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Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1)
I met a friend for drinks last night. She came up and took one glance at the back cover to this book and her eyes widened. "No," she breathed. "Seriou...more
Dec 29, 2011
Aug 19, 2010
Cutting for Stone
But it was only now, near the end, and far too late, that the pieces suddenly - dreadfully - clicked into place. Like a long Tetris piece slamming dow...more
Oct 31, 2010
Oct 02, 2010
The Odyssey
"Okay, so here's what happened. I went out after work with the guys, we went to a perfectly nice bar, this chick was hitting on me but I totally brush...more
Jul 2009
Jan 12, 2010
Paradise Lost
There's all this debate over why Satan is so appealing in Paradise Lost. Did Milton screw up? Is he being cynical, or a double-secret atheist? And why...more
Dec 07, 2010
Oct 02, 2010
"It is one thing to like defiance, and another thing to like its consequences."

Middlemarch is a towering achievement. It's tough to find words strong...more
Jul 25, 2011
Jul 05, 2011
Don Quixote
Well, this thing is good.

I guess the goal of reviewing something like Don Quixote is to make you less frightened of it. It's intimidating, right? It's...more
Sep 24, 2010
Aug 25, 2010
The Prince
I'm weirdly pleased that The Prince lives up to its reputation: it is indeed Machiavellian. Here's his advice on conquering self-governing states (i.e...more
Mar 19, 2010
Mar 17, 2010
The Prose Edda
The Edda is a collection of Norse myths, written in the 13th century by a dude named Snorri. It's where we got most of our knowledge of Norse mytholog...more
Jun 28, 2010
Jun 28, 2010
Fahrenheit 451
"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."
That is a very unp...more
Dec 28, 2012
Dec 29, 2012
Eugene Onegin
This foundation stone of Russian literature is a smashing, lilting read - and it's only 200 pages to boot, so it's less of a commitment than all those...more
Jun 18, 2010
Jun 14, 2010
The Turn of the Screw
Turn of the Screw is a pretty cool story. It's about a governess who either heroically attempts to protect her two charges from malevolent ghosts or g...more
Nov 04, 2011
Nov 04, 2011
Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
Wife's away on an overnight business trip in Florida, so I felt it was appropriate to engage in that time-honored activity for husbands left to their...more
Feb 22, 2011
Nov 24, 2010
The Passage (The Passage, #1)
This book got me to the important realization that zombies are just vampires gone retarded.
Jul 07, 2010
Jul 01, 2010
The Secret History
Shortly after starting this book I Wikipedia'd Donna Tartt, to see if I was dealing with some sort of reverse George Eliot; I had been under the impre...more
Sep 05, 2013
Sep 01, 2013
The Woman in White
I've never liked the term "butterface." I don't object to the objectification; I just don't like the sound of it. Nonetheless, it unavoidably popped i...more
Aug 2011
Jul 27, 2011
Infinite Jest
Infinite Jest is about suicide, which gets mentioned 56 times, or about once every 20 pages. So it's tempting, given that - spoiler - Wallace totally...more
Aug 31, 2012
Aug 02, 2012
The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
So my buddy Ryan introduced me and Jo to his new girlfriend this past weekend and she's a mathematician (who is clearly not very good at it, because R...more
Sep 21, 2012
Dec 14, 2010
The Diary of a Young Girl
The problem with Diary of a Young Girl is that it's the diary of a young girl, and young girls, as you may remember from when you were one, or spent a...more
Dec 03, 2012
Dec 03, 2012
Pamela. Or, Virtue Rewarded
When I read classics, it's not all about just reading them. I'm also really trying to discover what's made them classics. I want to know why people li...more
Jan 25, 2011
Jan 23, 2011
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
Usually five stars is my rating for a classic I read that was everything I hoped it would be. Nonfiction only gets five stars if it's very special. On...more
Dec 31, 2011
Dec 30, 2011
On the Road
This book's influence on me can't be overstated. I took a class on the Beat Generation in tenth grade, which is right when all the kicks seem most daz...more
Oct 28, 2012
Sep 18, 2010
King Solomon's Mines (Allan Quatermain, #1)
Well, this book is a ton of fun.

Haggard was enormously popular in his time; he and Robert Louis Stevenson were the two dominant adventure writers. (Tr...more
Sep 18, 2011
Sep 15, 2011
Animal Farm
Let's get this out of the way immediately: Animal Farm is not a satire of socialism as a concept. It's clearly not. That it was ever taken as such (as...more
Nov 05, 2012
Nov 05, 2012
Wuthering Heights
Well, that was a surprise. Like the writer of the Penguin edition's preface, I had been under the impression that Wuthering Heights was a great love s...more
Jun 23, 2011
Mar 16, 2011
This and Anna Karenina are as close as I know to perfect. The only thing that holds Frankenstein back is the writing style; at times you're reminded t...more
May 25, 2010
May 25, 2010
War and Peace
Some of War & Peace is the same old stuff I remember from Anna Karenina: huge numbers of rich people screwing each other over. But the other stuff...more
Jan 02, 2011
Dec 18, 2010
The Haunting of Hill House
You ever see a dog experience snow for the first time? Utterly mystified, right? "Ahhhhh, what the fuck is this, it's amazing!" Galumphing madly about...more
Nov 02, 2013
Oct 31, 2013
Pride and Prejudice
Pride & Prejudice was significantly influenced by Sam Richardson's 1749 blockbuster Pamela. In both books, a boorish man is reformed through the p...more
Mar 09, 2011
Mar 06, 2011
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
**spoiler alert** In coincidental honor of Banned Book Week!

Huck Finn is miles weightier than Tom Sawyer, and it's almost the Great American Novel it...more
Sep 28, 2010
Sep 08, 2010
Collected Fictions
Deep in Don Quixote, for a while I convinced myself that Cervantes had written the footnotes too, and the Quixote commentators the editor cited were a...more
Mar 07, 2011
Feb 03, 2011
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