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Tag: adolescence

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 [...]

Erik Hall: A Remembrance

Most people, if they are lucky, grow up with one family. I had two. The first was my traditional, biological family. My parents were both black sheep––one estranged for religious reasons and the other for sociopolitical ones––so these relationships were complex and fraught. Growing up, I spent comparatively little time with my “real” relatives, and [...]

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: Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife”

I had a wonderful time losing myself in the pages of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. This clever and enthralling story swept me away in exactly the fashion one hopes a good romance will do. Niffenegger’s bonafide page-turner contains many excellent qualities: an elegant and well-executed conceit, deft characterization, and captivating writing. When it comes [...]

Review: Lily Brooks-Dalton’s “Good Morning, Midnight”

Lily Brooks-Dalton’s Good Morning, Midnight was the perfect book to wrap up a tough and tumultuous year. This short, dazzling novel is a mournful but energetic meditation on humanity’s struggle to find meaning and connection in a vast and threat-strewn universe. Brooks-Dalton’s narrative toggles back and forth between two plot threads, both set against the ominous backdrop [...]

Review: Toni Morrison’s “Sula”

Sula is the first Toni Morrison novel I’ve read, but I’m certain it won’t be the last. This captivating tale of two Black girls growing up in Bottom––a hilly, early-20th-century Ohio town––left me with no questions whatsoever about why Morrison is a core member of the American literary canon. Though her characters and story are plenty [...]

Review: Madeleine Thien’s “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”

In his 2011 book Confucian Role Ethics, philosopher Roger T. Ames reflects on the relationship between individual identity, family dynamics, and music in the Confucian tradition: The timelessness and broad appeal of the teachings of Confucius begins from the insight that the life of almost every human being, regardless of where or when, is played out within [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “Seven Surrenders”

Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Quartet continues to delight and astound me. Since Seven Surrenders was originally planned as the second half of Too Like the Lightning, please start with my review of that book; I won’t repeat key information about the series that was covered there. Better yet, just stop reading this review and get your hands on a copy of Too [...]