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The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
4.30
My favorite intro to to one of these tales: "In the days when wishing still helped..."

Really glad I read this, but also really kind of exhausted. I th
...more
Jan 20, 2015
Nov 13, 2014
 
The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English
3.83
I chose to read this book because I thought my writing had been getting stale and slovenly of late. I halfway expected the dry, academic approach to w ...more
Mar 09, 2011
Feb 16, 2011
 
Aquariums Of Pyongyang: Ten Years In The North Korean Gulag
4.05
A friend happened to be reading this while I was reading Nothing to Envy , and recommended Aquariums of Pyongyang to me.

As with one of the people whos
...more
Apr 26, 2010
Apr 13, 2010
 
The Lost Art of Finding Our Way
3.82
I've had this in my queue for nearly two years. I'm glad I got around to reading it.

Huth starts with the argument that basic knowledge of navigating
...more
Mar 26, 2014
Apr 10, 2013
 
Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monsters
3.41
An interesting book, though the subtitle might have been more accurate if it was "the psychology of monsters," or at least "the science and pscyhology ...more
Jan 29, 2014
Mar 28, 2013
 
The Hidden People of North Korea: Everyday Life in the Hermit Kingdom
3.46
I was on a kick of reading books about North Korea this year. This one will probably be the last for a while.

While the others I read were a poignant m
...more
Jul 31, 2010
Jan 28, 2010
 
Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures
3.78
My favorite quote from this book, which also sums it up nicely: "Feeding on blood is a tough way to make a living."

Schutt, an expert on vampire bats,
...more
Mar 03, 2009
Jan 20, 2009
 
Thrumpton Hall
3.08
This moving book is unlike anything I've ever read.

The author writes of her family's English manor home and it's presence in the life her family. The
...more
Aug 30, 2008
Jul 26, 2008
 
The Last Day: Wrath, Ruin, and Reason in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755
3.47
I stumbled across this while browsing at the public library a few days ago. My partner and I visited Lisbon in 2000 and I learned a little about the e ...more
Jul 09, 2008
Jul 06, 2008
 
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
4.33
I almost didn't read this book because the word "Capitalism" in the subtitle raised the spectre of economics, an area that I confess I don't know -- o ...more
Feb 16, 2015
Nov 11, 2014
 
Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth
3.78
I've seen the author on any number documentary programs about Neanderthals and the origins of humankind. He really does know his stuff and does an adm ...more
Apr 06, 2013
Nov 16, 2012
 
OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word
2.81
I really, really wanted to give this two stars (meaning "it was ok"), but I did like it a bit better than that.

Metcalf, a professor of English, delve
...more
Sep 29, 2011
Nov 22, 2010
 
Shakespeare's Wife
3.30
When I was in college, I was fortunate to spend a semester abroad in London. On one of our trips around the U.K., we spent a weekend at Stratford. I r ...more
Mar 20, 2009
Nov 29, 2008
 
The Son
3.97
I always enjoy a sweeping family epic featuring generations of characters who are deeply connected to and in conflict with a particular place. These c ...more
Apr 10, 2014
Jun 20, 2013
 
The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I
3.48
I so enjoy academics -- especially historians -- who can write about topics in a way that is both knowledgeable and accessible. Alford is one of those ...more
Sep 17, 2014
Aug 28, 2014
 
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
4.41
So different from the last book I read, yet equally engaging. I remember writing a paper about North Korea back in college when I took a class on Marx ...more
Apr 07, 2010
Jan 28, 2010
 
Independent People
4.19
I ran across an excerpt from this novel in The Ends of the Earth and was quite taken, so I thought I'd give it a chance. Very glad I did.

How to descri
...more
Aug 12, 2008
Jul 22, 2008
 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
4.03
I decided to read this after reading about it in the New York Times Book Review. So happy I did.

This book covers so many interests of mine, and it wa
...more
Mar 31, 2010
Feb 02, 2010
 
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
3.78
It's rather difficult to write about this novel without giving away a major surprise (or maybe not so much a surprise) that pops up after about 1/3 of ...more
Jul 25, 2014
Feb 26, 2014
 
The Golem and the Jinni
4.08
I wasn't so sure about this at first -- a golem and and a jinni meet in New York in 1901? I was worried that it would turn into some weird gothic roma ...more
Feb 18, 2014
May 06, 2013
 
God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
3.94
Richard Grant has written the kind of travel book I like -- attention to detail, crazy characters, historical backgound, and an easy-to-read writing s ...more
Jul 06, 2008
Jun 05, 2008
 
The Death of Bees
3.79
A bleak, disturbing book, but so well written. The opening chapters are kind of devastating, actually. It can be hard to read novels about horrible pe ...more
Dec 24, 2013
Jun 01, 2013
 
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
4.01
A close look at what it means to be, and live around, the quiet, contemplative set. Cain outlines studies that have looked into the different outlooks ...more
Oct 22, 2012
Jul 10, 2012
 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
3.99
Such an amazing little book. I'm so impressed when writers can capture what it's like to be a child -- the fears, the assumptions about life, the appr ...more
Mar 05, 2014
Feb 26, 2014
 
Kraken
3.59
I seem to have forgotten to add this to my "currently reading" list -- I've been reading it off and on over the past two weeks.

What an imagination! T
...more
May 04, 2014
May 05, 2014
 
Second Foundation
4.20
In this, the third (sort of) book in The Foundation story, Asimov brings together the story of the First and Second foundations, having them work with ...more
Jul 29, 2011
Aug 03, 2011
 
Rocannon's World
3.70
**spoiler alert** This was Le Guin's first science fiction novel, or so she says in the excellent introduction to it she wrote for this edition 13 yea ...more
Aug 2011
Aug 03, 2011
 
The Demolished Man
4.00
Another in my list of science fiction classics that I'm tackling this summer. The Demolished man was the winner of the first Hugo Award in 1953.

A str
...more
Jul 06, 2011
Jul 06, 2011
 
Ghosty Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers, New York's Greatest Hoarders: An Urban Historical
3.15
I found out about this book from a review of E.L. Doctorow's new fictionalized account of the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley. While I like Doctor ...more
Oct 2009
Sep 30, 2009
 
Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
3.96
I saw this on Donna,s list of to-read books. We both have a fondness for books about exploration, oceans, shipwrecks and the like, so I knew she must ...more
Aug 17, 2013
Aug 16, 2013
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