In Praise of Nuance
  • Let the Book Speak for Itself

    March 22, 2017

    J.D. Vance’s thoughtful, engaging HILLBILLY ELEGY has become the demon/darling of pundits on all sides. My advice: ignore them and let the book speak for itself.

  • Book Review: Dark at the Crossing

    March 6, 2017

    When the cause seems hopeless, what distinguishes dedication from delusion?

  • Toward Compassion

    January 22, 2017

    It’s worth considering what we mean by compassion, empathy, and a shared social contract–and what we lose when we don’t bother to consider it at all.

  • Jenny’s Year in Reading, 2016

    December 31, 2016

    2016 was an exceptionally good reading year. Here’s what I managed to consume!

  • Book Review: The Bowl with Gold Seams

    November 22, 2016

    This gorgeous, quietly nuanced debut novel teaches that what is broken is also beautiful.

  • Book Review: The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived

    November 10, 2016

    He may no longer be a household name, but after reading this captivating bio/memoir, you’ll never forget MacKinlay Kantor.

  • Book Review: Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936

    November 5, 2016

    The legendary illustrator delivers a rip-roaring fan bio that reminds us coitus isn’t a recent invention.

  • Book Review: Commonwealth

    September 25, 2016

    The line between fiction and autobiography blurs in this wholly satisfying novel.

  • Whose Story Is It Anyway?

    September 22, 2016

    Can a stingray wound become literary gold? Does the stingray get a vote? Hmm. Whose story is it?

  • Book Review: Riverine, A Memoir from Anywhere but Here

    September 20, 2016

    A young writer’s memoir wrestles with complex questions of place and identity.

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