Book Reviews

Visit our Recommended Reading page in the Kids section for reviews of children's books >

In the future, mankind has avoided self-destruction by a hair's breadth. Organized religions have been outlawed. Ultrafast transportation has rendered geographical nations irrelevant. Society has been rebuilt according to the ideals of 18th century Enlightenment philosophy. The world's most notorious criminal—serving a sentence in service to any who command—and a sensayer (a spiritual therapist and guide) discover a child who can perform miracles, with the power to irrevocably change the nature of reality itself. And a brazen theft threatens to expose secrets that could topple the world's greatest powers.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer is a near perfect blend of science fiction and philosophy.

Eugene O’Neill’s first professionally produced play, a one-act play entitled “Bound East for Cardiff,” premiered in 1916, first at the small Provincetown (MA) playhouse, then in New York.  The play has personal significance for me as it was my introduction to O’Neill, back in the sophomore year of high school.  Following that introduction, I went on something of an O’Neill binge, reading a large portion of O’Neill’s oeuvre, starting with his four “Glencairn” plays.  Following “Bound East,” O’Neill wrote three more one-act plays (“The Moon of the Carribees,” “In the Zone,” and “Long Voyage Home”) about the crew of the Glencairn, a merchant ship operating in the Atlantic during WWI. 

I'm not sure I've ever had a novel recommended to me more highly, more insistently, by more people, than The Force by Don Winslow. More than one person has told me it's the best book of the year. More than one has told me it's the best cop novel ever written. Promo materials claim it's nothing less than The Godfather of cop novels. I've never been interested in gritty cop novels but I was eager to read this one. My conclusion, in a nutshell:

Yeah, it's that good.

The Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, was especially known for his witty control of and deft use of the English language, and nowhere does he demonstrate this facility with English better than in the play, The Importance of Being Earnest.  The title itself, with its pun on “earnest” and “Ernest,” with all its characters often very “earnest,” but not always or consistently truthful, gives a hint to the reader and viewer what craziness will ensue. 

The greatest challenge about reviewing Jerusalem by Alan Moore is summarizing what it's about. This isn't a traditional novel and it doesn't deliver a normal story. The plot is meandering, almost vestigial in some sections. Setting is paramount—language, tone, atmosphere, characters: all of these matter far more than mere plot.

I've come to think of this book as being akin to the Bayeux Tapestry—a sprawling and artistically audacious account of a place and its people. It's a love letter to a neighborhood as only Moore can write it.

Pages