The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

Book review: Dreamland, by Sam Quinones “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 took … Continue reading The Perfect Storm of the Opioid Epidemic

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

Nonfiction Favorites for #NonfictionNovember

It’s #NonfictionNovember this month, with different sites hosting different topics each week to post about, all celebrating and exploring great nonfiction. I considered participating earlier, but it’s always nonfiction day/week/month in my life and it was easier to just write book reviews like usual instead of thinking about topics or lists. I’m a lazy blogger at the moment. But this week had such an great … Continue reading Nonfiction Favorites for #NonfictionNovember

Infamy in Italy

Book review: A Death in Italy, by John Follain London Times journalist John Follain was on the scene early in Perugia, Italy in November 2007 (ten years ago this month) when one of the country’s most infamous cases in recent memory started unfolding. In 2012, after the eventual acquittal of accused American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, he published this … Continue reading Infamy in Italy

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

Exploitation and Triumph of Two Brothers, in the Circus and the South

Book review: Truevine, by Beth Macy Beth Macy, a former Roanoke Times journalist, first heard about the Muse brothers during her work at the paper in the 1980s. Their story was well-known, but not in much detail: the outline was that two albino African-American brothers were kidnapped by the circus and spent years touring in the freak show before their mother found them again. Whether they’d … Continue reading Exploitation and Triumph of Two Brothers, in the Circus and the South

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

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

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

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

Put Down the Perfume

Book review: The Case Against Fragrance, by Kate Grenville Australian novelist Kate Grenville had a problem. On book tours, she began suffering crippling headaches and other intense symptoms that she eventually deduced were connected to scents. She realized she was highly intolerant to artificial scents and fragranced products. Scent is certainly everywhere. Even if we choose to use little of it ourselves, we’re still breathing … Continue reading Put Down the Perfume

What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?

Book review: The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore, by Jared Yates Sexton Jared Yates Sexton sprang to national prominence while attending a Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2016. He was one of the first journalists to report on the blatant racism, violence, anger and frenetic energy being activated at these events. All of which contributed to the … Continue reading What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?