Injustice and the Transgender Tipping Point

Book review: A Murder Over a Girl, by Ken Corbett Psychologist and professor Ken Corbett exhaustively covered the trial of Brandon McInerney, who at age fourteen, executed a classmate, Larry King (not THAT one.) Supposedly because King, who was gay and beginning to express himself in ways that indicate he was probably transgender, was sexually harassing him. The case in Oxnard, California made national headlines when Larry … Continue reading Injustice and the Transgender Tipping Point

Insights for Introverting

Book review: The Secret Lives of Introverts, by Jenn Granneman “Say what you will about labeling. That little label changed my life.” Jenn Granneman, founder of the blog Introvert, Dear, a community site for introverts, relates advice, interviews, statistics about introversion, and ideas about how to make one’s way in the world as one. Adjusting to a world that’s not exactly geared towards introverts is a tall order. … Continue reading Insights for Introverting

Anger As Illumination and Other Gandhi Wisdoms

Book review: The Gift of Anger, by Arun Gandhi “Bapuji often had a spinning wheel at his side, and I like to think of his life as a golden thread of stories and lessons that continue to weave in and out through the generations, making a stronger fabric for all our lives. Many people now know my grandfather only from the movies, or they remember that he … Continue reading Anger As Illumination and Other Gandhi Wisdoms

Virginia Burning

Book review: American Fire, by Monica Hesse In the American countryside, during five months from 2012 to 2013, a terrified county nearly went up in flames. The place was Accomack County, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, within the East Coast’s picturesque Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) region. “The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a hangnail, a hinky peninsula separated from the rest of the state by the Chesapeake Bay … Continue reading Virginia Burning

Tea Partiers in Their Own Words

Book review: Strangers in Their Own Land, by Arlie Russell Hochschild In the last decade, but especially the last few years, we’ve seen an especially polarizing shift between the American political left and right, culminating in the election of a previously non-politically-involved narcissistic billionaire (or is he?) bully with an inferiority complex. But even before that menace was in the White House, the unrest and dissatisfaction from the … Continue reading Tea Partiers in Their Own Words

The Bones of Bioarchaeology

Book review: Built on Bones, by Brenna Hassett Brenna Hassett is a bioarchaeologist. If, like me, you have no idea what that is, it means she studies human bones and remains, such as teeth found in archaeological sites, looking for clues to understanding more about human existence and how it’s evolved through the ages. Her book focuses especially on cities, or our earliest iterations of urban developments, asking … Continue reading The Bones of Bioarchaeology

Musings on Art and Loneliness

Book review: The Lonely City, by Olivia Laing “It was becoming increasingly easy to see how people ended up vanishing in cities, disappearing in plain sight, retreating into their apartments because of sickness or bereavement, mental illness or the persistent, unbearable burden of sadness and shyness, not knowing how to impress themselves into the world.” Olivia Laing unexpectedly became a British expatriate alone in New York City, … Continue reading Musings on Art and Loneliness

Looking Beyond

Book review: Surviving Death, by Leslie Kean “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” This Edgar Allan Poe quote, a chapter opener in Surviving Death, is fitting for the book as a whole. It’s a question many wonder about their entire lives, and one that isn’t easily resolved for a plethora of … Continue reading Looking Beyond

America’s Most Fragile

Book review: Glass House, by Brian Alexander Journalist Brian Alexander is a native of Lancaster, Ohio, a city highlighted by Forbes in 1947 with the shining, post-war pride declaration, “This is America.” Now it’s one of many towns in America’s Rust Belt that’s fallen victim to plagues of misfortune in recent decades – the restructuring and eventual closures of big companies, leading to economic bust and rampant opiate abuse. These towns … Continue reading America’s Most Fragile

Images in the Ink

Book review: The Inkblots, by Damion Searls Beginning as a biography of the oft-overlooked Hermann Rorschach, developer of the eponymous psychological and personality test, and becoming a history of the test’s uses and controversies, The Inkblots is a continually surprising, enlightening work of narrative nonfiction. For creating a test so famous that it long ago crossed from the specialized psychology domain into pop culture and household status, little is commonly … Continue reading Images in the Ink

In Support of the Shy

Book review: Shrinking Violets, by Joe Moran Shyness is about much more than just shrinking away. Violets “shrink” not in retreating from the world but in evincing nature’s talent for endless variation and for sustaining life in the most varied habitats. Shyness, too, can flourish in many climates and soils and express itself in many ways. It can, like the violet, be accompanied by a … Continue reading In Support of the Shy

Better Off Dead?

Book review: Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood What a fun read this is, considering the weightiness of the subject matter! Elizabeth Greenwood needs an out from her life – saddled with the burden of crushing student debt, frustrated working a job that will never earn her enough to pay the loans off, she latched on to a … Continue reading Better Off Dead?