Category Archives: Nonfiction

The Sagas of Icelanders

For several years now, I’ve adopted a practice of trying to read a major classic during the summer, when I (theoretically) have more time and brain-space for it. This year, I read The Sagas of Icelanders, the collection that Penguin … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Nonfiction | 13 Comments

My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

This book by poet Christian Wiman is not easy to describe. It’s not exactly a memoir, although it contains elements of memoir, and it’s not exactly an essay collection, although each chapter dances around a particular theme or idea. His … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

This book, perhaps Isabella Bird’s most famous, is actually her fourth. By the time she wrote it in 1879, she had already travelled from her native England to Australia, to Hawaii, 800 miles on horseback through the Colorado Rockies, and … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Memoir, Travel/ Exploration | 14 Comments

March: Books 1 and 2

Growing up in the South in the 1970s and 80s, I learned about the 1960s Civil Rights movement in bits and pieces. It was recent enough to be in a lot of people’s memories, and too recent to be covered … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction, Graphic Novels / Comics, Memoir | 6 Comments

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

Mine is a stubborn and recalcitrant faith. It’s all elbows and motion and kicked-up dust, like cartoon characters locked in a cloudy brawl. I’m still early in my journey, but I suspect it will go on like this for a … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Memoir, Religion | 13 Comments

Consider the Lobster

David Foster Wallace has been on my list for a long time, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve been a bit skeptical about reading him. He’s one of those Gen-X white-dude heroes, and in my experience they have a tendency … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

The Unspeakable

In the introduction to this essay collection, Meghan Daum writes that our societal discourse is “largely rooted in platitudes” and that her goal in the book was to get beyond the platitudes to discuss “the unspeakable thought many of us … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

A Small Place

Jamaica Kincaid’s short book (long essay?) A Small Place is about the ravages of colonialism on the small island of Antigua. It’s about perception versus reality, and the importance of opening the privileged eyes of those who might never have … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction | 6 Comments

The Darkest Jungle

In Todd Balf’s book The Darkest Jungle, he explains that by 1854, after the spectacular and expensive failure of the Franklin expedition, the search for the Northwest Passage was sliding off the front pages. The new great hope was Panama. … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 4 Comments

Iphigenia in Forest Hills

When I began reading Janet Malcolm’s book about the murder trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova, accused of hiring a man to kill her ex-husband Daniel Malakov, I don’t think I had any particular leaning regarding her guilt or innocence. The fact … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction | 2 Comments