Spooky Scary Nonfiction for Halloween and Frighteningly Good Reads: The Frighteners and Damnation Island

It's Halloween month! What spooky scary nonfiction might you be reading? I mean yes -- real life is scary enough, especially this year, but perhaps you're distracting from the everyday horror and existential angst with some nonfiction about less-present scariness? Just me? The wonderful Molly at Silver Button Books is again hosting Frighteningly Good Reads,... Continue Reading →

The Hows and Whys of a Church-Turned-Cult and a Murder

Book review: Without a Prayer, by Susan Ashline (Amazon / Book Depository) Each year, Chadwicks had a Halloween parade, and families would line Oneida Street--except for the spot in front of the redbrick building. People from the church would chase them off the lawn. Though Oneida Street was a typical stream for trick-or-treaters, no one... Continue Reading →

Myth and Truth in Kitty Genovese’s Story

Book review: Kitty Genovese, by Catherine Pelonero (Amazon / Book Depository) It was the location, many later said, that gave a heightened sense of horror to what happened. In the early morning of March 1964 in Kew Gardens, a quiet residential district of Queens, considered "idyllic" by New York City standards, a young woman named Kitty... Continue Reading →

Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Book review: Voices from the Rust Belt, edited by Anne Trubek (Amazon / Book Depository) These essays address segregated schools, rural childhoods, suburban ennui, lead poisoning, opiate addiction, and job loss. They reflect upon happy childhoods, successful community ventures, warm refuges for outsiders, and hidden oases of natural beauty. But mainly they are stories drawn... Continue Reading →

Poetic Explorations of American Culture, History, Race, and the Downsides of NYC

Book review: Notes from No Man's Land, by Eula Biss (Amazon / Book Depository) I discovered Eula Biss's confrontational but melodic, intelligent and analytical writing in the collection Tales of Two Americas. It's a great collection of essays, stories, and poems all dealing somehow with various aspects of American inequality. She contributed a piece about the concept of... Continue Reading →

Kitchens of Manhattan, Kitchens of Minnesota

Book review: Give a Girl a Knife, by Amy Thielen Amy Thielen, host of the Food Network's Heartland Table, is a girl of two worlds - the ultra-high-end, gourmet restaurant kitchens of New York City, one of the most competitive restaurant environments ever; and her folksy home of rural Minnesota, where she honed her cooking skills and "taste memories" drawing on... Continue Reading →

Essays On Her Own: Didion After Her Editor

Book review: After Henry, by Joan Didion (Amazon / Book Depository) There's no other storyteller like Joan Didion. She can take the most boring fact and spin a narrative yarn around it that boggles the mind. She can tie so many elements together in telling a story and making a point about politics, culture, or... Continue Reading →

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