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

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

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

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

Trailing Trump: Memories From Covering an Unconventional Campaign

Book review: Unbelievable, by Katy Tur Asked by Brian Williams what she’s learned after 510 days of Trump, MSNBC reporter Katy Tur thinks to herself, “I’ve learned that Trump has his own version of reality, which is a polite way of saying he can’t always be trusted. He also brings his own sense of political decorum. I’ve heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the … Continue reading Trailing Trump: Memories From Covering an Unconventional Campaign

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

An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Book review: We Are All Shipwrecks, by Kelly Grey Carlisle If you read history, you could learn where the ideas you took for granted actually came from and, what I found oddly reassuring, that the world had always been a terrible mess. Kelly Grey Carlisle had an unconventional childhood, to put it mildly. In 1976, at three weeks old, while she lay in a dresser drawer … Continue reading An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

The Complicated Necessity of Solitude

Book review: Journal of a Solitude, by May Sarton “I am way outside somewhere in the wilderness. And it has been a long time of being in the wilderness.” Writer May Sarton retreated to a cottage in New Hampshire for one year, where she holed up and wrote and confronted the seasons, both of the year and of her life. Journal of a Solitude is the diary she kept during this … Continue reading The Complicated Necessity of Solitude

Jane’s Life in Poetry, Through The Eyes of Her Niece

Header image of a southwest view from the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Jane’s hometown, by Darwin Smith Jr. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Book review: Jane: A Murder, by Maggie Nelson “You know, for a world that demands direction, I certainly have none. Will I be a teacher? Will I go to France?”  An excerpt from law student Jane Mixer’s diary. … Continue reading Jane’s Life in Poetry, Through The Eyes of Her Niece