The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has a lot in common with Killers of the Flower Moon.  Both are fascinating pieces of on-the-ground journalism about events that happened decades ago;  both Grann and Skloot worked extensively with living family members of the people involved, and helped solved mysteries the family members never had answers to.  … Continue reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)

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Middle Passage (Charles Johnson)

Middle Passage was not at all what I expected it to be.  I expected a historical novel about, well, the Middle Passage.  Which Middle Passage is, in the most basic sense.  But it’s also an adventure story, and a short-but-dense philosophical musing on race, identity and America.  In the end, the best description I can … Continue reading Middle Passage (Charles Johnson)

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Trevor Noah)

I had never heard of Trevor Noah until he took over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart.  (I’m not well-versed in the comedy world, so he was probably way better known than I realized.)  I don’t watch much TV, but I did watch some of his standup comedy on YouTube.  He’s funny, of course.  But … Continue reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Trevor Noah)

Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Christine Leigh Heyrman)

I got this book several years ago. At the time I thought it sounded fascinating (and it is), but for whatever reason I never got around to it till now. But I’m actually glad I waited. Southern Cross makes so much more impact, and is so much more timely, in today’s post-Trump evangelical landscape. It’s … Continue reading Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Christine Leigh Heyrman)