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Unfortunately I found this to be a stuffy contemporary literary novel in historical clothing, with none of the brio of Austen's own style and little i...more
Aug 14, 2013
Aug 08, 2013
Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall is the kind of book that gets better the more you think about it. Its protagonist is Thomas Cromwell: a villain in A Man for All Seasons but...more
Dec 29, 2009
Dec 07, 2009
Er ist wieder da
Although I read this book in German, there are already lots of German reviews and it may get published in translation, so I'll review auf Englisch. Th...more
Jul 26, 2013
Jul 25, 2013
Christian Nation
I'm not sure I can give any book I found so riveting less than four stars, even though this doesn't seem particularly artful as a novel. It is a count...more
Jun 23, 2013
Jun 23, 2013
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
This is my five stars of "this book changed the way I look at something," not five stars of flawlessness or five stars of thinking everyone in the wor...more
May 27, 2014
May 12, 2014
The Weird Sisters
I would have abandoned this book if I hadn't been traveling this week. Much like The Cookbook Collector, it's the story of upper-middle-class sisters...more
Mar 30, 2011
Mar 31, 2011
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Giving this book three stars doesn't adequately represent its melange of 1-star and 5-star elements. The prose here walks a line between vivid and so...more
Oct 24, 2010
Oct 24, 2010
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
I guess I could call this a group biography of William Dodd, a mild-mannered Midwestern professor who became US Ambassador to Germany in 1933, and his...more
Jul 02, 2011
Jul 05, 2011
The Accident
I enjoyed this book, but it's not as good as his first effort, The Expats. My favorite aspects of the first thriller were a nice European milieu and a...more
Oct 24, 2013
Oct 21, 2013
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
This book reminded me a lot of Willpower in that it also would have struck me as brilliantly illuminating if I had read it 15 years earlier.

As it is,...more
Jan 03, 2013
Jan 03, 2013
The Stockholm Octavo
This book starts quite promisingly, but I abandoned it two-thirds of the way through. It tells the story of Emil Larsson, an ambitious bureaucrat in S...more
Jan 17, 2013
Jan 17, 2013
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"THE DALLAS COWBOYS WELCOME HEROS OF AL-ANSAKAR CANAL!!!!!!!" is both a quote from, and a summary of, this literary novel that I loved and admired (ke...more
Feb 11, 2013
Feb 11, 2013
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
The tone of this nonfiction reportage is troublesome; Katherine Boo is very deeply inside the thoughts of her subjects, the garbage-picker denizens of...more
Jan 27, 2013
Jan 29, 2013
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
An important story, well-told by Rebecca Skloot, this book is about Henrietta Lacks and her cancerous cells that are known as the HeLa line. In 1951,...more
Feb 18, 2010
Feb 18, 2010
Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town
I was expecting this to be an overview of the meth epidemic in America's small towns. Instead, the author is specifically trying not to tell that stor...more
Mar 22, 2010
Mar 25, 2010
Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1)
This book is not as good as Pillars of the Earth or World Without End, but neither is it quite as terrible as some reviews have suggested. It is indee...more
Oct 19, 2010
Oct 19, 2010
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded
Over the weekend I read Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883, a book in which Simon Winchester has the gall to make fun of a geograph...more
Apr 27, 2003
Nov 10, 2009
Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health
This book was good enough, but could have been so much better. The overall theme is that there are significant parallels between human and animal heal...more
Jun 2013
Jun 01, 2013
Sometimes when I spend too much time reading on the minutiae of the Third Reich, it starts to look strange in my head--like when you look too long at...more
Jun 12, 2012
Jun 14, 2012
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
This book was all right, but there was just too much of it and the title isn't very descriptive. It's really only about one of the nine "boys in the b...more
Aug 03, 2014
Jul 27, 2014
The Bees
Authors writing about animals should look to Animal Farm for guidance on how long such a book should be (352 pages good, 119 pages better!). But the d...more
Apr 11, 2014
Apr 04, 2014
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
This book reveals counterintuitive research results about willpower, and I'd probably give it five stars (for being "perspective changing") if I hadn'...more
Oct 03, 2011
Oct 05, 2011
Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
I was looking forward to this book enough to buy it, but came away disappointed. To begin with, I did not find it "revelatory," beyond a few statistic...more
Jun 20, 2012
Jun 20, 2012
In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language
In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent is a book ostensibly about invented languages (like Esperanto) that is filled with love for the beau...more
Oct 12, 2009
Nov 08, 2009
The Goldfinch
This book is too long, but I loved it anyway, because it felt Tartt had written something just for me--a novel with elements of Old Master paintings,...more
Nov 11, 2013
Nov 12, 2013
Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)
In this book. an ordinary-feeling young woman is initiated into an invisible world of magic and intrigue. Nervous and clumsy, our protagonist is yet m...more
Jul 27, 2012
Jul 28, 2012
Who Owns the Future?
Should you read this book? Yes. There are three reasons why: 1. His prescriptions may be useful. 2. Even if his prescriptions are unrealistic, the fir...more
Sep 27, 2013
Sep 05, 2013
The Little Friend
I knew that Tartt's first book was a sort of murder mystery, and since there's a murder in the first ten pages of this one, I expected it to be a trad...more
Dec 16, 2002
Nov 10, 2009
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
This is a high-quality book that would undoubtedly be more interesting to read twenty years from now. Packer intersperses capsule portraits of the ric...more
Jun 26, 2013
Jun 27, 2013
The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
A very readable and informative work of nonfiction that should appeal to those who liked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this book concerns Alic...more
Aug 29, 2013
Aug 25, 2013
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