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 →

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 →

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 Books of Reportage Around ISIS

All Lara's Wars, by Wojciech Jagielski, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Bookshop.org) I sent them to Omar myself... But my thinking was that it might finally put them off war -- they'd see what it can do to a man, how badly it can destroy him. Then they wouldn't imagine it was just heroism,... Continue Reading →

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