Pain and Consequences for the Second Generation of the Children of God

Book review: Jesus Freaks, by Don Lattin This was an okay book, but nowhere near a great one, and I’d say there are multiple reasons not to read it. One of them being that Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” will be stuck in your head nonstop for the duration of reading it. I kid! (that song’s the best) but we need something lighthearted while delving into … Continue reading Pain and Consequences for the Second Generation of the Children of God

Immersive Journalism from the Ugly, Scary Heart of America’s White Nationalists

Book review: Everything You Love Will Burn, by Vegas Tenold What had initially motivated my excursion into the world of white supremacy was curiosity about a brand of politics that seemed almost too outdated to be real – and one that I was surprised to find thriving throughout the country.  Journalist Vegas Tenold says that it was the 2011 massacre perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik … Continue reading Immersive Journalism from the Ugly, Scary Heart of America’s White Nationalists

A Memoir of Violence and Complicated Memory

Book review: The Other Side, by Lacy M. Johnson 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 affected her and her relationships over the following years, the ways memory forms and fades, … Continue reading A Memoir of Violence and Complicated Memory

Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

Book review: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich Yet another book about war? What for? There have been a thousand wars—small and big, known and unknown. And still more has been written about them. But…it was men writing about men—that much was clear at once. Everything we know about war we know with “a man’s voice.” When I came to polish up this … Continue reading Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

South African Roots and Apartheid’s Influence, with a Sense of Humor

Book review: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality. Apartheid is one of those subjects that I know embarrassingly little about beyond the basics. If you’re in the same position, I highly recommend comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s 2016 memoir, Born a Crime, of his unique experience growing up as mixed-race in … Continue reading South African Roots and Apartheid’s Influence, with a Sense of Humor

Fidelity, Identity, Disappearance, Wanderlust

Book review: The Art of Vanishing, by Laura Smith Writer and journalist Laura Smith viewed her upcoming wedding quite differently than what might be considered standard. She didn’t relish being the center of attention. She deeply loved and wanted to be committed to her fiancé, but had trepidations about the institution of marriage and all that it entails – what it said about her identity as … Continue reading Fidelity, Identity, Disappearance, Wanderlust

Smart, Richly Crafted Essays from the Incomparable Zadie Smith

Book review: Feel Free, by Zadie Smith Novelist Zadie Smith has got to be one of the most brilliant minds writing today. She burst onto the literary scene with the novel White Teeth in 2000 and has been a heavyweight presence ever since. I read that book and only retained from it that I liked it a lot – when it arose as a topic … Continue reading Smart, Richly Crafted Essays from the Incomparable Zadie Smith

A Crucial, Timely Work of Narrative Reportage on Rape Investigation

Book review: A False Report, by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong It’s early, but I’ll call it – this will be one of the most important nonfiction titles released this year. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong discovered every reporter’s nightmare – they were chasing nearly the same story. It was that of a serial rapist recently caught and imprisoned thanks … Continue reading A Crucial, Timely Work of Narrative Reportage on Rape Investigation

A View From the Border

Book review: The Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú When I was in school, I spent all this time studying international relations, immigration, border security. I was always reading about policy and economics, looking at all these complex academic ways of addressing this big unsolvable problem. When I made the decision to apply for this job, I had the idea that I’d see things … Continue reading A View From the Border

On a Career’s Worth of Monsters and Abysses: An FBI Profiler’s Case Stories

Book review: Whoever Fights Monsters, by Robert K. Ressler & Tom Shachtman There is no such thing as the person who at age thirty-five suddenly changes from being perfectly normal and erupts into totally evil, disruptive, murderous behavior. The behaviors that are precursors to murder have been present and developing in that person’s life for a long, long time – since childhood. I couldn’t get … Continue reading On a Career’s Worth of Monsters and Abysses: An FBI Profiler’s Case Stories

A Family Broken Apart by War and a Stylistic Trek Across Europe

Book review: Maybe Esther, by Katja Petrowskaja The train station was recently built in the middle of this city, and despite the peace the station was inhospitable, as though it embodied all the losses that no train could outrun, one of the most inhospitable places in our Europe, united as it is forward and backward, yet still sharply bounded, a place that always feels drafty and … Continue reading A Family Broken Apart by War and a Stylistic Trek Across Europe

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

Book review: Notes from No Man’s Land, by Eula Biss 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 white debt, and how it’s not something that can be repaid simply by saying … Continue reading Poetic Explorations of American Culture, History, Race, and the Downsides of NYC