Good Books: Reviews

dog-reading-bookEverybody and their dog is a book reviewer these days. I review the books I read because it helps me to understand and remember what I read.

Read a few of my reviews. If you like the kind of books I like, you’ll have a collection of good books to put on your list.

A book review is an opinion but I try to give reasons for my opinions so you can judge if I’m being fair. I usually don’t review books I didn’t like, because life is too short. So even when I’m critical of a book, if it’s on this list, it’s worthy of your attention.

 

Vietnam Era Shows its Age

This novel about America after the Vietnam War must have seemed more profound and insightful in the late 70’s. Now it seems worn and clichéd. Converse, a hard-bitten foreign reporter in Saigon buys three keys of heroin and attempts to … Continue reading

Astrophysics in a Nutshell

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s short (222 page) book on astrophysics is attractive in a 4.5 x 7.5- inch format (hardbound). Just looking at it you get the impression it would be easy and fun to read. If you have some science … Continue reading

Shadowy Characters

This little time-burner involves a young college grad in San Francisco who gets a job at an all-night bookstore that seems to have more books and shelves than New York’s Strand. Certain preferred and important customers use the store like lending … Continue reading

Holden Caulfield’s Evil Twin

Charles Bukowski is a name that often comes up in conversations among and about writers, so I decided to sample him. Ham on Rye is his quasi-autobiographical tale of a young man in Los Angeles, from abusive childhood to alienated … Continue reading

Emma Bovary: Airhead?

I read Madame Bovary in high school, in French, which is to say, I didn’t read it. What I did was spend many hours with a French-to-English dictionary. I was eager to read it as an adult, this time in … Continue reading

Announcing Launch of Psi-fi.net

I have launched my new web site and blog www.psi-fi.net.  That’s where I promote my psi-fi books (should I ever have any), and meanwhile comment on their development. Awkwardly, at this time, I have zero commercially-published books of psi-fi. For … Continue reading

Natural vs Artificial Intelligence

This briefing by Nick Bostrom on the dangers of artificial intelligence takes up a serious and legitimate question: Should we be more cautious as we go about trying to improve artificial intelligence? What if an AI became so smart it decided to take … Continue reading

Gratuitous Poetry

Margaret Atwood cut her writing teeth on poetry and it shows in her novel, The Blind Assassin, perhaps too much. Her phrases are carefully constructed, a virtue in any writer, but Atwood’s choices often stand out as slightly too clever, … Continue reading

Jack Reacher Outsmarted

Andy Martin’s deconstruction of Lee Child’s twentieth, and hopefully last, Jack Reacher novel, Make Me, is at first glance an exercise in flamboyant grandstanding pretending to be hagiography.   At least 80% of the book is filled with tangents not … Continue reading