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Week 56: Absalom, Absalom!

Absalom, Absalom! Book Review There are writers whose books take you into another place and hold you there, from the opening sentence until the moment, finally, when they release you. Alice Munro and the fictional town of Jubilee, Ontario. Harper Lee and Monroe County, Alabama. John Steinbeck and the Golden State of California. William [...]

By | 2018-09-06T23:20:21+00:00 July 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 55: The Shining – which is better, the book or the movie?

The Shining Book Review It says a lot about what you view as literature when you're surprised to find Stephen King included in a list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. But he's in there. And he deserves to be, if only for The Shining, his disturbing tale of marital tension, [...]

By | 2018-09-07T03:53:16+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 54: Sons and Lovers . . . and Mothers

Sons and Lovers Book Review I've always felt that if you're going to read D. H. Lawrence, you should start with Sons and Lovers, his seminal tale of passion, domestic conflict, working-class aspirations, and poverty. Set in the Nottingham coalfields at the turn of the last century, it's a story of becoming - becoming [...]

By | 2018-09-07T15:14:01+00:00 June 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Week 53: Eugene Onegin, in translation

Eugene Onegin, in translation book review It's often said that only those who know Russian can fully enjoy Alexander Pushkin's masterpiece, Eugene Onegin. They may be right. But until the time when you or I can read the original, I recommend Charles Johnston's translation, published in 1977 by Viking Press. For a non-Russian speaker [...]

By | 2018-09-07T15:30:41+00:00 June 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 52: Tales of Horror and Suspense – reviewing Edgar Allan Poe

Tales of Horror and Suspense: Reviewing Edgar Allan Poe The Fall of the House of Usher is 19 pages long. The Pit and the Pendulum is even shorter. By the standards of your average novel, these hardly make the grade. But, as David Rush writes in my edition of 1001 Books You Must Read [...]

By | 2018-09-07T15:38:43+00:00 June 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 51: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog book review When I was 23, I brought a copy of Ulysses with me to Greece and carried it around for five weeks. I never actually got around to reading it, but carrying it with me made me feel a cut above my fellow backpackers, most of whom were [...]

By | 2018-09-07T15:44:39+00:00 June 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 50: Portnoy’s Complaint

Portnoy's Complaint book review "So. Now you know the worst thing I have ever done. I fucked my own family's dinner." That line, one of the most memorable in modern literature, appears about halfway through Philip Roth's humorous, sexually explicit monologue, which is prefaced by the following clinical definition: "Portnoy's Complaint: A disorder in [...]

By | 2018-09-07T15:52:48+00:00 May 29th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 49: On the counterculture bus with Tom Wolfe

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test book review In 1967, at the peak of the Summer of Love, Tom Wolfe set out to chronicle the adventures of Ken Kesey and his followers, the Merry Pranksters. All he knew about Kesey at that point was that he was "a highly regarded 31-year-old novelist and in a [...]

By | 2018-09-07T16:00:42+00:00 May 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Week 48: A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms book review I always want to slap Hemingway's women. They never seem like fully realized characters. Unlike the men, who, while they may not always be admirable, at least are recognizably human. Hemingway believed that women, along with politics, drink, money and ambition, ruined a writer. So it's not surprising [...]

By | 2018-09-07T16:06:00+00:00 May 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|5 Comments