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History of Beauty
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A Month of Sundays by John Updike
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After striving to reach the pinnacle of bookish prestige (which included a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1959 and a National Book Award for "The Centaur"), Updike opted to indulge his less sober-minded self with this arch and witty first-person narrative ...more
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The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
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This is the story the great novelist Graham Greene was born to tell. Himself a man more haunted than blessed by his belief in Christ, Greene’s legacy as one of the twentieth centuries’ premier novelists (not to say simply “Catholic novelists”) would ...more
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Deaf Sentence by David Lodge
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'Deaf Sentence' touches on weighty topics like suicide, mortality, and bodily degeneration, but British humorist/novelist David Lodge never lets the gloom overwhelm his highly cultivated taste for slapstick, wordplay, and the comic hijinks of a haple ...more
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City of Thieves by David Benioff
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There are a lot of things I could say about 'City of Thieves'. I might comment on its gritty evocation of a specific time and place (1942 Leningrad under Nazi siege), its likable characters, gallows humor, or its sturdy plot. The salient point is thi ...more
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Wild Nights! by Joyce Carol Oates
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'Wild Nights!' The latest from Joyce Carol Oates, prolific novelist and essayist, is a dizzying hall-of-mirrors where she presides over a literary seance, calling from the deep five legends of American letters: Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Mark ...more
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Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut
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Vonnegut’s harrowing essay on the Dresden bombing, “Wailing Shall Be in All Streets,” is the highlight and centerpiece of this collection, and one of the best works of anti-war art I’ve read—something like the literary equivalent of Francisco Goya’s ...more
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The Enchantress Of Florence by Salman Rushdie
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Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
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Though 'Man in the Dark' shares themes with earlier Auster works (parallel worlds, author/character doubling, self-referential ‘reality’), the impact is underwhelming. Auster takes a few half-hearted swings at Bush and the Iraq war, but Auster’s book ...more
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Indignation by Philip Roth
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Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
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Still Life is sheer gobbledygook. Diverting for awhile, and then Tom Robbins' 'Look at me! I'm arch and clever' style becomes grating to the point of near-nauseau. I devoured the first half of the book like a decadent, creamy cake... and then Robbins ...more
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