Annie Dillard’s Nonfiction: Teaching a Stone to Talk & An American Childhood

Reading Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek last year was one of those infrequent, world-altering reading experiences for me. Exciting, then, to realize what a back catalog of nonfiction Dillard has. I read Teaching a Stone to Talk, an essay collection, last year as well. I find her writing worlds apart from any other author I... Continue Reading →

Exceptional Essays: The Unreality of Memory; Here For it

Essay collections can be wildly mixed bags: there are usually some that sing and others that are duds. I've already had one life-changingly glorious essay collection this year, one that made me not hate pandemic writing, so what were the odds of two more outstanding ones in the trash dump that is this year? Yet... Continue Reading →

Coming of Age in Cold War America

Book review: A Girl's Guide to Missiles, by Karen Piper Amazon Karen Piper, a professor of literature and geology and author of several books on environmental issues, writes a personal memoir about her life, including scenes from her childhood growing up in the 1970s in China Lake, a secretive missile range in the Mojave Desert.... Continue Reading →

Scenes from a Panic

Book review: Little Panic, by Amanda Stern (Amazon / Book Depository) I am always in the future somehow, separated from my body, and it’s from there I feel sad for the moment I’m living. Soon this moment will be gone; it will turn into another moment that will go, and I think I must be... Continue Reading →

Obsession on the Upper East Side

Book review: You All Grow Up and Leave Me, by Piper Weiss (Amazon / Book Depository) In this Gossip Girl meets true crime hybrid memoir, the story of Gary Wilensky, private tennis coach to wealthy Manhattan teenagers who made a thankfully unsuccessful abduction attempt of one his students, is recounted alongside the author's growing pains. She had... Continue Reading →

You Can’t Go Home Again

Book review: Educated, by Tara Westover (Amazon / Book Depository) Not knowing my birthday had never seemed strange. I knew I'd been born near the end of September, and each year I picked a day, one that didn't fall on a Sunday because it's no fun spending your birthday in church..."I have a birthday, same as... Continue Reading →

Making Light of a Soviet Childhood

Book review: Everything is Normal, by Sergey Grechishkin Book Depository Railways and trains in Russia have always been much more than just pragmatic modes of getting from point A to point B. For a Russian soul, a never-ending train journey across the empty vastness of its land is a state of mind, a meditation, an... Continue Reading →

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