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 interesting idea of what fast food restaurants and branding mean … Continue reading Fast Food and the American Dream

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 were like, how they affected workers physically and psychologically, and … Continue reading An Exposé of America’s Low-Wage Workplaces

Richard Preston Tells Stories from Within Ebola’s Deadliest Outbreak

Book review: Crisis in the Red Zone, by Richard Preston (Amazon / Book Depository) Viruses are the undead of the living world, the zombies of deep time. Nobody knows the origin of viruses–how they came into existence or when they appeared in the history of life on earth. Viruses may be examples or relics of life forms that operated at the dawn of life. Viruses … Continue reading Richard Preston Tells Stories from Within Ebola’s Deadliest Outbreak

A Tour Through the Crimes and Criminals of Belle Époque Paris

Book review: The Crimes of Paris, by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Amazon / Book Depository) The disappearance of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre stunned Parisians, who had long dismissed any impossible task with the remark that doing so ‘would be like trying to steal the Mona Lisa.’ The central defining event in The Crimes of Paris, by husband-and-wife historians Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, is the 1911 … Continue reading A Tour Through the Crimes and Criminals of Belle Époque Paris

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

Three Looks at Female Desire in ‘Three Women’

Book review: Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Lisa Taddeo crisscrossed the country interviewing women about desire for eight years, eventually selecting three for deep-diving in Three Women. She moved to two of their towns in order to examine desire and the innermost details of their sex lives from their perspectives. I don’t think you would know this was the product … Continue reading Three Looks at Female Desire in ‘Three Women’

Nonfiction Classic on Making Fear Work For You

Book review: The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker (Amazon / Book Depository) Do not listen to the TV news checklist of what to do, or the magazine article’s checklist of what to do, or the story about what your friend did. Listen to the wisdom that comes from having heard it all by listening to yourself. Someone recommended this book to me probably … Continue reading Nonfiction Classic on Making Fear Work For You

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

Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

Book review: Last Witnesses, by Svetlana Alexievich (Amazon / Book Depository) These pictures, these lights. My riches. The treasure of what I lived through… Last Witnesses is the latest work from incomparable Belarusian journalist and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich to be translated from Russian to English. In the vein of her other books, this oral history collects stories told from one of Russia’s immense twentieth … Continue reading Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

The Most Terrifying Serial Killer We Didn’t Know Existed

Book Review: American Predator, by Maureen Callahan (Amazon / Book Depository) In March 2012, Texas Highway Patrol needed a reason to stop a man on their highways. He’d been using the ATM card of missing 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who’d been abducted at gunpoint from the coffee stand where she worked in Anchorage, Alaska. When he went slightly over the speed limit, the resulting traffic stop … Continue reading The Most Terrifying Serial Killer We Didn’t Know Existed

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