A photograph of a poppy next to the Yezidi Shrine of Khiz Rahman in Baadre, Iraqi Kurdistan, taken by Levi Clancy in 2017.

Poppies of Iraq: A Review

Poppies of IraqIn their new graphic memoir about her life growing up in Iraq, Brigitte Findakly and her husband Lewis Trondheim shed light on the interior lives of middle-class Iraqis under Saddam Hussein’s rule in the mid-20th century. Poppies of Iraq does for 1970s Iraq what Persepolis did for 1970s Iran, putting a human face to stories tainted in the West by orientalism. And eventually, like Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi, Findakly moves to France to escape the political upheaval of her home country. Continue reading


The Princess Diarist: A Review

The Princess DiaristAs the world continues to mourn the untimely death of Star Wars actress and writer Carrie Fisher, fans — myself included — have clamored to read the books she left behind. Fisher’s final memoir, The Princess Diarist recounts her affair with co-star Harrison Ford on the set of the first Star Wars film in 1976. But, more than a romantic tell-all, The Princess Diarist feels like Fisher’s goodbye. Continue reading


You Can’t Touch My Hair: A Review

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to ExplainIn her debut essay collection, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain, 2 Dope Queens co-host Phoebe Robinson lays out everything that’s on her mind, from how it feels to wear a natural hairstyle, to why Michael Fassbender will be the father of her future child. It’s an eclectic collection, and not without its low points, but Robinson’s debut is a solid one, nevertheless. Continue reading


Every Falling Star: A Review

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North KoreaHe was just like every other little boy in Pyongyang, taking taekwondo lessons and dreaming of becoming a general in Kim Il-sung’s army. In Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea, DPRK-escapee Sungju Lee tells of his family’s fall from grace, his life as an orphan on the streets, and his eventual path to freedom. Although aimed at a young adult audience, Lee’s memoir provides an unflinching look at what happens to Pyongyang families who displease the Leader. Continue reading