Category: Non fiction reviews

A review of Finish What We Started: The MAGA Movement’s Ground War to End Democracy by Isaac Arnsdorf

The fanaticism of the MAGA conservatives rests on cynicism and conspiracy, a fundamental belief that the world (the Republican party, Democrats, Hollywood elites, paper shredding trucks) is out to get them, to squeeze their voice—and their vote—from existence. In their view, the only way to fight this grand conspiracy is through a ferocious commitment to ideology and an organized grassroots movement, sponsored by MyPillow.

A review of Zero at the Bone by Christian Wiman

Poetry gives suffering form, and giving suffering form is an antidote to despair.  Yet content matters, too.  For Wiman, much confessionalism is “an idolatry of suffering…an outrage that no person (or group) has suffered as we have, or simply a solipsistic withdrawal that leaves us maniacally describing every detail of our cells.

The Garden Against Time: In Search of a Common Paradise by Olivia Laing

Throughout The Garden Against Time, Laing returns to the concepts of gates and walls: while she sees the need for secrecy, or at least privacy, as having been crucial for the formation of what she calls a queer “counter-state” (213) in the face of oppression, she is well aware that borders and barriers to access are tools of oppression as well.

A review of A Fire at the Center by Karen Van Fossan

What Van Fossan delivers is life—a progress report on a directed but unfinished life, painfully acquainted with ambiguity and exquisitely cast in vibrant minimalist prose. Ultimately, the shadow of the book left in the reader’s mind is neither bound wrists nor angry fist but palms, unchastened, reverently touching.

A review of Boat Girl by Melanie Neale

From the day she was born Melanie was certain how fell about the boat. Melanie knew she “fell in love with the 47’ fiberglass sailboat the day I came aboard from the hospital” (Neale 1).  She continued to share a deep connection with the boat as she aged, she spent most of her life on it, the bond and memories that came from those experiences stayed with her till the end of the memoir.

A review of Kin: Family in the 21st century by Marina Kamenev

Kin is a deeply researched book that explores the many ways families are made today, whether that be families without children, families created by sperm donation, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, and parenting with three or more to name just a few. Kamanev does a wonderful job exploring these iterations, combining historical context, stories, interviews, research, personal anecdotes, and pervasive assumptions.