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The Affair (Jack Reacher, #16)
4.10
Jack Reacher knows what he's doing, a la Slotkin's Gunfighter Nation. Lee Child does too. This is the 16th novel in the Reacher "series" -- it's sort...more
Oct 03, 2011
Oct 07, 2011
 
Jane Eyre
4.07
An all-time favorite, read with a great professor (truly an immeasurable boon to any read) at the beginning of my seminar after I chose to become an E...more
Jan 29, 1986
Dec 29, 2008
 
The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure
3.92
This set of minibiographies packages its stories efficiently and entertainingly. I found quirky details like the Dali scene that Chabon massaged into...more
Nov 22, 2013
Dec 23, 2013
 
Persuasion
4.12
The fact that I finished this novel during the same week when I finished (re-read) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made it all the more obvious:...more
Jul 16, 2011
Jun 26, 2011
 
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
4.04
There has to be a name for this subgenre, a memoir of a life so miserable that it would be unbelievable in fiction (well, I guess in fiction it would...more
Oct 18, 2013
Sep 10, 2013
 
Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1)
4.09
The Flashman adventure series demands a look from anyone who loves history and/or travel (although it's more "foreign cultures" than "travel", really)...more
Jan 2003
Jan 10, 2009
 
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
4.29
Having last delved into this book in 1979 or '80, I had forgotten just how extraordinarily rich Tolkien's imaginative achievement is. At times I brist...more
Aug 15, 2009
Aug 03, 2009
 
Netherland
3.40
When a novel carries as much weight as this one does, its every movement can seem exaggerated: lyricism is more inclined to swing into being strained...more
May 22, 2011
Aug 03, 2009
 
Gods Behaving Badly
3.38
The conceit so effectively exploited in the YA world by The Lightning Thief is still so fertile that Marie Phillips couldn't resist. But how to keep t...more
Jun 21, 2013
Jul 28, 2012
 
Never Let Me Go
3.78
[some spoilers possible -- I tried to be discreet]

Perhaps the most challenging of devices is the unreliable narrator. Its success depends so heavily o...more
Nov 11, 2012
Nov 10, 2012
 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7)
4.57
----second read: 2011----
Rowling is truly one of the most engaging writers and plotters I have read. For the second time, I read the 750+ page behemot...more
Jul 2007
Dec 27, 2008
 
American Gods
4.10
If the measure of a good book is how much it makes one think -- and I can think of worse measures -- this is a hell of a good book.

The imaginative pu...more
Jan 12, 2013
Jan 11, 2009
 
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)
3.89
I'm not sure if this is a kids' book or not. I'm not sure if it knows. But as C.S. Lewis has said, a kids' book that can't appeal to adults isn't wort...more
Aug 23, 2009
Dec 15, 2008
 
Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher, #11)
4.14
Lots of great action, and the loner gets his shot at being part of a team that makes the A-team (sorry...name the most impressive team you can think o...more
Oct 07, 2011
Oct 07, 2011
 
Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
3.98
Entertainingly written, with an eye for facts and stories that grab the modern imagination. The book seems to love its iconoclasm quite a bit -- a pro...more
Dec 25, 2012
Nov 26, 2009
 
Riddley Walker
4.07
Another of those great modern books I first read in that winter of '85 (wow, that's a long time ago...), along with Borges and Pynchon and Coover. I a...more
Jan 1985
Dec 29, 2008
 
Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2)
3.99
In Jack Reacher's world, the only desirable women are in the field of law enforcement (but they need your help if you're hardcore ex-military), there...more
Aug 2008
Nov 26, 2009
 
Animal Farm
3.79
Clunky in the way allegories are, but so fierce and efficient that I can't help but love it. A perfect companion to the study of the Soviet Union -- i...more
Jan 1983
Dec 27, 2008
 
Romeo and Juliet
3.72
Saddened that I don't get to teach this anymore, now that I'm not teaching freshmen. Priceless, even if the plot's key turn is contrived. "She doth te...more
Jan 1981
Mar 08, 2009
 
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
4.38
I put all the Harry Potter books on the "for my kids" shelf but I really read them all for me just as much -- although I'm really thrilled that my kid...more
not set
Dec 27, 2008
 
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
3.82
Great character, great concept, great efficiency. I read this book in a day and recommend it to many other readers. It's not a literary classic -- mos...more
Jun 2008
Dec 27, 2008
 
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
3.93
The tales themselves are fine, but the thing that makes this book worth reading is the "commentary by Dumbledore" -- an exegesis of each tale! I love...more
Aug 21, 2009
Sep 05, 2009
 
Pride and Prejudice
4.24
One of the all-time greats. The subtlety and wit -- and humanity -- astound the hungry reader. (Thanks to my first cooperating teacher, Alison Kenney-...more
Sep 1995
Feb 08, 2010
 
Killer Dolphin (Roderick Alleyn, #24)
3.86
Fun mystery, especially for lovers of Shakespeare and/or the theater. I really appreciate how much Marsh develops before "the crime" hits. It's not ge...more
Jul 27, 2009
Jul 26, 2009
 
The Children's Book
3.64
Talk about an author's degree of difficulty: the depth of detail, the number of characters, the literary weight, the historical moment -- this book ha...more
Jul 08, 2010
Nov 26, 2009
 
Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow
3.43
This is probably the first memoir I've read that was written by someone I have met. Detmar makes a loving and apparently forthright biographer of his...more
Aug 03, 2011
May 15, 2011
 
The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5)
3.98
Not your typical mystery novel, not a ton of action, but extraordinarily erudite and thought-provoking. It really appealed to my love of history -- a...more
Jan 1990
Jul 26, 2009
 
Voyage (The Coast of Utopia #1)
3.96
Not nearly on par with his great works -- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Arcadia chief among the latter category. Some interesting moments,...more
Mar 19, 2011
Feb 19, 2011
 
Tripwire  (Jack Reacher, #3)
4.05
Gotta like a twisty novel about the sordid underworld lurking near us in the good ol' USA. Reacher is an interestingly American character even if he's...more
Aug 2008
Nov 26, 2009
 
Gulliver's Travels
3.52
I have always loved this book but I found it less spellbinding when I read it most recently -- maybe I was more of a cynic at 16 than I am at 41.
Jan 1983
Dec 30, 2008
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