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It's truly a testament to an author's ability to write when he puts me to sleep after two pages. I don't think if I tried I could bore a reader to sle ...more
May 04, 2011
May 04, 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Sweet Jiminy Cricket, this book is so unimaginably awful my spleen burst apart upon finishing it. Did I say awful? No. This book may be the most enorm ...more
Feb 12, 2009
Feb 12, 2009
The Sot-Weed Factor
A completely preposterous, hilarious and brilliant book about, among a million other things, the evils of innocence. Written beautifully in 17th centu ...more
Aug 17, 2009
Sep 14, 2008
Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language
I loved Godel Escher Bach, and a couple of Hofstadter's other books too, but this one, no. His playfulness with words works wonderfully in the context ...more
Nov 20, 2013
Jan 09, 2010
Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight from the Greatest Manhunt of World War II
This book is billed as "The greatest manhunt of World War II." If it is, I guess we'll need to look to another war for a good manhunt story. This book ...more
Jul 2008
Jul 27, 2008
Winter of Entrapment: A New Look at the Donner Party
A very odd book. It's based entirely on a profound hatred of George Stewart's famous book on the Donner Party, Ordeal By Hunger, and really a hatred o ...more
Feb 05, 2012
Jan 23, 2012
From the reviews of this book, you'd think it was the second coming of Hemingway or something. But it is not. The writing is passable, barely. Everyth ...more
Jun 20, 2014
Sep 28, 2011
"Yellow Kid" Weil: The Autobiography of America's Master Swindler
The greatest con of all time? I believe it. Weil's scams are so elaborate and creative you just have to shake your head in wonder. I always thought th ...more
Feb 23, 2012
Dec 08, 2011
Debt: The First 5,000 Years
Should be required reading. An anthropological/historical account of debt and money. I am not well versed in economic theory and history, so maybe mor ...more
Jul 21, 2014
Jul 03, 2014
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)
Egads. What happened? Did Pullman fire his editor? An almost total disaster. How many rules of his own universe can this guy ignore and/or change on a ...more
Oct 28, 2009
Nov 04, 2009
Never Let Me Go
Disappointing coming from Ishiguro, whose The Unconsoled is one of my favorites. He does what 'literary' writers often do when using a science fiction ...more
Mar 18, 2009
Mar 15, 2009
The Queen's Gambit
What a beautiful book. A eight year old girl, an orphan, finds she has a talent for chess. An obsession with chess. She rises up and up in the chess w ...more
Mar 12, 2014
Mar 08, 2014
One Hundred Years of Solitude
How does this even count as a novel? It's more like a list. A very nicely written list, full of very imaginative happenings, all sorts of crazy charac ...more
Sep 17, 2009
Sep 13, 2009
Cloud Atlas
Sort of equally fascinating and frustrating, this book. We get the first halves of five stories, then one complete story, then the conclusions of the ...more
Dec 10, 2008
Dec 04, 2008
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Surprisingly dull. Mostly padding. There's not much to Fawcett's story. He's an interesting character, one of the last gentlemen explorers from that e ...more
Mar 23, 2010
Mar 17, 2010
Robinson Crusoe
I feel like this book deserves extra credit for being the first English novel, which okay, is impressive. Still, it's awfully dull reading, with spora ...more
Nov 06, 2011
Nov 02, 2011
The City & the City
This is a book full of almost interesting ideas none of which ever really ends up working out. The conceit, that there are two cities occupying the sa ...more
Oct 20, 2010
Oct 13, 2010
The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain
A brain-melter of a book. Fascinating and brilliant and dense. Written clearly but at great length and depth. Suggests language shaped the human brain ...more
Oct 27, 2009
Jun 26, 2008
Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) (Wool, #1-5)
Was curious to see what this self-published science fiction hit was all about. Sad to say, it's mostly awful. The opening section, which is essentiall ...more
Aug 27, 2013
Aug 19, 2013
Tales of the Dying Earth: The Dying Earth/The Eyes of the Overworld/Cugel's Saga/Rhialto the Marvellous
Somehow I was under the impression that this was an old-timey science fiction series. In fact it's a ridiculous sword and sorcery fantasy thing... but ...more
Jan 06, 2010
Jul 20, 2009
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
A disasterously boring book. Pretentious and awful in almost every way. Mitchell's Cloud Atlas was at least kind of good, but whatever he's trying to ...more
Sep 15, 2011
Sep 06, 2011
The Pale King
It's absurd to call this a novel. It's not even close to being finished. It's an assortment of chapters, some highly polished, others short and fragme ...more
May 29, 2012
May 19, 2012
In which Stephenson creates an alternate world full of wise monks so wise they had to, thousands of years ago, give up mucking around with science far ...more
Nov 24, 2008
Nov 11, 2008
The Map and the Territory
There seemed to be a little less passion in this book than in the others I've read by Houellebecq. Not that it's any less readable. He remains smart a ...more
Jan 06, 2013
Jan 01, 2013
Hollywood vs. America
Oh, THIS book, I remember this one, it's hilariously bad, containing the most laughable arguments you could imagine. There's a howler on literally eve ...more
Aug 1993
Sep 28, 2008
Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time And The Beauty That Causes Havoc
This sure seems like it should have been better. Miller writes too much like an academic. Lots of 'next I will tell you this, and will show that this ...more
Aug 28, 2011
Aug 16, 2011
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
That is one big, weird book. Maybe it should get five stars. Or, possibly, one. How to even describe how it's written? The language is from another pl ...more
Feb 29, 2012
Feb 15, 2012
The End of Eternity
This story rated three stars most of the way through, but the great ending catapulted it up to four. Asimov creates a very complex future world where ...more
Aug 10, 2010
Aug 05, 2010
The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6)
As dark, despairing, cynical and sad a book as ever there was. Compared to the earlier books about Marlowe, this one goes much deeper, and takes its t ...more
Apr 07, 2010
Apr 01, 2010
Milestones: The Music And Times Of Miles Davis
Ultimately, this book kind of pissed me off. It's certainly thorough, so there's that. But the writing is really dull. Chambers goes into excessive de ...more
Oct 03, 2014
Sep 15, 2014
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