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Review: David McCullough’s “Truman”

“The past has always interested me for use in the present.” So wrote the aging Harry S. Truman in a 1954 letter to Dean Acheson, his former Secretary of State and dear friend. This observation is reason enough to investigate Truman’s life, a life that still echoes in our modern age. But the reason I picked [...]

Review: Heather McGhee’s “The Sum of Us”

Back in 2018, I read Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. Here’s my favorite passage from that excellent book: The common experience of oppression and exploitation creates the potential for a united struggle to better the conditions of all…Political unity, including winning white workers to the centrality of racism in shaping the lived experiences of Black [...]

Review: Lucas Spiegel’s “The Weight of Empathy”

I first met Lucas Spiegel about 15 years ago while playing club ultimate frisbee at the University of Oregon. He was a beloved captain of the B-team for several years––a quiet, kind, and always-respectful leader whose simple love for the game inspired younger players like me who were just starting out. I don’t remember Lucas [...]

Review: Bessel van der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score”

Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score was pitched to me by several people as the best book for a crash course in trauma research and modern treatments. It did not disappoint. This impressive summary of discoveries and lessons from van der Kolk’s long career is an essential text for anyone looking to enter the [...]

Review: Tara Westover’s “Educated”

As the son of two parents with postgraduate degrees, the purpose and value of education were central to my upbringing. My folks never pushed me, but they always encouraged my intellectual growth and facilitated my desire to attend college with eager ease. I always knew I was lucky (they wouldn’t let me forget it), but [...]

Review: Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”

I have very little to say about Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It is an absolute masterpiece. The writing, the characters, the story––they’re all superb and blend together perfectly. The book is bursting with poignant insights about the nature of freedom, suffering, racism, family, memory, trauma, healing, humanism, and much more. It’s also terrifying and punishing, so be [...]

Review: Terrence Real’s “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”

Hey! Listen up. Let me tell you something. A man ain’t a goddamn ax. Chopping, hacking, busting every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down because they’re inside. ––Toni Morrison This passage from Beloved sums up the central message of Terrence Real’s I Don’t Want to Talk About It with uncanny [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Blood Heir”

Ilona Andrews’s Blood Heir is a continuation/spin-off of the marvelous Kate Daniels series. These novels take place in a fantastical version of mid-21st-century Atlanta where a metaphysical “Shift” has brought magic back into the world after centuries of dormancy. This book picks up eight years after Kate’s tale comes to a close, with a new protagonist: Julie [...]

Review: Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future”

When Ezra Klein says something like, “this is the most important book I read this year,” there’s little question as to what I’ll do next. That’s how Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future made its way into my life, and boy am I glad it did! This remarkable, brilliant, and wildly useful book is one [...]

Review: Marshall B. Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communication”

I’ve had Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication recommended to me more than a few times, both by friends and strangers on the Internet. It never really appealed to me, but now that I’m gearing up to enter a caring profession I decided to give it a whirl. My experience was a mixed bag; some of Rosenberg’s ideas [...]