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

Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Book review: A Crime in the Family, by Sacha Batthyany Swiss journalist Sacha Batthyany heard a disturbing rumor: near the end of the Second World War, his Aunt Margit was alleged to have participated in the massacre of hundreds of Jewish prisoners in the small Austrian town of Rechnitz. The crime took place during a party at her home attended by Nazi officers. He’s haunted, … Continue reading Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

Book review: Code Girls, by Liza Mundy I’m in some kind of hush, hush business. Somewhere in Wash. D.C. If I say anything I’ll get hung for sure. I guess I signed my life away. But I don’t mind it. Code Girls, author Liza Mundy’s history of the women who worked tirelessly cracking codes to aid the American Army and Navy in World War II, opens with … Continue reading Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

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

A Sampler From the Best American Series 2017

Book review: The Best American Series 2017 The Best American Series is an excellent anthology collection, if it’s not already on your radar. An editor chosen for their own standout contributions to each genre curates selections from the year’s best previously published works across websites, journals, and magazines. Plenty are fiction, like Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Short Stories, but I find their nonfiction selections to usually be … Continue reading A Sampler From the Best American Series 2017

Inside a Manhattan New Age Cult

Book review: The Cult Next Door, by Elizabeth Burchard When cults make the news, it’s often because they’ve done something awful on a compound somewhere, or in the jungles of Guyana. This memoir shows the mesmerizing power of a cult close to home, one that forms in the heart of a major metropolis, in one of Manhattan’s poshest neighborhoods, and for decades ensnared members in a cycle of brainwashing, … Continue reading Inside a Manhattan New Age Cult

A Reporter, A Newspaper, And A Rural Cold Case

Book review: Mary Jane’s Ghost, by Ted Gregory Histories – call them stories if you like – never really end. It’s more like they continue to unfold, but we’ve left them; they’ve ceased to resonate. Chicago Tribune general assignment reporter Ted Gregory gets roped into the investigation and conspiracies of a fifty-year-old cold case while ruminating on the state of print newspapers and the difficulty in … Continue reading A Reporter, A Newspaper, And A Rural Cold Case

Advice From The Forests of Russian Fairytales

Book review: Ask Baba Yaga, by Taisia Kitaiskaia The Hairpin is one of those sites I always mean to read, then don’t. I’ve read some great pieces there, also some that are too hipster for my taste. Apparently one long-running feature of the site was an advice column, featuring the typical everyday problems of life, love, loss, and existential dilemma, only with a twist – … Continue reading Advice From The Forests of Russian Fairytales

A Daughter After Her Mother: Rich Storytelling of Memoir and Murder

Book review: After the Eclipse, by Sarah Perry She believed in the souls of housecats and in the melancholy of rainy days. She believed in hard work, and the energy she poured into her job — hand-sewing shoes at a factory — seemed boundless…She was terrified of birds, at close range, and moths, at any distance, their blurred wings beating the air, their flight paths unpredictable…The clicking of … Continue reading A Daughter After Her Mother: Rich Storytelling of Memoir and Murder

The Healing Powers of Comfort Food

Book review: The Comfort Food Diaries, by Emily Nunn What’s comfort food to you? What do you make or seek out when you’re blue, or need soothing? Is it what your family made when you were small, or something far away from those memories? I thought a lot about my preferred comfort foods while reading this. I found them hard to pinpoint. Chicken dumpling soup … Continue reading The Healing Powers of Comfort Food

Beautiful Country Burn Again

Book review: South and West, by Joan Didion I am trying to place myself in history. I have been looking all my life for history and have yet to find it. The resolutely “colorful,” anecdotal quality of San Francisco history. “Characters” abound. It puts one off. In the South they are convinced that they are capable of having bloodied their land with history. In the West … Continue reading Beautiful Country Burn Again