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Bai Ganyo: Incredible Tales of a Modern Bulgarian
Add two stars if you are a non-Bulgarian who wants to understand Bulgaria.

If you are coming to Bulgaria to visit or live and want to read one book abo
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Sep 04, 2010
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
A woman got on the train and saw me reading an old-school library hardcover edition of this book. She asked me what I thought of it. Unused as I am (s ...more
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Aug 01, 2009
Street Without Joy
Simply a great book. It deserves your undivided attention.

As far as I can tell, this book can be bought in old-fashioned paper form in the USA only f
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Jan 16, 2012
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
I read this entertaining 1998 historical novel, which glorifies the ancient military dictatorship of Sparta, in part because it cost only $7.99 for a ...more
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Aug 08, 2009
Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
This historical event is yet another example of the truthiness of Hanlon's Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stu ...more
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Feb 02, 2011
Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
When reviewing a book, it is generally considered good form to review the whole book, not just one chapter or even one page. So, before my descent int ...more
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Oct 12, 2009
Tokyo Cancelled
Three words for the author: lose the magic.

Oh, and the sex. OK, that’s six words. Not as dramatic. Can’t be helped.

Lose the magic. I really wanted to
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May 28, 2011
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
This 1912 comic novel is available for free download in many electronic formats. Search by the title and the word “ebook”.

Everything I know about norm
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Aug 12, 2009
A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
This book was recommended in the article “A Reporter's Arab Library”, N Y Times Book Review, 30 Oct 2005.

This is an excellent book, but will strike di
May 11, 2010
Aug 01, 2009
The Man Who Invented the Computer: The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer
In the Balkans, you hear many seemingly crazy things. Some of them are true.

For example, in the late 1980's, I lived in Bucharest. During that time, s
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Apr 28, 2011
The Diary of a Man of Fifty
This is not a novel: it is a short story from a time (1879) when a story could be 37 pages and still be considered short.

I read it after it got a favo
Jan 11, 2014
Jan 09, 2014
In The Penal Colony
It's tough to know what we're supposed to think after reading this bewildering story. I first thought that this story was a commentary on rise of the ...more
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Aug 13, 2009
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
An enjoyable and well-read nine-hour audiobook available as a download from Audible.

Listening to (or reading) this book is to watching a TV show about
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Aug 25, 2012
Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life
13 ways to look at Gretchen Rubin's 40 Ways to look at Winston Churchill:

1) Bathroom reading for the overeducated (apologies to Tom Hahn).
2) Lists are
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Sep 10, 2009
Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
Although I put myself forward to the indifferent world as a mature man of intellect, I have the usual selection of shortcomings, among which are a bas ...more
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Aug 06, 2014
Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)
This book's big idea: Normal people under average contemporary circumstances can consistently be hoodwinked into making decisions against their own ec ...more
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Feb 24, 2010
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
From Professor Schmecker's Pop-up Book of Modern Irregular Conjugations Reflecting the Problems of Modern Society:

I hack, You betray, He accelerates t
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Aug 14, 2011
The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway! Thanks for the free stuff!

This is a fun book to read about a great story. It's a terrific way to
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May 23, 2013
The Candlemass Road
This entertaining novella plus long end notes, as of June 2011, is available as a Kindle download for $1.99 from

Subtract one star if you ha
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Jan 08, 2011
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
I had a hard time finding this book at the Washington, D.C., public library because, although it is about a resourceful little girl and has whimsical ...more
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Jan 06, 2013
The Tin Drum
NOTE: possibly useful information if you haven't started The Tin Drum yet.

There are two English translations of this book: an award-winning 1961 trans
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Mar 19, 2011
Civilization: The West and the Rest
Audio book cage match! Niall Ferguson vs. Jared Diamond! Two explanations of western domination of the world go in, only one comes out!

(view spoiler)
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Dec 11, 2011
Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, #1)
This book is sort of like Woody Allen's “Zelig”, if the movie had been a gigantic doorstop of a book, if it had been set mostly in Europe in the years ...more
Jan 28, 2010
Dec 27, 2009
A Hologram for the King
A New York Times best book of 2012? Really? I mean, it's OK but ...

At times like these, I tend to see the world as a giant version of high school, wit
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Dec 25, 2012
World War One: A Short History
This book raises some important questions, i.e., (a) what were they smoking when they published it?, and (2) where can I get some?

Although reading is
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Sep 07, 2009
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
An excellent book, deserving of the many rewards and positive reviews that it has received. I listened to this on a three-part Audible download, and I ...more
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Sep 11, 2009
Austerity Britain: 1945-51
Announcing a searchable on-line glossary for David Kynaston's Austerity Britain

This is an excellent and VERY detailed history (the first in a series)
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Aug 08, 2011
Tent Life in Siberia
Another delight for the parsimonious, a great out-of-copyright ebook hidden in plain sight on the Internet, specifically, at Project Gutenberg, Manybo ...more
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May 05, 2014
The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&l Industry
An hour-long interview with the author about this book is available here.

An important book, but damned difficult to read. It probably needs to be stud
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Feb 06, 2012
The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English, from Shakespeare to South Park
Audio interview with the author available here.

A good reminder for those of us in the English teaching racket that our awesome pedagogical skills and
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Feb 02, 2010
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