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Die Wahlverwandtschaften
3.75
it was amazing
I read this beautiful novel in German. Though I might have objected to how structured it is, so full of symbols and echoes, in the hands of a master l ...more
Jul 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Last Train to Istanbul
3.83
did not like it
I would never have opened this book if it hadn’t been given to me by a good friend. I consider it my duty, then, to read it – but not to give it a goo ...more
Jan 16, 2012
Oct 28, 2011
 
The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation
4.00
liked it
The Origins of Virtue is a non-technical discussion of the evolutionary aspects of cooperation and altruism. That being an extremely complex subject ( ...more
Jan 20, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Red Azalea
3.84
it was amazing
At one point in this memoir, Anchee Min quotes the proverb "Poverty gives birth to evil personalities". This book shows that happening, but it is not ...more
Jan 07, 2011
May 29, 2011
 
Tom-All-Alone's
3.41
liked it
Is it "fanfic" or the more grecolatinate "intertextuality"? It's clever, anyway. I guess I just didn't find it clever enough to justify its lack of ot ...more
not set
Nov 16, 2012
 
Pêcheur d'Islande
3.84
really liked it
“Un de ces jours, oui, je ferai mes noces, mais avec aucune des filles du pays ; non, moi, ce sera avec la mer, et je vous invite tous, ici tant que v ...more
May 22, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Miramar
3.81
it was amazing
This is above all a social novel, a cross section of how people lived and experienced their relationships to society in Alexandria in the 1960s; and a ...more
Sep 30, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
The Return of the Soldier
3.70
it was ok
This book didn't start very promisingly. I'm not immediately inclined to follow along with the reflections of a narrator whose sole self-appointed tas ...more
Aug 02, 2009
May 29, 2011
 
The House in the Uplands
3.16
did not like it
A ridiculously overheated melodrama set on a decaying southern plantation, featuring a prideful, spoiled young "aristocrat", his mother who encourages ...more
Jan 05, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
In a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages
4.07
liked it
Writers have a natural reason to find the minds of other writers interesting—hence, the proportion of literary figures represented among the heroes of ...more
Jul 23, 2012
Jul 17, 2012
 
Qu'est-ce que la littérature ?
3.66
liked it
This 1947 essay was fun to read, written with very lively force. As for its content, it's a long argument about the nature and purposes (these two bei ...more
Dec 24, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
War Trash
3.77
really liked it
This book is the "memoir" of the experiences of Yu Yuan, former student at the Huangpu Military Academy, during the Korean War, most of which he spend ...more
Feb 08, 2012
Jan 31, 2012
 
Suite Française
3.82
it was ok
The contents of this book naturally get a bit overshadowed by the dramatic circumstances under which it was written and published. However, I will wri ...more
Apr 12, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Fifth Chinese Daughter
3.75
liked it
One of the other reviewers called this book "propaganda", and I can see what led to that opinion. It certainly has the air of an old-fashioned Social ...more
Jan 25, 2012
Jan 23, 2012
 
Die Physiker
4.03
it was ok
This 1962 play is part of the wave of pessimism that followed the invention of the atomic bomb, one of the rare occasions in history that the total ex ...more
Sep 22, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
The Blind Owl
3.99
really liked it
As other readers have noted, the beginning of this novel reads like some pages from Edgar Allen Poe. It is the narration of a hyper-imaginative, morbi ...more
Jul 18, 2011
May 28, 2011
 
The Mountain of the Women: Memoirs of an Irish Troubadour
3.94
really liked it
This is a wonderful autobiography, frank and personal, lively and funny, giving due space to the show business world that made the author famous but r ...more
Jan 10, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Platero and I
3.77
it was amazing
A poet (Juan Ramón Jiménez), a donkey (Platero), a town in the Spanish countryside (Moguer). The author wanders with Platero, eating figs and quinces ...more
Oct 26, 2009
May 29, 2011
 
Lemprière’s Dictionary
3.68
liked it
One of the back cover quotes uses the word "extravaganza" to describe this novel, and that's apt, to describe its ambitious conception, its set-piece ...more
Dec 20, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Alamut
4.30
Most of the promotional material for this historical novel has centered on claiming it as some sort of key to modern Islamic extremism, even calling i ...more
Jan 23, 2012
Jan 31, 2012
 
Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts
3.39
really liked it
Eine reizende Geschichte. Ganz passend ist, dass ein halbes Dutzend Volkslieder darin sind, da das Ganze selbst wie ein Volkslied ist, voller grüne Wi ...more
Jun 2009
May 28, 2011
 
The Wind
3.50
really liked it
The Wind reminds me a bit of film noir or hard-boiled stories; the "movie" of the book is definitely black-and-white. The town (not named, I don't thi ...more
Jun 14, 2008
May 29, 2011
 
Autobiography of My Mother
3.73
My mother died at the moment I was born, and so for my whole life there was nothing standing between myself and eternity; at my back was always a blea ...more
May 29, 2007
May 28, 2011
 
Charms for the Easy Life
4.02
it was ok
It belongs to a genre that I'm not generally fond of, southern small-town stories of generational ties with eccentric characters; as the front cover b ...more
Dec 27, 2009
May 28, 2011
 
The Duchess of Malfi
3.61
I read this in high school, reread it recently, and finally appreciated just why it was truly radical in its day. It scathingly questions convention, ...more
Aug 15, 2006
May 28, 2011
 
Daemon in Lithuania
3.84
really liked it
A bizarrely comic, cheerful and slightly perverse story set in an imaginary eastern Europe; a cat the size of a huge dog, whose mesmerizing beauty and ...more
Jul 16, 2010
May 28, 2011
 
Filter House
3.99
really liked it
It’s no accident that the main characters of several of the stories in Filter House are children, and parenting is central to others. Nisi Shawl is an ...more
Jun 27, 2009
May 28, 2011
 
Farewell: A Mansion in Occupied Istanbul
3.90
it was ok
Excessive exposition may make for a graceless novel, but it's a fault I'm very glad of in this instance, since this book depends on the details of the ...more
Nov 26, 2011
Oct 28, 2011
 
The Lonely Londoners
3.61
really liked it
This book centers on a number of immigrants to London, mostly black West Indians. Most prominently there's Moses, who starts out the book with a grump ...more
Dec 18, 2009
May 28, 2011
 
The Limits of Vision
3.67
liked it
The narrator of this short novel is very intellectual and very well-read. I can't help relating to that (although I'm not familiar with some of the to ...more
Jul 02, 2008
May 29, 2011
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