New globe-trotting nonfiction
Summer means travel, and travel means discovery. Here are 10 July books that offer stimulating (but not always pleasant) explorations of various locales around the globe.
To the New Owners, Madeleine Blais
An “unfailingly charming reminiscence of summers spent on [Martha’s Vineyard].”
We Are Syrians, Adam Braver
“Three Syrians who have faced down their country’s police state tell their respective first-person stories.”
A Paris All Your Own, Eleanor Brown
“A quick and fun read that should delight seasoned ...
Language lessons from a master
Words matter. While most readers of this magazine would agree with that basic statement, our current president seems to be unfamiliar with that truth, and it seems he has plenty of fellow bunglers in his circle. In the face of the administration’s daily assault on intelligible English, and given that effective communication is a fundamental element of our humanity, the study of language is perhaps more important than ever.
For decades, British linguist and author David Crystal has investigated nearly ...
Anne Helen Petersen photographed by Charles Aydlett.
When Anne Helen Petersen pitched Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman in 2015, famous female iconoclasts were having a massive moment.
Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck led the box office. Broad City and Girls ruled TV. Serena Williams dominated tennis. And Hillary Rodham Clinton on her way to becoming the 45th President of the United States.
“Originally, I thought, this is so great—there’s all of these women doing what Roseanne did,” says Petersen ...
Cate Lineberry photographed by Joy Lyn.
Robert Smalls may be the biggest Civil War hero you’ve never heard of. With the blessing of his family and aid of the National Archives, Cate Lineberry aims to restore him to his rightful place in the pantheon of patriots in Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls’ Escape from Slavery to Union Hero.
Lineberry is a journalist living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She recently returned to her home state after 20 years in Washington, D.C ...
Nancy MacLean photographed by Bruce Orenstein.
It seems inevitable the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” will pop into your head while reading Duke University historian Nancy MacLean’s disquieting Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. After all, the phrase made famous by Hillary Clinton in the 1990s popped into MacLean’s head a few times while she researched and wrote her book.
It would seem an apt description, given the covert undermining of American democratic foundations and institutions by the extreme ...
Photo courtesy Lee Towndrow
Right after his mother died, Sherman Alexie wrote 100 poems in a frenzy. “Grief makes you obsessive in a way I’ve never been obsessive before, and I have actual OCD,” he explains about the genesis of his new memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. He felt that after his mother’s death he could finally be honest about the complications of their relationship. But as he probed deeper into the nature of his grief, he found that ...
Photo courtesy Lelia McCabe
Reliant as they were on call girls, cars, corpses, and Kris Kristofferson, the B-movies of the 1970s may not qualify as high art, according to cultural critic Charles Taylor, but at least they took American audiences seriously.
“For me, the staying power of these movies has to do with the way they stand in opposition to the current juvenile state of American movies,” Taylor writes in Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of ...
Photo courtesy Nancy Crampton
Perhaps you recognize the names of Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. A married couple, they were Hollywood screenwriters responsible for authoring such Oscar-nominated classics as Hud and Norma Rae. Active from the late Forties through the mid-Eighties, the collaborators built a reputation for quality scripts based on their eight films with maverick filmmaker Martin Ritt and their screen adaptations of novels by American literary giants such as William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury, The Reivers, and The Long ...