An Art Critic Unravels a Decades-Old Family Mystery

Book review: Five Days Gone, by Laura Cumming (Amazon / Book Depository) When she was three years old, in 1929, a young girl was kidnapped from a beach in Lincolnshire, on the eastern coast of England. She was returned to her family after those five days, and didn’t even learn that this had happened to her until much later in her life. She was the … Continue reading An Art Critic Unravels a Decades-Old Family Mystery

A “Beehive” Network for Women Escaping Islamic State #WITMonth

Book review: The Beekeeper, by Dunya Mikhail (Amazon / Book Depository) Poet Dunya Mikhail, a US resident originally from Iraq, writes in The Beekeeper about the escape stories of women from that country, fleeing the Islamic State/Daesh, made possible by the eponymous beekeeper of Sinjar province. The women were Yazidis, an ethnic minority heavily targeted by IS from a region outside of Mosul. In a place where … Continue reading A “Beehive” Network for Women Escaping Islamic State #WITMonth

The Second Installment of Eugenia Ginzburg’s “Whirlwind” #WITMonth

Book review: Within the Whirlwind, by Eugenia Ginzburg (Amazon / Book Depository) The most fearful thing is that evil becomes ordinary, part of a normal daily routine extending over decades. It’s hard to believe, considering the popularity over time and general excellence of Eugenia Ginzburg’s first memoir, Journey into the Whirlwind, that her second one is less widely read and somewhat difficult to come by. … Continue reading The Second Installment of Eugenia Ginzburg’s “Whirlwind” #WITMonth

12 More Upcoming Nonfiction Titles in 2019

One last installment of 2019’s upcoming nonfiction new releases: We’ve got cult insiders, lesser known Cold War tales, undercover in asylums, retracing Napoleon’s Russian retreat, jackasses, life and death in colonial Sydney, women profiling women, and a genre-bending look at domestic abuse, and some new nonfiction in translation, among others. The Berlin Mission: The American Who Resisted Nazi Germany from Within, by Richard Breitman (October … Continue reading 12 More Upcoming Nonfiction Titles in 2019

12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

What’s the best nonfiction you’ve read so far this year? Any standouts yet? Looking back from the halfway point, I think it’s already been a pretty good year for nonfiction. In no particular order, here are my favorites from the new nonfiction published in the first half of 2019. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer – Random House’s chief copy … Continue reading 12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

Old New York’s Pirate and Gangster Legends Come Alive in a New History

Book review: The Last Pirate of New York, by Rich Cohen (Amazon / Book Depository) Author Rich Cohen’s father told him unusual bedtime stories: gangster tales. He opens his account of a murderous New York pirate by explaining his fascination with this subject, then allowing the story to take over in this concise account of a specific man, event, and moment in time. He wanted … Continue reading Old New York’s Pirate and Gangster Legends Come Alive in a New History

The Life and Work of Virginia Hall: An Amazing Untold Spy Story

Book review: A Woman of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell (Amazon / Book Depository) To meet Virginia was clearly never to forget her… She was a woman ahead of her time who has much to say to us now. American spy Virginia Hall is one of the many heroes whose contribution to history has gone unsung, despite hers being extraordinary almost beyond belief. Historian Sonia … Continue reading The Life and Work of Virginia Hall: An Amazing Untold Spy Story

A Rare Biography of Ruthless, Enigmatic North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

Book review: The Great Successor, by Anna Fifield (Amazon / Book Depository) I didn’t imagine a book about Kim Jong Un would be an unputdownable page-turner, but here we are. I’m not sure anything I write about The Great Successor is going to do it justice as it’s tough to encapsulate, but I’ll try. Kim Jong Un is the younger son of Kim Jong Il, the second … Continue reading A Rare Biography of Ruthless, Enigmatic North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

Going Underground in the Truffle Market’s Dark Economy

Book review: The Truffle Underground, by Ryan Jacobs (Amazon / Book Depository) The larger industry has managed to manufacture an image of pure beauty and romance for its consumers. “They see the truffle on the table…but before that, they don’t know anything. They don’t know the underworld.” Truffles, one of the priciest delicacies you can spend your money on, have a complex economic supply chain … Continue reading Going Underground in the Truffle Market’s Dark Economy

Narrative Biography of a Trailblazing Lawyer Turned Detective, Almost Lost to History

Book review: Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, by Brad Ricca (Amazon / Book Depository) Newly told stories of women who have faded into the annals of history despite significant contributions from their life’s work are becoming an increasingly popular, welcomed trend. Author Brad Ricca’s Mrs. Sherlock Holmes covers one such story – that of Grace Humiston, a New York City lawyer in the early 1900s who earned … Continue reading Narrative Biography of a Trailblazing Lawyer Turned Detective, Almost Lost to History

Jon Krakauer’s Classic On An Ill-Fated Walk Into Wilderness

Book review: Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (Amazon / Book Depository) His exact words were: “I think I’m going to disappear for a while.” At 24, Chris McCandless was a young man with, on the surface, a lot going for him. His family had provided wealth and economic stability, he was smart and college educated, and possessed a unique ability to connect with people, … Continue reading Jon Krakauer’s Classic On An Ill-Fated Walk Into Wilderness

Julia Child Remembers France

Book review: My Life in France, by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme (Amazon / Book Depository) In Paris in the 1950s, I had the supreme good fortune to study with a remarkably able group of chefs. From them I learned why good French food is an art, and why it makes such sublime eating: nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way … Continue reading Julia Child Remembers France