Light Essays on Heavier Topics from Roxane Gay

Book review: Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (Amazon / Book Depository) These essays are political and they are personal. They are, like feminism, flawed, but they come from a genuine place. I am just one woman trying to make sense of the world we live in. I'm raising my voice to show all the ways we... Continue Reading →

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What You Wear Can Change Your Life: Sartorial Lessons in a Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz

Book review: Measure of a Man, by Martin Greenfield with Wynton Hall (Amazon / Book Depository) Martin Greenfield was born Maximilian Grünfeld in Pavlovo, then part of Czechoslovakia and now in Ukraine. At age fifteen, he and his family were deported to Auschwitz, like so many other Jewish families in this part of the world... Continue Reading →

A Memoir of Violence and Complicated Memory

Book review: The Other Side, by Lacy M. Johnson (Amazon / Book Depository) The short version: Lacy Johnson was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend and held prisoner in a soundproofed basement he'd constructed solely for the purpose of raping and brutally killing her. He didn't succeed in killing her. This book is about that event, how it... Continue Reading →

The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

Book review: Dreamland, by Sam Quinones Amazon Crime was at historic lows, drug overdose deaths at record highs. A happy façade covered a disturbing reality. I grew consumed by this story. It was about America and Mexico, about addiction and marketing, about wealth and poverty, about happiness and how to achieve it. I saw it... Continue Reading →

The Opposite of How Most People Think

Book review: The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum (Amazon / Book Depository) I've been in the mood to read a good essay collection, and oh man - oh man, was this it. Meghan Daum is a columnist for the L.A. Times and contributor to outlets like Slate and NPR. And she's an unflinchingly honest essayist. The Unspeakable tells stories about subjects that are uncomfortable to... Continue Reading →

Please, Tell Me More.

Book review: Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit (Amazon / Book Depository) Last week, a man I've worked with for quite a long time now insisted on explaining something to me. Unlike the understandably infuriating situation described in the title essay of Rebecca Solnit's book, this wasn't a case of explaining a subject... Continue Reading →

Survival and Optimism

Book review: Bread or Death, by Milton Mendel Kleinberg (Amazon / Book Depository) It took me a little while to get into this one, but once I did, I was glad I'd stuck with it. Kleinberg wrote this account of his and his family's experiences during World War II to answer questions for his grandchildren. I've... Continue Reading →

An Unforgettable Life in Stories

Book review: In the Unlikeliest of Places, by Annette Liebeskind (Amazon / Book Depository) There have been many extraordinary stories to come from those who survived the Holocaust. Each is a little bit different, a little surprising in its own way. There's so much to be learned about human nature, both the good and the... Continue Reading →

Fight like a girl

Book review: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (Amazon / Book Depository) "We all have to work very hard and ignore those people who say we should not be here." So says a female Afghani politician, one of the subjects of Jenny Nordberg's eye-opening narrative nonfiction account of the practice of bacha posh in Afghanistan, The... Continue Reading →

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