I've also finished What the Body Remembers, which was a powerful book, but so unrelentingly bleak in its portrayal of male/female dynamics that it almost made me pick a fight with Kevin, just for being a man. Sometimes I can't take reading about incredibly sexist societies because it just scares me; I start feeling like it wasn't so long ago that women's choices were so horribly limited, and with the way America is going lately, it might not be so long until we're right back there again. Kevin says that even if Roe vs. Wade does get overturned, that doesn't mean abortion is going to become illegal again; the blue states will almost certainly keep it legal. But that just makes me think of poor women deep in the midst of red states who will face jail time for illegal abortions, and it terrifies me.
The book also spends many pages detailing the massacres and barbarity of India/Pakistan's Partition; well-written, but it made me feel sick.
This is part of why I don't regularly read the news; I'm too susceptible to despair at the stupidity of people, the ways we succumb to our mindless biological imperatives over and over again. Okay, I'm jumbling all kinds of things together here, I know, it's just all hard to take sometimes. I call it a David frame of mind; he seems to think this way about society most of the time, focused on the negatives. I don't know how he bears it. Normally I'm much more of an optimist, more aware of and concentrated on small incremental bits of social progress.
Maybe going back to the Kingsolver essays will help; she dwells on massive horrible things going wrong too, from an environmental or social violence perspective, but at least she offers some small ways to work against the problems.