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Van Gogh: The Life
Now that I've finished the book, I understand why the authors took 600+pages to get to the last two years of Van Gogh's life, during which his most in ...more
Dec 02, 2011
Oct 22, 2011
The Temple Dancer: A Novel of India
I found the female characters compelling, but the plot just plodded along. The author does try to be literary/artistic, but oftentimes the prose is po ...more
Sep 2008
Sep 27, 2008
So Much for That
**spoiler alert** I guess this is somewhat of a spoiler: this is a book about dying. Given that one of the primary characters has an extremely rare, d ...more
Jul 29, 2011
Jul 29, 2011
John Adams
I picked up this book when the HBO series came out. I didn't know much about John Adams--just that he was a Founding Father and was married to an exce ...more
Aug 2008
Oct 04, 2008
Cutting for Stone
This is a beautiful book, although it is slow going. The novel is heavily descriptive and frequently digresses from the main storyline with surgical d ...more
Feb 02, 2011
Feb 02, 2011
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Epistolary...after a fashion. Much of the story is told via emails exchanged between characters, which adds to the disjointed and fragmented feel of t ...more
Jul 26, 2014
Jul 26, 2014
As a mother of a teenage girl, this book strikes just a little too close to home. The author is riffing on Miller's The Crucible and the historical ac ...more
Aug 06, 2014
Aug 06, 2014
Salvage the Bones
One of the better books I've read this year. Playing with the Medea myth, Jesmyn Ward presents the story of a pregnant teenager who just wants someone ...more
Nov 13, 2011
Oct 16, 2011
Flight Behavior
This book is frightening in its unflinching description of a sick planet. What at first seems beautiful--the unexpected arrival of millions of monarch ...more
Aug 04, 2013
Aug 04, 2013
True Grit
During the publicity tour of the Coen Brothers' adaptation of True Grit , reviewers described Charles Portis as an unsung master of American letters. ...more
Mar 18, 2011
Mar 18, 2011
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Krakauer is a fine writer; this particular book reminds me of the stylistic and organizational qualities of In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multipl ...more
Nov 12, 2011
Nov 12, 2011
Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)
I'm reading along, settling in to enjoy a new novel when, unexpectedly, the protagonist begins talking to a ghost. I admit I didn't know anything abou ...more
Jul 21, 2011
Jul 22, 2011
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
This sweet, sad, and sentimental novel has at its core what all great journey stories need: a spiritual awakening. The echoes of Pilgrim's Progress th ...more
Aug 19, 2012
Aug 18, 2012
The Girl on the Train
A poor man's Gone Girl.
Mar 2015
Mar 01, 2015
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)
I enjoyed the series for what it is: an escapist fantasy. This isn't high art, and I'm somewhat disturbed in seeing the novels show up on high school ...more
Jul 02, 2011
Jun 30, 2011
The Winter Sea (Slains, #1)
**spoiler alert** I thoroughly enjoyed The Winter Sea and its device of uniting two story lines in the character of Carrie McClelland, a writer of his ...more
Jul 07, 2011
Jul 04, 2011
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
I picked up Game of Thrones because I enjoyed the HBO series, which is a fairly faithful rendition of the novel. I'm not normally a person who reads i ...more
Aug 07, 2011
Jul 31, 2011
The Sisters Brothers
I almost checked "comedy" on my shelves list, because this is one hilarious book. One of the critical blurbs on the dust jacket claims "If Cormac McCa ...more
Mar 12, 2012
Mar 03, 2012
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
In the Garden of Beasts is just what you'd expect from Erik Larson--literary, well researched, and compelling. The book recounts the period in which W ...more
Jun 25, 2011
Jun 17, 2011
American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee
Like her subject, Karen Abbott's biography of Gypsy Rose Lee is a flawed yet compelling work. Abbott presents the strands of Lee's life you would expe ...more
Mar 05, 2011
Feb 23, 2011
The Widower's Tale
I expected to be impressed with The Widower's Tale, if for no other reason than I enjoyed Julia Glass' Three Junes so much. Both books share narrators ...more
Dec 24, 2010
Dec 24, 2010
The Cookbook Collector
A beautiful as well as a very literary book. The comparisons that critics make between Goodman and Jane Austen are apt--there are echoes of Sense and ...more
Feb 13, 2011
Feb 07, 2011
The Goldfinch
Pretty good summer read. Gets a bit repetitive at times, but given that the book is about making sense of the nonsensical and finding patterns in the ...more
Jul 22, 2014
Apr 23, 2014
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
My students rave about this series, and my elementary-aged daughter has requested to check out the book from the library. I read "The Hunger Games" ju ...more
Dec 08, 2010
Dec 13, 2010
The Weird Sisters
I wish the ending wasn't so pat. My do authors feel compelled to bring all the disparate threads together into a nice, neat bow? Given how horrible, m ...more
Oct 07, 2011
Oct 03, 2011
Liar & Spy
This is a sweet little book with a great premise and an interesting hook. The author Rebecca Stead uses the Georges Seurat painting "A Sunday on La Gr ...more
Jan 02, 2013
Jan 01, 2013
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
Tony Horwitz's profiles of the various personages he meets during his trek through major battlefields of the Civil War does seem as if we are poking a ...more
Mar 23, 2014
Mar 16, 2014
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Fans of Russell's Swamplandia! will recognize the surreal quality that informs all of these stories. Each story in this collection pushes the boundari ...more
Mar 16, 2013
Mar 05, 2013
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
It takes a lot for me not to finish a book. For a book that begins so well, it tended to drag as I neared the end. I did eventually finish it, but it ...more
Jan 2006
Oct 04, 2008
The Imperfectionists
I'm sure some wag has already punned on the "perfection" of this little gem, but I believe the term is apt. The Imperfectionists is not a novel per s ...more
Apr 13, 2011
Apr 07, 2011
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