Book Review: Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning by Liz Prato

Reviewed by L.A. Hunt In Liz Prato’s latest collection of essays, Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning, she examines Gen-Xers through first-hand boots-on-the-ground accounts. The thing is, as any Gen-Xer will argue, there’s no real club membership card or forgotten generation subscription, and they prefer it that way. They proudly defy categorization, which makes it difficult to sort an entire generation into generic categories. Despite this, Prato’s narrative fearlessly mines early eighties pop culture for the roots of present-day misogyny and bigotry, and the collection strives for tangible cohesion and concise analysis. Prato, a Gen-Xer herself, tersely describes the…

Book Review: Hysterical by Elissa Bassist

by Melinda Gordon Blum Elissa Bassist’s memoir opens like a medical mystery and segues into a searing indictment of the personal costs—to the soul, body, mind, and spirit—of the malady that is living as a woman within a patriarchy. It turns out there is no real mystery and Bassist is no patient zero; this is an ancient story, an inside-the-house case in which the clues have surrounded us all along. By starting from the vantage point of her own strangled voice and moving outwards, Bassist powerfully locates, contextualizes, and makes personal the impact of misogyny on the female body. The…

Voice to Books: Refugees

They are displaced, sometimes hunted, persecuted. Peoples forced from their homes due to war or violence. And if they come to the United States, only a fraction of them get in, and fewer still are welcomed by the masses. Here, those who survive poverty, politics, and ruin in their homelands are then confronted by those who spread violence, use them through their desperation and duress. You may not find them in the news or know of their troubles, but they exist all over the world. These are some of their stories. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai Reviewed by…

Voice to Books: Celebrity Authors

Celebrities often take an omnipotent position in modern society, acting as paragons, villains, and jesters of our time. Their opinions are met with adoration or disdain, satire, and protest. They influence style, commerce, and politics, and we, the readers, guide their rises and their falls. They walk the fine lines of artists, athletes, influencers, and journalists who must balance both media and fan judgment and constant watchful eyes. It is easy to see these people as something more than the rest of us, forget that they are human. This month’s Voice to Books showcases these celebrities that embody disproportionally underrepresented…

Book Review: Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust, by Jerry Stahl

by Melinda Gordon Blum The memoir Nein, Nein, Nein! has us at its subtitle. The “one man” is none other than Jerry Stahl, whose acerbic humor and kinetic prose transported his book Permanent Midnight into a fever dream classic, a standout in the crowded “junky memoir” genre. Who better to pen a modern-day reckoning with the legacy of the Holocaust than an American Jew who’s no stranger to confronting demons—a man who himself has cheated death countless times?   Nein, Nein, Nein! opens in 2016 with a decades-sober, late-midlife Stahl as he prepares to depart on a two-week European trip…

Review: Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love, by Carlos Allende

by Trey Burnette Making mortgage payments, paying off credit card and student loan debt, and season tickets to the opera are excellent reasons for becoming an accomplice to your revolting non-boyfriend/boyfriend’s murders. At least they are for Charlie from Leitchfield. And even though his sort of love interest, Jignesh, is “a pompous sea monster from the depths of the Indian Ocean,” who can blame Charlie for his bad decisions as he falls in love with Jignesh’s “wealth and his ravishing South Asian skin”? Carlos Allende’s novel, Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love, is set in 2012 ne’er-do-well Los Angeles with a couple of…

Review: Madrigals by Caroline Goodwin

Reviewed by Peter Mladinic Poems are written by human beings “alone in a room” with language. They come out of lived lives. The poems in Madrigals come out of Caroline Goodwin’s lived life—things she has touched and ground she has stood on, alone and with others. Sometimes, that ground is a floor in a room, other times a forest floor, a meadow, a shoreline. Where she is, is very much a part of who she is. The speaker is a participant and uniquely herself with poems that convey the idea that nature is mostly innocent, society often corrupt, and the…

Review: Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena, by Jordan Salama

 by Alessandro Romero   Jordan Salama demonstrated that, like gold, stories can be found by looking into a river. After all, his debut book, Every Day the River Changes, ultimately tells a formidable story about other stories. On an adventure down the Magdalena River, Colombia’s most treasured waterway, Salama aims to push back social stigmas that misconstrue the country’s conflicted reputation for drug cartels and guerrilla groups. As he asserts in the opening pages, “No longer is a book on Colombia guaranteed to be all about Pablo Escobar and his narco henchmen.” In four weeks, he encounters people from diverse…

Voice to Books: Disability in Full View

According to the CDC, one in four people in the United States live with some type of disability, whether visible or less apparent. Without respectful discussion and proper representation in the media, those living with disabilities are often stereotyped and misrepresented. This is also true for people who don’t always consider themselves disabled, such as Deaf and Blind folk. This month’s Voice to Books highlights these voices, because no one is able to express their stories, which are found in every community and culture, better than they do. Ellen Outside the Lines, by A. J. SassReviewed by Alexandra S. Neumeister…