A Dual Biography Looks at the Lingering Impact of Anne and Sylvia

Three Martini Afternoons at the Ritz, by Gail Crowther Both were emerging poets, and both were hugely ambitious women in a cultural moment that did not know how to deal with ambitious women. Author and biographer specialized in studies of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath (cool job alert) Gail Crowther weaves together the groundbreaking similarities... Continue Reading →

Recent Release Minis: Nobody’s Normal, Made in China, You’ll Never Believe What happened to Lacey

Psychiatry, prison-camp manufactured Chinese goods, and racist tales from Nebraska. What a grab bag today. Let's dive in! Nobody's Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness, by Roy Richard Grinkerpublished January 26, 2021 by W.W. Norton Only recently did mental illnesses brand the whole person, not just his or her behavior, with what['s...]... 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 →

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