A Tour Through the Crimes and Criminals of Belle Époque Paris

Book review: The Crimes of Paris, by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Amazon / Book Depository) The disappearance of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre stunned Parisians, who had long dismissed any impossible task with the remark that doing so ‘would be like trying to steal the Mona Lisa.’ The central defining event in The Crimes of Paris, by husband-and-wife historians Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, is the 1911 … Continue reading A Tour Through the Crimes and Criminals of Belle Époque Paris

Three Looks at Female Desire in ‘Three Women’

Book review: Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Lisa Taddeo crisscrossed the country interviewing women about desire for eight years, eventually selecting three for deep-diving in Three Women. She moved to two of their towns in order to examine desire and the innermost details of their sex lives from their perspectives. I don’t think you would know this was the product … Continue reading Three Looks at Female Desire in ‘Three Women’

Nonfiction Classic on Making Fear Work For You

Book review: The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker (Amazon / Book Depository) Do not listen to the TV news checklist of what to do, or the magazine article’s checklist of what to do, or the story about what your friend did. Listen to the wisdom that comes from having heard it all by listening to yourself. Someone recommended this book to me probably … Continue reading Nonfiction Classic on Making Fear Work For You

On the Road, Around the World with René Redzepi

Book review: Hungry, by Jeff Gordinier (Amazon / Book Depository) Jeff Gordinier, food editor at Esquire and New York Times contributor, was at something of a personal turning point as his marriage dissolved. In a depressing-sounding state, he accepted an invitation from world-renowned Danish chef René Redzepi to accompany him on his ambitious culinary travels. Redzepi is the mind behind Noma, a pricey, innovative restaurant then occupying an old … Continue reading On the Road, Around the World with René Redzepi

Tracing Cryptids and Culture in the Great Bear Rainforest

Book review: In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond, by John Zada (Amazon / Book Depository) I owe so much to Last Podcast on the Left. If I hadn’t started listening to it, with its frequent hilarious dives into the world of cryptids, I never would’ve considered picking up a book about Sasquatch. Horizons, consider yourself expanded. Journalist John Zada, captivated by Bigfoot since childhood, … Continue reading Tracing Cryptids and Culture in the Great Bear Rainforest

Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

Book review: Last Witnesses, by Svetlana Alexievich (Amazon / Book Depository) These pictures, these lights. My riches. The treasure of what I lived through… Last Witnesses is the latest work from incomparable Belarusian journalist and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich to be translated from Russian to English. In the vein of her other books, this oral history collects stories told from one of Russia’s immense twentieth … Continue reading Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

The Most Terrifying Serial Killer We Didn’t Know Existed

Book Review: American Predator, by Maureen Callahan (Amazon / Book Depository) In March 2012, Texas Highway Patrol needed a reason to stop a man on their highways. He’d been using the ATM card of missing 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who’d been abducted at gunpoint from the coffee stand where she worked in Anchorage, Alaska. When he went slightly over the speed limit, the resulting traffic stop … Continue reading The Most Terrifying Serial Killer We Didn’t Know Existed

How Cooking Made Living Seem Possible

Book review: Midnight Chicken, by Ella Risbridger (Amazon / Book Depository) There is a German word, kummerspeck, that translates literally as ‘grief-bacon,’ and metaphorically as ‘comfort eating’. This book is the grief-bacon book…This is the book I wanted to read when I was sad, but it’s also a book for good days. I’m not going to make it a regular thing to review cookbooks, because … Continue reading How Cooking Made Living Seem Possible

The Short Nonfiction of Russian Emigre Writer Teffi

Book review: Rasputin and Other Ironies, by Teffi (Amazon / Book Depository) Many people find it surprising that I live somewhere so busy, right opposite Montparnasse station. But it’s what I like. I adore Paris. I like to hear it here beside me—knocking, honking, ringing and breathing. Sometimes, at dawn, a lorry rumbles past beneath my window so loud and so close that it seems to … Continue reading The Short Nonfiction of Russian Emigre Writer Teffi

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

Finding Clarity in the Alaskan Wilderness

Book review: The Sun is a Compass, by Caroline van Hemert (Amazon / Book Depository) Biologist and ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert was burning out. PhD completed, nothing about the next steps into work or research felt right. She was happily paired with Pat, the man she’d bonded with over their mutual love of the outdoors and adventure. But she grappled with bigger issues — would … Continue reading Finding Clarity in the Alaskan Wilderness

Vignettes Both Light and Dark from a Food Writer’s Childhood

Book review: Toast, by Nigel Slater (Amazon / Book Depository) “If you really want to, dear,’ was my mother’s answer for anything I wanted to do that she would rather I didn’t. This was her stock answer to my question: Can I make a fruit sundae? By make I meant assemble. My fruit sundae was a gloriously over-the-top mess of strawberry ice cream, tinned fruit … Continue reading Vignettes Both Light and Dark from a Food Writer’s Childhood