5 Books with Coco

It’s time for 5 Books, where one of our writers, editors or readers tells you what books they’d give to everyone else.  Tonight’s special guest is original Persephone pioneer and cheerleader for women everywhere, Coco. Learn the secrets of Coco’s bookcase after the break.

What book would you give to your significant other?

1. To my boo (thank you for cleaning up cat vomit this morning) I’d probably get The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide by Anthony Artis. He has been working on a doc based on a hip hop artist who has for the most part, stayed out of the record label game and done his own thing, even though this guy has been signed, wined and dined. It’s a great breakdown between the differences of guerilla style documentary making (Trouble the Water) and “mainstream” documentaries (The Fog of War). It talks about the hurdles that are out there for lesser known subjects or filmmakers and the ones that they impose on themselves, whether it’s money, distribution or production. It’s all covered: what to do when you are in a pinch, when you have the ability to give your doc that nice polish, pre-production, post-production, raising money and securing a crew and most importantly, keeping them happy. There is nary a thing that goes unsaid, completely accessible and no frills.

 What book would you give to a high school senior?

2. A definite one to give – Hey Shorty! A Guide to Combatting Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets. Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), Joanne Smith, Meghan Huppuch & Mandy Van Deven. This book is focused on action plans that students and faculty can do while still in a school environment, but I also feel so much of this carries over into the realm of, say, choosing to go to college and even real life applications. A look into sexual, street and verbal harassment, the book is about building awareness to something that is often “nameless” or even ignored due to its perception of not being a big deal.  The book breaks down the concrete reality that is potential and actual sexual aggression and violence, not only directed at girls, but transgender students, queer youth, as well as examining the conditions that make it acceptable for young men to act out. Girls for Gender Equality is a youth-led organization, giving actual youth the experience and platform to talk about the dangers of sexual violence and harassment and fight against it in their schools.

Books I would not give a high school senior? If they already haven’t had to read it already (lo, the uncreative that can be high school reading), I’d throw out Hemingway, Kerouac and Huxley, and replace with Zora Neal Hurston, Gene Yuen Lang, Sapphire and Marjane Satrapi.

 What book would you give to your elected representatives?

3. Lord, what book wouldn’t I give them? These will just be listed out.

* Towards Land, Work and Power by Jaron Browne, Marissa Franco, Steve Williams and Jason Negron-Gonzalez.

* The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch

* A subscription to The Indypendent

* A People’s History of the United States (let’s also throw You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train and The People Speak in there) by Howard Zinn

* Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Edward S. Herman

* Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide by Andrea Smith

* Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality, Marilyn Lake

* Racism: A Short History by George M. Fredrickson

There will be a pop quiz, Boehner.

 What book would you give to a former teacher?

4. Hmmm, good one. Most of the teachers I know are top-notch, so I might direct these books toward admins, proponents for standardized testing and superintendents. Probably, We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know by Gary R Howard, Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools by Elizabeth J Meyer, and finally, Teaching As a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman. Practical, important and above all, issues that need to be addressed in school environments.

 What book would you give to your best friend?

5. To my best friend, I’d give the oversize versions of Walton Ford’s Pancha Tantra and Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. Both visually stunning books that exist solely as artistic pleasure, sometimes a nice quiet relief from having to actually read.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

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