Memoirs of Family and Leaving the Soviet Union

There are few things I love more than a good memoir of Russia. Recently I've read two, both around emigration to the US and the lingering ties to family and country that remain. The park looked well kept, even cheerful, as darkness settled over the tress. Here, history inundated every square centimeter of ground --... Continue Reading →

Two Looks at Italian-American Food and Families Around NYC

Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family, by Louise DeSalvo In our house, no one ever went with the flow. There was no flow. There were only dangerous rapids, huge whirlpools, gigantic waterfalls. In our house, you had to be wary, vigilant. To stop paying attention, even for a... Continue Reading →

American Identity As Seen Through Food

Book review: Fed, White, and Blue, by Simon Majumdar (Amazon / Book Depository) Food writer and "food expert," whatever that means, Simon Majumdar relocated from his beloved England to Los Angeles to be with his girlfriend. Some time after their marriage, he was faced with the decision of becoming a US citizen. This unleashes a... Continue Reading →

Banality Of Evil In An American Tragedy

Book review: The Brothers, by Masha Gessen (Amazon / Book Depository) This American Life is one of my all-time favorite radio shows. But since they're so prolific and have been around for so long, I'm always eons behind on episodes, so I tend to skip through the archives looking for something interesting. That's how I landed on a 2014... Continue Reading →

A View From the Border

Book review: The Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú (Amazon / Book Depository) When I was in school, I spent all this time studying international relations, immigration, border security. I was always reading about policy and economics, looking at all these complex academic ways of addressing this big unsolvable problem. When I made the... Continue Reading →

Royals to Refugees: Roots of an Afghan Family

Book review: Crossing the River Kabul, by Kevin McLean Book Depository Author Kevin McLean adopts the voice of Baryalai Popal to tell his dramatic true story, spanning decades, of escaping Afghanistan in 1980 during the Russian invasion and war, and his eventual trek to America. Now an American citizen, Baryalai (called Bar) was born into one... Continue Reading →

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