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Palo Alto
did not like it
Utter, utter dreck. Worse than I expected, even. All the stories are the same thing -- young kids at parties, drinking and getting high. Or else they' ...more
Jan 14, 2011
Jan 13, 2011
liked it
Definitely compelling -- once we get to the storm. The book starts off pretty slow and unsatisfying. Eggers needs to establish these characters, needs ...more
May 14, 2011
May 12, 2011
The Age of Grief
really liked it
I read the title novella earlier this year and to say I loved it would be an understatement, so I thought I'd check out the collection. It's an unfair ...more
Jun 02, 2011
May 31, 2011
Bullet Park
liked it
What an intensely odd novel. The old adage that each novel teaches you how to read as you go doesn't really ring true here; Bullet Park shifts modes a ...more
Aug 17, 2011
Aug 14, 2011
After Rain
really liked it
Excellent. Very excellent. Reminded me of Salter especially, has a Cheever feel as well -- very confident, controlled, quiet, etc. Like Last Night, se ...more
Feb 20, 2011
Feb 14, 2011
really liked it
Dang. Really interesting. Poetically written, well controlled. Dips into abstraction but returns to the story just in time. I missed the first person ...more
Jun 15, 2011
Jun 14, 2011
Who Will Run The Frog Hospital?
it was ok
Didn't really work for me. Sentimental, for one thing. Also, I just can't really see Lorrie Moore as a novelist. Or, rather, she just hasn't shown her ...more
Dec 16, 2011
Dec 16, 2011
Richard Yates
did not like it
Good lord what a dirge. Irritating doesn't quite describe it; infuriating may be overstating. This is the story of Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fannin ...more
Mar 23, 2011
Mar 23, 2011
Mourner at the Door
did not like it
Holy, holy, holy lord. This was flat-out horrible. I'll read some of Lish's other, earlier work before making too harsh a judgement against him as a w ...more
Aug 13, 2011
Aug 12, 2011
Super Sad True Love Story
liked it
Totally convincing, and thus really depressing. I rarely find a book depressing, but this one was too real to not be. Sure, it's funny, but it's more ...more
Jun 03, 2011
Jun 02, 2011
Wives and Lovers
liked it
I think this is a case of a good writer I happen not to like if not a collection I happen not to like from a writer I might. Because Bausch isn't all ...more
Jan 09, 2011
Jan 06, 2011
The Unnamed
did not like it
Hugely disappointing, especially after Ferris' debut. What's immediately striking here is how awful the sentences are. Describing winter snow on the v ...more
Dec 06, 2011
Dec 04, 2011
The Handmaid's Tale
liked it
Dumb. I mean, Atwood's a good writer, but this was not my cup of tea. Do we need another 1984? Well, maybe. Some people might have said the same thing ...more
Feb 13, 2011
Feb 10, 2011
Caribou Island
liked it
Certainly powerful, though not in the way Legend was. There are a lot of parallels to Vann's story collection, though this didn't bother me. The land/ ...more
Mar 28, 2011
Mar 25, 2011
Felicia's Journey
really liked it
Liked it. Effortless and enjoyable, impressive writing. My biggest complaint is the pacing. For a 200-page novel, this felt slow. It felt like a novel ...more
Jan 21, 2011
Jan 18, 2011
Sequoia Gardens: California Stories
really liked it
Real good. Definitely worth reading for anyone interested in California fiction. Some of the stories are better than others, and none of the endings r ...more
Jun 13, 2011
Jun 09, 2011
really liked it
Lean, spare, blah blah. Really enjoyed this. There's a crazy suppression of emotion here, and yet still I care about the characters. Salter just lets ...more
Mar 21, 2011
Mar 17, 2011
Orientation: And Other Stories
liked it
If this book suffers from one thing, it's a lack of cohesion. Which maybe shouldn't be an issue with a story collection; others might praise its polyp ...more
Sep 12, 2011
Sep 07, 2011
The Angler's Coast
really liked it
A nice, somewhat reflective collection of narrative essays about fly-fishing. Chatham is a good/evocative writer and, unless he's a liar, an incredibl ...more
Jul 12, 2011
Jul 07, 2011
Play It as It Lays
it was amazing
Awesome. Liked it even better the second time around. This inspired a generation of (er, a few) women writers, especially Mary Robison, and also Lydia ...more
Dec 07, 2011
Dec 07, 2011
it was ok
The writing was really good here, but overall I thought the book was pretty boring. I remember thinking it started being boring at precisely page 80. ...more
Jun 09, 2011
Jun 03, 2011
Cloud Atlas
liked it
Lots and lots of mixed feelings about this one. The NYTimes review sort of nailed it, if you want to go Google that; I'll wait. First, it's impossible ...more
Apr 17, 2011
Apr 12, 2011
The English Major
really liked it
Fantastic. Simply lovely to read. Not much at all happens, per Harrison's frequent MO. A divorced man drives west from Michigan, tossing a US map puzz ...more
May 31, 2011
May 27, 2011
Lightning Rods
it was ok
An all-around disappointment. After The Last Samurai, which was sprawling, eclectic, scattered, developed, and most importantly moving, DeWitt goes in ...more
Nov 13, 2011
Nov 08, 2011
Silent Seasons: Twenty-One Fishing Stories
really liked it
A really enjoyable collection. Also a really lovely, well put-together collection. Sketches from Russell Chatham are tastefully scattered throughout. ...more
Jul 16, 2011
Jul 11, 2011
A Visit from the Goon Squad
liked it
I'm definitely of two minds about this book. On the one hand, it's eclectic, varied, multifaceted, and Egan pulls off (almost) everything she attempts ...more
Dec 12, 2011
Dec 09, 2011
A Thousand Acres
liked it
Again, this didn't really work for me. Writing was good, but I got bored with all the flashbacks and introspection. It's weird, I feel like this shoul ...more
Jul 07, 2011
Jun 29, 2011
A Good Day to Die
really liked it
Pretty good. Beatific. It took me a bit to get into this, as it's somewhat different from Harrison's later/recent stuff. Short, choppy sentences, and ...more
Nov 22, 2011
Nov 14, 2011
Black Water
really liked it
Real good. Great writing. Good rhythm, appropriate to the subject matter, etc. The big problem here is the way Oates toys with the reader. Can't reall ...more
Feb 03, 2011
Jan 24, 2011
Wolf: The Lives of Jack London
liked it
Suffers (?) from the same thing as most recent London bios, which is that it spends most of its time refuting what's already been said, scrubbing Lond ...more
Sep 07, 2011
Sep 06, 2011
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