A Woman’s Rediscovered Memoir of Fleeing the Nazis

Book review: A Bookshop in Berlin, by Francoise Frenkel (Amazon / Book Depository) Francoise Frenkel, born Frymeta Frenkel, was a Polish Jew who opened Berlin's first French-language bookstore in 1921. She fled Berlin after the infamous Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, that targeted Jewish shops and institutions, abandoning the beloved shop she'd had to... Continue Reading →

Two Looks at Italian-American Food and Families Around NYC

Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family, by Louise DeSalvo In our house, no one ever went with the flow. There was no flow. There were only dangerous rapids, huge whirlpools, gigantic waterfalls. In our house, you had to be wary, vigilant. To stop paying attention, even for a... Continue Reading →

Biography of a River

Book review: The Seine, by Elaine Sciolino (Amazon / Book Depository) I overcame anxiety and loneliness and moved forward in my life, like the Seine in its course. The river allowed me to begin a journey of discovery—of Paris, of the French people, of myself. Its energy pumped deep into my veins; its light gave... Continue Reading →

Two New Histories of Rivalries and Revisionism, From Cold War Berlin and Lenin’s Soviet Union

The Zookeepers' War: An Incredible True Story from the Cold War, by J.W. Mohnhaupt, translated from German by Shelley Frisch (Amazon / Book Depository) published November 12, 2019  The English translation of J.W. Mohnhaupt's German bestseller The Zookeepers' War opens with scenes from (West) Berlin's Zoological Garden as the Second World War reached Berlin's doorstep. It follows... Continue Reading →

Susannah Cahalan Investigates the “Pretenders” of a Groundbreaking Psychiatric Study

Book review: The Great Pretender, by Susannah Cahalan (Amazon / Book Depository) The Great Pretender, Susannah Cahalan's first book since Brain on Fire, her 2012 memoir of a rare, difficult-to-diagnose autoimmune disorder, investigates an infamous and groundbreaking 1973 study carried out by psychiatrist David Rosenhan. Rosenhan sent a group of eight healthy "pseudopatients" into mental institutions... Continue Reading →

4 New Release Mini-Reviews

Fall publishing season is in full swing and so many new books are out this month. Let's do some mini-reviews of a few October new releases, shall we? Vanity Fair's Women on Women, edited by Radhika Jones with David Friend, October 29 This book is full of women who are not like anybody else --... Continue Reading →

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