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Water for Elephants
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I even enjoyed the first couple of chapters and was prepared for an entertaining summer read Eventually, how ...more
Sep 20, 2007
May 29, 2008
The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner is an extremely difficult book to put down, but also a difficult book to review. The evocations of Afghanistan, particularly before th ...more
Jan 20, 2006
Jun 02, 2008
The Moonstone
One of the earliest examples of Detective or Sensation Fiction, The Moonstone does not disappoint for strong narrative or intriguing characters. The n ...more
Dec 31, 2005
Jun 02, 2008
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Ben Franklin is one of the most misunderstood of the Founding Fathers, no doubt because his personality could often be so hard to pin down (Franklin o ...more
Aug 2008
Jun 28, 2008
Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
Following a second read, this still remains my least favorite of all of the Peter Wimsey novels. Essentially a train schedule mystery, it relies heavi ...more
Jun 24, 2010
Jun 14, 2010
Bleak House
Upon re-reading Bleak House I was again struck by the powerful emotional pull of the story, but I also found myself dwelling on what the book had to s ...more
Feb 18, 2008
May 29, 2008
Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think
In Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, George Lakoff uses the methods of cognitive linguistics-a field in which he has worked since ...more
Feb 2004
Jun 12, 2008
Assassination Vacation
To drag out the tired clichés that Assassination Vacation "makes history come alive" does a monumental disservice to how just how fun and delightful S ...more
Jun 30, 2006
Jun 02, 2008
The Corrections
The Corrections is an intensely ambitious novel, and like many ambitious novels, it asks far more questions than it can - or wants - to answer. This i ...more
Jun 29, 2009
Jun 11, 2009
The Iliad
I often feel profoundly uneducated, particularly around the subjects to which I supposedly devoted the better part of my education, namely literature ...more
Jun 28, 2010
Apr 06, 2010
Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1)
I've been stuck in a bit of a reading rut lately, and I thought that a good mystery would be way to break out of it. Murder at the Vicarage did not di ...more
Apr 08, 2009
Mar 15, 2009
White Teeth
This ambitious debut novel tackles questions of religious and ethnic identity, the lingering effects of British colonialism, the shadows cast by cultu ...more
Jul 07, 2009
Jun 29, 2009
Edward Trencom's Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese
This was a fun but, in many ways, disappointing book. First, the good: In Edward Trencom and his many ancestors, Milton has created quirky and amusing ...more
Oct 19, 2008
Sep 22, 2008
War Trash
An outstanding book. Ha Jin’s narrator (with all the aliases he uses, I forget his name) is a recognizably human and sympathetic character. A Chinese ...more
Jun 09, 2006
Jun 02, 2008
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
**spoiler alert** To provide a short description of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - a retelling of Hamlet set on a northern Wisconsin dog farm in the ea ...more
Jun 02, 2009
Aug 29, 2008
Ambitious, funny, and powerfully engaging despite the satirical distance it keeps from most of its characters, Absurdistan tackles the large (and very ...more
Mar 2008
May 28, 2008
On Chesil Beach
Like much of McEwan’s previous work, On Chesil Beach is extremely well written and tightly plotted, with highly sympathetic characters. I found it to ...more
Nov 2007
May 29, 2008
Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History: 1585-1828
Conservative in temperament, Freedom Just Around the Corner produces a judiciously balanced history of America from its origins in English political a ...more
Jun 28, 2008
May 27, 2008
Lady Audley's Secret
I did not enjoy Lady Audley's Secret nearly as much as The Moonstone of The Woman in White, but it is still quite a page-turner. To make a modern (and ...more
Mar 2006
Jun 02, 2008
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
Even though I very much enjoyed Devil in the White City, I was worried that I was going to be disappointed by Isaac's Storm. Maybe I was worried that ...more
Oct 05, 2007
May 29, 2008
New England White
An intricately plotted, extremely confusing, and greatly enjoyable book. For those who approach New England White primarily as a mystery/thriller, the ...more
Sep 08, 2007
May 29, 2008
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
Like her previous book, Stiff, Mary Roach's Spook is a delightfully entertaining examination of a macabre topic: in this case, life after death. Roach ...more
Jun 08, 2009
Jun 09, 2009
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
My general impression going into Fast Food Nation, based mainly on blurbs and the general cultural buzz, was that the book's description of food borne ...more
Aug 13, 2006
Jun 02, 2008
Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877
As with the first volume, Freedom Just Around the Corner, in this planned three-volume history of the United States, in Throes of Democracy McDougall ...more
Sep 19, 2008
Jul 28, 2008
The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)
I am having a hard time reviewing the Agatha Christie mysteries. Because I have not been much of a mystery reader, I keep comparing them to my only ot ...more
Jul 06, 2009
Jul 05, 2009
A prep school coming-of-age story, Prep follows a Midwestern scholarship student, Lee, during her four years at an exclusive New England boarding scho ...more
Jun 2007
May 30, 2008
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective
This book is a fascinating combination of true crime reporting, social history, and literary criticism, using the Road Hill Murder Case - one of the m ...more
Nov 04, 2008
Jul 30, 2008
The Course of French History
I read The Course of French History in preparation for a trip to Paris after seeing that it was recommended in Rick Steve's guidebook. The author, an ...more
Mar 2007
May 30, 2008
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Stiff was an absolutely delightful book, despite the rather macabre subject matter. It reminded me very much of Assassination Vacation, because of bot ...more
Sep 28, 2007
May 29, 2008
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
I enjoyed The Professor and the Madman, although now I can really find very little to say about it (the result of which is that it just lost a star). ...more
Apr 2007
May 30, 2008
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