Shame in the Age of Social Media: Jon Ronson Investigates

Book review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) It seemed to me that everybody involved in the Hank and Adria story thought they were doing something good. But really they only revealed that our imagination is so limited, our arsenal of potential responses so narrow, the only thing anyone can think to do with an inappropriate shamer like Adria … Continue reading Shame in the Age of Social Media: Jon Ronson Investigates

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

The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

Book review: Dreamland, by Sam Quinones Amazon Crime was at historic lows, drug overdose deaths at record highs. A happy façade covered a disturbing reality. I grew consumed by this story. It was about America and Mexico, about addiction and marketing, about wealth and poverty, about happiness and how to achieve it. I saw it as an epic woven by threads from all over. It … Continue reading The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

Tea Partiers in Their Own Words

Book review: Strangers in Their Own Land, by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Amazon / Book Depository) In the last decade, but especially the last few years, we’ve seen an especially polarizing shift between the American political left and right, culminating in the election of a previously non-politically-involved narcissistic billionaire (or is he?) bully with an inferiority complex. But even before that menace was in the White House, the unrest … Continue reading Tea Partiers in Their Own Words

Musings on Art and Loneliness

Book review: The Lonely City, by Olivia Laing “It was becoming increasingly easy to see how people ended up vanishing in cities, disappearing in plain sight, retreating into their apartments because of sickness or bereavement, mental illness or the persistent, unbearable burden of sadness and shyness, not knowing how to impress themselves into the world.” Olivia Laing unexpectedly became a British expatriate alone in New York City, … Continue reading Musings on Art and Loneliness

In Support of the Shy

Book review: Shrinking Violets, by Joe Moran Shyness is about much more than just shrinking away. Violets “shrink” not in retreating from the world but in evincing nature’s talent for endless variation and for sustaining life in the most varied habitats. Shyness, too, can flourish in many climates and soils and express itself in many ways. It can, like the violet, be accompanied by a … Continue reading In Support of the Shy

Down and Out in Dutchland

Book Review: Exiled in America, by Christopher Dum (Amazon / Book Depository) Sociologist Christopher P. Dum lived for a year in a residential motel, vaguely and anonymously located somewhere in upstate New York, observing and interacting with its residents to learn more about what brought them there and why they stay. That’s the basic premise. As an academic, he fits these individual stories and relationships into the … Continue reading Down and Out in Dutchland