On Heritage – A Review of J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy

Dear Anita, One of the things I love most about our friendship is how different we are as people. Despite being born and raised within sixty miles of each other, we come from vastly different backgrounds, and being invited to partake of your Taiwanese heritage highlights the nuances of my own white, lower- to solidly-middle…

On Fear – A Review of Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth

Dear Cassie, Over the last couple of years, I’ve come to accept the fact that shit happens. There are things that don’t always work out in your favor, the way you wanted them to or expected them to happen. And, that’s okay because such is life. Life isn’t perfect, so why force it to be?…

On Skill – A Review of Bejamin Ludwig’s Ginny Moon

Dear Anita, Can we talk about craft for a minute? Some writers’ work so drips with skill that I almost want to consume it, to rub it all over my body, to make it a permanent part of the being that is me. I think here of Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver, and most recently of…

On Courage – A Review of Katherine Center’s How to Walk Away

Dear Cassie, Fear is an inevitable thing. Whether we willingly admit it or not, we’re all scared of something. But, sometimes when we meet the right people, we are rewarded with the strength and courage to do exactly what we were afraid of doing. Relationships are one of the hardest things to leave behind, especially when…

On Second Chances – A Review of Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts

Dear Cassie, What’s amazing about being absorbed into a certain genre (of anything) is when it just keeps on getting better. For instance, I’ve read a couple of psychological thrillers over the past year, and they’re all great – I have no complaints. But this one. This one felt like the cherry on top. I’m…

On Idols – A Review of David Sedaris’s Calypso

Dear Anita, I came across my first David Sedaris book (Naked) in 2009. It was sitting on the bottom shelf of the staff recommendations section at Book Buyers in Mountain View, California, a place I had just moved to after two harrowing post-college, deep recession years spent in LA. I was feeling jaded, worn down,…

On Fear – A Review of Carla Kovach’s The Next Girl

Dear Cassie, Roughly a year ago, I got really sucked in to White Collar. It was really fun watching Neal Caffrey and Peter Burke work alongside each other to solve different FBI related cases. Caffrey was an ex-con who worked as an FBI consultant in exchange for his jail time. These episodes were so easy…

On Healing – A Review of Katherine Center’s How to Walk Away

Dear Anita, Not perfect, just better. Not perfect. Just…better. This has been my incessant internal monologue since the big mental crash of my life (now nearly 8 years ago) that lead to a diagnosis first, of panic disorder with agoraphobia, and eventually settled down to a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder with strong OCD tendencies….