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Note: I wrote this review in 2004.

The Bigness of Bone

Over the course of its serialization, Jeff Smith's Bone has been almost unanimously praised, pick
Sep 08, 2004
May 03, 2011
The Wife
[this is a highly-edited excerpt of my in-depth review, which can be found at

“The Wife” is about a successful, womanizing, Philip-Roth
Apr 27, 2013
Apr 27, 2013
Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature
I was looking for a pop history, something more journalistically responsible than the typical fan history, but less academically rigorous than this. " ...more
Apr 08, 2012
Apr 02, 2012
A Visit from the Goon Squad
The theme is so simple and true that to express it briefly is to make it banal, but here goes: life puts you through a lot of changes, and then you di ...more
Jul 15, 2011
Jul 10, 2011
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade
Sam Steward, the subject of this biography, had sex with a lot of people, and documented every encounter on 3x5 index cards. The running count comes t ...more
Jan 07, 2012
Jan 02, 2012
The Blind Assassin
Very well-written, of course, but not the kind of book that inspires passionate advocacy -- or at least, not from me. I figured out the "twist" about ...more
Jan 02, 2012
Dec 16, 2011
The Yellow Birds
“The Yellow Birds” is about a terrible thing that happens in Iraq to a soldier there, and the terrible way his friend, the POV character, deals with t ...more
not set
Oct 19, 2012
Foundation (Foundation, #1)
Sure, I loved LOTR and Star Wars and all that, but the sf/fantasy series that really floated my boat when I was a teenager was Isaac Asimov's Foundati ...more
Jan 1978
May 08, 2011
Sixty Stories
I was assigned this book in Russell Banks' class at the University of Alabama. We were reading lots of big career-spanning short story collections (Jo ...more
Jan 1989
May 11, 2011
Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)
Enjoyed this, and the whole series, a lot more than I expected to. Strong plotting, great characterization, world-building that is both thorough and u ...more
Jan 2009
Mar 19, 2011
Cloud Atlas
Most of the reviews focus on the unusual structure of the book. Each story is nested within the other, as a story discovered by or told to someone. Li ...more
May 11, 2011
Apr 23, 2011
Blood Engines (Marla Mason, #1)
Lightweight and awfully talky, but fun. Ended up feeling like a Vertigo comic.

I do appreciate that I wasn't left hanging on a cliff. This is a comple
Jul 10, 2011
Jul 08, 2011
In Morocco
I had forgotten that Edith Wharton was an interior designer. The most interesting parts of this book describe her impressions of the Moroccan design a ...more
Mar 22, 2012
Mar 18, 2012
The Waves
This was the first non-children's book that I ever loved. I loved it because of the language and the imagery. I suspect that I would hate it now, if I ...more
Jan 1981
Mar 18, 2011
Absalom, Absalom!
I went through a Quentin Compson phase in college, before realizing that my family was Snopes all the way down, like the turtles that hold up the univ ...more
Nov 12, 1986
May 06, 2011
A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)
I loved, loved, loved this as a kid, but made the mistake of going back and re-reading it as an adult, to much disappointment. I can't put my finger o ...more
Jan 1977
May 03, 2011
The Flounder
It's been many years since I read it, but I think I owe my fascination with food history (or I guess I should say the history of cooking) to having be ...more
Jan 1984
Mar 19, 2011
The Goblin Market (Into the Green, #1)
Talented writer with a lot of potential but sorely in need of an editor, or a better editor. That's becoming a bit of a cliche when people talk about ...more
Apr 23, 2011
Apr 05, 2011
The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1)
Fair to middling. There's entertainment to be had. Not sure if I'll read the rest of the series. Maybe.

This ebook had a serious formatting problem. Sc
Jul 08, 2011
May 21, 2011
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
I reviewed this fully on my blog. Short version: kind of funny, derivative (reminds me of Ken Kesey or the M*A*S*H book), worth reading, not mind-blow ...more
Oct 15, 2012
Oct 12, 2012
The Fortress of Solitude
Liked it a lot, including the 'infamous' last half, which jars so much because it points to the dangerous romanticism of the first half. A book that a ...more
Apr 04, 2011
Mar 18, 2011
River of Gods
Great start, powerful ending, way too much middle for my tastes. Sort of like the "War and Peace" of the Singularity. A vast array of POV characters a ...more
Mar 18, 2012
Jan 08, 2012
Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)
My brain felt like it was 14 again, by which I mean I haven't, since then, until now, felt as alive and open to a work of fiction.

Two flaws:

It took
Dec 15, 2011
Oct 28, 2011
Bright of the Sky (Entire and the Rose, #1)
Excellent world-building. Terrible storytelling. Not for me, but I understand why others might enjoy it.
Jul 25, 2011
Jul 16, 2011
Life on the Mississippi
I'll post my review on my blog. You can read it there. Or here, since my blog is RSS'd up to connect to GoodReads.
Apr 02, 2012
Mar 22, 2012
The Night Circus

I didn't hate it, but I was happy to be done with it when I finally finished it. Not a bad first novel, but not as startling or original as all that,
Oct 10, 2012
Sep 22, 2012
The Best American Short Stories 2011
A mixed bag, which is what I expected.
Apr 18, 2012
Mar 25, 2012
Lord of Misrule (Vintage Contemporaries)
Beautifully-written sentences and paragraphs put into the service of a mobster plot that was as cliched and as cheesy and as lazy as an episode, say, ...more
Sep 02, 2011
Jul 10, 2011
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades
Jan 02, 2012
Nov 28, 2011
To Kill A Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil, #1)
I had a hard time staying interested. Just not for me.
Oct 03, 2011
Sep 02, 2011
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