Survival, Trauma, and “White Magic”

White Magic, by Elissa Washuta I have nothing now but my big aura, my fistful of keys, and my throat that still knows how to scream because no man has succeeded in closing it. I've kind of dreaded assembling my thoughts to write about this book, because it moved me like little else, certainly in... Continue Reading →

New Essay Collections: Festival Days, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing

Festival Days, by Jo Ann Beard It's a lofty goal, to imagine translating one's own personal experiences in a way that instructs and illuminates, moves and inspires, another human being. Jo Ann Beard is long known for her essay collection The Boys of My Youth, frequently cited as groundbreaking amongst literary personal essays. After a... 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 →

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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