On this week’s episode, V (formerly Eve Ensler) joins us to discuss Reckoning (Bloomsbury, Jan. 31), an “elegant and timely” new memoir from the playwright, author, performer, and activist behind The Vagina Monologues and The Apology; the founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising; and the co-founder of City of Joy, a revolutionary center for women survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Drawing on 45 years’ worth of journal entries, poems, essays, and articles, V shares detailed accounts of the personal and collective traumas that inspired her activism and artistry.

Here’s a bit from Kirkus’ review of Reckoning: “The author begins this eclectic collection with a childhood memory of her father slapping her in the face. The moment was transformative: From then on, she ‘had to pretend to be someone else in order to survive,’ a situation that made her feel like a ‘prisoner’.…Through writing, she was able to explore the wounds and complex emotions that emerged in the years after her father’s sexual abuse while documenting the social, political, and economic suffering of women in Europe, Africa, and Asia.…Deeply felt, thoughtful, and lyrical, the narrative offers a reflection on the connectedness of the personal and political and the need for all humanity to reckon fully with its past in pursuit of a more just world.”

V and host Megan Labrise discuss the opening lines of Reckoning; a working definition of the word reckoning, and what prevents us, as a society, from valuing this process; whether reckoning necessarily leads to revision; the importance of specificity in chronicling abuse; the role of humility in reckoning; the narrative arc of effective apologies; and much more.

Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.