REVIEW: THE UNWOMANLY FACE OF WAR, BY SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH, TRANSLATED BY RICHARD PEVEAR AND LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY (2017)

CN: book contains rape, graphic violence. I did not expect to devour this book the way I did. Of all the books that I've ever felt compelled to consume greedily and compulsively--of all the books that I've ever sat down with intending to read for only a few minutes, only to re-emerge several hours later--I … Continue reading REVIEW: THE UNWOMANLY FACE OF WAR, BY SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH, TRANSLATED BY RICHARD PEVEAR AND LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY (2017)

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REVIEW: THIS LITTLE ART, BY KATE BRIGGS (2017)

On page 38 of This Little Art, Kate Briggs brings up twentieth-century French literary theorist Roland Barthes' concept of textes d'appui: Supporting texts: the texts that brace us, the ones we lean on, testing them to see if they'll support our weight; the texts we always seem to be in conversation with, whether directly or … Continue reading REVIEW: THIS LITTLE ART, BY KATE BRIGGS (2017)

REVIEW: TELL ME HOW IT ENDS, BY VALERIA LUISELLI (2017)

Tell Me How It Ends is a 100-page essay describing with "anger and clarity" the cruel and surreal way in which the US government treats refugee children--specifically ones from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, following the so-called "immigration crisis" of 2014, in which tens of thousands of children from these countries crossed the American border … Continue reading REVIEW: TELL ME HOW IT ENDS, BY VALERIA LUISELLI (2017)

BOOK REVIEW: THE ETHICAL CARNIVORE, BY LOUISE GRAY (2016)

For two years, between July 2014 and July 2016, environmental journalist Louise Gray only ate animals she killed herself. She also visited farms, abattoirs, and fishing boats, and hung out with farmers, fishermen, hunters, gamekeepers, a slaughterman or two, as well as a Halal Monitoring Committe inspector, in an effort to better understand how it … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: THE ETHICAL CARNIVORE, BY LOUISE GRAY (2016)

BOOK REVIEW: PRIESTDADDY, BY PATRICIA LOCKWOOD (2017)

On page 48 of her new memoir of growing up in the Catholic Church, Priestdaddy, Patricia Lockwood's husband, Jason, undergoes surgery for a rare type of cataracts--to quote his own description of the operation to Lockwood's alarmed mother, the surgeon slices open the surface of his eye, then uses "a little jackhammer to blast apart … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: PRIESTDADDY, BY PATRICIA LOCKWOOD (2017)

TODAY’S RECOMMENDED BOOK: OLIO, BY TYEHIMBA JESS (2016)

Setting: Most of the lives Jess evokes unfolded in America between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of WWI. Premise:┬áThis book is a celebration of the lives and works of several more or less obscure African-American artists and performers, through poetry and poem-like prose. These artists include sculptress Edmonia Lewis, opera singer … Continue reading TODAY’S RECOMMENDED BOOK: OLIO, BY TYEHIMBA JESS (2016)

BOOK REVIEW – PIT BULL: THE BATTLE OVER AN AMERICAN ICON, BY BRONWEN DICKEY (2016)

Imagine a future where pets are outlawed. Maybe it's because of some improbable new pandemic. Or maybe it's because of an upgrade to their personhood--suddenly cats and dogs count as "people" and keeping them as property is seen as a violation of their civil rights. These scenarios and others like them are explored in Unpawful, … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW – PIT BULL: THE BATTLE OVER AN AMERICAN ICON, BY BRONWEN DICKEY (2016)