Nonfiction Archive

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

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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,

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries II and III

  This is the second installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Here’s the first installment. ** Query II: A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable Query III: A notice of the best Seaports of the State,

Review: SUBLIME PHYSICK by Patrick Madden

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When reading Sublime Physick, the yin-yang symbol comes to mind, as Madden cites academic thinkers and essayists from generations past, alongside contemporary popular icons, usually of the musical variety, specifically his personal favorites like John Lennon and Geddy Lee.

Review: TRACE: MEMORY, HISTORY, RACE, & THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE by Lauret Edith Savoy

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Reading nature writing is second in transformative joy only to being in nature. That joy is slippery in Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Edith Savoy, where moments of sublimity are often punctuated by cruelty and alienation.

Review: MONSTER TREK: THE OBSESSIVE SEARCH FOR BIGFOOT by Joe Gisondi

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Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot Joe Gisondi University of Nebraska Press, February 1 2016 306 pp, $18.95 Buy: paperback | nook | Kindle  “Bigfoot are reported across all social, educational, and economic classes,” writes journalist and professor Joe Gisondi in his new book Monster Trek: The Obsessive

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document

This is the start of a monthly journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. I’ve loved this book for many years. It’s scholarly and luminous, unfolding a rich lexicon. Open its pages and whole rivers, chunks of amethyst, living birds, and secret mammoth skeletons tumble forth.

Review: THE PITTSBURGH ANTHOLOGY Edited by Eric Boyd

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The Pittsburgh Anthology Ed. Eric Boyd Belt Books, September 2015 236 pp; $20 Buy paperback “Pittsburgh has always been a scrappy city, characterized by unflapping tenacity, even as outsourcing and the ills of globalization threatened its survival,” writes Kevin Tasker in “Rebirth of the Hollywood Lanes,” one of the

Review: THE CITY AT THREE PM: WRITING, READING, AND TRAVELING by Peter LaSalle

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The City at Three PM: Writing, Reading, and Traveling Peter LaSalle Dzanc Books, December 15 2015 280 pp; $15.95 Buy paperback We read travel writers for a variety of reasons, but often it is for the vicarious thrill of the journey, somewhat akin to schadenfreude in that we can