Roosevelt in the Rainforest

Book review: The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard (Amazon / Book Depository) Candice Millard, former National Geographic writer, describes the journey Theodore Roosevelt undertook traveling the then unmapped Amazonian River of Doubt, an adventurous exploration that nearly ended up costing him his life. A few others did lose their lives under varying circumstances during the arduous and ill-planned journey. But history was made, as … Continue reading Roosevelt in the Rainforest

Nonfiction November Week 4: Reads Like Fiction

Welcome to Nonfiction November week 4! I’m hosting, so don’t forget to add your posts to the link-up at the very end. Our theme: Week 4: (Nov. 19 to 23) – Reads Like Fiction (Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction): Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it … Continue reading Nonfiction November Week 4: Reads Like Fiction

Nonfiction November: Podcast / Nonfiction Book Pairing

Nonfiction November Week 2: (Nov. 5 to 9) – Fiction / Nonfiction Book Pairing (Sarah’s Book Shelves): This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version … Continue reading Nonfiction November: Podcast / Nonfiction Book Pairing

Legacy of the Pale Horse and the Grandaddy of Conspiracy Theorists

Book review: Pale Horse Rider, by Mark Jacobson Book Depository Even a broken clock is right twice a day; that’s what they say about people who are supposed to be crackpots. It’s the idea that there is a moment in time when even the most outlandish contention, the most eccentric point of view, the most unlikely person, somehow lines up with the shifting reality to … Continue reading Legacy of the Pale Horse and the Grandaddy of Conspiracy Theorists

7 Spooky Nonfiction Books for Halloween, Plus More Scary True Stories

Every autumn I find myself looking for at least a few spooky-themed books to read as Halloween approaches. It’s a little trickier with nonfiction, especially if you avoid the more unquestionably accepting/woo-woo ones, but there are still plenty of possibilities if you like your creepy stories full of truthiness! With Halloween weekend upon us, here’s a roundup of some spooky nonfiction I can recommend that … Continue reading 7 Spooky Nonfiction Books for Halloween, Plus More Scary True Stories

Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the Promise and Ruin of Spiritualism

Book review: Through a Glass, Darkly, by Stefan Bechtel and Laurence Roy Stains Amazon / Book Depository What had come to be known as “spiritualism”—the conviction that those who have passed over had the ability and the desire to make contact across the veil of death with those they’d left behind—seemed to have bewitched the Western world.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, forever linked with his character, … Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the Promise and Ruin of Spiritualism

Elegies for the Dead She’s Known

Book review: The Baltimore Book of the Dead, by Marion Winik Book Depository People do not pass away. / They die / and then they stay. Poet and author Marion Winik opens this second volume of creative short elegies to departed people she’s known, tinged with personal memoir, with those lines from Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Voices in the Air”. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting … Continue reading Elegies for the Dead She’s Known

Writing Her Grandparents’ Lives and a Memoir of Childhood

Book review: On Sunset, by Kathryn Harrison (Amazon Book Depository) Never mind that we live in Los Angeles and that I was born in 1961; my childhood belongs to my mother’s parents, who, in the way of old people, have returned themselves to their pasts, taking me along. Author Kathryn Harrison writes a memoir of a slice of her childhood, a well-adjusted one considering some … Continue reading Writing Her Grandparents’ Lives and a Memoir of Childhood

Worldly Writing from the Kitchen to Machu Picchu, and All the Life Lived in Between

Book review: Eat, Live, Love, Die, by Betty Fussell Before she started writing, Betty Fussell, who’s now over 90, was married to author Paul Fussell. Her marriage and family life, and the problems therein, became the subject of her memoir My Kitchen Wars, which also focused on her divorce and issues of domesticity. She’d started editing some of her husband’s work before embarking on her own writing … Continue reading Worldly Writing from the Kitchen to Machu Picchu, and All the Life Lived in Between

The Story Lolita Forgets, and Nabokov at Work

Book review: The Real Lolita, by Sarah Weinman Amazon Even casual readers of Lolita…should pay attention to the story of Sally Horner because it is the story of so many girls and women, not just in America, but everywhere. So many of these stories seem like everyday injustices – young women denied opportunity to advance, tethered to marriage and motherhood. Others are more horrific, girls … Continue reading The Story Lolita Forgets, and Nabokov at Work

The Pseudoscience of Personality Typing and its Eccentric Mother-Daughter Developers

Book review: The Personality Brokers, by Merve Emre (Amazon / Book Depository) Only the smallest fraction of those who encountered the indicator knew anything about Isabel, Katharine, or the origins of type. If asked about the indicator’s provenance, most people would have assumed that Myers and Briggs were the last names of two collaborating psychologists – two men, naturally… Almost everyone’s familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality … Continue reading The Pseudoscience of Personality Typing and its Eccentric Mother-Daughter Developers

Living Through Scientology’s “Fair Game” Policy

Book review: The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, by Tony Ortega Amazon Journalist Paulette Cooper survived the Holocaust but she almost didn’t survive Scientology. That thought lingered while reading this biography and account of her years of harassment by the cultlike religion for daring to write honestly and critically about them. Her parents suffered persecution as Jews in Second World War Europe and Paulette was lucky enough … Continue reading Living Through Scientology’s “Fair Game” Policy