Tag: nonfiction

Only Disconnect: A review of Television: A Biography by David Thomson

All told, Thomson’s is a critical assessment of television’s effects on society. At times, the author appears to accept the medium for the lurid wasteland that it is—says the film critic, “snobbery melted away with television, and worthlessness became entirely acceptable. Time could be wasted.” Still, at no point does Thomson quit his suspicion that this new way of living—of watching life in living rooms—warps our conceptions of civic duty, morality, and life itself.

Leaning into the “Crazy”: Reflections on The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang

Wang’s genius partly comes from her ability to write about her illness with seemingly perfect clarity, as the sufferer and the scientist. The book is a testament to her brain—a brain working so well that it can so effectively describe the torment it causes her. Especially since, as Wang reminds us, schizophrenia is a disease of “loosening of associations,” in which the mind is working so hard within the person—against the person—to rid itself of itself.

A review of Writers on Writing: Conversations with Allen Mendenhall

Each included author has something important to say and Mendenhall has a talent for finding just the right way to allow the authors to express themselves. Mendenhall has a knack at getting to what is significant, and revealing truths both about the writers and about their books. Nor do the interviews shy away from topical issues or cultural conflicts.

A review of Deconstructing America by Chaithanya Sohan and Shaima Adin

The one topic that all our storytellers weigh in on is the concept of home. What does “home” mean to them? About half the writers say that America is now their home; the other half claims the land of their birth. It is always the last segment of the teller’s tale, a summing up, and the logic each writer uses to make their decision is always compelling.

A review of The World Was Whole by Fiona Wright

There is so much about the human condition that is illuminated here in these beautifully written pieces.  Wright takes the painful, the personal and the often unbearable frailty of life, and expands it so that the work becomes a celebration of being alive, of human resilience and of the beauty of the everyday.

A review of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents

Jeff Herman’s iconic Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents is a well-respected industry standard, much like Writers Market. Now in its 28th Edition, the Guide enjoys continued acclaim and popularity—and there is a good reason for this. Flatly stated, it’s just the one of the best, if not the best, of many (many!) writers’ guides out there.

A review of The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

Frankopan must have had great publishers. Aside from the aesthetically pleasing cover design with sumptuous Islamic floral and geometric patterns overlaid with gold lettering, the selling point of the book is its ambitious thesis: to reposition the centre of the world and repatriate the influence that Eastern regions have had on global events. The book is undoubtedly a titan effort in scholarship.