A Wrongful Conviction and an Innocence Commission

Book review: Ghost of the Innocent Man, by Benjamin Rachlin (Amazon / Book Depository) Wrongful conviction narratives are incomparably terrifying. They leave the reader with a lingering unease, that if this could happen to the person profiled, on flimsy or nonexistent evidence in a complex yet error-filled justice system, it could happen to anyone. It’s happening to others who don’t have books written about them … Continue reading A Wrongful Conviction and an Innocence Commission

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

Losing Her Religion: A Former Jehovah’s Witness on Leaving the Faith

Book review: Leaving the Witness, by Amber Scorah (Amazon / Book Depository) A Witness cannot just fade away without anyone trying to intervene, and it was hard to find enough mental space to gain any perspective. It’s not the kind of religion that lets you walk away, because the people in it think that by walking away, you have lost your mind and interventions will … Continue reading Losing Her Religion: A Former Jehovah’s Witness on Leaving the Faith

Epidemiology in Tijuana: Drugs, Death, and Tracing an Epidemic

Book review: City of Omens, by Dan Werb (Amazon / Book Depository) Perhaps epidemiology could reveal the hidden structures lurking just beyond reach, like asbestos behind wallpaper. Those structures might manifest as cruel calamities – car crashes, murders, HIV infections – that at face value appear unrelated. If that were the case, these women were not victims of a textbook epidemic, driven by an infectious … Continue reading Epidemiology in Tijuana: Drugs, Death, and Tracing an Epidemic

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

‘My Favorite Murder’ Dual Memoir Tackles Mental Health and Personal Issues with Humor

Book review: Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark (Amazon / Book Depository) We have gone from living inside your headphones to pouring ourselves out onto the page like a couple of Edna St. Vincent Millays. There aren’t many podcasts that become phenomenons, but My Favorite Murder, styled as true crime/comedy from comedian and writer Karen Kilgariff and former Cooking … Continue reading ‘My Favorite Murder’ Dual Memoir Tackles Mental Health and Personal Issues with Humor

A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Book review: But You Did Not Come Back, by Marceline Loridan-Ivens (Amazon / Book Depository) I was quite a cheerful person, you know, in spite of what happened to us…But I’m changing. It isn’t bitterness, I’m not bitter. It’s just as if I were already gone…I don’t belong here anymore. Perhaps it’s trite to say that a book will haunt you, particularly one about the … Continue reading A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Inside the Investigation that Brought Down Warren Jeffs

Book review: Prophet’s Prey, by Sam Brower (Amazon / Book Depository) Private investigator Sam Brower found something unusual in Ross Chatwin, a former member of the the insular Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Chatwin’s case, and Brower’s investigation into the religious sect that had excommunicated him, piqued his curiosity like no other investigation had. The FLDS is a fundamentalist Mormon offshoot with near-cultlike operations, … Continue reading Inside the Investigation that Brought Down Warren Jeffs

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

Health and Cultural Effects of the Global “Food Revolution”

The Way We Eat Now, by Bee Wilson (Amazon / Book Depository) Talking about what has gone wrong with modern eating is delicate, because food is a touchy subject. No one likes to  feel judged about their food choices, which is one of the reasons why so many healthy eating initiatives fail. The foods that are destroying our health are often the ones to which we … Continue reading Health and Cultural Effects of the Global “Food Revolution”

The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia

Book review: Behind Putin’s Curtain, by Stephan Orth (Amazon / Book Depository) Hamburg-based journalist Stephan Orth has written several books about his global couchsurfing adventures in unconventional locales. Orth brings a certain cheerful openness and humorous curiosity to his adventuring, and of the touristic method of couchsurfing, he mentions that it offers “the mutual gift of time and curiosity,” something lacking in all-inclusive trips or … Continue reading The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia