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The Road to Character: The Humble Journey to an Excellent Life

The Road to Character is confused and contradictory. Brooks berates the lack of an inner life, in a culture in which he says, “the competition to succeed and win admiration is so fierce that it becomes all-consuming”.

Blood on Snow: A novel

You’d imagine there was far more meat to dig into, investigating a man who kills for a living; he does his best, but in the end, Olav doesn’t possess the sheer, page-turning magnetism of Harry Hole.

Smash Cut

Gooch’s story is compelling, his telling it not always so.

Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Hissing Cousins proves that being a Roosevelt, and a woman, is not a zero-sum game.

The Strays

This story of bohemian living is about more than champagne and cigars; the strong bonds, bleak outcomes and moral struggles of its central female characters give? The Strays its substance.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel

This is a heroic book marred by its determination to demonstrate high seriousness, which often collapses into pop philosophy. But for all its overstriving, this is a book you should read.

Signs Preceding the End of the World

Herrera’s great achievement lies in elevating the harsh epic of “crossing” to the “other side” to soaring myth.

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education

What I took from Robinson’s impassioned work is the never-ending need for innovation in education.

The Barefoot Lawyer

The book contains shocking details about the horrors of the Chinese penal system.

Downstream: A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames

Hurrah, then, for Caitlin Davies, who fearlessly dives into the Thames to restore its reputation as a source of pleasure and even sensuality.

The Dirty Dust: Cré na Cille

Translating Cré na Cille cannot have been easy. Titley is one of the few — in the world — who possesses the necessary combination of linguistic and literary skills required for the task, and he has made a difficult work readable and accessible in more ways than one.

Binary Star

Binary Star suspends us in this state, and our stomachs lurch only when the ride stops.

What You Left Behind: A Novel

Fortunately Lorraine is such a strong character that she easily carries the plot, making What You Left Behind (aka Before You Die) a pretty fun read over all.

After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction

That there aren’t more pieces like it, in the later decades of Ms. Adler’s career, is among the reasons her fiction is likely to have a longer shelf life.

The Other Joseph

Though the story remains quiet, the possibilities for disaster lurk everywhere.

Seiobo There Below

The seventeen pieces that make up Seiobo There Below are brilliantly crafted tesserae, but when we put all the pieces together the mosaic reveals more – more of Seiobo, more truth – than its individual parts.

How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading too Much

While it is often a pleasure to read Ellis’s takes on the books most of us already know and love, it feels rather tedious to hear her lengthy thoughts on unfamiliar books we’ll probably never seek out. In most cases she isn’t even trying to convince us that these are undiscovered gems.


I encourage you to buy this book and to read it, now. Let Coke’s activist poems speak to you, too. Do as I did: hear her environmentalist call. Let her language compel you. Let her knowledge convince you. And let yourself be a part of the family of things.

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed

Daum’s collection is at its best when it’s being the most transparent and unapologetic.