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Books

“A Thrilling Tale”: The magic and medicine of Rudolph Fisher

When, in 1932, Rudolph Fisher’s The Conjure-Man Dies was published, the journal Opportunity called the mystery “startling in its cleverness,” predicting the protagonist, a Harlem doctor with a detective’s eye, would reappear. That year, Agathie Christie spun her investigative hero, Hercule Poirot, into a seventh book and William Faulkner’s Light in August reflected the weight […]

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Dispatches From the Fort: Jeff Danielian publishes his fourth volume of poetry and it’s about time

Jeff Danielian is back with his fourth volume of poetry (to go along with four works of non-fiction geared toward educating youth), featuring his introduction, 56 poems and what he describes as “a short non-fiction adventure.” Danielian doesn’t pull any surprises with his writing style, keeping things humble and to the point. My favorite poem […]

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Chazan! Unfiltered: Art and medicine collide in this locally produced biographical graphic novel

Dr. Joseph Chazan, like the character Billy Pilgrim in the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, is unstuck in time. The phenomenon is localized in a new graphic novel Chazan! Unfiltered, which takes a here-there-and-back-again approach to his personal and professional life story. Rhode Island’s own Dr. Chazan is a nephrologist (in layman’s terms, a kidney doctor), and while […]

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Page Turners: Essential reading for steps toward being anti-racist

It’s a popular social media trend, lists of book recommendations dealing with anti-racism. You’re probably familiar with their contents, The Color of Law, White Fragility, Audre Lorde, Ta Neesi-Coates, with some fiction by Zora Neale Huston or Toni Morrison for good measure. I’m male and pale, so I can’t speak to whether a list of […]

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Pandemic Non-fiction: What you don’t know can kill you

There is no shortage of books about diseases through human history, but a few have become definitive classics. I’ve curated an admittedly highly opinionated selection of the best. Some books that arguably would have qualified have been left off simply because they are too old, and medicine changes so rapidly that it could be misleading […]

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18 Tiny Deaths: The untold story of Frances Glessner Lee and the invention of modern forensics

I discovered the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, while wandering through Atlas Obscura one evening. Vintage dioramas on a 1:12 scale? Of mysterious death scenes? By the first female police captain? I was on my way to Baltimore.   Witnessing these tiny, unique worlds in all of their macabre glory, I met the curator and guardian […]

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Reading Together While Apart: Continuing to connect PVD’s literary community

After coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns caused What Cheer Writers Club (whatcheerclub.org) to close its co-working space and podcasting studio in downtown PVD and to cancel in-person events beginning on Monday, March 16, program manager Jodie Noel Vinson contacted members to encourage the community of writers to support each other and continue to share their work through […]

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