Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our March Author: Mara Hvistendahl

This month we are reading Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. The author has a personal website where you can learn more about this informative book and also check out some the other writing she has done, much of it for Science. She also lists many of the interviews she's given about the book. Here's one from Shanghaiist and another from Salon for starters. Our Loyal Readers will certainly appreciate this question and response from the Minneapolis Star Tribune,
Q Your subject is so upsetting -- and yet "Unnatural Selection" is surprisingly addictive with its rich characters and scenes. Did any writers inspire your style? 
A I admire the way Philip Gourevitch writes about Rwanda -- you know, the book with the really long title, "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families."
For a nickel summary of the book you could go with this NPR piece, but if you have more time, the video above or the audio (also available via iTunes) on this page, New Books in Gender Studies,  will give you a more thorough overview of the book. Much of the controversy surrounding sex selection centers on abortion. In this Salon article, Hvistendahl focuses on how antiabortion advocates (like NYT columnist Ross Douthat) read her wrong.

A step removed but not completely unrelated, Hvistendahl writes for the Atlantic about the consequences of having a child, including her own, in the Year of the Dragon. Or try this Science podcast about predicting unrest and conflict in countries with a demographic "youth bulge", another interesting convergence of science and human rights. Finally, of concern to our work on behalf of Chinese dissidents, see this article, The Great Forgetting, which mentions another Rights Readers author, Ma Jian.
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