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This is Where I Leave You
There is essentially nothing redeeming about this novel. Here's a mini-spoiler for you: every encounter between two men ends in a fistfight, and every...more
Jul 2010
Aug 18, 2010
The Signature of All Things
This is a frustrating one, because many of the individual scenes in this novel are just gorgeous. There is a great set piece of the main character (Al...more
Dec 03, 2013
Dec 03, 2013
Is Just a Movie
While I usually go for character-focused narratives that favor depth over breadth, it was obvious early on in this novel that Lovelace wanted to give...more
Mar 2014
Apr 02, 2014
The Empathy Exams: Essays
Be prepared for punishment, as this is not an easy read. I don't mean that the book is syntactically difficult, or overly dense, or poorly written. I...more
May 2014
May 14, 2014
Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy
There are plenty of solid laughs to be found in this book. I wish there had been a few more, but it's gotta be pretty damn hard to stay funny for 200+...more
Apr 2013
Apr 30, 2013
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Much as I felt that the portrait of mental illness in The Marriage Plot rang truer than any I'd ever read, so too is Billy Lynn the most true-to-life...more
Jan 15, 2013
Jan 15, 2013
The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4)
I understand why this book was revolutionary for its time--eliminating the concept of gender was obviously an enormous and somewhat outrageous idea in...more
Jan 18, 2014
Mar 19, 2013
Someone needs to go back in time and punch my twenty-something (and early thirty-something, for that matter) self in the face for "knowing" that I did...more
Mar 2014
Apr 07, 2013
2.5 stars.

While the author is obviously skilled at her craft, this novel should've stayed in the oven a while longer to bake. As it is, it's sadly und...more
May 14, 2014
May 14, 2014
This book is an incredible accomplishment, even if it's not the smoothest of reads. The prose is dense (when it is prose--much of the novel consists o...more
Sep 24, 2013
Sep 24, 2013
I read this for book club, otherwise I never would've picked it up as middle grade isn't really my thing. That said, my initial impression was that th...more
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 06, 2013
The Liars' Club
This is a well-written memoir that succeeds in dramatizing each of its individual scenes so that every chapter has a distinct, lived-in feel to it. We...more
Oct 2013
Oct 27, 2013
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
I promise I'm not one of those people who scoffs at any book that gets good publicity. I loved the last National Book Award winner, and from a practic...more
Feb 27, 2013
Feb 27, 2013
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy
2.5 stars.

This book should've been called Joe McGinniss Goes to Italy So That Joe McGinniss Can Talk to Italians and Report on how They React to Joe M...more
Apr 2013
Apr 30, 2013
The House on Mango Street
One of those books I missed out on when I was younger, but I'm so glad to have found it as an adult. This book reminded me of how moving it is to see...more
Nov 2012
Nov 15, 2012
The Round House
A near perfect combination of a swift-moving plot and an expertly drawn, highly nuanced central character, The Round House was the most enjoyable read...more
Dec 09, 2012
Dec 09, 2012
The New York Trilogy
What in the world to make of The New York Trilogy? It's technically set in my home city, but its real setting is the brain of any reader brave enough...more
Dec 31, 2012
Dec 31, 2012
The Sense of an Ending
This novella makes for a quick and highly enjoyable read, which alone would be enough to recommend it. But it's also beautifully written with a vivid...more
Oct 14, 2012
Oct 11, 2012
My Life in Middlemarch
This book is something of a victim of unrealistic expectations for me, as I worship Mead's writing for the New Yorker and I enjoyed Middlemarch more t...more
Apr 07, 2014
Apr 03, 2014
The title novella is a fantastically clever indictment of our Work Ourselves Sick So That Our Kids Can Get Healthy society. But the real brilliance is...more
Feb 05, 2013
Feb 03, 2013
The Brooklyn Follies
This novel might not be worth four stars on its merits, but I'm a believer that a novel's primary tasks are to be not-boring and well-crafted. The Bro...more
Jun 20, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won
(If you're not interested in gambling, feel free to ignore this review.)

As a semi-serious sports bettor, ninety percent of what was in here was old ha...more
Dec 23, 2011
Dec 20, 2011
What Happened to Sophie Wilder
Three and a half stars. Three stars for the experience of reading the book--the disjointed narrative, the too convenient plot points (it's not that an...more
Mar 17, 2013
Mar 13, 2013
In Zanesville
4.5 stars, but 5 if you go by the sheer pleasure I got from reading this masterful novel. The details are so incredibly evocative and so true to life-...more
Mar 12, 2013
Mar 06, 2013
After Dark
This little novel may not deserve five stars purely on its merits. For one thing, there are far too many times when we're told a participant in a conv...more
May 02, 2012
Apr 28, 2012
Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball
I assume if you're reading this book, you're a baseball fan. I'll further assume that you're a Mets fan, and predisposed to enjoy an R.A. Dickey memoi...more
Aug 19, 2012
Aug 12, 2012
Just Kids
I felt a little pathetic reading this as I compared my own miserable progression at creative work to that of Patti Smith, but hers is a truly remarkab...more
Jul 2011
Jul 27, 2011
Super Sad True Love Story
On its merits this probably isn't a one-star book, but it was the least enjoyable reading experience I've had in as long as I can remember, and when a...more
Aug 13, 2012
Aug 06, 2012
Are You My Mother?
I am the wrong audience for this book, as I have an irrational bias against a lot of the techniques employed by the therapists Bechdel is so obsessed...more
Jun 2013
Jun 16, 2013
You Are Not a Stranger Here
These stories are well-executed, realistic portrayals of characters suffering from mental illness, but it's pretty damn punishing to go through each o...more
Feb 18, 2012
Feb 13, 2012
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