University of Minnesota Press
"The Essential Ellen Willis," edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press: 536 pp., $24.95 paper) Ellen Willis is my role model: a music critic turned essayist and academic (she created New York University's Cultural Reporting and Criticism program) who consistently challenged herself and her readers, framing engagement as both aesthetic and political stance. Although she only published three books before her death in 2006 at 64, her influence lingers, as evidenced by the success of "Out of the Vinyl Deeps," a posthumous selection of her rock criticism, released in 2011. Now, there's "The Essential Ellen Willis," edited by her daughter Nona Willis Aronowitz. Gathering 53 career-spanning pieces, this is an act of reclamation, a reminder of what a piercing and brilliant writer Willis was.