book reviews

intro - book reviews

Jane Juska A Round-Heeled Woman
A moving memoir of an older woman embarking on a series of romantic and sexual adventures
02/2004
Joan Didion The White Album
The essayist's classic book on America's malaise in the 1960's - what does it mean to be a "great writer"?
02/2004
Vladimir Nabokov Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited
Beautiful, frustrating memoir of a Russian childhood at the beginning of the century, and twenty years of subsequent exile
01/2004
Alexandra Fuller Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Intense memoir of a young girl’s childhood in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia
01/2004
Anthony Swofford Jarhead
Harrowing and intense story of a thinking man’s indoctrination into the Marines
01/2004
Augusten Burroughs Running with Scissors
Horrific teenage years in anarchy and chaos
10/14/2003
Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes
A moving memoir of an impoverished childhood in Brooklyn and Limerick, Ireland
09/22/2003
C. S. Lewis The Complete Chronicles of Narnia
Seven loosely linked children’s classics about believable children in a magic world with a wonderful lion
06/23/2003
Norman Sims and Mark Kramer Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best American Nonfiction
Riveting real-life stories by sensitive, insightful writers
06/23/2003
Umberto Eco Baudolino
Warm-hearted congenital liar leads us on a fantastic journey through Europe around 1200.
06/16/2003
Elke Mascha Blankenburg Persönlichkeiten mit Taktstock: Ein gelungenes Buch zu Dirigentinnen
Dirigentinnen im 20. Jahrhundert: Porträts von Marin Alsop bis Simone Young von Elke Mascha Blankenburg, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 2003
06/13/2003
Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerard Writing Creative Nonfiction: Instruction and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs
A how-to book on writing the hot new genre: creative nonfiction
05/31/2003
Michael Herr Dispatches
Exploration of the masculine mystique around wartime fear, bravery, foolhardiness
05/19/2003
Mary McCarthy The Company She Keeps
Engrossing but uneven first novel on a "college girl" in New York in the 1930's
05/10/2003
Joyce Johnson Minor Characters
Moving chronicle of the Beat 1950's by one who had an affair with Jack Kerouac
05/04/2003
Jonathan Raban Old Glory
America’s impressive river as observed up close by an insightful British writer
04/06/2003
Louise Fitzhugh Harriet the Spy
A children’s book about observing and writing as a way of growing up, about both being in a group and being alone
03/22/2003
Mark Helprin Winter’s Tale
Magical realism hits New York in a massive, beautiful poetic novel
03/16/2003
Paul Robert Walker The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance
Inconsistent book about artistic rivalry in the construction of the cathedral in 15th century Florence
02/24/2003
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness
Short, spooky classic novel on the dark heart of colonialism in Africa – and the heart of darkness we all have within ourselves
02/17/2003
Frederick Crews Postmodern Pooh
Marvelous spoof of lit crit by means of Pooh and a fictitious MLA conference
02/03/2003
Jon Krakauer Into Thin Air
Mt. Everest mountaineering tragedy beautifully told
01/30/2003
E. L. Konigsburg From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Children’s novel about running away from home to the Metropolitan Museum: a classic from the 1970‘s
01/25/2003
Tobias Wolff This Boy’s Life
Memoir of a confused young boy - one who almost ends up on the wrong side of the tracks
01/22/2003
E.L. Doctorow Ragtime
A fascinating novel of decadence and the veneer of convention, of love and vengeance in the early 20th century
01/20/2003
Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own
An eminently readable and unfortunately still trenchant feminist essay – a long essay in the form of a short book
01/14/2003
Tom Wolfe Hooking Up
Self-important writer collects recent essays and a novella
01/12/2003
Thomas Bernhard The Loser
A radical, obsessed novel, ostensibly about Glenn Gould but really about life’s inevitable constant dead ends
01/05/2003
John le Carré A Perfect Spy
Tense and emotional novel about fathers and sons, identity and deception
01/02/2003
Geoffrey Wolff The Duke of Deception
Honest, straightforward autobiography of a man and his father in the first half of the 20th century
01/02/2003
Louis Menand American Studies
15 literary essays on American topics, e.g. Norman Mailer, the New Yorker, evolutionary psychology, by a Columbia professor
12/30/2002
Betsy Israel Bachelor Girl: The Secret History of Single Women in the Twentieth Century
Single women in the US over the last two centuries: many sources, many good quotes - but not a great book
12/30/2002
Helen DeWitt The Last Samurai
A single mother and her linguistically precocious son repeatedly watch The Seven Samurai to look for male role models and learn Japanese
12/20/2002
Richard Wertime Citadel on the Mountain: A Memoir of Father and Son
Son learns to confront his fear of his strict and domineering father only after his death
12/16/2002
Don DeLillo Mao II
This unsettling novel offers an unpleasant vision of emotional detachment in America 10 years ago
12/15/2002


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