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My Salinger Year

The tepid story of a kid fresh out of grad school who comes to New York City to finally figure out that she wants to be a writer.

The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses

For all the seriousness of its subject, The Most Dangerous Book’s tone is positive, even heroic, not bleak. Birmingham has an eye for the good anecdote and the occasional snippet of humor that will help leaven his story.

The Sixteenth of June

The plot of The Sixteenth of June hums along at a quick pace. Lang’s writing is clear and self-assured, and despite being based on ULYSSES, it is a pleasure to read.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? and the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?

Individual passages show glimmers of the thoughtfulness and energy for which Eggers is justly celebrated. But how’s this for irony: The novel would have been better if its author had been less ambitious.

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary

This is extraordinary work, particularly if you have any interest at all in Beowulf and a study of all that can be found and debated about in this legendary poem.

Paper Lantern

The stories are all ambitious and complicated; some more successful than others.

Child of a Hidden Sea

This was a solid, enjoyable book, entirely appreciable on its own while setting up interesting hooks for future instalments.

All Day and a Night

This series seriously just keeps getting better and better.

The Quick

“The Quick” ultimately seems less the result of carefully considered craftsmanship than of an overrich imagination indiscriminately producing, producing, producing.

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis

Most readers will be entertained by Mr. Goetz’s story and acquire a cursory education in germs.

Midnight in Europe

Mr. Furst tells galloping good stories, and “Midnight in Europe” is one of them. But he never needs to end his books on notes of tragedy. History has done the job for him.

Mother Island

This is not a book to start reading late in the evening because once the first page is turned it is hard to put this gripping tale down again.

Cop Town: A Novel

Cop Town isn’t only a page-turning mystery, it’s also a glimpse into what the world must have been like for Southern women with ambitions outside of the home in the year I was born.

Bulletproof Vest

It's a stunning achievement, and it proves, beautifully, what the memoir can be.

The Walk Home: A Novel

Sieffert has captured a portrait of a family affected by love and loss perfectly, and despite how sad it is, I'm left with hope at the end of the novel that the walk home will be completed.

The Other Story

It’s an impressive piece of fiction that feels very true-to-life.

Tower Lord

Tower Lord is a loud proclamation that Anthony Ryan is David Gemmell’s natural successor and epic fantasy’s best British talent.

Brando's Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work

If Mizruchi doesn’t tell us everything about this troubled, brilliant artist, it’s because she can’t. Impossible to capture in prose, Brando is revealed only in his acting; he is a monster of art like Van Gogh or Bob Dylan.

The Extreme Life of the Sea

It doesn’t just shed light on some of the most mysterious workings of the sea; it does so with vivid prose while managing to convey scientists’ current understanding of how and why these phenomena operate.

The Empathy Exams

All of the essays are sophisticated investigations into the self-conscious way we construct stories about our identity, craft our “own mythology.”