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The Orphan Master's Son
If books can be passports to other places, then "The Orphan Master's Son" gains you entree to the forbidden land of North Korea.

Of course, you have t
Nov 13, 2011
Nov 14, 2011
Mary Chesnut: A Diary From Dixie
If the Confederacy had survived Lincoln's invasion, Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut might be a household name in the literary world.

And that's pretty good
Jul 25, 2010
Aug 06, 2010
On the Road: The Original Scroll
The continent "groans" again and again.

The night is too often "sad," the cities are "mad" or "wild" and "sad" some more. New York is the "edge of the
Feb 2008
Sep 15, 2008
The Gaudi Key
"The Gaudi Key" (La Clave Gaudi) possesses the grandiosity of its subject's architecture, but lacks his whimsy.

Sometimes you can concoct a literary t
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 05, 2009
A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Love Stories
Can you not be sure of what's going on and still like a book?

The packaging of "A Possible Life" hints at something other than a collection of short st
Nov 18, 2012
Nov 21, 2012
"Ruby" is a story about "the needle of lust that pierces the heart of small church towns," in this case, Liberty, Texas, which is located somewhere be ...more
Mar 07, 2014
Mar 08, 2014
The Day the Cowboys Quit
It's the rare western book that invites a Marxian analysis, but Elmer Kelton, who died recently, was the rare western writer.

"The Day the Cowboys Qui
Sep 23, 2009
Sep 17, 2009
Really the Blues
"Really The Blues" demonstrates how it's good to have something to do.

Talk about alternative paths. Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow blazed one through the jung
Nov 10, 2010
Jan 06, 2011
Moby Dick

"Moby Dick" is such a tough climb that you can miss a lot of the scenery on the way up.

Like Mount Everest, with "Moby Dick" there's no denying the p
Feb 02, 2009
Jan 21, 2009
The Sea House
"The Sea House" is about the power of past events and forgotten people to influence lives in the present.

For her tale of interplay between what has ha
Mar 20, 2014
Mar 21, 2014
Mañana o pasado: El misterio de los mexicanos
Según Jorge Castaneda, México es como un niño olvidado quien ha desarollado ciertos mecanismos para sobrevivir, pero que ya no le valen en el mundo mo ...more
Oct 02, 2011
Oct 19, 2011
Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias

“Wild Sea” is a valuable read surfers of the southwest's wave, but also offers ideas for those engaged in coastal conservation anywhere in the world.
Feb 06, 2014
Feb 07, 2014
Death Comes for the Archbishop
Through one man's story, Willa Cather fashions a thumbprint history of Santa Fé, New Mexico and its environs.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" takes p
Jan 08, 2013
Jan 10, 2013
Further Out Than You Thought: A Novel
“Further Out Than You Thought” promises a road trip, but renders the mapping of young woman's evolving soul instead.

This story takes place during the
Jan 2014
May 23, 2014
The Daughter of Siena
Siena, take a bow.

In Marina Fiorato's "The Daughter of Siena," the principal characters turn out bit players, and the Tuscan city, a star.

Set in 17t
May 10, 2011
May 17, 2011
I Married You for Happiness
Early evening, a woman's husband comes home, greets her, goes up to their bedroom and dies. She spends the night by his side, looking back on their ha ...more
Oct 28, 2011
Nov 02, 2011
Eat, Pray, Love
"Eat, Pray, Love," is an argument in favor of the American Woman.

Author Liz Gilbert starts out making an argument against the American Woman, against
Jun 2008
Sep 14, 2008
What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love
My mother passed "What Remains" along and, like all choices not my own where reading is concerned, the book warranted only a grudging early perusal.

Jul 14, 2008
Sep 14, 2008
The Heart is the Teacher
"The Heart is the Teacher," reads as clear-headed and purposeful as the man it describes.

Its string of anecdotes are rendered in a straight-ahead, cl
Aug 29, 2009
Aug 07, 2009
Estudios Sobre el Amor
The Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) made a name for himself in the 1930s with Revolt of the Masses, a book which lamented the ind ...more
not set
Apr 09, 2009
Tijuana Straits
Rolling the North American Free Trade Agreement, the resulting industrial pollution, surfing, a working-class California beach town, the vagaries and ...more
Apr 20, 2014
Apr 25, 2014
Waiting for Robert Capa
Gerda Taro was a pearl with no oyster in which to enfold herself.

She's the one "Waiting for Robert Capa," a Hungarian photographer named Andre who she
Jan 26, 2012
Jan 25, 2012
Black Flower
In general, this story has been told before. In particular, author Young-Ha Kim had his reasons for retelling it in "Black Flower."

This is a tale of
Oct 21, 2012
Oct 22, 2012
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

To call “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” a tragedy is to give the thing away, but there is no path around it.

From the first pages of this long tale of
Mar 24, 2009
Feb 03, 2009
Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity
“Strike for America” is as much about the fate of public education as it is a tract on the virtues and need for radical democratic unionism in the Uni ...more
Mar 06, 2014
Mar 10, 2014
The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era
With "The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Rage, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era," an initially exciting drama runs a little dry, as auth ...more
Aug 12, 2014
Aug 14, 2014
Mexico is like a noisy neighbor you do your best to avoid. A lot of the noise is unintelligible; in a different language.

Politicians want to build a
Jan 2006
Jan 04, 2009
The Passion
Three readings of this slim tome in the past ten years do not yield a conclusion that each time it gets better, but it certainly holds up well.

This s
Sep 13, 2008
Sep 14, 2008
The Name of the Rose
the scribe just finished, after a true reader’s via crucis, the long and impressive “The Name of the Rose” by Umbérto Eco.

The book came to him through
not set
Oct 09, 2008
El tren pasa primero
Mexico is like a noisy neighbor you do your best to avoid. A lot of the noise is unintelligible; in a different language.

Politicians want to build a
Jan 2008
Jan 04, 2009
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