Restaurants and Feeding Families: Two on Foodways

An important flip side to foodie lit are books looking at the ethics of the food business, foodways, the food supply chain, and aspects of the food industry. Two recent books take deep dives into the rapidly evolving future of the restaurant and delivery industries post-Covid, and how different families eat at varying income levels.... Continue Reading →

Two Social Sciences: Middle School Trauma and Mediocre White Guys

My reading lately has been heavily gearing towards pop science and medical and social science topics. These two deal with very specific breeds of evil: mediocre white men who think they deserve the world at the expense of people of color and women, and the middle school experience. Both are atrocious in their own special... Continue Reading →

A Little of Why We Love Dolly

She Come By It Natural collects author Sarah Smarsh's four long-form essays about Dolly Parton and the beloved singer's connections to feminism through her roots in rural poverty in Tennessee (it's better than I'm setting it up, but that's the basic premise). These essays were the result of a Freshgrass Foundation journalism fellowship Smarsh won,... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

Be Very Afraid

Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward (Amazon Book Depository) (I keep promising myself I'm not going to read any more of these Trump/White House books but I'm unable to resist, apparently.) Real power is fear.  That's the mantra seeded throughout veteran political reporter and one-half of Woodward and Bernstein Bob Woodward's diligently... Continue Reading →

The Working Poor of the Heartland

Book review: Heartland, by Sarah Smarsh Journalist Sarah Smarsh is a fifth generation Kansan who grew up with her family life centered around a wheat farm in the countryside, with Wichita being the closest big city. In her memoir, she chronicles generations of her family, particularly the strong but troubled women in her lineage, and puts... Continue Reading →

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