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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
4.15
It took me forever to get around to reading this, but boy, am I glad I did. It's a moving and incredibly heartfelt look at the suffering of the poor d ...more
not set
May 22, 2008
 
Merriam-Webster's Rhyming Dictionary
4.08
My determination to give a review to every book in my library is encountering fiendish resistance in the form of reference materials. I mean, what am ...more
not set
Jun 07, 2008
 
City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s
4.24
Terrific book about the movie industry in the 1940s, combining hard facts and analysis with some of the juiciest anecdotes you'll find anywhere. Worth ...more
not set
Jul 07, 2008
 
War and Peace
4.08
Folks, I'm not going to lie to you: this thing takes a million billion years to read, and I guarantee you that even if Russian is your native language ...more
not set
May 11, 2008
 
New Worlds
4.00
An excellent book by the founders of mapforum.com, who know better than most the weird passion for maps that inspire some of us. This would be a must- ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
Flim-Flam!
4.03
James Randi's first major study of pseudoscience and the paranormal is lively, passionate, and incredible well-reasoned. It made a huge impression on ...more
not set
Jul 07, 2008
 
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
3.87
From the time I read early, skeletal versions of the entries in the book, to the time I heard bits of it read aloud by the author, to the time I final ...more
not set
Jul 07, 2008
 
The Children of Men
3.68
I went into reading this with some trepidation, since I'd only seen the movie (which I found gravely overrated) and knew almost nothing about James as ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (Bantam Sf, Q8834)
3.87
This is one of those books I want to rate a lot higher for circumstantial reasons, but those are irreplicable, so I'll just have to let it stand on it ...more
not set
Jul 18, 2012
 
Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less
4.26
An engaging little comic guide to, as the subtitle says, living well on less. Spike, who's a terrific artist herself, wrote this, but didn't do the ar ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time
4.38
This book is often cited alongside Charlie Papazian's as the definitive book on homebrewing. It's definitely comprehensive, taking a light tone but an ...more
not set
Jul 18, 2012
 
Bleak House
3.98
I'm always surprised to find that "Bleak House" isn't as beloved by a lot of Dickens fans as it is by me. Now, of course, I'm not a huge fan of the gu ...more
not set
Jul 18, 2012
 
Blood's a Rover (Underworld USA, #3)
3.87
The culmination of James Ellroy's "Underworld U.S.A." is neither a triumph nor a let-down; it's merely a culmination. It takes the characters we've gr ...more
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Jul 18, 2012
 
Exercises in Style
4.10
Probably the pre-eminent book of the proto-structuralist Oulipou movement, "Exercises in Style" is one of those books that's so astonishingly simple t ...more
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Jul 18, 2012
 
Raw Deal: Horrible and Ironic Stories of Forgotten Americans
4.10
Ken Smith is the author of the fantastic Ken's Guide to the Bible. This one's not that essential, but it's still a great read: he sorts through the an ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
Winesburg, Ohio
3.83
Anderson's classic of small-town alienation still packs a gut-punch after all these years. In fact, it's probably gained a new relevance with the retu ...more
not set
Jul 18, 2012
 
On Language
3.94
When all the partisan shouting about Chomsky as traitor/radical/anti-Semite/etc. has died down, he'll still be the foremost linguistic philosopher of ...more
not set
May 16, 2008
 
Under the Volcano
3.80
Classics don't always deliver, but a lot of them attained their reputations for good reasons. Under the Volcano may have outdone its author -- he neve ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: A Novel
4.09
The mysterious Mr. Traven is one of my favorite authors, to the extent that I evangelize even for his lesser-known stuff, but to the extent he's known ...more
not set
Jul 18, 2012
 
Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal
4.42
Indescribably gorgeous, incredibly comprehensive book on the brilliant and disturbed outsider artist Henry Darger. Some of the psychological speculati ...more
not set
Jun 13, 2008
 
Chef Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen
4.16
There are cookbooks, and then there are cookbooks. Written at a time when the idea of a 'celebrity chef' was new and Cajun cooking was still a novelty ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir
4.16
Eddie Mueller is probably the premier popular writer on film noir. This is a really engaging and well written book, and its conceit -- that noir films ...more
not set
Jun 07, 2008
 
The Fifth Head of Cerberus
4.02
Gene Wolfe is one of the greatest American writers by any standard, genre fiction or no, and this is a short story collection -- though formally a fun ...more
not set
Jul 30, 2012
 
Infinite Jest
4.34
If DFW's most famous and successful book doesn't quite achieve the stellar highs of Pynchon and Gaddis, it's sure not from lack of trying. Erudite and ...more
not set
May 11, 2008
 
Superpowers
3.18
The new novel by my imaginary internet pal David Schwartz snags the coveted "four stars to be upgraded to five if you buy me drinks" rating. Smart, pr ...more
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Jul 08, 2008
 
The Big Boat to Bye-Bye
2.62
I'm a sap for detective noir and for funny novels, and my internet pal/comedy-writing idol Ellis Weiner provides both here. Not as consistently swell ...more
not set
May 11, 2008
 
Totalitarianism : Part Three of the Origins of Totalitarianism
3.98
The final installment of Hannah Arendt's towering trilogy brings all the threads together. This is a must-read book for understanding the truths and t ...more
not set
May 18, 2008
 
La Jetée: ciné-roman
4.70
This is a sort of photoplay edition of Chris Marker's famous still-images sci-fi movie. It's obviously not the same as seeing the film, but it's still ...more
not set
Jun 07, 2008
 
The Pogo Papers
4.53
Another swell collection from Walt Kelly's Pogo. It's a testament, I think, to what a cesspool the daily comics have become that it's hard to imagine ...more
not set
Jul 07, 2008
 
Savage Art: A  Biography of Jim Thompson
4.09
Swell biography of the master of literary noir. Thompson's life was extremely fucked up, and Polito pays him the respect he deserves without ever lett ...more
not set
May 22, 2008
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