A Fond Look at the Galapagos Islands, Then and Now

I am not a particularly adventurous person. Saying that, and not really knowing what I was in for, I agreed to accompany a good friend on an eight day cruise to the Galapagos Islands last October. Since I had never been on a pleasure cruise before, the experience was eye-opening to say the least. Every […]

Borough-ing for Food: A Brief Review of Food and the City

Ina Yalof’s new book, Food and the City: New York’s Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors, and Purveyors Talk About What They Do and Why They Do It, is due out May 31, 2016. The book, essentially a collection of oral histories, is divided into nine sections, each dealing with a different aspect of […]

What Would You Do if You Were Orphan #8?

Orphans – we are captivated by their stories. From Huck Finn to Oliver Twist to Jane Eyre to Anne Shirley, their stories endure. Even children, perhaps from fearing the unthinkable loss of parents, find orphan stories fascinating. I’m thinking of Madeline, The Box Car Children, The Whipping Boy, and Mary Lennox in her secret garden. […]

Twain’s End: Samuel Clemens the Man vs. Mark Twain the Legend

In Lynn Cullen’s latest novel, Twain’s End, Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, comes across as a cantankerous, controlling, capricious, and arrogant old man – at least around those closest to him. What a blow! In his day, he was the most famous man in America because of his stories and his quick wit. […]

A Boy with No History: A Review of Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

“When you share stories you change things.”  Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese is a novel that is all about stories. Wagamese takes us to the wilds of British Columbia sometime around the turn of the 21st century, and to an Ojibway family. A 16 year old boy desperately needs to hear his father’s stories, and […]

Light of the World: A Memoir of Loss and Continuing Love

This amazing memoir begins with tragedy—Ficre Ghebreyesus, husband of renowned poet Elizabeth Alexander, dies suddenly of a massive heart attack while on a treadmill at their home just four days after his 50th birthday party.  Although it may be categorized as a “grief memoir,” Light of the World is not a book that dwells solely on the […]

Dredging for the Muse

The other night I had one of those dreams that had all the narrative juices going… at some point in the dark warp of early morning it turned lucid, and I scrambled to remember characters, speech patterns, plot. I was certain upon waking I would shove all that meat into a novel. Drinking from the […]