Nonfiction Archive

Review: GRUNT: THE CURIOUS SCIENCE OF HUMANS AT WAR by Mary Roach

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Those in the business of National Security classify diarrhea as a clear and present danger. It’s particularly hazardous for members of the U.S. Special forces, because diarrhea is an enemy from within that can attack without warning. I know this because I’ve read Mary Roach’s GRUNT: THE CURIOUS SCIENCE

Review: LABOR OF LOVE: THE INVENTION OF DATING by Moira Weigel

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Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating Moira Weigel Farrar, Strass and Giroux, 2016 304 pp; $26 Buy: hardcover | eBook Reviewed by Andrew McKernan What are you doing tonight? We should Netflix and chill. Even without receiving that exact text, one knows the purpose, and the posture. Why

Review: A BESTIARY by Lily Hoang

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Not all rat mazes have corridors. For the Morris water navigation task, it is as it reads: a rat must learn to fare in water. It is placed inside a pool and must swim to the other side.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Citizen Khan” by Kathryn Schulz

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It is a good thing that Kathryn Schulz’s “Citizen Khan” was published in The New Yorker, because it is so eerily textbook perfect a piece of longform feature writing that had it come through a lesser fact-checking department, I might have worried some of the details were made up.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries VII, VIII, and IX

In these three queries, Jefferson attempts to distill the complex meteorological, demographic, and military features of Virginia into a series of data points. His prose—supplemented by graphical tables tracking everything from rainfall to carriage wheels—draws a fine grid over the natural and human activities of the Commonwealth.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query VI

This is the fourth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here, here and here. ** Query VI: “Productions mineral, vegetable and animal” A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.

Review: DIMESTORE by Lee Smith

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Hers is a voice that I will never tire of: encouraging, kind, and so forthright about the complexities inherent in life, specifically life lived as a writer, a woman, and a resident of a place that is experiencing the unpredictable transience of time, while also rooting itself in the

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries IV and V

This is the third installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here and here. ** Query IV: A notice of its mountains Query V: Its cascades and caverns I walked into Queries IV and V thinking Jefferson

Review: THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS by Eric Weiner

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The author of The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley says our ideas about creativity underestimate the importance of place. But how did creative clusters arise in such varied cultures: Renaissance Florence, The Song Dynasty, Edinburgh during the

In Bookstores Near You

In 1995, Dennis Covington’s breakout book, Salvation on Sand Mountain (Addison-Wesley), told the story of his immersion into the world of snakehandling, faith healing, and the fervent religious sects of the Appalachians. Back then, his search for renewal was triggered when, as a stringer for the New York Times,