Book Review of “Joe Gould’s Teeth” by Jill Lepore

I have never really been a nonfiction person. Part of it is, I just love fiction. I’m fascinated by storytelling, dramatic structure, conflict, tension, and the hero’s journey. Real life, it’s always seemed, just isn’t full of that stuff. How can you manipulate reality—facts, data, artifacts, things that are evidence of what really happened—into a compelling story that is just as riveting as something written by Donna Tartt or Stephen King or Zadie Smith? Devouring Jill Lepore’s  one night in one sitting is pushing me on the path of nonfiction. In this book review of Jill Lepore’s , I’ll tell you all about how this slim book-length essay dug into the facts and crafted a suspenseful, moving, and dramatic narrative exploring medical ethics and the literary world in general. Premise In the 1940s, infamous New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell wrote a profile in the magazine about a man named Joe Gould. A writer, a sociologist, an historian, Joe Gould brushed elbows with some of the most renowned authors and artists of the Modernist movement. He counted Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, Millen Brand, and more as his friends. Most notably, Gould called himself an oral historian because he was working on his magnum...

Horror & Hormones | Book Review of Charles Burns’ “Black Hole”

It seems impossible to write a book review of Charles Burns’ Black Hole, a graphic novel compendium of a comics series from 1995-2005. While I was reading the novel, I fluctuated between  so many emotions—wonder, boredom, disgust, fascination, repulsion, transcendence. This is partially because Burns’ novel, now considered a landmark classic in the history of modern-day graphic novels and comics, truly defies categorization. It is almost a Rorschach ink blot where it means different things to everyone. Yet it is absolutely a must-read litmus test for your opinions on sexuality, medicine, infectious disease, love, and the suburban teen experience. Let me back up and try to give you a passable summary. Essentially, Black Hole is about a group of teens in the Seattle suburbs during the mid-1970s. The teens notice an outbreak of strange medical phenomena. For example, they pass out and hallucinate that they are falling into a black hole. Or they meet someone with a tail and don’t really see it as that unusual. People develop tiny mouths on their neck, feet, and back. Other teens have their facial features transformed into furry creature faces. At the same time, the comics focus on a small and select group of these...

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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