilt and loss. Brottman also discovers that life in prison, while monotonous, is never without incident. The book club members struggle with their assigned reading through solitary confinement; on lockdown; in between factory shifts; in the hospital; and in the middle of the chaos of blasting televisions, incessant chatter, and the constant banging of metal doors.Though The Maximum Security Book Club never loses sight of the moral issues raised in the selected reading, it refuses to back away from the unexpected insights offered by the company of these complex, difficult men. It is a compelling, thoughtful analysis of literature—and prison life—like nothing you’ve ever read before.

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    The Maximum Security Book Club

    Read by Beverley Crick
    7.1 hrs • Jun/07/2016 • Unabridged
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  12. 6.2 hrs • May/17/2016 • Unabridged

    Hailed by Lena Dunham as an “essential (and hilarious) voice for women,” Lindy West is ferociously witty and outspoken, tackling topics as varied as pop culture, social justice, and body image. Her empowering work has garnered a coast-to-coast audience that eagerly awaits Shrill, her highly anticipated literary debut.West has rocked readers in work published everywhere from the Guardian to GQ to This American Life. She is a catalyst for a national conversation in a world where not all stories are created equal and not every body is treated with equal respect. Shrill is comprised of a series of essays that bravely shares her life, including her transition from quiet to feminist-out-loud, coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women) and how keeping quiet is not an option for any of us.

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    Shrill

    Read by Lindy West
    6.2 hrs • May/17/2016 • Unabridged
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  13. 9.7 hrs • May/17/2016 • Unabridged

    In this haunting modern Dickensian story that is a literary tour de force, Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry chronicles a shameful case of exploitation and abuse in America’s heartland, involving a group of developmentally disabled men and the advocates who helped them find justice and reclaim their lives.In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, a group of intellectually disabled men, all from Texas, lived in a tired old schoolhouse. Every morning, well before dawn, they were bussed to a processing plant to eviscerate turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. From 1974 until 2009, the men lived in near servitude, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious government lawyer helped these men achieve their freedom.New York Times columnist Dan Barry reveals how these men in an Iowa schoolhouse remained nearly forgotten for more than three decades. Drawing on exhaustive interviews, he dives deeply into their lives, recording their memories and suffering, their tender moments of joy and persistent hopefulness—their endurance of harrowing circumstances. Barry explores why this small heartland town remained all but blind to the men’s plight, details how those responsible for such profound neglect justified their actions, and chronicles the lasting impact of a dramatic court case that has spurred advocates—as well as President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people with disabilities.A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is inspired storytelling and a clarion call for vigilance—an American tale that holds lasting reverberations for all of us.

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    The Boys in the Bunkhouse

    Read by Fred Sanders
    9.7 hrs • May/17/2016 • Unabridged
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  14. 7.0 hrs • May/10/2016 • Unabridged

    Most of us want to make a difference. We donate our time and money to charities and causes we deem worthy, choose careers we consider meaningful, and patronize businesses and buy products we believe make the world a better place. Unfortunately, we often base these decisions on assumptions and emotions rather than facts. As a result, even our best intentions often lead to ineffective—and sometimes downright harmful—outcomes. How can we do better?While a researcher at Oxford, trying to figure out which career would allow him to have the greatest impact, William MacAskill confronted this problem head on. He discovered that much of the potential for change was being squandered by lack of information, bad data, and our own prejudice. As an antidote, he and his colleagues developed effective altruism, a practical, data-driven approach that allows each of us to make a tremendous difference regardless of our resources. Effective altruists believe that it’s not enough to simply do good; we must do good better.At the core of this philosophy are five key questions that help guide our altruistic decisions: How many people benefit, and by how much? Is this the most effective thing I can do? Is this area neglected? What would have happened otherwise? What are the chances of success, and how good would success be? By applying these questions to real-life scenarios, MacAskill shows how many of our assumptions about doing good are misguided. For instance, he argues one can potentially save more lives by becoming a plastic surgeon rather than a heart surgeon; measuring overhead costs is an inaccurate gauge of a charity’s effectiveness; and it generally doesn’t make sense for individuals to donate to disaster relief.MacAskill urges us to think differently, set aside biases, and use evidence and careful reasoning rather than act on impulse. When we do this—when we apply the head and the heart to each of our altruistic endeavors—we find that each of us has the power to do an astonishing amount of good.

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    Doing Good Better

    Read by Lloyd James
    7.0 hrs • May/10/2016 • Unabridged
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  15. 12.4 hrs • May/03/2016 • Unabridged

    A provocative look at how and what Americans eat and why—a flavorful blend of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Salt Sugar Fat, and Freakonomics that reveals how the way we live shapes the way we eat.Food writer and Culinary Institute of America program director Sophie Egan takes readers on an eye-opening journey through the American food psyche, examining the connections between the values that define our national character—work, freedom, and progress—and our eating habits, the good and the bad. Egan explores why these values make for such an unstable, and often unhealthy, food culture and, paradoxically, why they also make America’s cuisine so great.Egan raises a host of intriguing questions: Why does McDonald’s have 107 items on its menu? Why are breakfast sandwiches, protein bars, and gluten-free anything so popular? Will bland, soulless meal replacements like Soylent revolutionize our definition of a meal? The search for answers takes her across the culinary landscape, from the prioritization of convenience over health to the unintended consequences of “perks” like free meals for employees; from the American obsession with “having it our way” to the surge of Starbucks, Chipotle, and other chains individualizing the eating experience; from high culture—artisan and organic and what exactly “natural” means—to low culture—the sale of 100 million Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos in ten weeks. She also looks at how America’s cuisine—like the nation itself—has been shaped by diverse influences from across the globe.Devoured weaves together insights from the fields of psychology, anthropology, food science, and behavioral economics as well as myriad examples from daily life to create a powerful and unique look at food in America.

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    Devoured

    12.4 hrs • May/03/2016 • Unabridged
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  16. 8.5 hrs • Apr/26/2016 • Unabridged

    In this lively contrarian romp through the American cultural landscape, Andrea Tantaros argues that the swapping of gender roles has had a drastic effect on relationships, families, the boardroom, the bedroom, and beyond.Women today have more choices and options than ever. So why are they so stressed out? In a covetous quest to attain what men have, women have been told we should work like men, behave like men, and have sex like men. There’s just one problem: women aren’t men. Instead of feeling at peace with their newfound freedoms, females are finding themselves tied up in knots—trying to strike a balance between their natural desires and what society dictates. Conservative political analyst and cohost of Fox News’ Outnumbered and The Five exposes the pitfalls that are entangling women everywhere thanks to the rise of female power, revealing the mass confusion it has caused among both sexes, and arguing that decades of progress for women hasn’t brought the happiness they were promised. With scathing wit and insight born of personal experience, Tantaros calls out those sending the wrong messages to American woman, including Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Mika Brzezinski, Kim Kardashian, and Kris Jenner, and praises those who get it right like Beyonce and Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger. She explores how women have taken men off the hook in dating, much to their own detriment, and exposes how we’ve become a sex and selfie obsessed nation that has damagingly traded intimacy for relentless self-exposure.Tied Up in Knots is the gut-check women need to assess the state of their personal unions, and to help them find out what they really want while staying true to their authentic selves.

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    Tied Up in Knots

    Read by Andrea Tantaros
    8.5 hrs • Apr/26/2016 • Unabridged
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