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In Praise of Shadows
4.13
For those of you who haven't read Tanizaki's novels, you're missing out. They're absolute revelations, and perfect for anyone trying to understand the ...more
Mar 2014
Mar 19, 2014
 
Memory, History, Forgetting
4.11
Phenomenology is often very hard to read, and Ricoeur is no exception. But despite that, all of Ricoeur's observations seem wise and measured. This is ...more
Jan 2009
Jan 11, 2009
 
Dream Story
3.78
It's German and decadent. I should have read it ages ago. In fact I intended to, but then when I was 18 or 19, right after I'd bought a copy, my siste ...more
Mar 2014
Mar 10, 2014
 
Là-Bas (Down There)
3.97
Huysmans is just as decadent and anti-modernist as I remember, bless him. Maybe he's not especially good at pointing the way to live one's life, but h ...more
Jul 2012
Jul 03, 2012
 
Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids
3.81
Kenzaburo Oe is a writer who always leads me to cinematic analogies-- David Lynch and Takashi Miike, primarily-- so I'm gonna make another.

What if you
...more
Mar 2014
Mar 19, 2014
 
The Garden of Evening Mists
4.08
I normally disparage these rather MFA-ish humanist-realist novels, but I was hoping the Malaysian take on the format might be a bit better. And The Ga ...more
Jul 2014
Jul 12, 2014
 
Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family
4.14
I'm not sure why people are so absolutely floored by Buddenbrooks, but it's definitely an impressive work-- a 900 page epic of a family that still cli ...more
Jun 2013
May 31, 2013
 
The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr Norris/Goodbye to Berlin
4.03
It's hard not to romanticize/fantasize about living in Weimar-era Berlin... the art, the decadence, the imminent doom of a society that will be genoci ...more
Feb 2013
Feb 14, 2013
 
Six Records of a Floating Life
3.77
When I read Chaucer for the first time, I thought "how contemporary this all is!" And when I read Shen Fu, I came to realize that he was a sort of Jac ...more
Mar 2012
Mar 25, 2012
 
Light in August
3.93
Light in August is the first Faulkner I've read in years, and it's everything wonderful I remembered-- the nightmarish poverty, the collision courses ...more
Apr 2013
Apr 10, 2013
 
Impressions of Africa
4.04
The basics of Impressions of Africa aren't much different than those of Locus Solus. Likewise, there's a dizzying array of curiosities, although in th ...more
Mar 2014
Mar 19, 2014
 
End Zone
3.64
Written over a decade before White Noise, it's a whole lot of DeLillo ideas in their embryonic forms. Nuclear war, metaphor upon metaphor, America as ...more
May 2014
May 18, 2014
 
Among Women Only
3.51
Perhaps you've seen Antonioni's seminal 1960 film L'Avventura? Wealthy, callous Italians fetishizing their vermouth-drenched ennui. And Cesare Pavese ...more
Sep 2015
Sep 23, 2015
 
All the Light We Cannot See
4.31
Yes, I know this was an acclaimed novel, and yes, it was clearly written by a talent with a well-developed eye for detail. And yet I can't get on boar ...more
Jan 2016
Jan 05, 2016
 
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
4.22
I'm a bit surprised I didn't get around to reading Manufacturing Consent years ago. I suppose I wasn't especially shocked by any of Chomsky's findings ...more
Jul 2014
Jul 07, 2014
 
Why Not Socialism?
3.48
The methodical techniques of analytical philosophy applied to the principles of socialism. It's about as honest a text as you can find, and its though ...more
May 2013
May 11, 2013
 
The Twyborn Affair
3.93
Misery! War! Sexuality! Anomie! Oh, modernists...

Echoes of Virginia Woolf throughout the entirety of the book. Patrick White could care less for the v
...more
Jul 2011
Jul 17, 2011
 
Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician
4.08
I read Ubu Roi in high school, and remember it as being rather surreal and wacky, but in his novel, Jarry is more or less stringing together Tom Waits ...more
Sep 2014
Sep 11, 2014
 
Zeno's Conscience
3.83
La Conscienza di Zeno is a long, odd, witty, uneven psychological novel about a guy named Zeno who can easily be described as a hapless motherfucker. ...more
Aug 2013
Aug 17, 2013
 
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
3.65
Dinaw Mengestu has written a fine, chilly, American novel set in the America of rundown used car lots and empty strip clubs, dead cities and their sub ...more
Feb 2014
Feb 10, 2014
 
Hebdomeros: With Monsieur Dudron's Adventure and Other Metaphysical Writings
4.03
There's a certain type of surrealist writing that I call the "descriptive assault," in which images are simply hurled at the reader, and we are left t ...more
May 2013
May 07, 2013
 
The White Tiger
3.71
So THIS is what everyone's been talking about. My, it's fun to read! A bit shallow, for sure, but certainly fun. Let's start by taking the classic Wes ...more
Jun 2010
Jun 28, 2010
 
Songs of Enchantment
3.75
I read The Famished Road about 10 years ago, and finally got around to reading this fever dream of a follow-up. If you find Rushdie or Garcia Marquez ...more
Jun 2017
Jun 14, 2017
 
A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present
3.75
I'm afraid I don't know enough about the specifics of Japanese history to discuss the accuracy of this text, but it was an interesting enough introduc ...more
Oct 2016
Oct 19, 2016
 
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
3.60
As an account of Paris at the time, it's nowhere near as charming as A Moveable Feast. As a story about Alice B. Toklas, it's not really, it's a book ...more
May 2017
May 15, 2017
 
The Idiot
4.18
I'm not so sure about this one. Dostoyevsky, a man whose more existential and religious novels have always enthralled me, seems to have written a soap ...more
Oct 2014
Sep 29, 2014
 
The Soccer War
4.17
In his unmistakable style, in these mostly unconnected essays, Kapuscinski looks at the sheer weirdness of the world around him, whether he's covering ...more
May 2016
May 26, 2016
 
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
3.99
Very wise... it manages to inject a good deal of social theory into the world of science without reducing science to pure subjectivity. Naturally, it ...more
Aug 2008
Aug 06, 2008
 
Vertigo
4.02
Oh man, I love me some W.G. Sebald. This is the moodiest, most German shit imaginable, weaving an autobiographical narrative together with stories fro ...more
Feb 2009
Feb 08, 2009
 
Silence: Lectures and Writings
4.25
Silence, how I wanted to like you. But there was so little to actually grasp onto. Some charming anecdotes, yes. But that was about it. Mostly, it was ...more
Nov 2013
Nov 17, 2013
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