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The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics
My senior year of college, I actually took a class with Professor Pagels on the history of early Christianity. We started with other break-away Jewish ...more
Jun 07, 2012
Jun 09, 2012
Magic for Beginners
I've only got so much patience for surrealist storytelling, so maybe this was not the anthology for me. The early stories in the collection are the ki ...more
Oct 17, 2012
Oct 19, 2012
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
All right, this is much of what I'm looking for in literary fiction. Many of the things that can bog a literary novel down go right here. The Edelstei ...more
Aug 16, 2011
Jun 17, 2011
The Long Earth (The Long Earth #1)
You know how famous authors will occasionally complain about how readers will come up to them at cons and tell them that they have this amazing idea f ...more
Jan 27, 2013
Jan 27, 2013
Ever get stuck talking about the fairly pedestrian dreams of a random stranger, ad nauseum? Yeah, that's this book.

I've read several of Sacks' other b
Mar 25, 2013
Mar 27, 2013
A Clockwork Orange
I understand that this is a revolutionary and deeply influential work.

I hated it anyway.

I'm honestly not certain what theme the author actually intend
May 09, 2012
Jun 17, 2011
The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes, #2)
The first book in this series started as a refreshing take on the world-walking motif, in which instead of people just being kings in a magic world an ...more
Feb 02, 2012
Feb 04, 2012
Stumbling on Happiness
This is another one of those books, like Blink or Outliers, where an author applies science in an unorthodox way, flings a bunch of interesting anecdo ...more
May 17, 2012
Jun 17, 2011
Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation
I suspect a hardcore "everything in the Bible is literally true and divinely related" Christian would consider pretty much everything in this book to ...more
Jul 24, 2012
Aug 07, 2012
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
I was deeply disappointed by this book, but it's possible that was my fault.

Lawrence somehow manages to be self-deprecating and completely arrogant at
Jul 22, 2012
Jul 22, 2012
The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation, #7)
I've complained about the awkward device in Willig's novels in which she alternates between dashing spy romances and tepid modern day drama. In this b ...more
Aug 30, 2011
Aug 31, 2011
Constellation Games
Disclaimer: I'm a friend of the writer, and in fact, read earlier drafts of this before publication.

Richardson has a wicked sense of humor. His protag
Jul 31, 2012
Dec 30, 2011
Pirate Cinema
This is every bit as much a polemic as anything Ayn Rand ever wrote. The saving grace, though, is that Doctorow's characters are sympathetic people an ...more
Dec 12, 2012
Dec 14, 2012
Unnatural Issue (Elemental Masters, #7)
Yet another installment in the Elemental Master series, this one is based on the fairy tale "The King Who Wished to Marry His Daughter". (Yes, yes, I ...more
Aug 26, 2011
Jun 21, 2011
The Surgeon (Rizzoli & Isles #1)
If you like mysteries where you can try to put the clues together yourself, this book is not for you. You aren't getting the clues much before most of ...more
Nov 29, 2011
Nov 29, 2011
Home from the Sea (Elemental Masters, #8)
Lackey's gotten fairly formulaic at this point, especially with her retellings of fairy tales in Victorian settings. But that's not necessarily a terr ...more
Sep 2012
Sep 05, 2012
The Difference Engine
**spoiler alert** Ok, so as far as I can tell, this book pretty much invented a lot of the steampunk trappings we take for granted. And the world-buil ...more
Jan 15, 2011
Jun 17, 2011
3rd Degree (Women's Murder Club, #3)
James Patterson is basically running a mystery novel factory, and it shows in this book. The novel goes through the motions acceptably enough--there a ...more
Dec 07, 2011
Dec 08, 2011
Oath of Gold (The Deed of Paksenarrion, #3)
More of the great re-reading kick. I've re-read this trilogy a couple times--this time, I just skipped to my favorite book of the three.

Paks is a fab
May 2012
May 07, 2012
The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte
Talk about a tragic hero.

Other than breaking the conservation of time/place rule, Napoleon really embodies such a Greek tragic arc--a great man whose
May 31, 2013
Jun 07, 2013
1632 (Assiti Shards, #1)
This is a pleasant, well-researched exercise in wish fulfillment.

The author did an immense amount of research (some of which will be poured into your
Dec 09, 2011
Dec 12, 2011
Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
A particularly weak pair of kings (of England and France) and their particularly strong younger brothers marry all four daughters of one very ambitiou ...more
Sep 28, 2011
Oct 03, 2011
Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East
There's nothing like a good chronological history to make you realize how much you know out of order.

I was pleased to realize that I actually knew a f
Apr 24, 2012
Apr 23, 2012
Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour
At its worst, anthropology can be extremely condescending, analyzing other cultures as if they were animals. But at its best, the discipline explains ...more
Jan 31, 2012
Feb 04, 2012
There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale
You know, for an actor who started in childhood with The Goonies, had famous Hollywood parents, and spent two years in New Zealand filming a legendary ...more
Apr 19, 2013
Apr 20, 2013
Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse
I'm really not sure how much of this book can be explained by the British national tendency to self-deprecate, and how much is that this woman really ...more
Sep 22, 2012
Sep 24, 2012
The Wedding Girl
I pulled this off a library shelf on impulse, expecting a light, fun read. Within a chapter, I had a feeling of foreboding. The heroine was flighty, i ...more
Apr 26, 2013
Apr 27, 2013
Mindkiller (Lifehouse, #1)
This book is deftly put together until just about the very end.

I found the two plot threads equally compelling, which is a tough trick to pull off. T
Oct 10, 2012
Oct 11, 2012
Mr g: A Novel About The Creation
I'd previously read Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, an elegant little set of thought experiments-cum-vignettes about life in universes with physical con ...more
Apr 09, 2012
Apr 10, 2012
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
I've been trying to avoid the most super-trendy of the parenting books, because I was afraid they would make me crazy. This one was a gift, so I felt ...more
Oct 21, 2012
Oct 22, 2012
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