One Parisian Street in Profile

Book review: The Only Street in Paris, by Elaine Sciolino (Amazon / Book Depository) Former New York Times Paris Bureau Chief Elaine Sciolino’s The Only Street in Paris is a travelogue memoir meets micro-history and sociocultural study of the Parisian street where she and her family made their home for a time. There’s a lot going on, but the busyness just seems to mirror the profiled … Continue reading One Parisian Street in Profile

A Library Provides Hope for the Soul in Syria

Book review: Syria’s Secret Library, by Mike Thomson (Amazon / Book Depository) When I first heard rumors of a secret underground library in Daraya, I thought it must surely be an exaggerated account of events. Yet over the months that followed I interviewed dozens of people there, some of whom sent me photographs, and it became clear that this really was true. Young people there … Continue reading A Library Provides Hope for the Soul in Syria

8 Nonfiction Titles for Women in Translation Month 2019 #WITMonth

August is Women in Translation month, an event started by Meytal Radzinski of Biblibio to encourage reading more of the too-few books written by women that are translated into English each year (statistics are a bit hard to come by, but women writers only account for around a third of what’s translated.) You can learn more about it here. There are various happenings around literary sites and … Continue reading 8 Nonfiction Titles for Women in Translation Month 2019 #WITMonth

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

12 Upcoming Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in Fall 2019

How has your nonfiction reading been so far this year? I’ve read so many good ones! A list of midyear favorites is coming around the end of the month. But as we reach the year’s mid-point, I already can’t wait to look ahead at what’s coming out in fall. Here’s some of the new nonfiction coming later this year that’s caught my eye. The Ghosts of … Continue reading 12 Upcoming Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in Fall 2019

Light Essays on Heavier Topics from Roxane Gay

Book review: Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (Amazon / Book Depository) These essays are political and they are personal. They are, like feminism, flawed, but they come from a genuine place. I am just one woman trying to make sense of the world we live in. I’m raising my voice to show all the ways we have room to want more, to do better. Like most … Continue reading Light Essays on Heavier Topics from Roxane Gay

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

Family, Race, Violence, and the Calculations Made to Survive

Book review: Survival Math, by Mitchell S. Jackson (Amazon / Book Depository) Sirens scream (for who else in the world but you?) in the distance. In a prose style unlike any I’ve encountered before, Mitchell S. Jackson, novelist and writing instructor at New York and Columbia Universities, writes a memoir of his life and tumultuous upbringing in Portland, Oregon. His story is interwoven with those … Continue reading Family, Race, Violence, and the Calculations Made to Survive

Documentary-Like Memoir of a Mother Who Made “A Way Out of No Way”

Book review: The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, by Bridgett M. Davis (Amazon / Book Depository) Professor and novelist Bridgett M. Davis’s mother Fannie was a number runner. Even before she understood exactly what that was and meant, Davis understood she had to keep what her mother did a secret. I talked about her less and less because … Continue reading Documentary-Like Memoir of a Mother Who Made “A Way Out of No Way”

Divided By a Common Language, More So Than We Think

Book review: If Only They Didn’t Speak English, by Jon Sopel (Amazon / Book Depository) BBC journalist Jon Sopel, the network’s North America editor, writes about US history, politics, culture and personal impressions through a UK-US comparative lens while working in both Obama’s and Trump’s America. Sopel got called out by Trump at a press conference in early 2017 while asking a question about the … Continue reading Divided By a Common Language, More So Than We Think

Witty, Sharply Smart Essays on All Kinds of Thickness

Book review: Thick, by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Amazon / Book Depository) Being too much of one thing and not enough of another had been a recurring theme in my life … Thick where I should have been thin, more when I should have been less, a high school teacher nicknamed me “Ms. Personality,” and it did not feel like a superlative. I had tried in … Continue reading Witty, Sharply Smart Essays on All Kinds of Thickness

Highly Anticipated: 14 New Nonfiction Titles in 2019

As the year comes to a close, I’ll leave you with another look to the future and what’s new in nonfiction in 2019. Wishing you a happy, healthy year ahead, and the most heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads and discusses here. Your engagement means so much to me. Here’s to another year of enlightening reading, sharing ideas and thoughtful discussions around all the wonderful … Continue reading Highly Anticipated: 14 New Nonfiction Titles in 2019