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Sacred Games
3.92
So close . . . I almost loved this book, but somehow the whole was less than the sum of the (ample) parts. In the end, as much as I enjoyed each of th...more
Sep 2007
Jul 31, 2007
 
The Early Stories: 1953-1975
4.17
I've been working my way through this for years now. It's never on top of my "current reading" stack, but whenever I turn to it I read something beaut...more
not set
Jul 18, 2007
 
The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq
4.05
Packer is a fantastic writer, and there's some very good reporting in here as well. His writing on Iraq is both well-observed and emotionally moving....more
Feb 2008
Jan 29, 2008
 
The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800
4.02
Wow. I'm almost as impressed with myself for finishing this behemoth as I am with the thing itself. Make no mistake--this is some dense stuff (the sma...more
Mar 2011
Oct 24, 2010
 
A Perfect Spy
3.96
This is a wonderful book, a Cold War spy novel in which all of the espionage occurs offstage, and where the dramatic tension derives almost entirely f...more
Apr 2012
May 02, 2012
 
The Collapse of American Criminal Justice
4.12
Just a fantastic overview of the American criminal justice "system." Stuntz was a legal scholar of the first rank, but this book is so much more than...more
Feb 2012
Mar 06, 2012
 
The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays
4.19
This was pretty great. I was mostly reading it for the famous title essay, which delivered exactly what I wanted. Predictably enough, it's one of thos...more
Jan 2013
Jan 02, 2013
 
You Think That's Bad
3.88
Good, but not great, and certainly nowhere near as good as "Like You'd Understand." Short story collections tread a fine line--as a reader, I want som...more
Mar 2012
Apr 04, 2012
 
Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1)
3.97
In this novel, Atwood imagines a future that is at once utterly foreign and depressingly inevitable. As in Blind Assassin, she sometimes overplays the...more
Jan 2011
Feb 27, 2011
 
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories
3.97
This is one of those books that I appreciated without enjoying very much. It is clearly important from a lit-historical perspective, and interesting s...more
Mar 1998
Aug 20, 2007
 
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
3.46
What a strange book. The first half feels like David Lodge or Kingsley Amis--dry British wit, sharp social satire, and no patience for pretensions--an...more
Feb 2011
Feb 27, 2011
 
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)
4.25
Soooo good. I liked Wolf Hall a lot, but I do think it dragged somewhat. This is much more focused -- of course, the characters have already been defi...more
Jan 2013
Jan 02, 2013
 
In Persuasion Nation
4.08
About halfway through with this collection, I was somewhat disappointed. You see, I'm a huge fan of Saunders's Pastoralia, think it's one of the best...more
Dec 2012
Jan 02, 2013
 
Miles from Nowhere
3.45
This is not the kind of novel I'm generally drawn to--it's very character-driven, focused almost entirely on people, whereas I, as a misanthropic aest...more
Mar 2011
Apr 04, 2011
 
The Heroes
4.22
Very enjoyable. A friend described this to me as the fantasy/medieval equivalent of "Naked and the Dead," which is a very apt comparison: like Mailer,...more
Jun 2011
Jun 20, 2011
 
Mexican Everyday
4.13
This book is fantastic. There are probably a dozen recipes I've made multiple times, including several that are central to my repertoire (salmon in gr...more
not set
Jun 03, 2012
 
The Art of Fielding
3.99
I enjoyed this, although I'm not sure I understand the big deal. It's a good debut novel; well-written, compelling, with (as you'd expect from an n+1...more
Dec 2011
Dec 29, 2011
 
Acts of Faith
3.94
A really frustrating read. Some of the plotting is great, and while the geopolitics are at times heavy-handed, they are believable and not grafted on;...more
Jun 2012
Jul 03, 2012
 
Gilead
3.80
This is a stunning book. I would have given it five stars (which I almost never do), but I felt like Robinson slightly lost control of her incredibly...more
Feb 2009
Jan 15, 2009
 
Red Plenty
4.06
Really interesting book--who would think that a historical novel focused primarily on Soviet industrial policy could be fun? Well, it largely is. A we...more
Oct 2012
Oct 08, 2012
 
Duke Ellington
3.48
Hatchet job!
Jul 2000
Jul 30, 2007
 
The Radicalism of the American Revolution
4.03
This is just a great work of political and social history. Wood does a particularly fine job of teasing out the contradictions in various conceptions...more
Jul 02, 2012
Apr 04, 2012
 
The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century
4.12
This is a fantastic introduction to modern "classical" music. Ross is probably my favorite living critic; he combines encyclopedic knowledge and analy...more
Dec 2008
Mar 02, 2008
 
Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever
3.81
Lots of love and maybe even more research went into this book, but it could have used a bit more judgment and a bit less puffery. At times Hermes seem...more
Jan 2014
Jan 20, 2014
 
Nixonland: America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon 1965-1972
4.11
Perlstein definitely did his homework on this one. It's not entirely successful, but I think that's largely because of outsize ambition: this isn't ju...more
Feb 2012
May 31, 2008
 
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy
3.84
This is really three books--a history of the recent economic crisis, an assessment of how our government has responded, and a recommendation for futur...more
Apr 2011
Jan 10, 2011
 
Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays
4.38
A fascinating collection. Some of these essays don't hold up very well; in particular, I found "A Hanging" contrived and not particularly believable,...more
May 2012
Feb 05, 2012
 
The Kingdom on the Waves (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #2)
3.72
In reviewer-ese, this book and its predecessor volume constitute a stunning achievement.

In real-speak--this is pretty incredible stuff. Anderson has w...more
Jan 2009
Jan 06, 2009
 
More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
3.96
More entertaining than a history of hedge funds has any right to be. The book is chockfull of colorful anecdotes, and clearly demonstrates that some h...more
Dec 2010
Oct 24, 2010
 
The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam
3.87
I've read lots of Vietname books, both fiction and non-fiction, and while this wasn't my favorite, it definitely belongs in the canon. Of course, I'm...more
Jan 2010
Jul 18, 2007
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