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J. Smallridge RSS Feed (Kansas City, MO USA)

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Grass Is Singing: A Novel
Grass Is Singing: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $8.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, January 26, 2014
This is one of those books that makes you gasp that someone could have been so talented when so young. Lessing's novel is ostensibly about land and the opening spaces afforded to the white community (and denied to the black community) in Zimbabwe during white-rule in that country. However, she makes the story so much more personal and claustrophobic by elevating the crisis facing Mary Turner in ways both dramatic and subtle. At almost every turn of phrase, I was impressed by Lessing's depictions, characterizations, and use of language.


Exiles in the Garden
Exiles in the Garden
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Just's Best, January 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I really like Ward Just's books. "Echo House" and "An Unfinished Season" are two of my favorite American novels. However, here I found Alec Malone to be a bit too whiny and Just's depiction of him a bit too cliche. Just's writing style is as sharp as ever, but I found myself caring less and less about what happens about half-way through the novel. This is still a decent read, but his other works are far superior.


Red Shift (New York Review Books Classics)
Red Shift (New York Review Books Classics)
Price: $8.40

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tough and Unrewarding, January 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of those books that I found to be a great idea, but poorly executed. The dialogue is jerky and hard to follow as are the time shifts. After a few instances of guessing (guessing wrong) and guessing again, it finally became too much work for this reader with too little payoff in the end. That said, I can see why this is a unique read and I may re-visit it later on.


The Maltese Falcon (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
The Maltese Falcon (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dated, But Still Excellent, January 26, 2014
There are dated elements to this classic (some of the dialogue, some of the character depictions). However, overall, this is a mystery that still works because of Hammett's excellent writing style and his ability to craft a compelling mystery that tricks a reader until the very end. For anyone seeking to better understand crime fiction, there probably is no better place to start.


The Burger Court: The Counter-Revolution That Wasn`t
The Burger Court: The Counter-Revolution That Wasn`t
by Anthony Lewis
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $2.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Collection, January 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent entry point into understanding the issues the Burger Court faced and the reasons for the various decisions the Supreme Court made during the Chief Justice tenure as leader. If a reader is looking for in-depth personal analysis, look elsewhere. However, if a reader is looking for a general overview, this is a good start.


The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Watterson
Edition: Hardcover
67 used & new from $84.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, January 26, 2014
I bought this box set for my wife and we both have read it and re-read it. The strips bring back such memories and feel new every time we open one of the volumes. This is a must have!


The Age of Grief
The Age of Grief
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stories, January 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Age of Grief (Kindle Edition)
This is a strong collection. Of course, "The Age of Grief" itself should get the most attention because of its length and its beauty. I found it thrilling that Smiley could create such depth in such short form, but she did in that story and it made question the characters' motives and their decisions.


The Good Terrorist (Vintage International)
The Good Terrorist (Vintage International)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Rich, January 26, 2014
I really enjoyed this book because Lessing demonstrates here what it is like to be young, political, and female. I found myself not liking a single character (and doubt that Lessing herself could have liked some of them), but because the author is so gifted at crafting sentences and dialogue, the work kept my attention throughout. In the end, I found this novel to be a cutting look at where ideas meet action, style meets life.


The Round House
The Round House
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Novel, January 26, 2014
This review is from: The Round House (Kindle Edition)
This is one of the most haunting, beautiful novels I've read in recent years. Despite the weight of the subject matter, by crafting this novel as a mystery, Erdich pushes a reader deeper and deeper into a world that feels both real and foreign. This and Richard Ford's Canada were two of the best books I read in 2013.


Dark Passage
Dark Passage
by David Goodis
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from $25.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Written, January 26, 2014
This review is from: Dark Passage (Hardcover)
Goodis delivers another terrific novel with "Dark Passage." His writing style is sharp, clear, and devastating. Additionally, his characters reveal a loneliness that leaves a reader compelled and saddened by every page. What I appreciated most in this story is how an individual funds himself in a situation and must try to overcome it -- the reader roots for him despite often knowing that fate can be decided long before action is undertaken.


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