‘Dirty Work’ is a Sobering Reminder of What Lurks in the Economic Shadows

Commercial butchering, oil drilling, being a guard at a prison—they’re tough jobs but someone’s got to do them. But in the case of Dirty Work, author Eyal Press argues that the social stigma against these types of work means we collectively don’t have to consider the cost or the moral weight that gets placed on theContinue reading “‘Dirty Work’ is a Sobering Reminder of What Lurks in the Economic Shadows”

‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self

My day job right now has me looking through lots of records—many primary sources—on the ways heteronormative gender roles were constructed and enforced during the midcentury decades. Looking back at the rigid structure our collective grandmothers were expected to squeeze into, and the lack of rights they had within it, is both sobering and enragingContinue reading “‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self”

‘What Moves the Dead’ a Creepy Gothic Horror

The Twisted Ones, T. Kingfisher‘s take on Arthur Machen’s short story The White People, has still left me, three years after reading it, uneasy around dolls and deer skeletons (which, to be fair, I encounter more often than the average person). The picture on the cover of What Moves the Dead was of a mangled-ish rabbit andContinue reading “‘What Moves the Dead’ a Creepy Gothic Horror”

‘Crane Wife’ Questions Identity, Relationships

No close relationship is totally straightforward; that’s impossible whenever two people entwine themselves around each other for whatever purpose. But romantic relationships, and the relationships we have with ourselves as beings who may get into romantic relationships, are fraught with all manner of expectations and suppositions—often implicit and inherited from our families and/or the societyContinue reading “‘Crane Wife’ Questions Identity, Relationships”

‘Paradise Falls’ an Eerie, Relevant Tale

If you were to make a list of worst places to build an elementary school surrounded by a neighborhood geared toward young families, you might include Chernobyl, an alligator-infested swamp, maybe an old minefield.  For the residents depicted in Keith O’Brian’s newest book, Paradise Falls, the extremely terrible and wholly unsafe place is an oldContinue reading “‘Paradise Falls’ an Eerie, Relevant Tale”

‘Station Eternity’ a Fun, Sometimes Chaotic, Whodunnit

I’m always up for a good murder mystery, especially ones solved by the clever amateurs of the world like Jessica Fletcher and Jane Marple. There’s plenty of room for asking why murder seems to follow those and other lay detectives around, and Mur Lafferty answers it for the heroine of her latest book, Station Eternity. Continue reading “‘Station Eternity’ a Fun, Sometimes Chaotic, Whodunnit”

‘Thief’ A Fun Heist Worth of the Genre

Go big or go home, as they say, and that’s a motto adopted by many crews on the way to a heist. After all, there’s no point in risking arrest if the payout (in cash, reputation, or revenge) won’t be worth it. In Grace D. Li’s Portrait of a Thief, the equation of visibility ofContinue reading “‘Thief’ A Fun Heist Worth of the Genre”

‘Hell’s Half-Acre’ a Rich History of a Grisly Crime

There’s a heady mythos about life in the Wild West, of gunslingers and dusty trails and sun-weathered pioneers and opportunity as wide as the horizon, all wrapped up in a whole lot of unchecked colonialism. Truth and fiction informed each other in a very meta merry-go-round until the world caught up with the enterprising migrationContinue reading “‘Hell’s Half-Acre’ a Rich History of a Grisly Crime”

‘Thistlefoot’ Brings Extra Emotion to Folktales

Home is where the heart is. In the case of GennaRose Nethercott’s debut novel, Thistlefoot, home can be wherever home chooses to go. And along being the resting place for the heart, home is also where generational trauma from an entire community comes to roost. The Yaga siblings were once close. Helping their parents runContinue reading “‘Thistlefoot’ Brings Extra Emotion to Folktales”

‘Counterfeit’ a Thrilling Morality Test

Ages ago, I listened to a podcast series out of Princeton applying LSAT logic to everyday arguments and news. The host would end each episode by asking, “Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares? We’re more interested in the journey than the destination.” The podcast ended during the Obama administration, but I found myself considering thatContinue reading “‘Counterfeit’ a Thrilling Morality Test”