Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Book review: American English, Italian Chocolate, by Rick Bailey (Amazon / Book Depository) English professor Rick Bailey writes a sweet, soft memoir in vignette-style essays stretching from the American Midwest to northern Italy. Musings include high school dramas and levitation parties, medical issues humorous and otherwise, death, home insect infestations, historical perceptions of beans, how Nutella might taste better in Italy than in America, and, a favorite: … Continue reading Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Real Life Essays with a Little Raunch

Book review: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby Samantha Irby is the Chicago-based blogger behind the popular, ultra-honest, hilariously confessional blog Bitches Gotta Eat. She opens her personal essay collection with a piece about how she’d fill out an application to be a Bachelorette contestant. It’s a pretty wonderful, hilarious introduction, and you can imagine what you’re in for with her from there. Her … Continue reading Real Life Essays with a Little Raunch

Images of Apocalypse in the Everyday

Book review: The World is On Fire, by Joni Tevis Joni Tevis has a strange talent for writing essays that combine the most unlikely, unrelated subjects, skipping without any obvious connection between topics and somehow making it work as a coherent, emotional, interesting piece. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. As one example, she writes an essay contrasting her own struggles with fertility … Continue reading Images of Apocalypse in the Everyday

Not-So-Sunny Sides of the Sunshine State

Book review: Sunshine State, by Sarah Gerard Sunshine State, up and coming literary darling Sarah Gerard’s essay collection rooted in her childhood home state of Florida, hits some high highs and low lows. The opening essay, “BFF”, starts the book out as strongly as it could possibly be started; I was hooked. Gerard dreamily, wistfully details the twists and turns of a toxic young female … Continue reading Not-So-Sunny Sides of the Sunshine State

True Solace is Finding None

Book review: The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich (Amazon / Book Depository) “I came here four years ago. I had not planned to stay, but I couldn’t make myself leave.” Achingly beautiful, emotionally charged prose essays with a distinctly lyrical style, written by a young woman as she initially pursues a work project on the ranches of the Wyoming plains, then can’t seem to … Continue reading True Solace is Finding None

The Opposite of How Most People Think

Book review: The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum (Amazon / Book Depository) I’ve been in the mood to read a good essay collection, and oh man – oh man, was this it. Meghan Daum is a columnist for the L.A. Times and contributor to outlets like Slate and NPR. And she’s an unflinchingly honest essayist. The Unspeakable tells stories about subjects that are uncomfortable to discuss, maybe uncomfortable even to think about in your own … Continue reading The Opposite of How Most People Think

Sampling the Year’s Best American Short Writings

Book review: The Best American Series: 16 Short Stories and Essays This is a literary series definitely worth knowing. I’m a big anthology fan – blame it on my Creative Writing degree, our professors were always assigning anthologies and I loved discovering new stuff I’d never have come across on my own. But even if you’re not, this series is great for getting more exposure into … Continue reading Sampling the Year’s Best American Short Writings

Observational Humor for Cynics and New Yorkers

Book review: Rules for Others to Live By, by Richard Greenberg (Amazon / Book Depository) These loosely connected (very loosely) essays and comments require a certain dry, dark, cynical sense of humor to really enjoy them. I did enjoy them though, for the most part. The audiences is definitely New Yorkers, and I can imagine these might not find broad appeal outside of a certain set of … Continue reading Observational Humor for Cynics and New Yorkers