Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

Book review: Last Witnesses, by Svetlana Alexievich (Amazon / Book Depository) These pictures, these lights. My riches. The treasure of what I lived through... Last Witnesses is the latest work from incomparable Belarusian journalist and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich to be translated from Russian to English. In the vein of her other books, this oral... Continue Reading →

A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Book review: But You Did Not Come Back, by Marceline Loridan-Ivens (Amazon / Book Depository) I was quite a cheerful person, you know, in spite of what happened to us...But I'm changing. It isn't bitterness, I'm not bitter. It's just as if I were already gone...I don't belong here anymore. Perhaps it's trite to say... Continue Reading →

Lawrence Wright’s Look at the Satanic Panic

Book review: Remembering Satan, by Lawrence Wright (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Lawrence Wright is one of my favorite nonsense-busters. It just doesn't get past him. And his books are so well-written that even when they're dealing with the eye-rolling (but also very sad) "Satanic Panic" of the late 80s/90s, they're meticulous and brilliantly laid... Continue Reading →

Joan Didion and the Blues

Book review: Blue Nights, by Joan Didion (Amazon / Book Depository) ...there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue...suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise... you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over... Continue Reading →

Elegies for the Departed

Book review: The Glen Rock Book of the Dead, by Marion Winik (Amazon) After a creative writing assignment led her to thinking about dead people she'd known, poet and author Marion Winik explains that it was "as if tickets to a show had just gone on sale and all my ghosts were screeching up at the... Continue Reading →

Discovering The People Your Parents Were

Book review: My Dead Parents, by Anya Yurchyshyn (Amazon / Book Depository) As the title indicates, this memoir is a bluntly told examination of the lives of the author's dead parents, focused around her trying to understand them through the lens of discovered materials and interviews. Sentimentality and emotion figure in, but author Anya Yurchyshyn... Continue Reading →

A Memoir of Violence and Complicated Memory

Book review: The Other Side, by Lacy M. Johnson (Amazon / Book Depository) The short version: Lacy Johnson was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend and held prisoner in a soundproofed basement he'd constructed solely for the purpose of raping and brutally killing her. He didn't succeed in killing her. This book is about that event, how it... Continue Reading →

The Boy Next Door, the Past, and a Sense of Place

Book review: Riverine, by Angela Palm (Amazon / Book Depository) Angela Palm grew up in rural Indiana, in a house built in a dried-out riverbed created by redirecting the Kankakee River, their little town not even designated on maps. Next door lived a boy named Corey, and they had the typical girl-and-boy-next-door relationship, into their adolescence. They... Continue Reading →

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