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Is it "fanfic" or the more grecolatinate "intertextuality"? It's clever, anyway. I guess I just didn't find it clever enough to justify its lack of ot...more
not set
Nov 16, 2012
Die Wahlverwandtschaften. Ein Roman
I read this beautiful novel in German. Though I might have objected to how structured it is, so full of symbols and echoes, in the hands of a master l...more
Jul 2010
May 28, 2011
Red Azalea
At one point in this memoir, Anchee Min quotes the proverb "Poverty gives birth to evil personalities". This book shows that happening, but it is not...more
Jan 07, 2011
May 29, 2011
The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and The Evolution of Cooperation
The Origins of Virtue is a non-technical discussion of the evolutionary aspects of cooperation and altruism. That being an extremely complex subject (...more
Jan 20, 2010
May 28, 2011
Autobiography of My Mother
My mother died at the moment I was born, and so for my whole life there was nothing standing between myself and eternity; at my back was always a blea...more
May 29, 2007
May 28, 2011
Most of the promotional material for this historical novel has centered on claiming it as some sort of key to modern Islamic extremism, even calling i...more
Jan 23, 2012
Jan 31, 2012
Suite Française
The contents of this book naturally get a bit overshadowed by the dramatic circumstances under which it was written and published. However, I will wri...more
Apr 12, 2010
May 28, 2011
In a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages
Writers have a natural reason to find the minds of other writers interesting—hence, the proportion of literary figures represented among the heroes of...more
Jul 23, 2012
Jul 17, 2012
Fifth Chinese Daughter
One of the other reviewers called this book "propaganda", and I can see what led to that opinion. It certainly has the air of an old-fashioned Social...more
Jan 25, 2012
Jan 23, 2012
The Beetle of Aphrodite and Other Medical Mysteries
Howell and Ford are excellent storytellers, and here they've recounted one dozen medical investigations in clear and gripping fashion. The cases rang...more
May 29, 2014
May 28, 2014
Impressive, quite impressive, but it's the kind of book I need to read twice to comment on, so I'll refrain for now. On the second reading, I'll have...more
Oct 20, 2011
Oct 18, 2011
Broad and Alien Is the World
This novel, set in the early decades of the twentieth century, charts part of the long, bitter struggle of the Indians of the community of Rumi to kee...more
Apr 2010
May 28, 2011
Rates of Exchange & Why Come to Slaka?
**spoiler alert** The hero (I use the word ironically) of this story, Angus Petworth, goes to Slaka and comes home again. (He is a linguist who’s aske...more
Jul 20, 2012
May 28, 2011
House in Upland
A ridiculously overheated melodrama set on a decaying southern plantation, featuring a prideful, spoiled young "aristocrat", his mother who encourages...more
Jan 05, 2010
May 28, 2011
Unicorn Mountain
In the Author's Note, Michael Bishop indicates that he did extensive research on gay culture, AIDS, Ute Indians and the Sun Dance religion, "montane e...more
Mar 08, 2011
May 28, 2011
What A Carve Up
An angry savaging of the destruction of Britain by a few wealthy individuals, since WWII but especially during the "Thatcher Years"; though written in...more
Dec 2009
May 28, 2011
Drowning World (Humanx Commonwealth #21)
This was a wonderfully fun read, and as soothing as a warm drink. It fits into an old-fashioned optimistic mode of thinking about human expansion amon...more
Oct 28, 2012
Oct 29, 2012
Eudora: A Writer's Life
This biography of Eudora Welty is unauthorized—but not because the author wanted to say anything negative about her subject. No, indeed, Ann Waldron w...more
Oct 08, 2011
Sep 29, 2011
Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate Since the Year 1000
First published in 1967 and only slightly updated since, this is a pioneering work on the study of climate by historians. Le Roy Ladurie's main concer...more
Mar 20, 2007
May 29, 2011
The Blind Owl
As other readers have noted, the beginning of this novel reads like some pages from Edgar Allen Poe. It is the narration of a hyper-imaginative, morbi...more
Jul 18, 2011
May 28, 2011
The Case of Sergeant Grischa
An astonishing, devastating novel. It's been a very long time since I read anything that got under my skin so much. The night when I tried to go to be...more
Aug 23, 2009
May 29, 2011
Selected Poems: The Vision Tree
Not sure what I think of this. There's certainly some interesting poetry in here. A lot of it is terribly obscure, to me, but a big plus is that Webb...more
Mar 31, 2009
May 28, 2011
A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty
Anyone who's been paying attention to online discussions about science and science fiction will have heard there is such a thing as geek culture, and...more
Jun 17, 2014
Jul 01, 2014
Söhne des tötenden Vaters: Dämonen- und Kopfjägergeschichten aus Neu-Guinea
This book was written by an anthropologist/ethnologist who spent some years talking to people of southwestern New Guinea, particularly Marind-anim, in...more
Jul 19, 2010
May 28, 2011
The Rendezvous and Other Stories
These twenty-seven stories were selected from previous collections between 1950 and 1974. Right from the start they're wonderfully written, in a beaut...more
Jul 15, 2010
May 28, 2011
Stone Butch Blues
A voice from the borderlands of gender, from someone damaged by a society trying to force one-thing-or-the-other. This is an autobiographical novel. T...more
Sep 2010
May 28, 2011
Myths of the Greeks and Romans
I bought this book because I hoped it would be a good summary of up-to-date points of view on the Greek myths, but it turns out to be no such thing; d...more
Mar 2010
May 28, 2011
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
Why is "New Atheism" called new? As far as arguments specifically directed against religion, I can't recall anything said recently that Russell (and m...more
Dec 28, 2009
May 28, 2011
The Wind
The Wind reminds me a bit of film noir or hard-boiled stories; the "movie" of the book is definitely black-and-white. The town (not named, I don't thi...more
Jun 14, 2008
May 29, 2011
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
An uncommon sort of adventure story.

At times, Traven's journalistic roots show, when he seems more interested in depicting the setting of the story a...more
Mar 2007
May 29, 2011
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