True Crime Minis: New Yorker Essays, Surrealist Juarez, And Yet Another Murder of the Century

In my desperate attempt to finish endless back reviews (and I mean way, way back -- these are from 2019, dare we even cast our memories back to such a halcyon time?) I'm rounding up a few true crime-themed titles that are worth discussing even if I couldn't form them into full-fledged reviews. You know... Continue Reading →

Cover Judging: Russia and Translated-from-Norwegian Edition

I'm guilty of sometimes buying a book because I like the cover. I'm not proud of this at all, but there you have it. Who isn't susceptible to some artistic influence from time to time? I also choose my edition on Goodreads based on the cover, even if I actually read a different one. So... Continue Reading →

Russia, In the Words of Its Neighbors

Book review: The Border: A Journey Around Russia, by Erika Fatland, translated from Norwegian by Kari Dickson I turned and looked out at the grey ocean. Here, right here, is where Asia and mighty Russia end. In The Border: A Journey Around Russia, journalist and Sovietistan author Erika Fatland embarks on an ambitious nine-month journey... Continue Reading →

10 More New Nonfiction Titles Coming in 2021

I've got a roundup of new nonfiction that's especially heavy on mysteries, medicine, and magic. Onward! The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370, by Florence de Changy -- Le Monde journalist de Changy investigates the "Kafkaesque" March 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I watched an episode of Drain the Oceans about this... Continue Reading →

New Looks at Europe Post-Communism

Book review: CafĂ© Europa Revisited: How to Survive Post-Communism, by Slavenka Drakulic What a weird day to be writing about a book on democracy in Europe, as it teeters precariously in the United States. But I think Americans would do well to consider democratic processes and totalitarian histories in Europe, because it's abundantly clear that... Continue Reading →

Nonfiction Favorites From the Backlist

I think I look forward more to putting together my list of backlist favorites each year than the new releases. What was better for you this year -- new releases or older nonfiction? Borrowed Finery, by Paula Fox - Children's novelist Fox's memoir is brilliant, especially for memoir that's non-linear and kind of hazy in... Continue Reading →

Two Looks At American Cuisine

As I mentioned in Nonfiction November, one of my favorite reading categories -- food history and foodoirs -- has been one of my least-read genres this year, and I ended up abandoning most of the titles I picked up. Nevertheless, I did read a few good ones, especially looking at American cuisine. Let's discuss! The... Continue Reading →

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