In her memoir American Gypsy, Oksana Marafioti diagnoses herself with split nationality disorder in reference to the internal split she feels when choosing between her Romani identity on her fathers side and her Armenian identity on her mothers.
It is hard to write a review of someones diaries without it turning into a review of the diarist himself. The critic, ideally, is not in the business of reviewing the content of the writers character. But in the case of diaries, it is precisely the writers identity that is on display.
Toward the end of The Astor Orphan, as Alexandra Aldrich, a descendant of the Astor, Chanler, and Livingston families (among others), prepares for her boarding school interviews at the age of 14, she describes her life.
Thank You for Your Service, David Finkels account of returning Afghanistan and Iraq War vets suffering from PTSD, has a surprisingly literary quality.
Peter Steiners famous cartoon in which one dog, sitting at a computer, says to another, On the Internet, nobody knows youre a dog, addresses the anonymity the Internet affords and the identities one can perform.
Andrew Husseys The French Intifada is the second book in a row Ive reviewed that at least partially addresses the Arab Spring. Its subject is Frances current domestic struggles with its Arabs, as Hussey terms it, as well as a history of Frances relations with what are now its former Maghreb colonies: Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisiawhich was ground zero for the Arab Spring.
At the very beginning of Father and Son, as writer Marcos Giralt Torrente embarks on his first nonfiction project, he quotes Amos Oz, who writes, he who seeks the heart of the tale in the space between the work and its author is mistaken: the place to look is not the terrain between text and writer but between text and reader.
Last fall, I was volunteering for a podcast producing an episode on the state of the world’s oceans. Of course I knew the theme would be depressing. I just never expected to what extent. Several interviews in, I was in a state of mild panic. I vowed never to eat shrimp again and to adhere strictly to the Monterey Aquarium’s guide for sustainable fishing.
I have a friend who has developed some maxims to live by. Among them: 1) Take advantage of free things (phrased as “fo’ free, fo’ me”); 2) Never apologize for good game; and 3) Don’t discuss Israel because you are very likely somewhere from un- to mis- on the informed spectrum.
An Israeli tour guide once said to me something to the effect of Living in Israel is a choice, and it is a choice I make every day. Even if the comment is an exaggeration, it is nonetheless striking to someone from the US, a country in which everyday life does not entail, as a matter of course, constant evaluation of the nations actions and of ones place within it.
My great-grandmother on my grandfather’s side was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1888. She was twenty-nine when the Russian Revolution toppled the Tsar.
Virginia Heffernan gained some notoriety in certain media circles in 2013, when she published an article titled “Why I’m a Creationist” on Yahoo! News.
In the “Fried Rice” episode of Ugly Delicious, the show tackles the subject of Chinese-American cuisine, the extent to which it has permeated American culture, and the limitations placed upon it by people’s expectations and prejudice.
In December of 1956, Rodolfo Walsh was sitting in a cafe in Buenos Aires playing chess with his friends when he learned that a man who had supposedly been executed was, in fact, alive.
When I saw a book titled Growing Up Muslim: Muslim College Students in America Tell Their Life Stories, I thought I would be reading insightful autobiographical essays representative of the range of experiences of growing up Muslim in a society fundamentally ignorant of the breadth of Muslim culture and variety of forms the religion takes.
Cliburn, a pianist and the subject of Nigel Cliff’s latest biography, Moscow Nights, incarnated this dual role of individual and national symbol in two countries for decades of the Cold War.
I work in publishing, so I may pay undue attention to a books packaging. Still, it seems a disservice to categorize Shannon Huffman Polsons North of Hope under Religion/Spiritual Growth.
Although John Waters only admits that reality is never as exciting as fiction toward the end of Carsick, his three-part account of his cross-country hitchhiking journey, the books very conceit implies and corroborates the observation. For while Waters only hitchhikes across the country once, he envisions two alternate journeysthe best that can happen, the worst that can happenbefore finally chronicling the real thing.