Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist It’s been a long while since I’ve read anything this wonderful, engrossing, or disturbing.  It’s been years since I’ve read anything this good. Let The Right One In is everything that you think it is, and nothing that you think it is.  Vampires, you think.  Well, […]

Anagrams, by Lorrie Moore

This is the last, best novel you will ever read. The last you will ever need to read; you could just read it over and over again, filled with the crushing immensity of its hope, despair, and comedy. You will read other fiction, eventually. And then you will feel guilty. “Life is sad. Here is […]

Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk ends up telling the same story over and over again in his books. What’s astonishing is how fresh and gut-wrenchingly surprising (sorry) his approaches are. Even in his most tired formulations (sorry, Haunt), it’s still worth reading till the end. It doesn’t hurt that the basic “story” Palahniuk tells over and over again […]

Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures

Who says you can’t craft a totally compelling story around a horned dog named after an imaginary card game? Walter Moers’ 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear was most excellent, and this book surpasses even that. It’s cartwheeling, free-associating, spectacle-topping, coincidence-breaking fun, pure and simple. Though of course it isn’t simple. Nothing in Zamonia is, […]

Watching, Reading, Learning

Saw and read lots of things. Same old story. Here, let’s think. Watched Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, which I thoroughly enjoyed; was at times an uncomfortable enjoyment, but that’s I think what Cronenberg was going for, mood-wise. Excellent performances all around, with what you might call a tightly-crafted script. This is a movie that […]

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, by Lydia Millet, ends up being a disappointment, but only because the last few hundred pages pale in comparison to the incomprehensible brilliance of the first 250. Honestly, the beginning is outstanding, so it’s not really Millet’s fault that the rest can’t compare. Once you bring the three forefathers of […]

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond In all likelihood you do not need me to tell you that this is a fascinating and well-written book, so I won’t dwell on the obvious. It’s a book I’ve been encouraged to read on numerous occasions and, having read it, I’m not disappointed. One thing I found […]

Girl in the Flammable Skirt

Girl in the Flammable Skirt, by Aimee Bender This is as entertaining a collection of stories as any, and one of them is enough to get you hooked (or ought to be, anyway). The title is catchy—it’s what caught my attention—but is also interesting for the fact that the eponymous story is possibly the weakest […]

Capsule Reviews: Long Emergency & Dance Dance Dance

The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler Kunstler is as proficient a thinker as he is a writer, so it comes as a surprise that his newest book doesn’t quite work. The topic—society’s reliance on oil, and the problem of what happens when it runs out—is certainly an important one. Part of the problem undoubtedly […]

Il Dottore

Il Dottore by Ron Felber First things first: as an account of a true story, Il Dottore is fascinating. And it’s obvious that author Ron Felber had a blast writing it. (Seriously, though—who wouldn’t?) But whereas Il Dottore makes gains based on the inherently fascinating story of mob connections, double lives, and what-have-you, it takes […]