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Reading Books About… People Reading Books?

…the best biblio-memoirs are a wonderfully quirky mix of autobiography, travel writing, literary criticism, self-help and immersion journalism. The list that follows includes books which push the genre boundaries, which explore and explode the form. So often books stay in our head precisely because we do not know exactly what they are. Read more

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The Literature of the Con: Great Books About Grifters and Swindlers

Con men flourish in two diametrically opposite times—when the people have nothing and are desperate for anything that will raise them out of poverty; and when there is boundless plenty for the vast majority, when countries are newly awash with easy money, and there are countless newly rich men and women who can just as easily be separated from their money as they acquired it. Read more

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We need comic novels more than ever. So where are they?

A nation recovering from the worst health emergency in 100 years needs novels full of humor. But if laughter is the best medicine, our fiction is in dangerously short supply. It’s an odd and persistent problem, compounded by the fact that most of the novels marketed as funny are, in fact, not very funny. Or they traffic in wit so dry their lips would crack if they smiled. Read more

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For the Washoe Tribe of Lake Tahoe, a sundown siren is a ‘living piece of historical trauma’

In Minden, Nevada, a siren goes off every day at noon and 6 p.m. Members of the Washoe Tribe have been asking the town to silence the 6 p.m. siren because of its affiliation with a racist sundown ordinance that was in place for much of the 20th century. Read more

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Robert Macfarlane on Roger Deakin and the Origins of Wild Swimming

To Roger Deakin, water was a miraculous substance. It was curative and restorative, it was beautiful in its flow, it was a lens through which he often viewed the world, and it was a medium of imagination and reflection. “All water,” he scribbled in a notebook, “river, sea, pond, lake, holds memory and the space to think.” Read more

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