Pierre, or the Ambiguities
"Pierre" is a shocking, stunning book that, I think, deliberately gives readers what they do not want, and which they may not know they are glad to ha ...more
Feb 11, 2010
Feb 11, 2010
A Slight Trick of the Mind
In outline it sounds almost like a joke, or something deliberately bizarre: a ninety-three-year-old Sherlock Holmes travels to Japan. Instead, this is ...more
May 30, 2010
May 15, 2010
My Wonderful World of Slapstick
When I saw Buster Keaton's autobiography available as a free file from the Internet Archive, it received the honor of becoming the first work that I w ...more
Feb 18, 2010
Feb 18, 2010
The strength of this book is that it is highly entertaining. Large sections of it are taken up by reportage of unusual people in history deemed eccent ...more
Jan 18, 2010
Jan 18, 2010
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
"Confederates in the Attic" is a slow, deliberate book that takes its time as the author meanders through a great many disparate aspects of the Americ ...more
Apr 18, 2010
Apr 18, 2010
A Taste for Honey
This was simply a fantastically enjoyable read. As a Sherlock Holmes fan I found the mysterious and ingenious "Mr. Mycroft" -- a rural beekeeper who i ...more
May 16, 2010
May 15, 2010
Ball Four
I picked up "Ball Four" based on its formidable reputation as the best baseball book ever written. Immediately I knew that this real-time diary of a s ...more
Dec 24, 2009
Dec 25, 2009
Smile When the Raindrops Fall: The Story of Charley Chase
I'm a big fan of the comedian and longtime star of film short subjects Charley Chase, which of course is why I borrowed this only biography of him int ...more
Feb 17, 2010
Feb 17, 2010
Scamorama: Turning the Tables on Email Scammers
Eve Edelson's print spinoff from her popular "scambaiting" website begins with the advantage of a collection of tongue-in-cheek exchanges by witty peo ...more
Dec 28, 2009
Dec 25, 2009
Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)
**spoiler alert** "Oryx and Crake" is full of moments of bitter and revealingly on-target humor and irony, and it's also a constantly compelling narra ...more
May 25, 2010
May 15, 2010
When We Dead Awaken
Poetic and spare evocation of our simultaneous yearning for and dread of the full experience of life; revolves around familiar themes of Ibsen with a ...more
Mar 26, 2011
Mar 07, 2011
White Jacket or, the World on a Man-of-War
A wonderfully written book that, as it "does what it says on the tin" is also a complete and unforgettable undermining and repudiation of the very not ...more
May 26, 2011
May 26, 2011
The Beekeeper's Apprentice
By their very nature most Sherlock Holmes pastiches do not really take on a life of their own; as good as some are, most of them still betray their ro ...more
Jan 08, 2010
Jan 08, 2010
The Demolished Man
In outline this novel resembles a version of "Crime and Punishment" but with ESP. Bester's novel doesn't approach the depths of introspection that mak ...more
May 08, 2010
May 08, 2010
The Worst Team Money Could Buy
Full disclosure: I'm a lifelong Phillies fan, so I'm naturally predisposed to a book that documents a colossal Met failure. Actually, people looking f ...more
May 2010
May 03, 2010
To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)
Extremely wise and just about superhumanly witty. Connie Willis has somehow managed to write an intricately plotted tribute to Jerome K. Jerome's _Thr ...more
May 06, 2011
Mar 16, 2011
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Kept me involved enough to want to finish and contained some good humour and memorable scenes, but did not do much else for me. Much of the prose, cha ...more
Jul 2008
Apr 21, 2009
I've never read the original, but this stage adaptation of the novel is a very intense and memorable piece that raises a number of interesting questio ...more
Apr 29, 2010
May 04, 2010
Benito Cereno
Masterfully-written and haunting -- a lament over how we cannot, when all is said and done, ever truly understand the thoughts of another, and a deep ...more
Apr 12, 2009
Apr 12, 2009
The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
Scattershot, though there is some interesting material. The whole thing rests on a notion of "well being" that Harris can't define and can only descri ...more
Dec 23, 2014
Dec 23, 2014
A Protegee of the Mistress
**spoiler alert** Surprisingly sudden and bleak ending to this short play, with the heroine married off against her will due to spite, and the suggest ...more
Jan 02, 2014
Jan 02, 2014
A Delicate Balance
Emotionally harrowing, exhausting, and revealing -- and violently funny. Old themes of love, fear, and obligation made violently immediate.
Dec 20, 2014
Dec 20, 2014
Did She Fall?
A solid murder mystery enhanced by regular whiffs of Smith's immortal sense of humour, but no match for the outright comedy of his other novels.
Mar 2002
May 16, 2009
I and My Chimney
Melville fantastically entertaining in a humorous vein. His narrator is heroically stubborn about preserving the strange monolithic mystery of his chi ...more
Jun 20, 2009
Jun 18, 2009
A grand journey written up with knowledge and wisdom. Many funny, stunning, or fascinating moments, but slow-going in other parts.
Jan 2009
May 04, 2009
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
A fast read, often poignant and funny in its irony. Its greatest strength is its extremely well-characterised narrator.
Apr 13, 2009
Apr 12, 2009
Wonderfully affecting and insightful - and the best thing I can remember reading about art and why we do it.
Aug 2008
Apr 27, 2009
Outrageously Yours
Among the funniest books I have. I laughed a lot more than at more famous prank letter books.
Aug 2000
Jun 18, 2009
King, Queen, Knave
Nabokov's shimmering but bottomlessly deep prose makes this book a gem on its own. It frames brilliantly the unavoidable dialectic of the aggressively ...more
May 02, 2012
Jun 02, 2009
The Weekend
Funny play. Almost seems more charming than it wants to be at certain points.
Jul 22, 2009
Jul 22, 2009
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