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Jean Guerrero is an award-winning journalist. Her father is a schizophrenic.
No, that’s not quite right.
Jean is reckless, with self-destructive tendencies. Her father is a shaman misunderstood by Western medicine.
No, it’s more complicated than that.
She’s a brilliant writer, he’s a victim of CIA mind-control experiments. She’s American. He’s Mexican.
None of these labels fits Guerrero or her father, which is the point of Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, a powerful, revealing book that snakes across Jean’s life in ...
Photo courtesy of Scott Wayne McDaniel
Less than two years have lapsed since Barack Obama passed the title of POTUS to Donald Trump. Since that time, enough stories have come out of Washington to fill two decades. Because of the bombardment of 24-hour news, it’s easy to forget the pre-Trump years were also rife with political theater. Brian Abrams’ oral biography, Obama: An Oral History 2009-2017, is an engrossing reconstruction of those complex days.
The ability to be so riveted by America’s recent past is a ...
Without any ado, here are five of July’s most significant, timely, and relevant books, with quotes from the Kirkus reviews.
The Marginalized Majority by Onnesha Roychoudhuri: In this potent activist manifesto and deconstruction of the myths surrounding identity politics, the author “combines the reporting chops of an experienced journalist with literary flair and a conversational, common-sense approach that seems far more heartfelt than dogmatic.” It’s the most memorable book I’ve read in the past few months.
The Prison Letters ...
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Will Walton’s debut young adult novel, Anything Could Happen (2015), hadn’t yet been released when he began work on I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain. Focused on teenaged queer protagonists, both books draw heavily from Walton’s own experiences growing up, coming out, and finding his way in the South. Yet while his first book was in many ways a love letter to his parents, he describes his second as more of an “extended eulogy” for his grandfather.
“This guy ...
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How is it that Alice Bolin’s outstanding debut, Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, thrums with life?
“A lot of these stories that purport to be about dead girls are about anything but,” says Bolin, describing the TV genre she calls “the Dead Girl Show,” whose action centers around a young female corpse (e.g., Twin Peaks, Pretty Little Liars, True Detective, etc.).
“They’re really about [other] people picking up the pieces, making things right, and ...
Photo courtesy of Kent Corley
After she finished the first round of revisions on her memoir, Tango Lessons, Meghan Flaherty felt great. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I did that. I was honest and excavating and I laid myself bare!’ ” she recalls from her home in Palo Alto, where she lives with her husband, 6-month-old baby, and 100-pound dog. “And then I was like, ‘Oh fuck. People are gonna read this.’ So ever since then, I’ve been resigning myself to having aired my ...
Photo courtesy of Sylvie Rosokoff
“This sounds hyperbolic,” says Porochista Khakpour, “but I’ve really felt like I’ve been dying the past few months.” She has, when we speak, temporarily taken up residence in San Francisco, where she’s been undergoing “some pretty intense Lyme therapies” and also recovering from a winter that ravaged her health. “Maybe one or two other times in my life were as challenging as this one,” she says, and then laughs. “So this is how you’re encountering me.” ...
Behind the Scenes of The Simpsons
Ask any TV writer or producer to list the most significant TV shows of the past three decades, and The Simpsons will appear on nearly all of those lists. By any measure—tenure, ratings, fan support, cultural impact—The Simpsons is an all-timer. For me, Homer and company (well, mostly Homer) have provided more allusive opportunities than perhaps any other TV show outside of Seinfeld.
While I don’t watch it as regularly as I did during its late-1990s pinnacle, it’s still ...