A Warts-And-All Take On Female Anatomy and Beauty Issues

Book review: Gross Anatomy: A Field Guide to Loving Your Body, Warts and All, by Mara Altman (Amazon / Book Depository) Mara Altman’s Gross Anatomy, a loose memoir told through investigation of myths, practices, and biases around the female body, is a book I ignored on its original publication last August. It seemed guidebook-y or goofy, or just not something I felt all that interested in. Also, … Continue reading A Warts-And-All Take On Female Anatomy and Beauty Issues

‘My Favorite Murder’ Dual Memoir Tackles Mental Health and Personal Issues with Humor

Book review: Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark (Amazon / Book Depository) We have gone from living inside your headphones to pouring ourselves out onto the page like a couple of Edna St. Vincent Millays. There aren’t many podcasts that become phenomenons, but My Favorite Murder, styled as true crime/comedy from comedian and writer Karen Kilgariff and former Cooking … Continue reading ‘My Favorite Murder’ Dual Memoir Tackles Mental Health and Personal Issues with Humor

Investigating the Extreme of Psychopathy

Book review: The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Jon Ronson’s “journey through the madness industry” begins with a stressful situation in parallel with a mystery dropped in his lap: First, he’s tapped to use his journalistic prowess to trace a book that’s been sent to prominent academics around the world without a clear source or reason. This project materializes at … Continue reading Investigating the Extreme of Psychopathy

Light Recollections of Growing Up Arab in America

Book review: The Wrong End of the Table, by Ayser Salman (Amazon / Book Depository) If you’ve ever felt like you’ve been at the wrong end of the table – whether you were born in an Iraqi dictatorship or hail from Lexington, Kentucky – this is for you. Though I can’t speak for all of us, I can at least tell you my story. Ayser Salman, a … Continue reading Light Recollections of Growing Up Arab in America

Childhood Scenes from the Tent Revival Circuit

Book review: Holy Ghost Girl, by Donna M. Johnson (Amazon / Book Depository) [The tent] gathered and sheltered us from a world that told us we were too poor, too white trash, too black, too uneducated, too much of everything that didn’t matter and not enough of anything that did. Society, or at least the respectable chunk of it, saw the tent and those of … Continue reading Childhood Scenes from the Tent Revival Circuit

English with Style and Humor: Random House’s Chief Copy Editor on Lessons Learned

Book review: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer (Amazon / Book Depository) Never thought you were the type to stay up late reading a grammar and style guide, dissolving in laughter every few pages? I thought I wasn’t either. Allow this book to prove you wrong like it did me. Random House chief copy editor Benjamin Dreyer is … Continue reading English with Style and Humor: Random House’s Chief Copy Editor on Lessons Learned

The Nostalgia of Coming Home When Everything’s Changed

Book review: Bettyville, by George Hodgman (Amazon / Book Depository) My friends worry that I am falling into a hole here, that this time away is really giving up, running away. Since I lost my job, I don’t know quite who it is I am now. Suddenly I feel older. In New York, my closet is full of clothes that still smell a little like … Continue reading The Nostalgia of Coming Home When Everything’s Changed

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

Life Writing Through Micro-Memoir

Book review: Heating & Cooling, by Beth Ann Fennelly (Amazon / Book Depository) Poet Beth Ann Fennelly writes a collection of 52 “micro-memoirs”: mini-essays, a genre idea I love, loosely based around family, marriage, love, sex, and sometimes grief. This book got a surprising amount of buzz upon its release last year, in my opinion, for an essay-cum-memoir-cum-almost poetry collection. It seemed to hit a sweet … Continue reading Life Writing Through Micro-Memoir

How the Message Got Made in Obama’s White House

Book review: West Winging It, by Pat Cunnane (Amazon / Book Depository) This year and last have seen a wave of newly published memoirs from former Obama staffers. I read speechwriter David Litt’s wonderful, charming Thanks, Obama last year, so after that I was on board with the genre. West Winging It begins with a similar premise – young college grad Pat Cunnane stumbles into his first “real” job … Continue reading How the Message Got Made in Obama’s White House

Observational Essays on Neighbors, Health, Gossip Girl Gossips, and Sometimes the Mundane

Book review: Look Alive Out There, by Sloane Crosley (Amazon / Book Depository) Sloane Crosley’s new essay collection is the first of her work I’ve read, despite her popularity, particularly for her personal essays, and having recognized her name when she made a cameo on Gossip Girl (I’ve recently admitted my shame over this, let’s not dwell on it.) I definitely needed a lighthearted essay … Continue reading Observational Essays on Neighbors, Health, Gossip Girl Gossips, and Sometimes the Mundane

Taming Agoraphobia, and One’s Twenties

Book review: Agorafabulous! by Sara Benincasa (Amazon / Book Depository) This day was different. This day I woke up, stared at the ceiling, and was gripped by the certain knowledge that, if I left the apartment, something terrible would happen. I did not know what the terrible event was, only that it would occur, and with a fury. One might reasonably ask how I could have “known” such … Continue reading Taming Agoraphobia, and One’s Twenties