Blogroll

Book Review: Red Fire by Wei Yang Chao

While the American Revolution is central to the Fourth of July, America also seemed to encounter a revolutionary temperament in 1968. We weren’t alone; revolution also seemed to be in the air in Europe. Even the counterculture symbol The Beatles would record their first politically explicit song, “Revolution.” Yet you’ve got to wonder how much […]

Book Review: He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird

Over the decades, the mental health memoir has become almost a genre in and of itself. That isn’t to knock them. After all, a 1908 memoir, A Mind That Found Itself, remains in print today. And more recent works about depression (William Styron’s Darkness Visible), bipolar disorder (Marya Hornbacher’s Madness: A Bipolar Life) or schizophrenia […]

Book Review: Dear Leader by Jang Jin-Sung

Significant cultural and, yes, racial differences gave rise to America stereotyping Asians as mysterious or inscrutable. While that shibboleth has justifiably faded over the years, we still occasionally find aspects of Asia enigmatic. But when it comes to North Korea “WTF?!” seems regularly justified. And although Jang Jin-Sung’s memoir of his life and escape from […]

Other people’s lives

“Live your own life.” How many times have we heard or said that? But yesterday I was reminded of an exception to that rule, albeit in a nonliteral sense.

When I was picking up a couple books from the library, I realized both were biographies. That in and of itself is not unusual. What got […]

Book Review: Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident by Bill Ayers

Although likely becoming prosaic, the phrases “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” remain effective shorthand. Their meaning is seen in the story of Bill Ayers. A founder of the radical Weathermen, Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn spent 10 years underground as a result of their actions against the Viet Nam War. After their […]

A bit of memoir mania

I’ve never investigated if publishers push autobiographies and memoirs to a particular time of year. All I know is they’ve dominated my reading lately.

Four of the last five books I’ve read (and five of the last eight) are autobiographies/memoirs. (Who decides when a work crosses the line between autobiography and memoir?) All four […]