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

12 New Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in 2019

I’m still working on compiling my favorites of 2018 booklist, but it’s hard to focus on the past when 2019 has so much exciting new nonfiction on the way! Let’s experience some Vorfreude (that wonderful German word describing the excitement of thinking about happiness to come) looking at some of 2019’s upcoming releases in nonfiction. In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across … Continue reading 12 New Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in 2019

The Rain Began with a Single Drop

Book review: Daring to Drive, by Manal al-Sharif Book Depository It is an amazing contradiction: a society that frowns on a woman going out without a man; that forces you to use separate entrances for universities, banks, restaurants, and mosques; that divides restaurants with partitions so that unrelated males and females cannot sit together; that same society expects you to get into a car with … Continue reading The Rain Began with a Single Drop

Brave, Funny Takes on “Cultural Shifts” and Being an Outspoken Feminist Writer

Book review: Shrill, by Lindy West That period—when I was wholly myself, effortlessly certain, my identity still undistorted by the magnetic fields of culture—was so long ago that it’s beyond readily accessible memory. I do not recall being that person. Lindy West has written boldly and bluntly – but not actually shrilly – on all manner of cultural, artistic, and feminist topics for newspapers like … Continue reading Brave, Funny Takes on “Cultural Shifts” and Being an Outspoken Feminist Writer

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. Her narrative as she walks readers through her life folds … Continue reading Coming of Age in Cold War America

America’s Dead Girl Fixation and Other Obsessions

Book review: Dead Girls, by Alice Bolin (Amazon / Book Depository) Alice Bolin’s debut essay collection opens with a strong and intriguing premise: what is this obsession America (and beyond) has with dead girls? The murdered or missing blonde white ones of media frenzies; the ones that get forgotten after serving as engines for outrage in programs like Serial; the innocent and martyred ones (or else … Continue reading America’s Dead Girl Fixation and Other Obsessions

Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

Book review: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich Amazon Yet another book about war? What for? There have been a thousand wars—small and big, known and unknown. And still more has been written about them. But…it was men writing about men—that much was clear at once. Everything we know about war we know with “a man’s voice.” When I came to polish up … Continue reading Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

The Art of Losing It All

Book review: The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy (Amazon / Book Depository) Until recently, I lived in a world where lost things could always be replaced. But it has been made overwhelmingly clear to me now that anything you think is yours by right can vanish, and what you can do about that is nothing at all. New Yorker writer Ariel Levy’s memoir was … Continue reading The Art of Losing It All

Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

Book review: Code Girls, by Liza Mundy Amazon I’m in some kind of hush, hush business. Somewhere in Wash. D.C. If I say anything I’ll get hung for sure. I guess I signed my life away. But I don’t mind it. Code Girls, author Liza Mundy’s history of the women who worked tirelessly cracking codes to aid the American Army and Navy in World War II, opens … Continue reading Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

Powerful Essays, Brilliant Criticism From Mary Gaitskill

Book review: Somebody With a Little Hammer, by Mary Gaitskill Novelist Mary Gaitskill, in her nonfiction essays, makes you think, and not just as you read. The content of these essays – in all their depth, humor, pain, wit, and wisdom – stays with you long after finishing. As does the feeling that you’d like to be friends with her, or at least pick her brain. Gaitskill … Continue reading Powerful Essays, Brilliant Criticism From Mary Gaitskill

Surprisingly Moving Essays on Personal Strength, Humor, and Embracing Mistakes

Book review: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer I like Amy Schumer’s comedy, but I’m not enough in love with it that her book was a priority when it came out nearly a year ago. Until I happened upon a review praising it as something much more meaningful than a reiteration of Schumer’s jokes or skits from her show. The review stressed that … Continue reading Surprisingly Moving Essays on Personal Strength, Humor, and Embracing Mistakes

Roxane Gay on Hunger in Its Many Forms

Book review: Hunger, by Roxane Gay (Amazon / Book Depository) The story of my body is not a story of triumph. This is not a weight-loss memoir. There will be no picture of a thin version of me, my slender body emblazoned across this book’s cover, with me standing in one leg of my former, fatter self’s jeans. This is not a book that will … Continue reading Roxane Gay on Hunger in Its Many Forms