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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
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
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
This is above all a social novel, a cross section of how people lived and experienced their relationships to society in Alexandria in the 1960s; and a ...more
Sep 30, 2010
May 28, 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
Last Train to Istanbul
I would never have opened this book if it hadn’t been given to me by a good friend. I consider it my duty, then, to read it – but not to give it a goo ...more
Jan 16, 2012
Oct 28, 2011
Qu'est-ce que la littérature ?
This 1947 essay was fun to read, written with very lively force. As for its content, it's a long argument about the nature and purposes (these two bei ...more
Dec 24, 2010
May 28, 2011
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
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
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
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
Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts
Eine reizende Geschichte. Ganz passend ist, dass ein halbes Dutzend Volkslieder darin sind, da das Ganze selbst wie ein Volkslied ist, voller grüne Wi ...more
Jun 2009
May 28, 2011
The House in the Uplands
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
Daemon in Lithuania
A bizarrely comic, cheerful and slightly perverse story set in an imaginary eastern Europe; a cat the size of a huge dog, whose mesmerizing beauty and ...more
Jul 16, 2010
May 28, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Curve of Time
This is a remembrance from the 1950s (I think) about a woman bringing five children up alone: really alone -- in the winter, they lived in a house in ...more
Jan 12, 2010
May 28, 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
Leben des vergnügten Schulmeisterlein Maria Wutz in Auenthal: eine Art Idylle
I find the 18th-century language tough going, but the story is interesting enough in itself; and I can get along with the author's enthusiastic, sweet ...more
May 2010
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
Coming Out under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two
Coming Out Under Fire is a thoroughly fascinating, detailed study of a crucial transitional period in American society. It's extremely well-documented ...more
Feb 20, 2010
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
The Mountain of the Women: Memoirs of an Irish Troubadour
This is a wonderful autobiography, frank and personal, lively and funny, giving due space to the show business world that made the author famous but r ...more
Jan 10, 2010
May 28, 2011
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