Category Archives: Nonfiction

A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is a psychologist who served on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Part of her work, which involved trying to understand acts of evil committed during apartheid, led her to interview Eugene de Kock, one of the government’s … Continue reading

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Robert Macfarlane is one of my very favorite nature writers. He writes in a wonderful, engaging combination of personal essay, cultural history, and nature writing. Whether it’s about our weird relationships with peaks and summits, or the old paths and … Continue reading

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Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant

When I first saw the trailer for the movie Victoria and Abdul last year, I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes a little. It looked too cutesy, and perhaps too guilty of romanticizing British colonialism. But when I heard that there … Continue reading

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The Cooking Gene

Subtitled “A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South,” this book by Michael Twitty is part memoir and part history in which Twitty traces his own genetic heritage through food. Born in Washington, DC, Twitty shunned the … Continue reading

Posted in Food, History, Nonfiction | 3 Comments

Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was born a slave named Isabella in — or around, there weren’t records kept — 1797, in Ulster County, New York. She was owned by a Dutch family until she was nine, and when she was sold to … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 9 Comments

Charles Dickens

Having finished all Dickens’s novels (except Edwin Drood — if he didn’t finish it, I don’t have to either!), I thought this was a good time to read Michael Slater’s 2007 biography. It was, in fact, the oldest book on … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

White Rage

Carol Anderson’s book White Rage is surprisingly brief — only about 165 pages — but it is as powerful as a vaccine. If you read it, you won’t be able to look at American history (or your own education) in … Continue reading

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It’s fitting that during the last week of classes, when all I want to do is finish grading final exams and papers and close the door of my office and walk out into the May weather, I should write about … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Novels / Comics, Nonfiction | 4 Comments

Just Mercy

I read Just Mercy with my book group, but I’ve been wanting to read it for quite a while. This is Bryan Stevenson’s memoir about how he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, which struggles against racial injustice in the criminal … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 5 Comments

Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

My job requires me to spend a lot of time thinking about K-12 education. I had this book by Noliwe Rooks on my reading list since before it came out—and before I got this job. As I’ve been doing some … Continue reading

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