Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Book review: Voices from the Rust Belt, edited by Anne Trubek (Amazon / Book Depository) These essays address segregated schools, rural childhoods, suburban ennui, lead poisoning, opiate addiction, and job loss. They reflect upon happy childhoods, successful community ventures, warm refuges for outsiders, and hidden oases of natural beauty. But mainly they are stories drawn from uniquely personal experiences. A girl has her bike stolen. … Continue reading Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Walking a Mile in the Shoes of Chinese Immigrants in Queens

Book review: Patriot Number One, by Lauren Hilgers (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Lauren Hilgers was somewhat surprised when an acquaintance from her years spent working in Shanghai showed up on her Brooklyn doorstep one evening. The man, Zhuang Lehong, was a Chinese activist-labeled-dissident who had traveled to the United States with his wife, Little Yan, planning to seek asylum. Hilgers profiled their experience in … Continue reading Walking a Mile in the Shoes of Chinese Immigrants in Queens

What Do Bears and the People of Former Communist Countries Have in Common?

Book review: Dancing Bears: True Stories About Longing for the Old Days, by Witold Szabłowski Amazon / Book Depository   Another version of this book, newly published in its first English translation, has the subtitle “True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life Under Tyranny”. That sums up perfectly what it’s about – stories about how and seemingly why humans and trained bears can’t seem to break the … Continue reading What Do Bears and the People of Former Communist Countries Have in Common?

Anticipating in 2018 – 12 Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward To

2018 is already shaping up to be an excellent year for nonfiction releases. I put together a two-part list (more coming on Friday) looking ahead to some books that I’m anticipating, including a few good ones I’ve already read advances of, so consider it an early heads up to be on the lookout for them! Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Michael Wolff, January 9, Henry Holt & … Continue reading Anticipating in 2018 – 12 Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward To

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

10 Favorite Reads Not Published in 2017

I made a goal for myself this year to read fewer advance copies and more of what I’ve really been wanting to read myself. I love reading advances, don’t get me wrong, but they do sometimes keep me from getting to something I’d personally been in the mood for. It sounds odd, but it can be hard to fit in non-advance copies considering the necessary … Continue reading 10 Favorite Reads Not Published in 2017

2017’s Award-Winning Journalism

Review: The Best American Magazine Writing 2017 Amazon / Book Depository 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 … Continue reading 2017’s Award-Winning Journalism

The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

Book review: Dreamland, by Sam Quinones Amazon Crime was at historic lows, drug overdose deaths at record highs. A happy façade covered a disturbing reality. I grew consumed by this story. It was about America and Mexico, about addiction and marketing, about wealth and poverty, about happiness and how to achieve it. I saw it as an epic woven by threads from all over. It … Continue reading The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

Hurston/Wright Legacy Award-Winner: Racial Politics and Murder in Post-Reconstruction Philadelphia

Book review: Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, by Kali Nicole Gross (Amazon / Book Depository) In 1887, in a pond just outside of Philadelphia, the dismembered torso of a man was discovered, triggering a search that eventually led to Hannah Mary Tabbs, a Maryland native and seemingly very unpleasant lady, according to many who knew her. She had been, quite scandalously for a black … Continue reading Hurston/Wright Legacy Award-Winner: Racial Politics and Murder in Post-Reconstruction Philadelphia

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

Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

Book review: Tales of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman Editor John Freeman of Freeman’s (a literary biannual showcasing new writing) and executive editor of LitHub edits this new collection of essays, short stories, and poetry on inequality and by extension, the divisions of races, classes, origins and backgrounds, income divides, and other divisive groupings in contemporary America. The majority of these selections are nonfiction essays, but I … Continue reading Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?

Book review: The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore, by Jared Yates Sexton Amazon/ Book Depository Jared Yates Sexton sprang to national prominence while attending a Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2016. He was one of the first journalists to report on the blatant racism, violence, anger and frenetic energy being activated at these events. All of which … Continue reading What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?