Category Archives: Nonfiction

The Journalist and the Murderer

A few nights ago, I rewatched the movie Almost Famous, a favorite that I hadn’t seen in years. The movie tells the story of William Miller, a teenage journalist who follows an up-and-coming band for months in order to write … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction | 14 Comments

Beijing Bastard

Val Wang’s parents came to the United States from China when they were young adults with a spirit of adventure. Still, they wanted to give their daughter a sense of her heritage, so they sent her to Chinese school, taught … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Tagged | 8 Comments

Without You, There Is No Us

Suki Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved with her family to the United States when she was 13. She traveled all over the world during her young adult years, but North Korea was an elusive source of … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

Plausible Prejudices

Joseph Epstein is an essayist, short story writer, and editor who worked for years at The American Scholar and is a long-time contributor to The New Criterion, Hudson Review, and Commentary. He’s written biographies, as well as books on gossip, … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 23 Comments

The Empathy Exams

Why do so many of our favorite stories involve extreme suffering? What’s the value for us in watching others’ pain? I wonder this about myself sometimes. Jude the Obscure is, after all, among my favorite books, and I enjoy reading … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 10 Comments

Thomas Hardy

I was irrationally worried when I started reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy. You see, Hardy is my favorite writer, and I didn’t want to find out he was terrible, that he kicked puppies or something. Generally, I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 8 Comments

A Sad Heart at the Supermarket

Over the past few years, I’ve made it a point to read as much of Randall Jarrell’s poetry criticism as I can. He was a very good poet himself (although maybe not absolutely top-tier), and he was, maybe, the most … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

Home Cooking (and a little brief introspection)

Shelf Love has been around since 2008, and until this year it was never difficult for me to post whatever I wanted to about what I was reading. Teresa and I have both always taken the view that we do … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Memoir, Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 30 Comments

Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading

Somehow in my recent Internet wanderings I stumbled on a blog (the link now lost to me) that was devoted to old-school young adult and middle grade books, the kinds of books I found in the small young adult section … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Nonfiction | 28 Comments

God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine

For the last couple of years, I’ve been dealing with a handful of minor but annoying health issues—the kinds of things that I can live with as they are now but want to deal with so they don’t get worse. … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 4 Comments