Everybody 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.
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
I read this book because I thought it might help me create better characters in my novels. As an author, I struggle to create characters who don’t sound and act just like me. I’ve often chosen females as my first-person … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
“Make me,” a schoolyard taunt, is the title of Lee Child’s 20th and possibly final Jack Reacher novel. The first one, “Killing Floor” came out a decade ago (1997) and the series has been on the top of the sales … Continue reading
This short haunted house tale is celebrated as a classic of the genre, a top-seller since its publication in 1959, although I don’t normally read haunted house stories so I can’t judge that. Nevertheless, it accomplishes the goal of presenting … Continue reading
This is a great book to help someone who wants to upgrade their reading fare from genre to literary fiction. It teaches you how to pay attention to meta-textual details such as themes, symbols, voice, diction, and story structure. Attention … Continue reading