The Strange and Sad History of Humans and Orcas

Book review: Orca, by Jason Colby Author Jason Colby’s father was one of the last orca hunters in Washington state, capturing the apex predator from its natural habitat to fill orders for aquariums worldwide. Colby writes this detailed, descriptive but very readable history of human-orca interactions from a place of lifelong personal interest, having witnessed his father’s deep regret over his actions. It also allows … Continue reading The Strange and Sad History of Humans and Orcas

America’s Plant and Agricultural Immigrants

Book review: The Food Explorer, by Daniel Stone One of the humbling parts of being an American is the regular reminder that no matter how swollen America’s pride or power, nothing has been American for very long. A few years ago, it occurred to me that the same way immigrants came to our soil, so did our food. I was at my desk one morning … Continue reading America’s Plant and Agricultural Immigrants

A Cancer Con Exposes the Sick Side of “Wellness”

Book review: The Woman Who Fooled the World, by Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano The front cover of the book whispered of a back-to-basics approach to wellness, lifestyle and nutrition. Of course, Gibson had no expertise in any such area. But that didn’t matter. Her credentials were listed in the first words of the very first sentence on the back cover. Social media sensation. I … Continue reading A Cancer Con Exposes the Sick Side of “Wellness”

Upcoming New Nonfiction in 2018, Part 2

One post of anticipated reads for 2018 wasn’t enough to include them all, especially with so many exciting -sounding ones already on the release calendar. Here, a dozen more of the year’s upcoming reads I think are worth taking note of, mainly from the latter part of the year. Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found (Gilbert King, … Continue reading Upcoming New Nonfiction in 2018, Part 2

Obama’s Nonfiction Reading Recommendations

Featured photo: President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop for books at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) President Obama published a list on his Facebook page of his favorite books and music of 2017 and it’s pretty wonderful. As I’ve said, I love lists, especially of others’ favorites … Continue reading Obama’s Nonfiction Reading Recommendations

2017 Favorites, Published July-December

Photo of Baroque bookshelves in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, © Jorge Royan /, via Wikimedia Commons I couldn’t confine my favorites to one year end best list. I need three! First, here’s the companion to my midyear best-so-far-titles published in 2017 list. Next week, my favorites read but not published this year, plus a final roundup of my favorites from the whole year’s new releases. … Continue reading 2017 Favorites, Published July-December

2017’s Award-Winning Journalism

Review: The Best American Magazine Writing 2017 Sid Holt compiles this year’s Best American Magazine Writing for the American Society of Magazine Editors. For anyone who loves topical, well-written and affecting long-form journalism, this year’s collection of award-winners and finalists is excellent. It should come as no surprise that the selections swerve heavily towards the political. Some of the strongest standouts include multiple journalists’ dispatches from the … Continue reading 2017’s Award-Winning Journalism

Tales from Yellowstone: Triumphs and Struggles of Wolf Reintroduction

Book review: American Wolf, by Nate Blakeslee Maybe you’ve seen this video that made the social media rounds awhile back, about the effects wolf reintroduction has had on Yellowstone National Park:   It’s a beautiful, almost heartwarming story of humans helping nature to right itself (after humans messed it up in the first place): a feared and misunderstood predator reintroduced to a park where it has an … Continue reading Tales from Yellowstone: Triumphs and Struggles of Wolf Reintroduction

Secrets and Stories from the American Museum of Natural History

My photo of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the last time I visited in December 2016. I don’t know why I took the picture from that angle with the tree barging in, it looks spooky. This magnificent granite pile, this Museum on the west side of Central Park, between two rivers, in the New World, holds between its walls perhaps the … Continue reading Secrets and Stories from the American Museum of Natural History

A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

Book review: Death in the Air, by Kate Winkler Dawson In 1952, two killers stalked postwar London. One was a serial killer: an average-looking, mostly unremarkable, middle-aged invoice clerk operating out of a grungy, now-notorious apartment building; the other was far more insidious and claimed many more victims: a suffocating, polluting smog that killed around 12,000 people. Maybe you can guess which got more media attention. Kate Winkler Dawson’s new history … Continue reading A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

A Sampler From the Best American Series 2017

Book review: The Best American Series 2017 The Best American Series is an excellent anthology collection, if it’s not already on your radar. An editor chosen for their own standout contributions to each genre curates selections from the year’s best previously published works across websites, journals, and magazines. Plenty are fiction, like Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Short Stories, but I find their nonfiction selections to usually be … Continue reading A Sampler From the Best American Series 2017

Put Down the Perfume

Book review: The Case Against Fragrance, by Kate Grenville Australian novelist Kate Grenville had a problem. On book tours, she began suffering crippling headaches and other intense symptoms that she eventually deduced were connected to scents. She realized she was highly intolerant to artificial scents and fragranced products. Scent is certainly everywhere. Even if we choose to use little of it ourselves, we’re still breathing … Continue reading Put Down the Perfume