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

12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

What’s the best nonfiction you’ve read so far this year? Any standouts yet? Looking back from the halfway point, I think it’s already been a pretty good year for nonfiction. In no particular order, here are my favorites from the new nonfiction published in the first half of 2019. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer – Random House’s chief copy … Continue reading 12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

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

12 Upcoming Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in Fall 2019

How has your nonfiction reading been so far this year? I’ve read so many good ones! A list of midyear favorites is coming around the end of the month. But as we reach the year’s mid-point, I already can’t wait to look ahead at what’s coming out in fall. Here’s some of the new nonfiction coming later this year that’s caught my eye. The Ghosts of … Continue reading 12 Upcoming Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in Fall 2019

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

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

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

Julia Child Remembers France

Book review: My Life in France, by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme (Amazon / Book Depository) In Paris in the 1950s, I had the supreme good fortune to study with a remarkably able group of chefs. From them I learned why good French food is an art, and why it makes such sublime eating: nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way … Continue reading Julia Child Remembers France