America’s Historian Evokes The National Spirit, Its Lessons and Promise

The American SpiritBook review: The American Spirit, by David McCullough History, I like to think, is a larger way of looking at life. It is a source of strength, of inspiration. It is about who we are and what we stand for and is essential to our understanding of what our own role should be in our time. History, as can’t be said too often, … Continue reading America’s Historian Evokes The National Spirit, Its Lessons and Promise

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

Eight Years of Power, Pain, and Ultimately Turning From Progress

Book review: We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates Ta-Nehisi Coates’ latest, garnering buzz for being among the year’s best, was a very hard book to read, but why wouldn’t it be? History is ugly and current events surely aren’t much better to look at. The book is structured chronologically by eight essays, one previously published every year of the Obama presidency at The … Continue reading Eight Years of Power, Pain, and Ultimately Turning From Progress

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

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

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

Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

Book review: Tales of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman Editor John Freeman of Freeman’s (a literary biannual showcasing new writing) and executive editor of LitHub edits this new collection of essays, short stories, and poetry on inequality and by extension, the divisions of races, classes, origins and backgrounds, income divides, and other divisive groupings in contemporary America. The majority of these selections are nonfiction essays, but I … Continue reading Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

Powerful Essays, Brilliant Criticism From Mary Gaitskill

Book review: Somebody With a Little Hammer, by Mary Gaitskill Novelist Mary Gaitskill, in her nonfiction essays, makes you think, and not just as you read. The content of these essays – in all their depth, humor, pain, wit, and wisdom – stays with you long after finishing. As does the feeling that you’d like to be friends with her, or at least pick her brain. Gaitskill … Continue reading Powerful Essays, Brilliant Criticism From Mary Gaitskill

Essays on Famous Lives and Perceived Parallels

Book review: All the Lives I Want, by Alana Massey New York magazine columnist and cultural critic Alana Massey writes a collection of strange but compelling essays about “her best friends who happen to be famous strangers.” They’re amusing, some reach impressive analytical depth, and yet they’re inconsistent in hitting their mark or striking the right balance. I found myself thinking at some point during almost every … Continue reading Essays on Famous Lives and Perceived Parallels

Surprisingly Moving Essays on Personal Strength, Humor, and Embracing Mistakes

Book review: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer I like Amy Schumer’s comedy, but I’m not enough in love with it that her book was a priority when it came out nearly a year ago. Until I happened upon a review praising it as something much more meaningful than a reiteration of Schumer’s jokes or skits from her show. The review stressed that … Continue reading Surprisingly Moving Essays on Personal Strength, Humor, and Embracing Mistakes

The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Book review: Poetry Will Save Your Life, by Jill Bialosky “All poems become, to a certain degree, personal to a reader.” Poet, editor, and novelist Jill Bialosky writes a memoir structured around the poems that have helped her through life, imbuing it with deeper meaning and giving subtle guidance and reassurances through turmoil and joy. Sometimes they act as markers, anchoring her memory to a place or event. … Continue reading The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Perspectives On Paris

Book review: A Paris All Your Own, edited by Eleanor Brown “My time in Paris was like no one else’s ever.” “In the end, I think Paris kept us married for an extra five years.” “I should probably write an article for a women’s magazine about this: ‘Lose Weight While Eating Your Feelings in Paris!’” A Paris All Your Own is a collection of impressionistic essays … Continue reading Perspectives On Paris