Going Underground in the Truffle Market’s Dark Economy

Book review: The Truffle Underground, by Ryan Jacobs (Amazon / Book Depository) The larger industry has managed to manufacture an image of pure beauty and romance for its consumers. “They see the truffle on the table…but before that, they don’t know anything. They don’t know the underworld.” Truffles, one of the priciest delicacies you can spend your money on, have a complex economic supply chain … Continue reading Going Underground in the Truffle Market’s Dark Economy

The New Wild (Mid)West

Book review: Great American Outpost, by Maya Rao (Amazon / Book Depository) One could travel there by taking the interstate all the way across North Dakota, then going up Highway 85, which formed the backbone of the oilfield and ran 1,479 miles from El Paso to the Canadian border. But to really understand the place, a traveler ought to make a series of northern and … Continue reading The New Wild (Mid)West

Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Book review: Voices from the Rust Belt, edited by Anne Trubek (Amazon / Book Depository) These essays address segregated schools, rural childhoods, suburban ennui, lead poisoning, opiate addiction, and job loss. They reflect upon happy childhoods, successful community ventures, warm refuges for outsiders, and hidden oases of natural beauty. But mainly they are stories drawn from uniquely personal experiences. A girl has her bike stolen. … Continue reading Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

Book review: Tales of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman (Amazon / Book Depository) Editor John Freeman of Freeman’s (a literary biannual showcasing new writing) and executive editor of LitHub edits this new collection of essays, short stories, and poetry on inequality and by extension, the divisions of races, classes, origins and backgrounds, income divides, and other divisive groupings in contemporary America. The majority of these selections are … Continue reading Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

America’s Most Fragile

Book review: Glass House, by Brian Alexander Journalist Brian Alexander is a native of Lancaster, Ohio, a city highlighted by Forbes in 1947 with the shining, post-war pride declaration, “This is America.” Now it’s one of many towns in America’s Rust Belt that’s fallen victim to plagues of misfortune in recent decades – the restructuring and eventual closures of big companies, leading to economic bust and rampant opiate abuse. These towns … Continue reading America’s Most Fragile