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The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion
really liked it
Daum explores a lot of dark places in her own mind and heart but the essays always seem to end on an optimistic note. It's so subtle you don't feel li ...more
Nov 11, 2014
Nov 11, 2014
Continental Drift
liked it
When I saw Russell Banks speak at the Brooklyn Book Festival a few years ago, he read a couple of passages from Continental Drift. He prefaced his rea ...more
Mar 2010
Mar 01, 2010
Stone Arabia
it was ok
My take on this book: meh. But I'm having an incredibly hard time articulating why I was so wearied and largely unimpressed by what should have, by al ...more
May 31, 2011
May 18, 2011
Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm
really liked it

Before there was Jane Goodall, or even Tarzan and King Kong, the gorilla was a creature of mystery. The beast’
Mar 03, 2013
Mar 12, 2013
Michelle: A Biography
it was ok
Early in this biography of Michelle Obama by Washington Post reporter Liza Mundy, the author confesses a significant impediment to her project: "the c ...more
Oct 20, 2008
Nov 15, 2008
Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship
liked it
I felt a little stymied by some of the editorial choices Sundaram makes in this compelling but highly subjective book. His suspicion of the Rwanadan g ...more
Jan 10, 2016
Jan 16, 2016
The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons: Selected Stories
really liked it
Born in Tehran in 1939, Goli Taraghi was a teenager during Iran’s 1953 coup and a grown woman during the 1979 revolution. Both upheavals feature promi ...more
Oct 23, 2013
Oct 28, 2013
The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives
liked it
What I liked about this book: Its storytelling. Vedantam rounds up all kinds of anecdotes and interviews all kinds of characters to look at how the un ...more
Jul 05, 2011
Jul 21, 2011
The Handmaid's Tale
really liked it
Finally read this classic for the first time-- I think I would've made even more of an impression had I read it in high school or college, but it stil ...more
not set
Jun 06, 2017
Falling in Love with Joseph Smith: Finding God in the Unlikeliest of Places
it was ok
Idiosyncratic and unfocused, Barnes’s account is part prattling confessional, part foggy revisionist historiography.
Jul 31, 2012
Aug 05, 2012
Praying Drunk
really liked it
Repetition—of words, phrases, and entire thoughts—is what gives prayer its force, so it’s only fitting that in Praying Drunk, preacher-turned-novelist ...more
Feb 17, 2014
Mar 02, 2014
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
liked it
I understand why this book has a cult following: McDougall manages to elevate the perfectly boring, utterly commonplace modern-day pastime of recreati ...more
Mar 18, 2012
May 02, 2010
Armenian Golgotha
it was amazing

On April 24, 1915, some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested in Constantinople. Grig
Nov 10, 2009
Oct 07, 2009
Drink, Play, F@#k: One Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand
it was ok
This book is nothing if not a conversation starter -- especially if (like me) you're happy for an excuse to rant about the horrors of the Eat Pray Lov ...more
not set
Mar 17, 2009
liked it
Written in 1939 but only now translated into English for the first time, Osamu Dazai’s Schoolgirl—a slim, precocious novella narrated by a schoolgirl ...more
Mar 15, 2012
Feb 08, 2012
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (The Taliban Shuffle MTI): Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan
liked it
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a pretty entertaining movie but it's not nearly as interesting as this book. This is a first-hand account of what it was like ...more
Mar 06, 2016
Mar 26, 2016
One Last Thing Before I Go
really liked it
Yes, this is a made-for-Hollywood dramedy (in May, Paramount closed a seven-figure deal for screen rights to the novel), but it’s hardly canned. Tropp ...more
Aug 03, 2012
Aug 05, 2012
The Buried Giant
really liked it
I understand why lots of people hate this book. It's weird. The foggy plot and the and the old-timey dialogue hold the reader at arm's length. But the ...more
Apr 17, 2015
Apr 20, 2015
Beautiful Losers
did not like it
Astoundingly terrible.
May 14, 2012
May 06, 2012
Memories of a Marriage
liked it
Why do marriages fail? When Philip, the aging protagonist of Louis Begley’s new novella, runs into Lucy de Bourgh at the New York Ballet, he is surpri ...more
Jul 02, 2013
Sep 14, 2013
Red Spectres: Russian Gothic Tales from the Twentieth Century
liked it

Readers familiar with Chekhov, Gogol, Pushkin or Turgenev have already tasted some 19th-century Russian gothic
Apr 21, 2013
May 08, 2013
Lightning Field
liked it
There's something very sad and grubby about this smartly observed, funny and dark novel. Mina, the novel's main character, and her old friend Lorene p ...more
May 16, 2011
May 18, 2011
Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture
it was ok
Public Produce argues for a systematic overhaul to the way in which Americans grow and process their food. City planner Darrin Nordahl is concerned ab ...more
not set
Oct 07, 2009
The Girl in the  Photograph
really liked it
Despite its title, Lygia Fagundes Telles’s The Girl in The Photograph is really about three young women. They are Lia, Ana Clara, and Lorena—college ...more
Nov 29, 2012
Dec 01, 2012
it was ok
I stumbled upon this at the Brooklyn Festival of the Book and was so intrigued by the Norman Mailer blurb (which I present to you below in full) that ...more
Jan 02, 2009
Sep 27, 2008
The Valley of Masks
really liked it
This book completely cast a spell on me. Tarun Tejpal creates an entire mini-civilization hidden away somewhere on the Indian subcontinent; the novel ...more
Dec 23, 2011
Dec 23, 2011
A Pimp's Notes
liked it
Faletti’s cunningly plotted story of power and corruption among Italy’s elite unfolds in late 1970s Milan. “I don’t gamble or play cards, so I don’t w ...more
Jul 05, 2012
Aug 05, 2012
it was ok
The first 300 pages of this book irritated me to no end. I couldn't get into any of the characters. It annoyed me that Patty was billed as a star athl ...more
Jan 2011
Jan 21, 2011
Dragon Fighter - One Woman′s Epic Struggle for Peace With China
it was amazing
"What China is deceitfully not revealing to the outside world is that it is so successful financially only because it does not play by the rules of j ...more
Apr 21, 2009
Apr 10, 2009
Bright Lights, Big City
it was ok
I read this book and thought, huh, people really did do a lot of cocaine in New York in the 80s.

Bright Lights, Big City has all the despair cloaked in
not set
Aug 28, 2009
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