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If nothing else, "Freedom" is a page-turner. And, unlike so many contemporary novelists, Franzen really seems to care about his characters. And I got ...more
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Oct 10, 2010
The Sagas of Icelanders
I picked up this tome a few years ago and tried to speed through it, like I was reading a history book or a modern, plot-driven page-turner. Bad idea. ...more
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Jun 28, 2009
The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream
Well written and solidly researched. I learned a lot reading this book. Highlights include compelling portraits of Mies van der Rohe, Sun Ra, and Maha ...more
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Aug 04, 2013
High Strung: Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and the Untold Story of Tennis's Fiercest Rivalry
Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Nastase, Gerulaitis: They were a cast of characters, and each of them had a different idea about how the game should be played ...more
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Jul 24, 2011
The Windward Shore: A Winter on the Great Lakes
There are chunks of this that thin book of essays that are deep and beautiful. Dennis hunkers down for the winter in three different houses on the coa ...more
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Dec 24, 2013
How Will You Measure Your Life?
Christensen attempts to take the best theories about running a business and then apply them to running your life. I like the fact that he believes in ...more
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Jan 26, 2013
Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country
Weighing in at 717 pages, not counting reference notes or appendices, "Secrets of the Temple" is part history, part sociological text, part political ...more
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Feb 10, 2010
I read this because I kept hearing about the movie, which features Matt Dillon in the Chinaski roll, and I wanted to read the book first. To be honest ...more
Nov 2007
Nov 21, 2007
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
A great thing about books is how they can sit on your shelf for months, if not years, untouched, until you pick one of them up on a whim and it change ...more
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Apr 12, 2015
This got to be a tough read. Unrelenting in its cold-eyed assessment of the human condition, and very tough on its main characters. I'm all for forcin ...more
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Oct 13, 2014
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
A collated series of musings and aphorisms, I think this tome was supposed to be some kind of shot across the bow to the literary establishment. It re ...more
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Mar 04, 2010
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
My wife picked this up at the library, and I was intrigued enough by the title and then the subject matter (a Dutch trading post in the Nagasaki harbo ...more
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Dec 04, 2010
Kids of the Black Hole: Punk Rock Postsuburban California
I like how MacLeod combines personal anecdotes with cultural analysis and music history to tell the story of the rise of SoCal punk rock in the late 7 ...more
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Oct 29, 2011
Super Trader: Make Consistent Profits in Good and Bad Markets
At least in theory, between jaunts to the swimming pool and the library with my 2-year old son, I am supposed to be making money at this trading thing ...more
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Nov 16, 2010
We Had It So Good
I found the characters in this novel and their thoughts on the world to be insufferable. I guess I have to give Grant credit, that she's a strong enou ...more
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Nov 05, 2011
The Pale King
There are sections of The Pale King that are breathtaking in their flights of fancy and their narrative skill. There are parts that are deep, evocativ ...more
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Feb 22, 2013
Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom
As its lame title hints, the writing style in this book is blunt, rather awkward, and not much fun at all.

But the ideas here, while deceptively simpl
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Jul 25, 2009
You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation
A detailed look at 80's teen flicks, in particular those directed by John Hughes, Cameron Crowe, and Joel Schumacher. Gora is a true believer, and thi ...more
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Aug 13, 2011
The Atom Station
Halldor Laxness is probably my favorite writer, but this book is almost flawed enough for me to take him off that pedastal. It was written in 1948, du ...more
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Jun 14, 2009
Thinking, Fast and Slow
There are some interesting ideas here, but why do so many of these left-brain science types insist on writing their own books? Like a lot of generaliz ...more
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Feb 20, 2012
Galatea 2.2
Powers is a man of ideas, and he discusses several interesting ones here: the nature of love, of fiction, of consciousness. The plot is woven around t ...more
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Sep 05, 2011
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods
This is a disturbing book by a talented writer. I hated it at times. Of the novel's 300 pages, probably 280 of them detail some type of degradation to ...more
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Dec 30, 2013
Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food
Kaufman digs deep for both facts and ideas. He doesn't accept the easy platitudes from either the corporate apologist or the wide-eyed activist. My fa ...more
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May 19, 2013
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:  Essays and Arguments
I consider my slog through all 1,100 pages of Wallace's "Inifinite Jest" the single most fruitless and frustrating reading experience of my adult life ...more
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Nov 29, 2009
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
This is pretty much pure escapist fantasy, something that I guess I needed to help get through the bowels of another Midwestern midwinter. Martin does ...more
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Jan 09, 2011
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
A well-researched book on the dynamics of the food we eat. I have a little bit of an issue with the lefty platitudes and could see where Pollan was he ...more
Jul 2007
Nov 04, 2007
The Clash: Strummer, Jones, Simonon, Headon
For me, this is the ultimate coffee table book. It's chock full of cool photos and original archival materials, along with fairly extensive thoughts b ...more
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Apr 07, 2010
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood
As the father of two young sons, I was told that I should read this. I think the most memorable thing I take away from it is how times have changed in ...more
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Aug 30, 2012
The Chemistry of Tears
A curator at a London historical museum discovers that her lover of many years is dead. She takes solace in the writings of a 19th Century Englishman ...more
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Aug 14, 2012
I recently read Gluck's "The Wild Iris" and loved her use of language and her turn of phrase, along with her ability to stick the knife in, mid-stanza ...more
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Mar 17, 2013
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