Follow the Money: Examining What’s Known About Trump & Co. in Russia

Book review: Collusion, by Luke Harding How to explain Trump’s consistent praise of Putin? In the febrile months leading up to the November 8, 2016 vote, Trump had lambasted not only Clinton and Obama but also his Republican Party rivals, Saturday Night Live, the “failing” New York Times, the U.S. media in general—his favorite enemy—and Meryl Streep. And others. It was a long list. Russia’s … Continue reading Follow the Money: Examining What’s Known About Trump & Co. in Russia

An Obama Speechwriter On Work, Country, and Getting Things Done in the White House

Book review: Thanks, Obama by David Litt Few activities offer less upside than a staring contest with the president. But now, having started one, I didn’t know how to stop. I considered averting my gaze, like a shy maiden in a Jane Austen novel, but that would only make things more awkward. I kept looking at President Obama. President Obama kept looking at me. Finally, after … Continue reading An Obama Speechwriter On Work, Country, and Getting Things Done in the White House

The Road Will Always Open Before You: Business and Life Lessons from Nobu’s Heart

Book review: Nobu, by Nobu Matsuhisa Along the way, I have faced some major stumbling blocks. But each time, I have managed to overcome them. Whenever I hit an obstacle, I search for a solution and carry on. Gradually, the hurdles that appear before me have become smaller. I find that if I plow ahead, no matter how impossible that may seem, and just do … Continue reading The Road Will Always Open Before You: Business and Life Lessons from Nobu’s Heart

An American Real Estate Nightmare In Paris

Book review: L’Appart, by David Lebovitz People tell me I’m lucky to live in Paris. But I didn’t have any lucky stars (les astres) to thank. I was responsible for making it happen, but I was also to blame for the mess I was in. I adore charming, funny, upbeat American expat-in-Paris chef/blogger David Lebovitz. I discovered him when I was also an expat in France, though not … Continue reading An American Real Estate Nightmare In Paris

Sweet, Funny, Smart Takes On Life’s Wilderness

Book review: Vacationland, by John Hodgman “Nobody knows,” I said, meaning at least one person does not know, and that person is me. I didn’t know anything about John Hodgman (comedian, author, Daily Show and This American Life contributor, podcaster) at all before I picked up his most recent book, a collection of essayish memoirs, Vacationland. I came to it without any preconceptions about him or his material and finished … Continue reading Sweet, Funny, Smart Takes On Life’s Wilderness

Reasonable Doubt Abounds: Reexamining a Conviction

Book review: Convenient Suspect, by Tammy Mal Rereading the synopsis before starting this book, it dawned on me that I’d heard of the case, although I hadn’t initially recognized it when I got the book. And I’d never realized it was as complicated as it is. I saw it covered on HBO’s Autopsy, an excellent docuseries (most of which is on YouTube) that explains forensics, medical examination, … Continue reading Reasonable Doubt Abounds: Reexamining a Conviction

Conversations About the Other Side

Book review: Psychics, Healers & Mediums, by Jenniffer Weigel It’s Halloween! Time for a ghosty post! I haven’t read much recently that’s Halloween-applicable, but as a favorite spooky read, I recommend Colin Dickey’s scary but skeptical Ghostland. Now for the less skeptical… Jenniffer Weigel is a Chicago Tribune columnist, radio host, and reporter who’s already written about her attempts to contact her father after his death, and her … Continue reading Conversations About the Other Side

A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

Book review: Death in the Air, by Kate Winkler Dawson In 1952, two killers stalked postwar London. One was a serial killer: an average-looking, mostly unremarkable, middle-aged invoice clerk operating out of a grungy, now-notorious apartment building; the other was far more insidious and claimed many more victims: a suffocating, polluting smog that killed around 12,000 people. Maybe you can guess which got more media attention. Kate Winkler Dawson’s new history … Continue reading A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

Biting Commentary On What’s Not Normal, and What’s Possible

Book review: Trump is F*cking Crazy, by Keith Olbermann (It’s another week of political releases, so apologies for the back-to-back similarly-themed content, but you know it’s important!) MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann chronicled the Trump campaign, election, and aftermath in a video series for GQ called The Resistance. This book is a collection of those commentaries, opinions, rants, analyses, researched revelations, and carefully-crafted insults in chronological order. (The insults are … Continue reading Biting Commentary On What’s Not Normal, and What’s Possible

Revisiting the Roots of the Alt-Right

Book review: Alt-America, by David Neiwert Alt-America is an alternative universe that has a powerful resemblance to our own, except that it’s Alt-America, the nation its residents have concocted and refigured in their imaginations. It is not the America where the rest of us live. In this other America suppositions take the place of facts, and conspiracy theories become concrete realities. Its citizens live alongside … Continue reading Revisiting the Roots of the Alt-Right

Another Side of a Much-Discussed Story

Book review: Avery, by Ken Kratz Grim and plain – that was the nature of these truths. They may not be as exciting as conspiracy theories, but they do have the virtue of being supported by facts. Former Wisconsin special prosecutor Ken Kratz is kind of a sleazebag and he knows it. In 2010, his professional and personal lives unraveled over a reprehensible sexting incident: sending harassing … Continue reading Another Side of a Much-Discussed Story