Tag: recommended

  • Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room

    Giovanni’s RoomJames Baldwin When I was in my twenties, this was a favorite book of a number of friends. I don’t know why I never read it. This is Baldwin at the height of his powers writing with a kind of restraint that makes the themes of the novel even more explosive. I’m not literary […]

  • Review: Mantel’s Wolf Hall

    Wolf HallHilary Mantel The plan was to wait until all three books came out and then read them one right after the other. As other reviews this year will make clear, that didn’t happen. One down, two to go. This, Mantel’s first book on Cromwell is, you are not surprised to hear, brilliant. The writing […]

  • Review: Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

    What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Huruki Murakami Why did it take me so long to read this delightful little book? Perhaps because while I admire Murakami’s fiction, I don’t really like it. This book has a certain oddness to it, it is so straight forward, filled with such short, careful, deliberative, […]

  • Review: Barry’s The Great Influenza

    The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History John Barry Started this book right in the heart of it. Mid-April, New York City. Only leaving the apartment late at night to run around an empty Prospect Park. This is an incredible work, both a detail history of the greatest modern pandemic before […]

  • Review: Nutt’s Drink

    Drink? The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health David Nutt Checked this out after it received glowing praise from Tyler Cowen and it was well worth it. Drink is an investigation into our relationship with alcohol and it’s historical importance, especially focused on England. But the main thrust of the book is a detailed investigation […]

  • Review: Homie by Danez Smith

    Home: Poems Danez Smith I’m as surprised as anyone to say that I have a couple of favorite contemporary poets. For most of my life I didn’t pay much attention to this world, but now I follow the work of a couple of poets pretty carefully including Morgan Parker, Ilya Kaminsky and the brilliant Danez […]

  • Koestler’s Arrival and Departure

    Arrival and Departure Arthur Koestler A taught little novel about intrigue and politics in a town of transients and refugees. Our protagonist is a leftist hero, who has left the growing dictatorship in his country to either return to fight on the side of justice or flee to an apolitical life across the sea. He […]

  • Review: Manchette’s Ivory Pearl

    Ivory Pearl Jean-Patrick Manchette The master of the noir novels final, unfinished, work Ivory Pearl was supposed to be the start a new, expansive series using the espionage novel as a means to talk about the revolutions and uprisings of the post WWII years. Manchette died before he could finish it, but what he left […]

  • Review: Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

    The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison I am embarrassed to admit that until this year, the only Toni Morrison book I have read was Beloved. I’m determined to change that. And being me, I started at the beginning with Bluest Eye. Good lord it is stunning. A clear eyed, visceral, look into a black community in […]

  • Review Manchette’s The Mad and the Bad

    The Mad and the Bad Jean-Patrick Manchette A woman with mental problems is sprung from a hospital to watch a child heir. A tortured assassin with a bad ulcer is hire to make a murder like look a kidnapping. Nobody gets what they’re expecting. Welcome to another crime novel by the mad genius Jean-Patrick Manchette […]