Our 5 Most Popular Posts: August 2023
- September 1, 2023
We love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are August’s winners.
- Elizabeth J. Moore’s review of Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire & Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernández (W.W. Norton & Company). “These so-called magonistas also spent a great deal of time on the run: In one of the most disquieting parts of this story, the U.S. president, the Departments of War, Justice, Commerce and Labor, and Treasury, the U.S. Postal Service, the Arizona and Texas rangers, and myriad extra-legal vigilantes were at various times complicit in the pursuit, incarceration, deportation, and murder of Mexicans and Mexican Americans — all in the name of protecting sizable U.S. interests south of the border.”
- Jennifer Bort Yacovissi’s review of Tom Lake: A Novel by Ann Patchett (Harper). “The author weaves her story back and forth between Lara’s formative years on stage and screen and her present life of husband, children, a dog, and a vast and demanding orchard (cue the Chekhov references). How Lara went from the one to the other is a central question that keeps the pages turning. The fact that this is a happy, well-adjusted family takes nothing away from the intrinsic drive of the narrative. Lara is telling us the story, too, and she knows how to keep us hooked.”
- Tania Heller’s review of Code Gray: Death, Life, and Uncertainty in the ER by Farzon A. Nahvi, M.D. (Simon & Schuster). “As the author tells of attempting to save a life, he reflects on his thinking at the time, in the process reminding readers that practicing medicine encompasses more than treating disease. It requires effective communication and sometimes difficult conversations. More broadly, Code Gray offers an inside look at the high-pressure environment in the emergency room — which predates the pandemic — and draws attention to the fact that medicine, even with technological advancements, is far from precise.”
- Connor Harrison’s review of The Librarianist: A Novel by Patrick deWitt (Ecco). “The rest of the novel, unfortunately, pales a little in comparison. Bob’s extended memory of the hotel and the cartoonish characters he meets there seems too thin after the saga of Connie and Ethan, and the plot struggles to remain taut. Still, deWitt allows ample room throughout for the turns of phrase and humor he’s best at: witty sentences and concise character descriptions that sparkle like old-fashioned gems.”
- Patricia Schultheis’ review of Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury by Drew Gilpin Faust (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). “Even as a young child surrounded by Black cooks and caretakers, Gilpin Faust was aware of racial inequities, but she became truly inspired the night Concord Academy students were invited to Groton to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak. ‘In less than an hour, King not only explained the political, philosophical, and religious foundations of the civil rights movement but also charged us to join him,’ she writes. By the time she entered Bryn Mawr, she was ready to take up King’s charge.”