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Laughter is powerful: it can be a signal of joy, or a response to an uncomfortable moment. The unique noise of an infectious laugh can dominate a room in an instant. Poet and psychoanalyst Nuar Alsadir offers a study of laughter in her deftly researched and personal book Animal Joy: A Book of Laughter and Resuscitation, which explores how laughter can help us connect not only to one another but also to our deepest selves. From recounting her time in clown school to reflecting on her relationship with her daughters, Alsadir crafts a candid narrative about the way laughter can be expressed and what it says about who we are. —Annabel Gutterman

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