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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
3.95

Not an untypical story of a modern cult: a paranoid narcissist with a few interesting ideas starts a religion, abuses his followers, and nearly implod
...more
Feb 22, 2013
Feb 04, 2013
 
Julius Caesar (Oxford School Shakespeare)
3.62

In the course of teaching high school sophomores for thirty years, I have read Julius Caesar more than thirty times, and I never grow tired of its ric
...more
Mar 24, 2011
May 12, 2007
 
The Alchemist
3.76

A good parable--like "The Prodigal Son"--should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The problem with this little book is that it does p
...more
Jan 14, 2015
Jan 08, 2015
 
The Mysteries of Udolpho
3.36

This mammoth, prolix book--the first wildly popular gothic novel--is indifferently written, poorly planned,and inconsistent in purpose and tone. Rad
...more
Dec 2010
Nov 09, 2010
 
Titus Groan
3.90

What an odd fantasy! No swords, no sorcery, no elves, no thieves, no imaginary beasts, no multiple planes of existence . . . nothing but a cavernous c
...more
Feb 21, 2012
Oct 06, 2009
 
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
4.09

I've been a big Rachel Maddow fan for more than seven years, from back in the Air America “Unfiltered” days when she was partnered with Chuck D. and L
...more
Apr 07, 2012
Apr 05, 2012
 
American Gods (American Gods, #1)
4.10

In this unique love letter to the United States, Gaiman manages to celebrate its underground spiritual traditions, glory in the magnificence of its la
...more
Nov 10, 2012
Nov 10, 2012
 
The Woman in Black
3.65

A disappointment. I kept hearing about how this was a real honest-to-god, old-fashioned ghost story steeped in the tradition of James and James (Henry
...more
Feb 04, 2012
Feb 04, 2012
 
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
4.08

Dangerous Liaisons improves as it progresses. I was tempted to abandon it, but I persisted and am glad, for--although this epistolary novel of the las
...more
Mar 11, 2013
Jan 27, 2013
 
The Conspiracy Against the Human Race
4.17

Are you one of those hardcore True Detective fans held in thrall by Detective Rust Cole's rants about the bleakness of the universe? Did you wonder wh
...more
May 12, 2011
Apr 25, 2011
 
Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology
3.70

I love cats, but don't like cat books: the funny parts aren't that funny, the sentimental parts are way too sentimental, and the illustrations are of
...more
Apr 29, 2013
Apr 29, 2013
 
The Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2)
3.67

What can one say about Cooper? His historical imagination is profound, his creative use of the gothic landscape is uniquely American, and his influenc
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Mar 30, 2013
Mar 12, 2013
 
Outliers: The Story of Success
4.06

When I think about Malcolm Gladwell, the first phrase that comes to mind is "less than meets the eye."

At first glance, his work seems thoroughly rese
...more
Jul 16, 2013
Jun 24, 2013
 
Antony and Cleopatra
3.64

This play is so good that it is not merely a masterpiece but a mystery. The two protagonists are alternately noble and petty, wise and foolish, and ye
...more
Nov 23, 2011
May 12, 2007
 
The Woman in White
3.97


The only real flaw in this densely plotted page-turner of a novel is that in the end it slightly disappoints because it promises more than it delivers
...more
Dec 07, 2011
Nov 25, 2011
 
Uncle Silas
3.73

“Uncle Silas” isn’t a great novel, but it does exactly what it sets out to do. It is an effective “novel of sensation” in the tradition of "The Woman
...more
Apr 05, 2012
Mar 10, 2012
 
A Journal of the Plague Year
3.54

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Who would have thought, in The Year of Our Lord 2014, that Ebola would--with its controversial questions abou
...more
Jun 18, 2014
Feb 02, 2011
 
Richard III
3.90

I had remembered this play as nothing more than a superb melodrama organized around a charismatic, one-dimensional villain, but I now realize it is mu
...more
Aug 2009
May 12, 2007
 
The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu
3.39

I like this book, but I feel guilty about it. It's not just that it is permeated with orientalist attitudes, but that it makes those attitudes seem le
...more
Sep 29, 2013
Sep 23, 2013
 
Roadside Picnic
4.23

SF writers typically approach alien contact in grandiose terms, but the Strugatsky brothers wonder instead, "What if it is more like a 'Roadside Picni
...more
Jan 15, 2013
Jan 12, 2013
 
The Invention of Morel
4.06

"The Invention of Morel" is a romantic classic in which passion triumphs over convention, a surrealist classic in which imagination triumphs over real
...more
Feb 2009
Feb 11, 2009
 
Titus Andronicus
3.70

Like "A Comedy of Errors," "Titus Andronicus" is part of a grammar-school-educated Shakespeare's crash-course substitute for a university education. I
...more
Oct 2009
May 12, 2007
 
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
4.03

Jeanne Theoharis is a straightforward scholar and committed progressive whose purpose is to reveal Rosa Parks as the lifelong lefty she undoubtedly wa
...more
Feb 20, 2013
Feb 11, 2013
 
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
3.93

I recently read Victor Hugo's “Notre Dame de Paris” for the first time, and was delighted and moved by the experience. Although it lacks the depth and
...more
Apr 29, 2013
Apr 11, 2013
 
The Book of Disquiet
4.52

Here is the only Portuguese literary joke I know: Q. Who are the four greatest Portuguese poets of the 20th century? A. Fernando Pessoa. Trust me, it'
...more
Oct 19, 2013
Jun 17, 2013
 
The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down
3.40

I read this book as a penance: I donated to the Edwards presidential campaign, and I wanted to know how vile the man was who persuaded me to send him
...more
Mar 2010
Mar 10, 2010
 
Waverley
3.43

Waverly, or 'tis Sixty Years Since can be an infuriating book. Even those accustomed to the leisurely movement of 19th century prose will find its sty
...more
Sep 24, 2012
Aug 16, 2012
 
How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower
3.91

This is a good book, but I did not enjoy it as much as I anticipated, probably because Goldsworthy emphasizes areas of the Roman experience that are
...more
Apr 2010
Feb 13, 2010
 
Conjure Wife
3.85

The premise of this book must have seemed clever--and novel--when it appeared in 1943.

What if all the women are witches and keep their craft secret f
...more
Oct 29, 2014
May 20, 2007
 
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
3.65

Charlie Pierce loves cranks, whom he views as distinctively American types who stay true to their convictions and, in the process, help keep us all in
...more
Oct 2009
Sep 12, 2009
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