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Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights
“In the end, abortion is an issue of fundamental human rights. To force women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will is to deprive the ...more
Jan 29, 2015
Dec 08, 2014
The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think
I sympathize with Brian Hare. When you love dogs this much (as much as I do), it's hard to know when to shut up about them. He seemed to suffer from t ...more
Apr 11, 2013
Mar 25, 2013
Can't and Won't: Stories
"Oh, we writers may think we invent too much — but reality is worse every time!"

LYDIA DAVIS! She could not be more perfect. This collection is weird a
May 12, 2014
Apr 24, 2014
Women in Clothes
“Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the worl ...more
Jan 13, 2015
Sep 23, 2014
My Brilliant Friend
A surprisingly dazzling novel about two low-income girls growing up in 1950s Naples. I say “surprisingly” because there is something about Elena Ferra ...more
Apr 09, 2015
May 29, 2014
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
“I am leery of suggesting the idea that endings are controllable. No one ever really has control. Physics and biology and accident ultimately have the ...more
May 04, 2015
Nov 17, 2014
Infinite Jest
Brilliant, mad, dark, and delightful. I had no idea this gargantuan novel was going to be so funny or so pleasurable, for one thing. With IJ, DFW brou ...more
Mar 04, 2013
Sep 10, 2011
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint
“I hadn’t learned about grace from the church. But I did learn about it from sober drunks who managed to stop drinking by giving their will over to th ...more
May 02, 2015
Apr 21, 2015
Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures
“I used to think I wrote because there was something I wanted to say. Then I thought, ‘I will continue to write because I have not yet said what I wan ...more
Nov 14, 2014
Oct 10, 2014
Things That Are
Not finished. So disappointed; I had such high hopes for this book. But it felt like reading a crazy person's diary, all of these disjointed, overwrou ...more
Jan 13, 2015
Sep 02, 2014
The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1-3)
John Galsworthy was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932, primarily for this book. The Nobel committee usually gives the prize for a lifetim ...more
Oct 14, 2014
Nov 17, 2012
Unaccustomed Earth
I have now read all of Lahiri's published work, and this is what I have to say: Jhumpa Lahiri is good with words, but she is only capable of telling t ...more
Jul 13, 2012
Apr 07, 2012
In Persuasion Nation
“What America is, to me, is a guy doesn’t want to buy, you let him not buy, you respect his not buying. A guy has a crazy notion different from your c ...more
Jan 31, 2015
May 29, 2014
My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
This was one of those perfect books that met me at the precisely perfect moment in time. After hearing Wiman speak at our church, I bought this book a ...more
Jun 12, 2013
May 16, 2013
Madame Bovary
"Madame Bovary, c'est moi!" (Gustave Flaubert's repeated answer, when people asked him who inspired the character of Emma Bovary.)

I don't know if it's
Jul 12, 2012
Sep 10, 2011
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
What a blowhard!

Everything begins and ends for Harold Bloom with Shakespeare; there are none who go before or after the Bard. If you share this mantr
Feb 20, 2015
Feb 02, 2015
The Diary, Vol. 3: 1925-1930
It seems odd to give stars to a diary, but if any diary is deserving of five stars, it's Woolf's. This volume, which covers her happiest and most prod ...more
Apr 21, 2015
Apr 06, 2015
Ongoingness: The End of a Diary
Shortly after the turn of the millennium, I read the diary from beginning to end. Finding nothing of consequence in 1996, I threw the year away.
I’d a
Apr 29, 2015
Apr 07, 2015
Between the Acts
“If we’re left asking questions, isn’t it a failure, as a play? I must say I like to feel sure if I go to the theatre, that I’ve grasped the meaning… ...more
Mar 17, 2015
Sep 12, 2011
Hard Times
Lord, I cannot bear this. I don't even feel like criticizing Dickens directly but rather people who profess to LIKE Dickens. (I have so many strong wo ...more
Jan 21, 2015
Aug 08, 2014
The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
“Is a pen a metaphorical penis?”

Thus begins, rather perfectly, this seminal (oblique phallic pun alert!) work in feminist literary theory.

I wish I’d
Sep 23, 2014
Nov 16, 2011
Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves
At times breathtakingly sad, but more often simply compelling and well researched, this book is an engaging presentation of the animal mind, especiall ...more
Nov 20, 2014
Jun 16, 2014
The Rainbow
And here we have D.H. Lawrence's thorough account of three generations of a family who is doomed (blessed?) to have lots and lots of passionate, bad s ...more
Jun 13, 2012
Sep 10, 2011
The Captive Mind
What happens to an artist living in a totalitarian regime? Take your answer from Czeslaw Milosz, who knew better than almost anyone, living in Nazi-oc ...more
Apr 27, 2012
Sep 12, 2011
Arctic Dreams
“If we are to devise an enlightened plan for human activity in the Arctic, we need a more particularized understanding of the land itself—not a more r ...more
Aug 06, 2014
Mar 30, 2014
Three-quarters through Americanah, a character says, “You can’t write an honest novel about race in this country.”

And yet I think that is what Chimama
Jul 02, 2014
Dec 19, 2013
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Gripping. My enthusiasm for the success of this novel was renewed in the last third of it; halfway through, I was feeling tired. But Shriver really br ...more
Feb 21, 2015
May 29, 2014
Lady Chatterley's Lover
“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new li ...more
Jan 31, 2015
Jul 08, 2014
All the King's Men
“The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can’t know. He can’t know whether knowledge will save him or kill him.”

The essential novel abo
Mar 11, 2015
May 29, 2014
The Poetics of Space
“It is on the plane of the daydream and not on that of facts that childhood remains alive and poetically useful within us. Throughout this permanent c ...more
Sep 22, 2014
Oct 03, 2012
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