Malcolm Gladwell’s Take on Stranger Dynamics

Book review: Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon / Book Depository) We think we can easily see into the hearts of others based on the flimsiest of clues. We jump at the chance to judge strangers. We would never do that to ourselves, of course. We are nuanced and complex and enigmatic. But the... Continue Reading →

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A Sociologist Explores “The Science of Fear”

Book review: Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, by Margee Kerr (Amazon / Book Depository) Last year I'd read enough spooky nonfiction to make a list for October, but this year I didn't have enough appropriate titles to compile one (though you can also terrify yourself by just browsing the "true crime" tab). But the positively wonderful... Continue Reading →

Fast Food and the American Dream

Book review: Drive-Thru Dreams, by Adam Chandler (Amazon / Book Depository) Drive-Thru Dreams opens with an affecting story about how a prank inspired one of those benevolent gestures from a big company, leading to a feel-good video for social media and wins all-around for everyone involved -- on the surface, at least. It establishes an... Continue Reading →

An Exposé of America’s Low-Wage Workplaces

Book review: On the Clock, by Emily Guendelsberger (Amazon / Book Depository) When the newspaper she worked for closed in 2015, journalist Emily Guendelsberger used the opportunity to pursue a project she'd long been interested in. Over the next two years she worked in some of America's common, controversial low-wage jobs to see what conditions... Continue Reading →

Investigating the Extreme of Psychopathy

Book review: The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Jon Ronson's "journey through the madness industry" begins with a stressful situation in parallel with a mystery dropped in his lap: First, he's tapped to use his journalistic prowess to trace a book that's been sent to prominent academics around the world... Continue Reading →

Myth and Truth in Kitty Genovese’s Story

Book review: Kitty Genovese, by Catherine Pelonero (Amazon / Book Depository) It was the location, many later said, that gave a heightened sense of horror to what happened. In the early morning of March 1964 in Kew Gardens, a quiet residential district of Queens, considered "idyllic" by New York City standards, a young woman named Kitty... Continue Reading →

Lawrence Wright’s Look at the Satanic Panic

Book review: Remembering Satan, by Lawrence Wright (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Lawrence Wright is one of my favorite nonsense-busters. It just doesn't get past him. And his books are so well-written that even when they're dealing with the eye-rolling (but also very sad) "Satanic Panic" of the late 80s/90s, they're meticulous and brilliantly laid... Continue Reading →

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