Browsing All posts tagged under »book review«

My favorite book of 2015

December 21, 2015

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I read 47 books this year. Man, reading books is so awesome. Too many people, I fear, stop reading books because they’re busy keeping up with magazines. (Or they read neither!) Better to achieve a balance of both. But it’s difficult. Of the books I read this year, these were especially outstanding: The Splendid Things We Planned, Blake […]

The best books I read in 2014

December 28, 2014

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As my free time to write at this blog gets more and more limited, I’m slimming down my annual books post to just the very best one or two. I wish I could devote a beefy writeup to all ten of these, but there’s no time; such is the reality. I read 38 books this year, 18 of which were […]

Nobody’s Fool, book vs. movie

August 13, 2011

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I had read Richard Russo’s short stories in The New Yorker, but never any of his novels. He was always, to me, one of those authors my mom was always reading. She loved Bridge of Sighs and recommended it to all her friends, and there’s a large hardcover of Empire Falls somewhere in our house. […]

Next

July 29, 2011

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When the latest novel by James Hynes opens, its protagonist Kevin Quinn is on a plane, landing in Texas, for a job interview. He’s thinking (worrying) about terrorist attacks. He’s imagining the most grisly, horrible ways that a terrorist could shoot down the plane from ground-level and kill them all. It’s interesting, I suppose, and […]

The Deal From Hell

June 20, 2011

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When the Tribune Company bought the Times Mirror Company in 2000 (basically a hostile takeover, hardly the “merger” that many called it), the reporters of both the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times alike were none too pleased. Now James O’Shea, who was an editor for both papers, has written the story of that troubled marriage, […]

Popular novels come in pairs

May 31, 2011

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I know this is an oversimplification that will annoy people, but here goes: novels, it seems to me, often become popular in pairs, by subject matter. It’s happened three times that I can think of in recent years (I’m sure there are many more examples but I’m thinking only of cases where both novels have […]

In a Strange Room

May 14, 2011

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“It happens like this.” So begins Damon Galgut’s Booker-shortlisted novel In a Strange Room. It’s very matter-of-fact, isn’t it, and indeed this sets a tone for the rest of the book—events occur, the protagonist travels around, but there is little time wasted on analysis or explanation for his travels, or the motivation, or the reasoning. […]

Mr. Peanut

May 9, 2011

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When you get a few pages into Adam Ross’s debut novel, you think, ‘Okay, this is a murder mystery.’ A whodunnit. And it is that, but it’s also much more. The novel is a book within a book, and within that, it’s three stories, intertwining and doubling back on themselves, about three men and their […]

C and Remainder

January 5, 2011

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I didn’t know what to expect with Tom McCarthy’s new novel C, and was a little nervous to read it because I had heard it was so full of science and technical terms. Also, I avoid historical novels. This is not one, as it turns out. Or, at least, yes, it’s a fascinating bildungsroman told […]

Unaccustomed Earth

December 5, 2010

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Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, blew me away. She builds on the strengths of Interpreter of Maladies and explores, often, the same themes but to an even more crushing, gripping degree. She leaves you feeling emotionally devastated from a single thirty-page story. She’s an incredible writer, and among so many talents (subtlety, for […]

Letting Go

December 1, 2010

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That Philip Roth is one of the best writers alive may not be up for debate. There are those who might not be fans of his long-winded style, as well as many who believe his writing is chauvinistic. But even most critics of his work acknowledge his enormous stature in the modern American canon; he […]

Never Let Me Go, book vs. movie

October 27, 2009

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This is a great novel and a terrific introduction to Ishiguro. Never Let Me Go really flows naturally, all under the narrator’s commanding voice, which is the book’s biggest strength. It eases you in, then surprises you. As for the plot “secret,” I’m not even sure I would tout that part of it when recommending […]

The Humbling

October 18, 2009

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Philip Roth’s new novel has only been out a couple weeks now, but I knew I had to read it right away. It was a quick, breezy read—a tiny novella, like Indignation in its almost aggravating brevity—that only clocks in at 140 pages. And those are small pages with absurdly large type. To get to […]

Downtown Owl

October 8, 2009

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Klosterman’s non-fiction is great, as so many of his fans know, but he has stuck with the same authorial voice for his first attempt at a novel, and it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t work, but still the novel manages to entertain. It grabs you, though you never get sucked in enough to ignore the […]

The Abstinence Teacher

December 26, 2008

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I’m not quite sure what went wrong for author Tom Perrotta this time around. I happen to have really liked the two books I read by him before this one. Joe College was heartfelt, funny, and pretty deep for a story ostensibly about such lighthearted fare as college social life. And Little Children—I say this […]

The White Tiger

November 29, 2008

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When Aravind Adiga’s novel The White Tiger nabbed the Booker earlier this year, I knew I had to read it right away. The book was compared to Invisible Man and Native Son, two towering works of racial/cultural tension that I enjoyed (more the Ellison). Plus, it was getting rave reviews. But it was also stirring […]

Indignation

November 29, 2008

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Philip Roth is almost perfect (there’s just the problem of the ending) in his pacing of this enthralling little story. And although it’s very short, and bitterly angry in tone, it’s instantly one of my top three Roth titles. For what it’s worth, these are the other Roth novels I’ve read, in order: The Human […]

Then We Came to the End vs. Personal Days

August 10, 2008

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When I was in Dublin, I discovered (on the bestseller shelf at Hodges Figgis) the debut novel by Joshua Ferris, an office drone who apparently decided to write a book about his hilarious (but often distressing) workplace experiences. I went home and read the Times review, which was extremely positive. Then I went back and […]

Divisadero

July 25, 2008

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I was not excited to read this book. It was chosen as the new selection for our book club at my office (a book club I started) and I had never read anything by Michael Ondaatje before. I saw the film version of The English Patient and was not entertained. I also asked my mom […]