Walking England: To the River and Under the Rock

Writers on walking stretches of England, weaving memoir with nature and various musings, has become a popular little sub-genre. I'm intrigued but not totally sold on it yet. Let's explore two of them. "When it hurts," wrote the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, "we return to the banks of certain rivers," and I take comfort in... Continue Reading →

Mini Reviews: Russian Totalitarianism, the Appalachian Trail, Cults

Quite the mixed bag today, eh? Although I try to avoid hard reading goals or challenges, I do set myself a soft challenge of reading at least one big book of Russian history every year. It's one of my favorite genres anyway and there are so many that it's a good way to make sure... Continue Reading →

Debunking Medical Myth and “Viral BS”

Dr. Seema Yasmin is an MD, epidemiologist, and former disease detective with the Centers for Disease Control (cool job alert) who works in health journalism, doing what NHS doctor Ben Goldacre has implored other doctors and scientists to do: "translating" dense medical studies and scientific data so that the general public can more easily understand... Continue Reading →

10 More New Nonfiction Titles Coming in 2021

I've got a roundup of new nonfiction that's especially heavy on mysteries, medicine, and magic. Onward! The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370, by Florence de Changy -- Le Monde journalist de Changy investigates the "Kafkaesque" March 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I watched an episode of Drain the Oceans about this... Continue Reading →

New Looks at Europe Post-Communism

Book review: CafĂ© Europa Revisited: How to Survive Post-Communism, by Slavenka Drakulic What a weird day to be writing about a book on democracy in Europe, as it teeters precariously in the United States. But I think Americans would do well to consider democratic processes and totalitarian histories in Europe, because it's abundantly clear that... Continue Reading →

Nonfiction Favorites From the Backlist

I think I look forward more to putting together my list of backlist favorites each year than the new releases. What was better for you this year -- new releases or older nonfiction? Borrowed Finery, by Paula Fox - Children's novelist Fox's memoir is brilliant, especially for memoir that's non-linear and kind of hazy in... Continue Reading →

The Data on Drinking

Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Health, by David Nutt David Nutt is an English neuropsychopharmacologist, meaning he studies drugs that affect the brain. Of which alcohol is a big, bad one. He was fired, or asked to resign, from his position as a government drug advisor for saying on primetime radio "that alcohol... Continue Reading →

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