Book Review: Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom

Reviewed by Jennifer Haas.

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. HanscomAngela Hanscom begins Balanced and Barefoot by laying out the current state of American childhood. Without that introduction, I might not have believed that we need more evidence to persuade us to let kids be kids. She then gathers information from diverse disciplines to make her valid, if simple, point.

Kids need to play. Outside. Without constant adult interference.
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Book Review: The Good Death by Ann Neumann

The-Good-DeathIn her book The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America, Ann Neumann challenges the idea that we must extend human life at whatever cost–financial, physical, emotional or spiritual. I came into this book the same way Neumann did. We provided the intimate work of caring for our dying fathers, the in-home care that allows zero privacy and leaves zero pride. My father may have had a “good enough” death under my roof while Neumann’s father had a “good enough” death at a hospice facility, but our journeys meandered similarly along confused pathways. However, The Good Death is not the end-of-life care examination I preconceived; it covers a great deal more territory.
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Book Review: Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs

Book Review: Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs

Normally, I don’t spoil a good read by looking up reviews of books that I want to read, but in the case of Lust and Wonder: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs, I did. Not surprisingly the reviews come in two flavors–favorable and not favorable. The overwhelmingly positive reviews likely come from people who are just diving into Burroughs’ work and superfans. Those who didn’t review the new memoir kindly probably know too much about Burroughs and feel as though there’s not much mystery left. Burroughs’ similarly reviews his relationships in Lust and Wonder.
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Book Review: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Book Review: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

When a room of parents at a PTA meeting at a Title 1 school audibly squirmed in response to my assertion that I would drink milk on its sell-by date, the armor I wore in childhood to make my poverty less hurtful clamped down around me. Many children at that school would drink milk on its sell-by date and likely have a parent who knows how to make use of spoiled milk. While my early experiences with poverty remain near the surface, the one type of poverty-related insecurity I didn’t fear is eviction. That’s the focus of Arizona-born Matthew Desmond’s new book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit In the American City.

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Book Review: How Fiction Ruined My Family

How Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst[Note: Due to a website migration at my day job, some content that I wrote for a local bookstore chain was unpublished, so I’m republishing it here. I wrote reviews to sell books, so I may have sugar coated some things, but my basic feelings are represented.]

In Fiction Ruined My Family, Jeanne Darst isn’t posing, bragging or begging. She fully experiences the life of an artist and plies her wares in private homes or working barns or legitimate theater. She tells her story without embellishment, though she admits that perhaps not all the details are entirely true either. She doesn’t need our approval, though she has it (or at least the book does).

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Book Review: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin MoranI wrote this review for Bookmans.com in the summer of 2012. When Bookmans did a website redesign and migrated their website database, we unpublished all but 30 posts. I tweaked this review to park it here for now.

Put down 50 Shades of Gray. I’ve got something equally smutty but infinitely smarter to recommend. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran is a feminist manifesto like none you’ve read. Most of us don’t go around reading feminist manifestos but in any case this one is definitely for everyone — even if you are a dude and maybe even especially so.

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