"Masterful dialogue, ever-increasing tension, bizarre otherworldly characters. You know about all of these if you've read Nothomb before. This is her earliest, maybe not her best, but you can see her developing themes she will often return to. Her writing is already beautifully polished."
"Benchley is almost forgotten and it's a shame, because he's one of the funniest writers I've encountered. Timeless ruminations on the annoyances of everyday life. Hilarious befuddlement with the world around us."
"An interesting idea and a strange, maniacal Nabokovian plot, but overall this one fell flat for me. I've loved every other Nabokov but this one--something about the narrator's endless ruminations inside his own head got tiresome after a while."
"What more can be said about this book? Flawless prose, unforgettable characters, and some truly heartbreaking unexpected turns in the way the narrator experiences the world. It's too hard to describe its greatness; just read it."
"My favorite Nabokov after Pale Fire. Typical sly Nabokovian games are largely absent. Instead this is a gentle, almost loving story of a man in search of his brother. Feels like Nabokov's most personal work."
"A lot of stand-up comics don't translate well on the page. Then there's Demetri Martin. His brand of brainy humor excels in print--he's doing the kind of humor writing I wish there were more of lately--literate, unexpected, and above all well-written."
"This is the year I finally left retail, and I'm never looking back. If you've ever been in that hell, this book will make you laugh and cringe with recognition. Futility is much funnier when you're not embroiled in it."
"One of my favorite Dahls. I love it for its lack of anything remotely edifying for children: it's basically the story of two horrible people who are horrible to each other and subsequently suffer a gruesome demise. Nothing else like it in children's lit!"
"A man dwells on details while on an errand to buy shoelaces. A lovely, joyful book which will make you love life through its every little annoyance and the excruciating details of human activity. Plus, it's something of a history of the 20th century through straws, hand dryers, shopping bags, etc."
"This book blew me away. The story of the demise of an autocrat, the emperor of Ethiopia, told through his closest servants and lackeys. The narrative voice is persistently praiseworthy, but you can hear the cries of the oppressed through the propaganda rhetoric. A story about corruption and power, and how tyranny is ultimately doomed."
"An exploration of the life of the author's mother after her suicide. The story is told in a calculatedly cold manner, which sometimes lost me--many sentences composed entirely of abstractions. Towards the end, this facade crumbles, and only then is it truly touching."
"A powerful exploration of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and its aftermath. Told from everyone's perspective (Booth, his brother, Lincoln, the conspirators, the actors at Ford's theatre, Andrew Johnson, Mrs. Lincoln, the list goes on). The detail is extraordinary, the characters drawn to the tiniest detail. Truly amazing stuff."
"I almost can't describe it. This is how biographies should be: brief sketches of famous authors, highlighting select eccentricities and moments. Each one is a jewel--you learn so much about a person in just a few pages. I don't know how Marias does it."
"The story of each 19th century presidential assassination is bizarre, and the effect of having them all in one book is even more so. Vowell focuses on the tourism sites that have sprung up around each slain president, and her fascination with them."
"Weinberger writes strange little essays about little things: the wind, people named Chang, the language of amazon tribes, etc. He also retells some interesting myths from around the world. His writing style is clear, simple, precise."
"Joan Didion is really something special. Her candidness makes her feel very close to my heart. This memoir is more about aging than her daughter's death, and I am grateful for it--it opened my eyes to the mindset of the elderly like nothing else has."
"Another candid grief memoir. de Beauvoir tries to understand her mother through a meditation on her death. A daughter's love comes through on every page. She is unsentimental and honest about her mother and their relationship, and it is very beautiful."
"More of this amazing series. Gonick has a talent for making often confusing histories very concise and easy-to-follow. He also traces how one thing lead to another in a logical precise way that's better than most history classes I've been in."