Politically Inspired Book Club
Interested in human rights and social justice? Unsure as to the direction of our political, social and economic institutions?
And are you looking for fellow humans to meet and encourage learning and help inspire change?
In this book club, we encourage each other to learn more, discuss ideas, challenge each other and teach each other. Together we explore nonfiction, memoir and fiction books that we collectively choose. We may also follow up our book club meeting with a tea or a beer down the street.
September 2014 Selection:Since its publication fifty years ago, "Animal Farm" has become one
of the most controversial books ever written. It has been translated
into seventy languages and sold millions of copies throughout the world.
This edition is being published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary
of its original U.S. publication. It features 100 full-color and
halftone illustrations by world-renowned artist Ralph Steadman. As
vital and relevant as it was fifty years ago, "Animal Farm" is a
devastating satire of the Soviet Union by the man V. S. Pritchett called
"the conscience of his generation." A fable about an uprising of farm
animals against their human masters, it illustrates how new tyranny
replaces old in the wake of revolutions and power corrupts even the
noblest of causes. This anniversary edition includes Orwell's
proposed but unpublished preface to the original edition and his preface
to the 1947 Ukranian edition. These appendices evoke the historical
context in which Orwell conceived and wrote his classic novel.
August 2014 Selection: Today's economic crisis is capitalism's worst since the Great
Depression. Millions have lost their jobs, homes and healthcare while
those who work watch their pensions, benefits, and job security decline.
As more and more are impacted by the crisis, the system continues to
make the very wealthy even richer. In eye-opening interviews with
prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the root
causes of the current economic crisis, its unjust social consequences,
and what can and should be done to turn things around. While others
blame corrupt bankers and unregulated speculators, the government, or
even the poor who borrowed, the authors show that the causes of the
crisis run much deeper. They reach back to the 1970s when the capitalist
system itself shifted, ending the century-old pattern of rising wages
for U.S. workers and thereby enabling the top 1% to become ultra-rich at
the expense of the 99%. Since then, economic injustice has become
chronic and further corrupted politics. The Occupy movement, by
articulating deep indignation with the whole system, mobilizes huge
numbers who seek basic change. Occupying the Economy not only clarifies
and analyzes the crisis in U.S. capitalism today, it also points toward
solutions that can shape a far better future for all.
July 2014 Selection: Ralph Nader has fought for over fifty years on behalf of American
citizens against the reckless influence of corporations and their
government patrons on our society. Now he ramps up the fight and makes a
persuasive case that Americans are not powerless. In "Unstoppable," he
explores the emerging political alignment of the Left and the Right
against converging corporate-government tyranny. Large segments from
the progressive, conservative, and libertarian political camps find
themselves aligned in opposition to the destruction of civil liberties,
the economically draining corporate welfare state, the relentless
perpetuation of America's wars, sovereignty-shredding trade agreements,
and the unpunished crimes of Wall Street against Main Street. Nader
shows how Left-Right coalitions can prevail over the corporate state and
crony capitalism. He draws on his extensive experience working with
grassroots organizations in Washington and reveals the many surprising
victories by united progressive and conservative forces. As a
participator in, and keen observer of, these budding alliances, he
breaks new ground in showing how such coalitions can overcome specific
obstacles that divide them, and how they can expand their power on
Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in the decisive arena of public
opinion. Americans can reclaim their right to consume safe foods and
drugs, live in healthy environments, receive fair rewards for their
work, resist empire, regain control of taxpayer assets, strengthen
investor rights, and make bureaucrats more efficient and accountable.
Nader argues it is in the interest of citizens of different political
labels to join in the struggle against the corporate state that will, if
left unchecked, ruin the Republic, override our constitution, and shred
the basic rights of the American people.
June 2014 Selection: It is a well-established fact that in rich societies the poor have
shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. "The
Spirit Level," based on thirty years of research, takes this truth a
step further. One common factor links the healthiest and happiest
societies: the degree of equality among their members. Further, more
unequal societies are bad for everyone within them-the rich and middle
class as well as the poor.The remarkable data assembled in "The
Spirit Level" exposes stark differences, not only among the nations of
the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every
modern social problem-poor health, violence, lack of community life,
teen pregnancy, mental illness-is more likely to occur in a less-equal
society.Renowned researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
lay bare the contradictions between material success and social failure
in the developed world. But they do not merely tell us what's wrong.
They offer a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from
self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society.
May 2014 Selection: Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of
Cadillac-driving "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" buying
T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run
amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog
whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one
level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long
political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon,
and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first
black president. In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney Lopez offers a
sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial
appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the
extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals
generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to
crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the
heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash
taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry
and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White
voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true
enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they
support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll
on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican
Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening
unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing
health care reform. Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and
obvious racism, Haney Lopez links as never before the two central themes
that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class
and the Republican Party's increasing reliance on white voters. Dog
Whistle Politics will generate a lively and much-needed debate about how
racial politics has destabilized the American middle class -- white and
nonwhite members alike."
April 2014 Selection: Cultural Writing. CALIBAN AND THE WITCH is a history
of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant
revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of
mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist
rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against
the rebel body and the conflict between body and mind are essential
conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two
central principles of modern social organization. "It is both a
passionate work of memory recovered and a hammer of humanity's
agenda"--Peter Linebaugh, author of The London Hanged.
March 2014 Selection: Small Is Beautiful is Oxford-trained economist E. F. Schumacher's
classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher inspired
such movements as "Buy Locally" and "Fair Trade," while voicing strong
opposition to "casino capitalism" and wasteful corporate behemoths.
Named one of the Times Literary Supplement's 100 Most Influential Books
Since World War II, Small Is Beautiful presents eminently logical
arguments for building our economies around the needs of communities,
February 2014 Selection: What's wrong with the US food system? Why is half the world starving
while the other half battles obesity? Who decides our food issues, and
why can't we do better with labeling, safety, or school food? These are
complex questions that are hard to answer in an engaging way for a broad
audience. But everybody eats, and food politics affects us all.Marion
Nestle, whom Michael Pollan ranked as the #2 most powerful foodie in
America (after Michelle Obama) in "Forbes," has always used cartoons in
her public presentations to communicate how politics--shaped by
government, corporate marketing, economics, and geography--influences
food choice. Cartoons do more than entertain; the best get right to the
core of complicated concepts and powerfully convey what might otherwise
take pages to explain.In "Eat, Drink, Vote," Nestle teams up with
The Cartoonist Group syndicate to present more than 250 of her favorite
cartoons on issues ranging from dietary advice to genetic engineering
to childhood obesity. Using the cartoons as illustration and commentary,
she engagingly summarizes some of today's most pressing issues in food
politics. While encouraging readers to vote with their forks for
healthier diets, this book insists that it's also necessary to vote with
votes to make it easier for everyone to make healthier dietary choices.
January 2014 Selection: Aldous Huxley's tour de force, Brave New World is a darkly satiric
vision of a "utopian" future—where humans are genetically bred and
pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A
powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified
readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as
both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as
thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment.
December 2013 Selection: Record unemployment and rampant corporate avarice, empty houses but
homeless families, dwindling opportunities in an increasingly paralyzed
nation--these are the realities of 21st-century America, land of the
free and home of the new middle class poor. Award-winning broadcaster
Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation's leading democratic
intellectuals, co-hosts of Public Radio's "Smiley & West," now take
on the "P" word--poverty."The Rich and the Rest of Us" is the next step
in the journey that began with "The Poverty Tour: A Call to
Conscience." Smiley and West's 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight
of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150
million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in
over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to
confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before
it's too late.By placing the eradication of poverty in the context of
the nation's greatest moments of social transformation-- such as the
abolition of slavery, woman's suffrage, and the labor and civil rights
movements--ending poverty is sure to emerge as America's 21st -century
civil rights struggle.As the middle class disappears and the safety net
is shredded, Smiley and West, building on the legacy of Martin Luther
King, Jr., ask us to confront our fear and complacency with 12 poverty
changing ideas. They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about
poverty in America--what it really is and how to eliminate it now.
November 2013 Selection: "New York Times" BestsellerHow feminine values can solve our toughest
problems and build a more prosperous futureAmong 64,000 people surveyed
in thirteen nations, two thirds feel the world would be a better place
if men thought more like women. This marks a global trend away from the
winner-takes-all, masculine approach to getting things done. Drawing
from interviews at innovative organizations in eighteen nations and at
Fortune 500 boardrooms, the authors reveal how men and women alike are
recognizing significant value in traits commonly associated with women,
such as nurturing, cooperation, communication, and sharing. "The Athena
Doctrine" shows why femininity is the operating system of 21st century
prosperity.Advocates a new way to solve today's toughest problems in
business, education, government, and moreBased on a landmark survey and
results from Young & Rubicam's respected Brand Asset Valuator's
global survey, as well as on-the-ground interviews in 18 countriesFrom
acclaimed social theorist, consumer expert, and bestselling author, John
Gerzema, and award-winning author, Michael D'AntonioBrought to
life through real world examples and backed by rigorous data, "The
Athena Doctrine" shows how feminine traits are ascending--and bringing
success to people and organizations around the world. By nurturing,
listening, collaborating and sharing, women and men are solving
problems, finding profits, and redefining success in every realm.
October 2013 Selection: In the third edition of his highly acclaimed book, Bonilla-Silva
continues to challenge color-blind thinking. He has now extended this
challenge with a new chapter on Obama's election addressing the apparent
miracle of a black man elected as the 44th President of the nation
despite the fact that racial progress has stagnated since the 1980s and,
in some areas, even regressed. In contrast to those who believe the
election of President Obama is a watershed moment that signifies the
beginning of a post-racial era in America, he suggests this development
embodies the racial trends of the last 40 years including two he has
addressed in this book: the rise of color-blind racism as the dominant
racial ideology and the emergence of an apparently more flexible racial
stratification system he characterizes as Latin America-like. Some
material from previous editions, including 'Answers to Questions from
Concerned Readers, ' 'What is to Be Done, ' and an Appendix detailing
interview questions, is now available on the Rowman & Littlefield
website through the Teaching/Learning Resources link.
August 2013 Selection:
From its roots in 17th-century
Britain to its modern incarnation in Enron and WorldCom, the modern
corporation -- restless, autonomous, and self-perpetuating -- has gained
potency. Designed to seek profit and power, the corporation has pursued
both objectives with endless tenacity, steadily bending the framework
of the law and incurring destruction in its path. Where did the
corporation come from? How did it get so much power? What is its
ultimate trajectory? Considering the importance of such questions, it is
surprisingly difficult to find answers. Using cutting-edge research
from academic historians, sociologists, political scientists, and legal
scholars, "Gangs of America attempts to answer these questions in a
unique, riveting narrative. The book recounts the settlement of America
by corporations, details the surprising impetus for the Revolutionary
War, then traces the expansion of corporate rights onto the global stage
-- culminating in an assessment of current struggles over such issues
as media control and campaign finance reform. Part of the "BK Currents
series, the book promotes positive social change.
July 2013 Selection: What explains the growing class divide between the well educated and
everybody else? Noted author Brink Lindsey, a senior scholar at the
Kauffman Foundation, argues that it's because economic expansion is
creating an increasingly complex world in which only a minority with the
right knowledge and skills--the right "human capital"--reap the
majority of the economic rewards. The complexity of today's economy is
not only making these lucky elites richer--it is also making them
smarter. As the economy makes ever-greater demands on their minds, the
successful are making ever-greater investments in education and other
ways of increasing their human capital, expanding their cognitive skills
and leading them to still higher levels of success. But unfortunately,
even as the rich are securely riding this virtuous cycle, the poor are
trapped in a vicious one, as a lack of human capital leads to family
breakdown, unemployment, dysfunction, and further erosion of knowledge
and skills. In this brief, clear, and forthright eBook original, Lindsey
shows how economic growth is creating unprecedented levels of human
capital--and suggests how the huge benefits of this development can be
spread beyond those who are already enjoying its rewards.
June 2013 Selection: The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six
decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental
actor in the civil rights movementPresenting a corrective to the
popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single
act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a
revealing window into Parks's politics and years of activism. She shows
readers how this civil rights movement radical sought--for more than a
half a century--to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system
in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.
April 2013 Selection: Selected by the "Times Literary Supplement as one of the "hundred most influential books since the war" How
can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat
it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, Milton Friedman
provides the definitive statement of his immensely influential economic
philosophy--one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device
for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political
freedom. The result is an accessible text that has sold well over half a
million copies in English, has been translated into eighteen languages,
and shows every sign of becoming more and more influential as time goes
January 2013 Selection: More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in
Congress, and that business interests wield control over our
legislature. With heartfelt urgency and a keen desire for righting wrongs, Harvard law
professor Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at how we arrived at
this crisis: how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have
allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and how this
exploitation has become entrenched in the system. Rejecting simple
labels and reductive logic-and instead using examples that resonate as
powerfully on the Right as on the Left-Lessig seeks out the root causes
of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and
corporate lobbying, revealing the human faces and follies that have
allowed corruption to take such a foothold in our system. He puts the
issues in terms that nonwonks can understand, using real-world analogies
and real human stories. And ultimately he calls for widespread
mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable
solutions for regaining control of our corrupted-but
redeemable-representational system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap
for returning our republic to its intended greatness.
December 2012 Selection:If you cut off a spider's head, it dies; if you cut off a starfish's leg
it grows a new one, and that leg can grow into an entirely new
starfish. Traditional top-down organizations are like spiders, but now
starfish organizations are changing the face of business and the world.
What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist,
and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the
abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put
General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths? Ori Brafman
and Rod Beckstrom have discovered some unexpected answers, gripping
stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. "The Starfish and the
Spider" explores what happens when starfish take on spiders and reveals
how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the
U.S. government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish
principles to achieve success.
November 2012 Selection: A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present
crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy. Over
the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one
institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic
Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball - imploded under
the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail
Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their
institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites
lies in tatters. How did we get here? With "Twilight of the
Elites," Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the
1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women
into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that
had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social
distance and spawned a new American elite--one more prone to failure and
corruption than any that came before it. Mixing deft political
analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding,
"Twilight of the Elites" describes how the society we have come to
inhabit - utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the
bottom - produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have
been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust
the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a
crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but
our day-to-day lives. Upending well-worn ideological and partisan
categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times.
"Twilight of the Elites" is the defining work of social criticism for
the post-bailout age.
August 2012 pick: From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America's shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.
"Medical Apartheid" is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge--a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government's notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.
The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, "Medical Apartheid" reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers--and indeed the whole medical establishment--with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read "Medical Apartheid," a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
April 2012 Selection
March 2012 Selection
February 2012 Pick:
November 2011 Pick: A brilliantly illuminating and darkly comic tale of the ongoing financial and political crisis in America
The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn't past but prologue. The grifter class--made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding--has been growing in power, and the crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they've hijacked America's political and economic life.
Matt Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing account yet written of this ongoing American crisis. He offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals of the bailout; tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the "vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity"; and uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world.
This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of this country, and the profound consequences for us all.
October 2011 Selection: Twenty years ago, with "The End of Nature," Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.
September 2011 Selection: Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as "Aunt Dan and Lemon"; discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the "unobtrusives," the people who serve our food and deliver our mail; or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattan's cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a more honest light. He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life.
August 2011 Selection: With her trademark style, wit, sensitivity, and spontaneity, Kalman guides readers through a whirlwind tour of American democracy and explains how it works.
July 2011 Selection: Writing in 2007, French social philosopher Andre Gorz (1923-2007) was remarkably prophetic, foretelling the international economic meltdown of 2008: "The real economy is becoming an appendage of the speculative bubbles sustained by the finance industry--until that inevitable point when the bubbles burst, leading to serial bank crashes and threatening the global system of credit with collapse and the real economy with a severe, prolonged depression." This prescient article is collected in "Ecologica "alongside many of Gorz's final writings and interviews, which together offer practical and often path-breaking set of solutions to our current economic and political problems. In his writings Gorz condemns the speculative global economic system and anatomizes its terminal crisis. Advocating an exit from capitalism through the self-limitation of needs and the networked use of the latest technologies, he outlines a practical, democratically based solution to our current predicament. Compiled by Gorz, "Ecologica" is intended as a final distillation of his work and thought, a guide to the survival of our planet. It is a work of "political, "rather than scientific ecology--Gorz aruges that the key to planetary survival is not a surrender to environmental experts and eco-technocrats, but a switch to non-consumerist modes of living that would amount to a type of cultural revolution. Praise for Andre Gorz "To my mind the greatest of modern French social thinkers."--Herbert Gintis, author of "Schooling in Capitalist America" "Gorz's work was always within the Utopian tradition--a label he welcomed but which was used pejoratively by his opponents. . . . Many of his derided early warnings about globalization and environmental degradation have become commonplace discourses in political debates today. Ultimately, Gorz's Utopianism was expressed in a very practical sense--we never know how far along the road we are if we have no idea of the destination."--"Independent "
June 2011 Selection: As the economic collapse of 2008 made clear, the social contract that defined postwar life in Europe and America is no longer guaranteed. Historian Judt challenges readers to confront societal ills and shoulder responsibility for the world they live in.
May 2011 Selection: Acclaimed as an instant classic upon publication, "Nickel and Dimed" has sold more than 1.5 million copies and become a staple of classroom reading. Chosen for "one book" initiatives across the country, it has fueled nationwide campaigns for a living wage. Funny, poignant, and passionate, this revelatory firsthand account of life in low-wage America--the story of Barbara Ehrenreich's attempts to eke out a living while working as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart associate--has become an essential part of the nation's political discourse.
Now, in a new afterword, Ehrenreich shows that the plight of the underpaid has in no way eased: with fewer jobs available, deteriorating work conditions, and no pay increase in sight, "Nickel and Dimed" is more relevant than ever.
April 2011 Selection: Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, "Persepolis" is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
"Persepolis" paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, "Persepolis" is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.