12 More Upcoming Nonfiction Titles in 2019

One last installment of 2019’s upcoming nonfiction new releases: We’ve got cult insiders, lesser known Cold War tales, undercover in asylums, retracing Napoleon’s Russian retreat, jackasses, life and death in colonial Sydney, women profiling women, and a genre-bending look at domestic abuse, and some new nonfiction in translation, among others. The Berlin Mission: The American Who Resisted Nazi Germany from Within, by Richard Breitman (October … Continue reading 12 More Upcoming Nonfiction Titles in 2019

On the Road, Around the World with René Redzepi

Book review: Hungry, by Jeff Gordinier (Amazon / Book Depository) Jeff Gordinier, food editor at Esquire and New York Times contributor, was at something of a personal turning point as his marriage dissolved. In a depressing-sounding state, he accepted an invitation from world-renowned Danish chef René Redzepi to accompany him on his ambitious culinary travels. Redzepi is the mind behind Noma, a pricey, innovative restaurant then occupying an old … Continue reading On the Road, Around the World with René Redzepi

Tracing Cryptids and Culture in the Great Bear Rainforest

Book review: In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond, by John Zada (Amazon / Book Depository) I owe so much to Last Podcast on the Left. If I hadn’t started listening to it, with its frequent hilarious dives into the world of cryptids, I never would’ve considered picking up a book about Sasquatch. Horizons, consider yourself expanded. Journalist John Zada, captivated by Bigfoot since childhood, … Continue reading Tracing Cryptids and Culture in the Great Bear Rainforest

12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

What’s the best nonfiction you’ve read so far this year? Any standouts yet? Looking back from the halfway point, I think it’s already been a pretty good year for nonfiction. In no particular order, here are my favorites from the new nonfiction published in the first half of 2019. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer – Random House’s chief copy … Continue reading 12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

Finding Clarity in the Alaskan Wilderness

Book review: The Sun is a Compass, by Caroline van Hemert (Amazon / Book Depository) Biologist and ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert was burning out. PhD completed, nothing about the next steps into work or research felt right. She was happily paired with Pat, the man she’d bonded with over their mutual love of the outdoors and adventure. But she grappled with bigger issues — would … Continue reading Finding Clarity in the Alaskan Wilderness

The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia

Book review: Behind Putin’s Curtain, by Stephan Orth (Amazon / Book Depository) Hamburg-based journalist Stephan Orth has written several books about his global couchsurfing adventures in unconventional locales. Orth brings a certain cheerful openness and humorous curiosity to his adventuring, and of the touristic method of couchsurfing, he mentions that it offers “the mutual gift of time and curiosity,” something lacking in all-inclusive trips or … Continue reading The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia

Julia Child Remembers France

Book review: My Life in France, by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme (Amazon / Book Depository) In Paris in the 1950s, I had the supreme good fortune to study with a remarkably able group of chefs. From them I learned why good French food is an art, and why it makes such sublime eating: nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way … Continue reading Julia Child Remembers France

A Year Abroad As the Soviet Union Was Falling

Book review: Black Earth City, by Charlotte Hobson (Amazon / Book Depository) ‘You must understand,’ said Rita Yurievna, ‘that in Russian, verbs are not only about action. They are also about the experience. Think how different it feels if you walk down a street every morning of your life, and if you walk down it for the first and only time. It maybe be the … Continue reading A Year Abroad As the Soviet Union Was Falling

American Identity As Seen Through Food

Book review: Fed, White, and Blue, by Simon Majumdar (Amazon / Book Depository) Food writer and “food expert,” whatever that means, Simon Majumdar relocated from his beloved England to Los Angeles to be with his girlfriend. Some time after their marriage, he was faced with the decision of becoming a US citizen. This unleashes a torrent of silly non-issues, like does he have to give … Continue reading American Identity As Seen Through Food

Culinary and Travel Stories, from Al Dente to Zucchini Blossoms

Book review: The Bread and the Knife, by Dawn Drzal (Amazon / Book Depository) Former cookbook editor Dawn Drzal’s memoir is structured around 26 dishes or ingredients of significance in her life, matched up to the letters of the alphabet. Although the alphabet theme is a bit gimmicky, the writing is anything but. Drzal draws powerful metaphors from the role food has played in her … Continue reading Culinary and Travel Stories, from Al Dente to Zucchini Blossoms

Ukraine Through Personal and Political Lenses

Book review: In Wartime, by Tim Judah (Amazon / Book Depository) As we came closer to the coast, birds skimmed and whirled. The coastline is always changing here. Sediment and sand constantly form new low islands and sandbanks. Finally, we came to where this branch of the river flows out to the sea. A monument has been erected on the beach and become slightly lopsided. … Continue reading Ukraine Through Personal and Political Lenses

Notes From Self-Imposed Siberian Exile

Book review: The Consolations of the Forest, by Sylvain Tesson (Amazon / Book Depository) I’d promised myself that before I turned forty I would live as a hermit deep in the woods. I wanted to settle an old score with time. French author Sylvain Tesson felt an itch familiar to many: to escape the stress of modern city life, to retreat to the middle of … Continue reading Notes From Self-Imposed Siberian Exile