From a random review:

Archives by Author Name:

May 29, 2008: Abrahams, Peter: Delusion
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0061137995 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

At first dismissive of the find--she knows what she saw--she comes to doubt her senses and her memory, and finally questions whether the last twenty years of her life have been based on a lie.


Jan 29, 2007: Abrahamson, Eric; Freedman, David H.: A Perfect Mess
Comments: 7 | ISBN: 0316114758 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

They argue that in fact some degree of messiness is very often to be preferred to strict order--because the cost of maintaining order can be higher than the benefits accrued from it, for example, because disorder can be the mother of invention, because messy systems can be more efficient and robust than perfectly neat ones.


Jun 10, 2003: Aczel, Amir: The Riddle of the Compass
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0151005060 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: This romantic personal history makes Aczel particularly suited to tell the story of the compass, which so improved navigation in the late 13th century that it sparked a commercial revolution and made possible the Age of Exploration that was to follow.

Jul 19, 2007: Adler, Elizabeth: Meet Me in Venice
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0312364474 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

She supplements her income by trading in stolen antiquities, a dangerous business that involves handing wads of cash over to hoodlums in the middle of the night.


Sep 4, 2007: Alda, Alan, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 1400066174 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

He seamlessly weaves a handful of stories around the quotes--the author being slapped as a four-year-old for off-color humor and upstaged by a quarterback a decade later; picket lines and cigarette ads and Bert Convy's heroics.


Sep 28, 2005: Alda, Alan: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400064090 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not what one might expect of a celebrity memoir, not only because it is so very good but also because there is, you come to realize, so very little celebrity in it.

Aug 17, 2006: Alexander, Tasha: And Only to Deceive
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060756713 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: She hadn't married Philip for love, but rather because that's what you did in late 19th-century London when a titled bachelor asked for your hand and if, like Emily, you were eager to escape a nagging, pedestrian mother.

Jan 14, 2008: Allison, Peter: Whatever You Do, Don't Run
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0762745657 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

But guides have to deal with paying guests as well as wild animals, and Allison does not shy from criticizing the spoiled and stupid among his tour groups.


Jul 6, 2004: Ambrose, David: Superstition
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0446607827 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The phantom they have in mind is not your run-of-the-mill, graveyard-haunting variety, but rather a thought-form that the group members will hallucinate into being, after extensive research into the time period from which their ghost hails, and after creating for him an elaborate back-story.

May 31, 2004: Ambrose, David: The Discrete Charm of Charlie Monk
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0446527963 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Given orders in clandestine meetings by his otherwise nameless master, Control, Charlie undertakes thrilling, James Bond-worthy missions--and in his off hours satisfies his Bond-sized appetites.

Dec 7, 2003: Archer, Jeffrey: A Twist in the Tale
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0330419005 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Archer writes in a commendably straightforward style that is easily digested: it is not surprising that, as the jacket copy of the book informs us, Archer has been hailed as "the natural successor to Maugham."

Mar 27, 2006: Archer, Jeffrey: False Impression
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312353723 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The behavior of Archer's characters sometimes passes belief, as when Anna--who was in the North Tower when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the building but managed to escape to a friend's house--watched only a few minute of television coverage of the attacks before switching off the news for good.

May 27, 2006: Asensi, Matilde: The Last Cato
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0060828579 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: We are to believe, in particular, that Ottavia--who confesses to never exercising--was able to run for some ten straight hours in order to reenact Pheidippides' famous run from Marathon to Athens.

Oct 7, 2007: Auslander, Shalom: Foreskin's Lament
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 1594489556 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: It's hardly surprising that in adulthood Auslander has complicated relationships with both his family and God, the latter an angry entity who, much like Auslander's father, specializes in inconsistent and disproportionate punishments.

Oct 26, 2004: Auster, Paul: Oracle Night
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312423667 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In addition to the principal stories mentioned above--Sidney's own story told twenty years hence, his short story, the novel within that story--other tales are slipped into the narrative--the reminiscences of various characters, stories told second-hand, Sidney's account of his courtship of his wife, delivered in footnotes.

May 26, 2005: Balliett, Blue: Chasing Vermeer
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0439372976 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: He fidgets incessantly with the set of pentominoes he keeps with him at all times, fitting the Tetris-like shapes together to form rectangles of varying sizes.

Apr 13, 2008: Barclay, Linwood: No Time For Goodbye
Comments: 13 | ISBN: 055380555X | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

This is not a story that scares with gore and firepower, yet it's one of the most frightening and suspenseful books I can remember reading.


Aug 26, 2003: Barnard, Robert: Death of a Mystery Writer
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743229347 | Categories: 3.5 stars , 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Book reviews , Fiction , Fiction
Excerpt: Given a lifetime, more or less, of his theatrical antisocial behavior, it is hardly surprising that Farleigh-Stubbs's death--he is murdered at the aforementioned birthday party--upsets virtually no one.

Aug 2, 2003: Barnard, Robert: The Mistress of Alderly
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743236882 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Add to this stew of copulating characters an unwittingly flatulent baron, a nyphomaniacal opera singer, borderline incestuous interest, and, of course, a murder, and you have a delightful romp of a book.

Mar 16, 2004: Barnes, Linda: Deep Pockets
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312282710 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: It is a simple enough assignment, but as it happens, blackmail is only the most obvious element of a more complex latticework of crimes.

Oct 28, 2004: Baty, Chris: No Plot? No Problem
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0811845052 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Chris Baty, the author of No Plot? No Problem, is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, a bizarre, web-based movement, now in its sixth year, in which would-be novelists are invited to unleash their inner muses, register (for free) at the NaNoWriMo website (NaNoWriMo.org), and crank out the rough draft of a novel during the month of November.

Nov 26, 2007: Bauby, Jean-Dominique: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Comments: 8 | ISBN: 0375701214 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

He could shake his head and blink his left eye, and he was able to spell out complex thoughts by blinking when an interlocutor, running a finger cross an alphabet board, pointed to the correct letter.


Apr 26, 2006: Baum, L. Frank: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0192839306 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: What the book has to offer, in turn, is more on the characters' back stories, in particular those of the Tin Woodman and, of all creatures, the Flying Monkeys--much maligned, misunderstood beasts that they are.

Dec 25, 2003: Baxter, John: A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312317255 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: There is, too, for those interested in flayed humans, a catalogue of anthropodermically-bound books, and also a story about a certain Bea Miles--"smelly, dumpy but charismatic,"-- that is worthy of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair: she "roamed Sydney, wearing a hand-lettered cardboard sign offering to recite Shakespeare for a shilling a time."

Feb 16, 2008: Beaton, M.C.: Death of a Gentle Lady
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0446582603 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

She puts on a sweet-old-lady act that's won the rest of the villagers over, but Macbeth sees through it at once to recognize the bitty within.


Sep 10, 2005: Benedict, Elizabeth: The Practice of Deceit
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0618563717 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Sitting on the hard bench in his cell with time on his hands, Eric begins to explain how things fell apart for him, a tale whose roots go back to the day he met Colleen.

Sep 3, 2004: Berenbaum, May R.: Buzzwords
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0309068355 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: In the same essay Ms. Berenbaum further informs us that the manifold varieties of human flatulence are codified in the apparently otherwise stolid, doorstop-sized Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (which reports, we are told, that the "open sphincter" type is "said to be of higher temperature and more aromatic").

Jun 12, 2008: Bete, Tim: Guide to Pirate Parenting
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1583851275 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

As for parents, they'll find that kids raised as pirates will have higher self-esteem and a more colorful vocabulary.


Dec 11, 2005: Bete, Tim: In the Beginning...There Were No Diapers
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1893732878 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: He writes, for example, about the logistics of disposing of soiled diapers on an airplane, about the longevity of playground rhymes, about playing miniature golf in arctic conditions--apparently a family tradition.

Nov 3, 2007: Bibeau, Paul: Sundays with Vlad
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0307352781 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

He is interested particularly in the relationship between the two, how Vlad the Wallachian prince--an ill-starred fellow who worked through his issues "by killing a whole mess of people"--became tied up with the blood-sucking fiend of creature features and cereal boxes.


Nov 21, 2007: Bilts, Stan: Come On Down!
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0061350117 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Audience members are all potential contestants, and prior to every show Bilts talks to them all, in groups of about twelve, interviewing 340 people in ninety minutes.

Apr 18, 2004: Blanc, Nero: Anatomy of a Crossword
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0425196208 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Her uneasiness was triggered by the brusque behavior of a gang of Polaroid-snapping set designers who descended on Belle's native Newcastle before the filming.

May 12, 2005: Blanc, Nero: Another Word for Murder
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0425202704 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: But I keep coming back to the series for its homey ambiance: the happy, pun-filled relationship of Rosco and Belle themselves, and the clutch of Newcastle denizens who join the couple in holding down a table at Lawson's Coffee Shop every Saturday morning.

Aug 19, 2003: Blanc, Nero: The Crossword Connection
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0425179508 | Categories: 3 stars , 3 stars , Book reviews , Book reviews , Fiction , Fiction
Excerpt: This time around, two people are dead and a dog's gone missing, and someone is harassing Belle with threatening, home-made crosswords.

Dec 22, 2003: Blanc, Nero: The Crossword Murder
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0425177017 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Eschewing his family's more traditionally tasteful lifestyle, Briephs lives alone on an island in a house that was built to his specifications, a labyrinthine, red-walled replica of an ancient Minoan palace.

Apr 18, 2007: Blunt, Giles: By the Time You Read This
Comments: 7 | ISBN: 0805080619 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The couple's happy, nearly thirty-year marriage has been punctuated by Catherine's hospitalizations for depression, but when the story starts she has been out of the hospital for a year--taking her medicine and seeing a psychiatrist regularly.


May 12, 2008: Bosch, Pseudonymous: The Name of This Book is Secret
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0316113662 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt:

A secret message from a magician, presumed dead, leads them into peril--specifically, the evil, glove-wearing clutches of a pair of too-perfect-looking malefactors, the enigmatic Dr. L. And Ms. Mauvais.


Nov 18, 2007: Botha, Ted: Mongo: Adventures in Trash
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1582345678 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Botha writes, for example, that "black baggers" are on the lowest rung of the dumpster diving hierarchy.


Apr 23, 2004: Brown, Dan: Angels & Demons
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0671027360 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Arrived at the victim's workplace, a secretive nuclear research facility in Switzerland, Langdon discovers that the Illuminati have more in store for the world than the assassination of a single scientist.

Jun 25, 2004: Brown, Dan: Deception Point
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0671027387 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Rachel's involvement in the project, however, which requires observation of the find in situ, plunges her into a nightmarish race for survival after she and a small band of civilian scientists stumble upon certain irregularities in NASA's evidence.

Oct 15, 2003: Brown, Dan: Digital Fortress
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312263120 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Meanwhile, an assassin is dogging Becker's steps in Spain, an NSA employee may be in cahoots with the author of the code, and a zealous security guard is pushed to his death in the bowels of the super computer's housing.

Sep 4, 2003: Brown, Dan: The DaVinci Code
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0385504209 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In the brief interval between his deliberate self-imprisonment and his death, Sauniere constructs an elaborate cipher and, ingeniously, handpicks the individuals who will undertake its solution.

Jan 11, 2006: Buchanan, Andrea J. (ed.): It's a Boy
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1580051456 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Boys are famous for having penises, of course, and they come in two basic styles.

Aug 13, 2006: Buckley, Julia: The Dark Backward
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0738708267 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Lily's persistent belief that Stevens was the shooter cost her her job and, ultimately, her husband, whom she left because of his failure to believe her.

Jul 11, 2005: Burke, Alafair: Close Case
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805077847 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: We are given an insider's view of a prosecutor's response to a case--the evidence, its handling by the police, the testimony of witnesses, the effect on the case of the personalities involved.

May 22, 2008: Buzzelli, Elizabeth Kane: Dead Dancing Women
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0738712663 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

When we first meet Emily she's bringing her garbage cans in from the road, a chore that's attracted the attention of an unusual number of crows--menacing in their quanity and their fearlessness and their single-minded interest in the contents of her trash can....


Nov 5, 2007: Cain, Chelsea: Confessions of a Teen Sleuth
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 1582345112 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Nancy still loves a good mystery--maybe a little too much--and she is wont to incorporate a bit of excitement into her otherwise humdrum, post-teen-sleuthing life whenever she can.


Aug 4, 2004: Caldwell, Ian; Thomason, Dustin: The Rule of Four
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0385337116 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: We are to believe that a freshman arrived in Princeton preoccupied already with an obscure Renaissance text to the extent that he was able to recite in chronological order the publications of a Renaissance historian who had worked on that text.

Mar 6, 2008: Caldwell, Laura: The Good Liar
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0778325016 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Kate winds up marrying Michael before she notices anything disquieting about his personality or habits: his secrecy about his job, his occasional jumpiness, his over-familiarity with Liza, with whom he was allegedly only slightly acquainted before she fixed the newlyweds up.


Apr 17, 2005: Campbell, James: The Final Frontiersman
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743453131 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: They have lived together since in this desolate place where the sun dips below the horizon in November and isn't seen again until January, where temperatures range from a balmy 80 degrees to 50 below.

Jan 25, 2004: Capote, Truman: Breakfast at Tiffany's
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0679745653 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Holly, a "lopsided romantic" in the author's words, is a charming but self-involved, irresponsible, and sometimes mean-spirited young woman with a murkily unpleasant past.

Dec 31, 2003: Carey, Peter: My Life as a Fake
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0375414983 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He is filthy and destitute and quite possibly mad, employed as a bicycle mechanic on a cramped street in Kuala Lumpur.

Feb 9, 2004: Carrere, Emmanuel: The Adversary
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312420609 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Romand's story might be just bizarrely amusing--a French variation of the life of deceit adopted by Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Catch Me If You Can, albeit with a less clever protagonist--were it not for what happened next.

Sep 26, 2006: Caudron, Shari: Who Are You People?
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 1569803048 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: What is it about Josh Groban that can make middle-aged women act like teenagers squealing over a David Cassidy album cover?

Jul 14, 2007: Cheney, Annie: Body Brokers
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0767917332 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

One comes away from Cheney's book impressed at the apparent extent to which this gruesome business is going on, and impressed also with how many people seem to be able to sleep comfortably at night when they've got a refrigerator full of heads in the next room.


May 2, 2004: Chevalier, Tracy: Girl with a Pearl Earring
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0452282152 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There is in Griet's modeling for Vermeer the potential for tragedy, and in the painter's final brushstrokes a form of abuse.

Nov 1, 2004: Clayton, Paul: Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312329032 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: A host of needless deaths and the better part of a year later, Carl emerged from the jungle a more mature figure, still the likeable, duty-bound character he had been when he went in, but a world removed from the boys his age who had remained stateside.

Sep 28, 2003: Cohen, Paula Marantz: Jane Austen in Boca
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312319754 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: While I found May and Florence and their respective beaux likeable enough, and I enjoyed the foray into Florida's community of relatively well-to-do codgers, I found the book plodding and its dialogue often boring.

Jul 17, 2003: Collins, Paul: Sixpence House
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1582342849 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: In addition to urine-soaked manuscripts, there are recycled gravestones to read about, and near poisonous glasses of cider, and lyrical vomiting, and scheming Lords, and, everywhere, a bibliophile's revelry in old books.

Apr 25, 2007: Collinsworth, Eden: It Might Have Been What He Said
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1559708123 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Isabel's was something out of a gothic novel (so even the author tells us), with a distant father who communicated almost exclusively through New York Times clippings, an undemonstrative, mentally ill mother, and a by-the-book nanny.

Feb 21, 2006: Colt, Jennifer: The Butcher of Beverly Hills
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0767920112 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The book's tongue-in-cheekiness goes a bit too far at times, too, as when the girls' Aunt Reba responds with unrealistic insouciance to her son's ostensible coronary.

Mar 2, 2006: Copeman, Nick: King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0091899206 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Twenty-five-year-old Nick Copeman's accomplishments were few and decidedly unimpressive before he became King.

Mar 28, 2008: Corwin, Tom: Mr. Fooster Traveling on a Whim
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0385523408 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Perhaps I'm just too old and embittered to appreciate the book.

Oct 9, 2003: Coville, Bruce: The Monsters of Morley Manor
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0152163824 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: Add water to a box of five-inch-tall frozen monsters and--as Anthony and Sarah, the sibling protagonists of Bruce Coville's The Monsters of Morley Manor discover--surprising things can happen.

Aug 1, 2005: Cox, Richard: The God Particle
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0345462858 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He undergoes brain surgery and survives, but during his convalescence Steve begins hallucinating and finds that, among other things, he can sometimes read people's minds.

Jan 23, 2004: Crouch, Blake: Desert Places
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312286449 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Thomas is directed to dig up the mouldering corpse and retrieve something from the dead woman's pocket.

Jan 4, 2006: Crouch, Blake: Locked Doors
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312317999 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: This is a book that will fly by if you let it, its seductively short chapters flashing past in an adrenaline rush of reading.

Sep 10, 2003: Cusk, Rachel: A Life's Work
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312311303 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: She hits a number of nails squarely on the head--in her descriptions of the constant demands made on breastfeeding mothers, for example, or the drama and tension inherent in bringing a baby out into the public, or one's cautious anticipation of freedom when it looks like the kid may finally sleep.

Nov 29, 2003: Darnton, John (ed.): Writers on Writing
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805070850 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The authors were charged with writing about, well, writing, and they manage to do so, surprisingly enough, without ever stepping on one another's subject matter: each essayist approaches the topic in a manner peculiar to themselves.

Aug 12, 2003: Davis, Anna: Cheet
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0452284295 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: How, that is, does the average bigamist--not your Mormon extremist type whose wives all know the hubby's sleeping around, but the regular-seeming guy with a wife and kids in Schenectady and another family in Detroit--how does that guy keep it all straight, all the personal stuff you have to remember when you're part of a familial unit?

Feb 23, 2005: Defoe, Gideon: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0375423214 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Happily, that's just what's in store for the Pirate Captain and his shipful of variously monikered pirates--the scarf-wearing pirate, the pirate with an accordion, the ill-fated balding archeologist pirate--when they bump into Charles Darwin and his trained monkey Mr. Bobo in the South Pacific.

Sep 8, 2003: Delacorte, Peter: Time on My Hands
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0671023241 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He encounters there the eccentric, 72-year-old Jasper Hudnut, formerly an academic physicist, who is intrigued by a jet-ski-looking machine he finds stashed in the museum's basement.

Dec 6, 2003: Dillard, Annie: The Writing Life
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060919884 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: And it is neither a "guidebook" nor a particularly inspiring piece of prose, however much the blurbists may rave.

Jan 21, 2005: Donnelly, Deborah: May the Best Man Die
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0440241294 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Dry rot has forced a temporary evacuation of her home and office, a rented houseboat moored on the east shore of Washington's Lake Union, and from her interim quarters she is overseeing the final preparations for two end-of-year nuptials.

Feb 12, 2007: Downing, Michael: Spring Forward
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1593760531 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Downing offers a fuller account of the 1966 U.S. legislation that regularized (more or less) DST, and he writes about the attempts of various Pacific island states to profit from the millennial celebrations by tinkering with their clocks.


May 8, 2006: Downs, Tim: Plague Maker
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1595540229 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Li believes the crime is related to World War II-era germ warfare experimentation -- the Mengele-esque work of Japan's infamous Unit 731 -- conducted in part by Li's personal nemesis, Sato Matsushita.

Aug 27, 2006: Dudman, Clare: One Day the Ice Will Reveal All its Dead
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0143034731 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: But for the most part one is allowed to lose oneself in the reading, which very often means finding yourself alongside Wegener on the Greenlandic ice, behind a sledge in minus 30 or 40 or 50 degrees, the white underfoot difficult to distinguish from the white above the horizon.

Dec 31, 2005: Dun, David: The Black Silent
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 078601637X | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The too-long chase scenes wind up lacking suspense both because we don't know what the protagonists are attempting to achieve and because we don't quite like them enough to care whether they achieve it.

Apr 27, 2005: Dunbar, Wylene: My Life with Corpses
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0151010153 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There are corpses everywhere--vacationing in Canada, publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals, meeting with friends at coffee shops--and if you're not careful you may get the life sucked out of you as well.

Jun 7, 2003: Dyer, Geoff: Out of Sheer Rage
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0865475407 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: In the process we learn a little about Lawrence--he paid his bills on time, he is unlikely to have been comfortable naked, he tended to be angry much of the time, he was handy around the house.

Sep 22, 2003: Ellis, Rhian: After Life
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0141001534 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The logistics of the body's disposal, the fear that it will be discovered once buried, the protagonist's dread of being found out, and the mystery of how Peter Morton came to be in this situation in the first place, wrongfully dead, form the tense backbone of Rhian Ellis's debut novel.

Oct 13, 2004: Epstein, Lawrence J.: Mixed Nuts
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1586481908 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden, struggling to afford the accoutrements of middle-class life in the post-War period, appealed to an audience that was striving for, or had only recently achieved, similar goals.

Feb 25, 2006: Falco, Edward: Wolf Point
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1932961089 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Jenny and Lester reveal themselves to Tom in stages, in their behavior and in the stories they tell about themselves, though how much of what they say is deliberate falsehood and how much the product of misguided interpretation is open to debate.

Oct 2, 2006: Fasman, Jon: The Geographer's Library
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0143036629 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The more Paul investigates the obsessively private Pühapäev's life, the more unusual his subject appears to have been: Pühapäev was wont, for example, to carry a loaded gun to campus, and the University responded with unexpected leniency on the two occasions when he fired it from his office window.

Nov 7, 2003: Fforde, Jasper: Lost in a Good Book
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0670031909 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The series is set in an alternate universe in the mid-1980's, a world in which dodo birds and Neanderthals have been reengineered, where ChronoGuard detectives regularly surf through time, and where literature is taken very seriously indeed.

May 30, 2005: Filipacchi, Amanda: Love Creeps
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 031234032X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: She decides to take up stalking herself as a therapeutic exercise, and soon selects, more or less at random, her own stalkee.

Jan 29, 2006: Finder, Joseph: Company Man
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312319169 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: And he learns too that though his family's house is ensconced behind the reassuring walls of a gated community -- his wife's idea -- he and his children are anything but safe.

Aug 30, 2006: Finder, Joseph: Killer Instinct
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312347472 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Jason finds himself able to satisfy her longing for a higher salary after a fortuitous encounter with a modern-day Renaissance man, ex-Special Forces soldier turned tow truck driver Kurt Semko.

Aug 8, 2005: Finder, Joseph: Paranoia
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312992289 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Working with unprecedented fervor by day in order to fake his way in a position for which he is not qualified, Adam is forced to spend many of his nights prowling around the darkened headquarters of Trion, breaking into offices, scamming security guards, riffling through top secret files.

Aug 29, 2007: Finder, Joseph: Power Play
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0312347480 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: His expertise lands him a last-minute summons to the company's annual leadership retreat -- three days off the grid at a remote fishing lodge in British Columbia, team-building with a bunch of alpha male execs.

Jun 23, 2003: Finney, Jack: About Time
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 068484866X | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Time travel in these stories is achieved almost effortlessly, when the "thousand invisible chains" that keep us in the present--modern coins and manufactured items, apartment buildings--are, for a moment, loosed.

Jun 11, 2003: Finney, Jack: Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0684852586 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: More than likely, his body's been replicated cell by cell, down to almost the last detail, as part of an attempt by extra-terrestrial pod creatures to take over the earth.

May 28, 2004: Finney, Jack: Marion's Wall
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0671640488 | Categories: 2 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Cheated of this glowing future, Marion's ghost, as it turns out, wants to pursue her career in 1970's Hollywood, and she inhabits Jan's body, eventually with the latter's permission, with a view to making her come-back.

Oct 16, 2004: Fitzgerald, Penelope: The Bookshop
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0006543545 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Her decision to open a bookshop in the building, while approved by a certain Edmund Brundish, the town's most respected scion, is opposed by an unfortunately more influential resident of Hardborough, Violet Gamart, who has the vague plan of turning the Old House into an art center.

Dec 26, 2006: Florey, Kitty Burns: Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1933633107 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

It would be impossible to overemphasize the shelf appeal of an accessible, diagramming-related book to the likes of me.


Jan 30, 2005: Follett, Ken: Whiteout
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0525948430 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In the next 72 hours Toni will find that the situation is far worse than she initially supposed: the security system at Oxenford has been breached by the one person capable of defeating its safeguards, someone who now has access to a highly infectious, easily released disease with a survival rate of zero.

May 23, 2007: Forsyth, Neil; Castro, Elliot: Other People's Money
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 028307051X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

He pocketed and profited from many more cards before graduating to a more sophisticated brand of fraud, one that allowed him access to other people's money without the dirty work of swiping wallets.


Jan 26, 2004: Foster, Don: Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805063579 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Writers leave their marks on manuscripts unconsciously, Foster explains, as surely as gloveless burglars leave their fingerprints, their identities betrayed in their phrasing and word choice, in the body of authors whose styles they unwittingly emulate, in their commas and ampersands.

Jun 14, 2006: Fox, Chris: The Devil's Halo
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0091794994 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Terry and his wife share a sometimes charming camaraderie, approaching the innumerable life-threatening situations into which they are thrown with a Nick-and-Nora insouciance.

Oct 24, 2005: Fraser, Lindsey: Conversations with J.K. Rowling
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0439314550 | Categories: Book reviews , Children's/YA , Non-Fiction , Not rated
Excerpt: She occasionally refers to the links between her own life and the world of Harry Potter, telling readers, for example, that Stanley and Ernie from the Knight Bus were named after her grandparents, and that the Weasley's turquoise Ford Anglia was modeled after a high school friend's car.

Jul 8, 2004: Friedman, Kinky: The Prisoner of Vandam Street
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743246020 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The problem is, feverish and delirious as he's been, Kinky does not make the most convincing of witnesses, and neither the police he summons nor his gang of variously accented, frequently inebriated cronies--the so-called "Village Irregulars," the collective Grace Kelly to his laid up Jimmy Stewart--believes him.

Mar 2, 2004: Fry, Stephen: Revenge
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0812968190 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: When the book begins, Ned Maddstone, the seventeen-year-old son of a Tory MP, is bound for Oxford and, almost certainly, for a life marked by as much success as he has already enjoyed: a cricket-playing future Head Boy and member of a sailing club, Ned is polite and good looking and newly in love, and he has the easy grace that comes with aristocracy.

Jan 17, 2007: Fuchs, Michael Stephen: The Manuscript
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0230000096 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The meaning of life is out there, a Usenet rumor has it, hidden on the web at an unregistered IP address, on a protocol no one uses, waiting for some genius hacker to stumble on it.


Sep 18, 2006: Gabbay, Tom: The Berlin Conspiracy
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060787856 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The author has a winner, though, in the character of Horst Schneider, the charming young German whom Jack befriends over a night of drinking, and who, happily, pops up repeatedly in the story to spice up the dialogue.

Apr 10, 2006: Galloway, Priscilla: The Courtesan's Daughterson
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0440229022 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: In making his case against Neaira the prosecutor in the case, Apollodoros, dredges up all manner of dirt about Neaira's sordid past as one of ancient Greece's most infamous courtesans.

Jan 20, 2006: Garcia-Roza, Luiz Alfredo : Pursuit
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805074392 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Readers will feel the threat too: there is something menacing about Jonah's behavior, despite that his actions are ostensibly innocent.

Apr 19, 2005: Garcia-Roza, Luiz Alfredo: A Window in Copacabana
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805074384 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: But what sets the book apart is the mood it sets--the languid air of a city in the tropics--and the philosophical, bibliophilic Espinosa, whose character emerges slowly, without fanfare, as the story progresses.

Aug 31, 2006: Garg, Anu: Another Word a Day
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0471718459 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: You'll be happy to become acquainted with some of the words and etymologies in Garg's corpus--dasypygal means "having hairy buttocks"; "helpmeet" comes from an erroneous interpretation of a Biblical passage.

Sep 6, 2007: Geng, Steve: Thick as Thieves
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805080562 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

With adulthood came addictions to heroin and alcohol, numerous arrests for shoplifting and stints in prison, estrangement from his family, an AIDS diagnosis, and relationships that ended with him being attacked with a claw hammer and set on fire.


Nov 24, 2005: Gerritsen, Tess: Vanish
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0345476972 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Hours north of these unfortunates' hellhole, forensic pathologist Dr. Maura Isles, passing a July evening among the refrigerated dead in the Boston morgue, has her own nightmare to contend with--a corpse stirring in a body bag.

Feb 9, 2006: Gladwell, Malcolm: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0316172324 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Their unconscious minds had sifted through enormous amounts of information--about the fire's behavior and sound, for example--and had spat out a conclusion -- the floor is about to collapse -- without their being aware of the thought process.

Mar 22, 2007: Goldberg, Lee: Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0451220137 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

That the victims are left unevenly shod is particularly irksome to Adrian Monk, the obsessive compulsive detective who is called in to help the SFPD solve the crimes.


Mar 10, 2008: Goldberg, Lee: Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants
Comments: 10 | ISBN: 0451222806 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

While Columbo hides his acumen behind feigned incompetence, Monk's genius for solving crimes is a byproduct of his nearly crippling obsessive compulsive disorder.


Mar 21, 2007: Goldberg, Lee: Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451219007 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The stories in the Monk books are narrated in the first person by Natalie Teeger, Monk's personal assistant, who provides her boss with a steady stream of Wet Naps and caters, more or less patiently, to his eccentricities.


Jan 9, 2007: Goldberg, Lee: Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0451217292 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The quest for Sparky's killer leads Monk far outside his comfort zone--as far, in fact, as the city dump, where the germophobic detective dons a hazmat suit to dig for incriminating garbage.


Apr 25, 2006: Goldfarb, Sheldon: Remember, Remember
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1904781438 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: Meeting with no help from the imposing Rawlins, Talbot compounds his earlier transgressions--what landed him in trouble in the first place--by dragging Aleister back with him to Manchester on the off chance that the boy can be of some service.

Jan 6, 2004: Golub, Marcia: I'd Rather Be Writing
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0898799007 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The principal piece of advice one comes away from the book with, however, is a simple one, that if you want to be a writer, you have to sit down every day--or as close to every day as you can--and write something for some length of time.

Mar 20, 2005: Greenlaw, Linda: All Fishermen are Liars
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1401300707 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The stories Greenlaw includes in the book are a mixed bunch--rough seas and unlikely survivals, noisome deck hands and shiv-wielding mates, a refrigerated dead guy.

Jun 29, 2008: Greenlaw, Linda: Slipknot
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0786891238 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

But even without knowing a turnbuckle from an outrigger, I could understand the tenor of what was going on--grave peril and high drama at sea.


Oct 25, 2003: Griesemer, John: Signal and Noise
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312300824 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The book's principal character, to the extent that it has one, is Chester Ludlow, the chief engineer of the Atlantic Cable Company and the genius behind the paying-out mechanism that will, it is hoped, prevent the cable from breaking while it is unspooling.

Mar 29, 2004: Grimes, Martha: Foul Matter
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 067003259X | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: It's far easier for the publisher to hire a pair of hit men to take Isaly out--thugs who turn out to be more discerning than your average performers of "wet work."

Jun 3, 2007: Grimwood, Ken: Replay
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 068816112X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Without understanding why the clock has rewound for him, he lives the same quarter century again, making different mistakes against a familiar historical and cultural backdrop--Kennedy's assassination and Vietnam, the Beatles and Watergate, Patty Hearst and disco and Iran-Contra.


Nov 14, 2004: Grossman, Lev: Codex
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0151010668 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In the weeks before his move to England, Edward becomes engrossed in both these activities, the game and his search for the codex, to the point that he questions whether he will in fact return to the work that had until recently meant everything to him.

Feb 23, 2004: Haddon, Mark: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0385512104 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: After hugging the dog for precisely four minutes, and after being accused of the animal's murder by its distraught, pajama'd owner, Christopher determines to investigate the mystery of the canicide.

Feb 15, 2007: Haines, Lise: Small Acts of Sex and Electricity
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1932961275 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

And Franny wound up offering a second home also to Mattie while her parents sailed and mingled and drank cocktails.


Feb 17, 2004: Hall, Parnell: A Clue for the Puzzle Lady
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0553581406 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The small town's police force is not accustomed to murder investigations, and when a young woman turns up dead in the cemetery with what appears to be a crossword clue in her pocket, the police chief naturally turns to the town's resident cruciverbalist for expert opinion.

Oct 3, 2004: Hall, Parnell: A Puzzle in a Pear Tree
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0553584340 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Portrayed in the first three books of the series as a chain-smoking lush, Cora doesn't pick up a cigarette or a bottle for the first 200 pages of this installment, and we never see her drunk.

May 5, 2004: Hall, Parnell: Last Puzzle & Testament
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0553581430 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Before the puzzle ladies can solve the mystery, two corpses, their murders somehow connected to the crossword contest, join Emma's in the local cemetery.

Jun 6, 2004: Hall, Parnell: Puzzled to Death
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0553581465 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: How many professional cruciverbalists, one wonders, can one small town realistically boast of?

Sep 20, 2006: Hallman, J.C.: The Chess Artist
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312272936 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: A germophobic 39-year-old with a genius for the game, he is apparently incapable of speaking a decently-formed English or of consistently making smart decisions in the real world.

Jan 12, 2006: Hamden Historical Society: Hamden (Images of America)
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0738535281 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Most interesting, however, are the photographs of locations and buildings that remain recognizable today but survive in very changed form: Hamden Plaza in the 1950's; Whitney Avenue unpaved, and again bisected with trolley tracks; the town center, thronged with locals, during Hamden's sesquicentennial celebration in 1936.

Oct 8, 2006: Harris, Bob: Prisoner of Trebekistan
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0307339564 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The regimen of study he adopted makes for fascinating reading: notebooks filled with information to be absorbed (lists of presidents and Shakespearian plays and European rivers), innumerable cartoons, very often buttock-related, drawn as mnemonic aids; Harris's lifestyle and living room rearranged to facilitate his "state-dependent retrieval" of information once on stage.

Sep 22, 2006: Harris, Sam: Letter to a Christian Nation
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 0307265773 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: For myself, if I had highlighted the passages I most appreciated in the book my copy would be awash in vibrant yellow.

Jun 7, 2005: Hauser, Melanie Lynne: Confessions of Super Mom
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0525949100 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Nor is it easy to fit crime-fighting into the life of the average mother: most superheroes, remember, are not encumbered with the twin burdens of childrearing and parent-teacher meetings.

Mar 7, 2007: Hauser, Melanie Lynne: Super Mom Saves the World
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451220366 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

In what alternate universe is blowing one's nose on the habiliments of one's paramour appropriate behavior?


Jul 16, 2005: Headley, Jason: Small Town Odds
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0811845362 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Gradually the pieces of Eric's life, related out of sequence, recombine to explain the mystery of his character: how a top student, a hero on the gridiron, a man whose innate goodness is plain to see -- despite the darker side that reveals itself when he drinks -- how such a man came only seven years after his high school triumphs to be squandering his life in a kind of hopeless holding pattern.

Feb 15, 2005: Hellmann, Libby Fischer: An Eye for Murder
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 042518739X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Hellmann saddles Ellie with some unfortunate vices: she has a history of kleptomania, and it is hinted that she makes occasional use of drugs (not to mention alcohol and tobacco).

Dec 25, 2004: Herbert, Brian: Dreamer of Dune
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0765306476 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: He was a strict disciplinarian who hooked his sons up to a lie detector he'd procured and sweated the truth of their peccadilloes out of them.

Nov 12, 2003: Highsmith, Patricia: Deep Water
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0393324559 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Thirty-six-year-old Victor Van Allen is being cuckolded, quite blatantly. For a number of years his wife Melinda has paraded a succession of lovers around their small town of Little Wesley, Massachusetts, dragging the men along to the Van Allens' dinner engagements with friends, dancing with them provocatively, entertaining them in night-long debauches in the Van Allens' home.

Sep 10, 2006: Hilderbrand, Elin: The Love Season
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0312322305 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The mystery of that event, how it came to have such an effect on Marguerite, is slowly revealed to the reader as Marguerite, emerging from her self-imposed exile in order to gather ingredients for dinner, allows herself to remember.

Apr 5, 2005: Hill, Brian; Power, Dee: The Making of a Bestseller
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0793193087 | Categories: Book reviews , Non-Fiction , Not rated
Excerpt: Its authors, in interviewing so many subjects from throughout the publishing world, show readers a cross-section of the industry with its various strata, from author to bookseller, laid bare.

Sep 21, 2005: Hocking, Ian: Deja Vu
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1904781152 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Refrigerators self-diagnose and summon repairmen when appropriate.

Jul 30, 2003: Hoffman, Paul: Wings of Madness
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0786866594 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Santos hopped around Paris in his "Baladeuse," or "Wanderer," alighting to order an aperitif at some sidewalk café, or dropping anchor at a club where, upon disembarking, he would hand the reins of his machine to a valet.

Jun 4, 2005: Holden, Wendy: The Wives of Bath
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0452285895 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: His plans for Alice's upcoming childbirth--to be endured without benefit of anesthesia, of course--approach the barbaric.

Oct 12, 2007: Holland, Barbara: Bingo Night at the Fire Hall
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 0156006650 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: It's a place where nobody locks their doors (locking them would seem unneighborly), where people are defined not by their resumés but by their family ties.

May 14, 2005: Hornby, Nick: The Polysyllabic Spree
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1932416242 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Each is prefaced by lists of the books the author read and purchased in the month preceding the column's appearance: Hornby, who reads a lot of books and buys even more, is admirably comfortable with populating his shelves with books he is unlikely ever to get to.

May 4, 2008: Huler, Scott: No-Man's Land
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 140008282X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Odysseus' visit to the Underworld is reenacted more in spirit than in fact.


Oct 12, 2006: Hunter, Kate: The Dream Sequence
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0977669319 | Categories: Book reviews , Fiction , Not rated
Excerpt: Toward the book's end her protagonist dreams of a man Borges might have concocted, whose memory runs in the wrong direction: he "remembers" the future, but once his memories are lived they are lost to him.

Oct 10, 2006: Hurley, King: The Interview
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0977418804 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Still, there is an undercurrent of menace in the book, which may explain why it continues to engage the reader despite that little of significance seems to be happening.

Feb 3, 2004: Iles, Greg: 24 Hours
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451203593 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He is confident enough in his planning that he uses his real name--rubbing his victims' noses in their impotence--and is unconcerned if they happen to have access to firearms.

Jul 15, 2004: Iles, Greg: Mortal Fear
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451180410 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: As a sysop Harper can cruise the hundreds of discussions within EROS, his presence in allegedly private chat rooms undetected by the participants, and he can take part in discussions himself under assumed identities.

Sep 8, 2004: Iles, Greg: Sleep No More
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451208765 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Sumner, as it turns out, is not your average cleavage-baring predator.

Apr 13, 2004: Iles, Greg: The Quiet Game
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451180429 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Penn soon finds himself investigating the thirty-year-old murder he had mouthed off about, but many people--among them the director of the FBI and Natchez's most fearsome resident, the corrupt Judge Leo Marston--would prefer that the 1968 car bombing of black factory worker Del Payton remain unsolved.

Jun 14, 2005: Jager, Eric: The Last Duel
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0767914163 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: It was instead a solemn event, and impossibly harsh strictures were laid on the spectators to guarantee their good behavior: anyone who rose from his seat during the fight was to be penalized by the loss of a hand; coughing was punishable by death.

Mar 18, 2006: James, Dean: Baked to Death
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0758204876 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Though I would that modern-day medical advances hadn't defanged our hero--pills taken twice daily render him nearly human in his appetites--I very much like the idea of a genteel vampire taking a bite out of crime somewhere in the English countryside.

Sep 3, 2005: James, Dean: Decorated to Death
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0758204868 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Enticing as his secret life of letters is, Simon's forays into lower-brow literature are not his only secret: he also happens to be a vampire, a gay vampire, in a world in which, however, medical advances have taken away much of the unpleasantness associated with that condition.

Mar 27, 2005: James, Dean: Faked to Death
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1575668882 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Perhaps perversely, I'm hoping Simon will forget his medication one day: I'd like to see how the polite society of Snupperton Mumsley would react should Simon start showing his fangs.

Sep 16, 2004: James, Dean: Posted to Death
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1575668858 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: It is less difficult than one might suppose for Simon to blend in with the locals, as medical advances have, in his world, taken the bite out of vampirism.

Feb 28, 2008: James, Emmett: Admit One
Comments: 10 | ISBN: 1587369141 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: He's also due for a whomping from Steven Seagal, whom he sucker punches in an open letter at the beginning of the book.

Jun 10, 2006: Jamison, Dirk: Perishable
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1556525990 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: There were also the regular abuses of Jamison's Mengele-esque older sister and, in the author's adolescence, the in-retrospect-inappropriate attention of "Scoutmaster Gary," the Mormon overseer of a series of Church-sponsored activities in which Jamison took part.

Jul 18, 2006: Johnson, Marilyn: The Dead Beat
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060758759 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: As Johnson explains, obituaries preserve information--personal anecdotes and gossip and small moments in a life--that you won't find elsewhere in a newspaper.

Apr 18, 2008: Jordan, Pete: Dishwasher
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0060896426 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

And in most restaurants dishwashers have access to a steady stream of table scraps, which is likewise perfect for a guy who'd rather save his pennies than squander them on undefiled foodstuffs.


May 2, 2006: Junger, Sebastian: A Death in Belmont
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0393059804 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: A look in DeSalvo's eyes as he asked her to come downstairs--something inexplicably threatening--prompted her to refuse to join him and to close and lock the basement door.

Jul 26, 2005: Kabak, Carrie: Cover the Butter
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0525948767 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: She is by no means miserable, but true happiness is precluded by her relationships with her mother and her spouse: she is smothered by the former's expectations, and virtually ignored by the extraordinarily egocentric Rodney.

Jul 4, 2005: Kandel, Susan: I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060581069 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Perry Mason's alter-ego may not have taken on the Albacco case, but Cece is struck by the convicted murderer's tone in his letter--humble rather than hostile.

Aug 6, 2006: Katz, Nikki: Zen and the Art of Crossword Puzzles
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1593375638 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: As it happens, I am among those whom Katz contacted: she writes in chapter eight about my habit of blogging the New York Times Sunday crossword every week at the-deblog.com.

Dec 6, 2006: Kellerman, Jesse: Trouble
Comments: 5 | ISBN: 0399154034 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Three A.M. finds him squishing wetly through Times Square on his quest, his sodden Rockport Walkers irretrievably soiled by spillage from a patient's burst peritoneum.

Jun 26, 2005: Kennedy, Shane: Highbinders
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1418453277 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Their tendency toward internecine feuding would have guaranteed the Delaneys' unhappiness anyway, but the family's future was further complicated when Sean, unwisely and ineffectively, attempted to avenge the wrongful death of his young wife.

Oct 16, 2005: Kenner, Julie: Carpe Demon
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0425202526 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Fighting demons is all well and good when you're a lithe and childless twenty-year-old.

Aug 21, 2006: Kersten, Jason: Journal of the Dead
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060959223 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: When rescuers arrived on day four--on August 8, 1999--Raffi was still alive, if dehydrated, and he admitted to having stabbed David to death just that morning by way of ending his friend's suffering.

Mar 7, 2004: King, Laurie R.: Keeping Watch
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0553801910 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In Keeping Watch, Allen's character and history are fully fleshed out, from the experiences in Vietnam that ineradicably imprinted themselves on him, to the mission he undertook after the War as a means of quelling his demons: Allen has spent more than 25 years applying his jungle survival skills to the task of rescuing abused children and wives from their abusers, usually by illicit means.

Nov 13, 2007: Kirn, Walter: The Unbinding
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0307277410 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

AidSat is a kind of über-OnStar system, a company that monitors its subscribers' vital signs constantly via miked tiepins and bracelets, whose employees are always available to offer assistance of any kind--from product reviews to relationship advice to the dispatch of a police cruiser or ambulance.


Dec 24, 2005: Klugman, Jack: Tony and Me
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0976830302 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Klugman credits Randall with nothing short of making him a better human being.

Apr 11, 2005: Kogon, Stephen: Max Mooth--Cyber Sleuth and the Case of the Zombie Virus
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0595333249 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: Aurcracker intends, with the assistance of a minion or two, to release a devastating computer virus, frame Max for the crime, and rake in piles of cash by selling the only software capable of defeating it.

Jan 9, 2008: Koontz, Dean: The Husband
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0553589091 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

When Mitch needs to buy ammunition for a gun he's gotten his hands on, for example, he doesn't know how to ask for it at at the counter of a gun shop without looking suspicious


Dec 16, 2007: Labriola, Jerry: The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 1928782701 | Categories: 2 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He meets with the various members of the group that has engaged him and, per their instructions and with their help (so that one wonders why they needed to hire him at all), he talks to a bunch of "histarians"--a loose confederation of amateur historians who are privy to historical information they refuse for some reason to divulge by phone.

Jul 3, 2007: Landy, Derek: Skulduggery Pleasant
Comments: 7 | ISBN: 0061231150 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: Skulduggery is a skeleton who manages to look less conspicuous when the situation requires by wrapping himself up, Invisible Man-like, in a coat and scarf, a frizzy wig and wide-brimmed hat.

Sep 14, 2005: Larsen, Deborah: The Tulip and the Pope
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 037541360X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: One could see the appeal of this trouble-free existence, it being a kind of extended childhood, if the price of not having to balance a checkbook and make mortgage payments and pick out one's own clothes were not deemed exorbitant.

Jan 2, 2007: Larsen, Ward: The Perfect Assassin
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1933515015 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Christine's stumbling across the man in the middle of the ocean is a bit of needle-in-a-haystack good luck that she comes to wish had never happened.


May 14, 2004: Larson, Erik: The Devil in the White City
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0375725601 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: That is, with a great number of young women, newly uprooted from their families, renting rooms in the hotel he had constructed near the Fair grounds, it became a simple matter for Holmes to find women he could murder and either cremate in his home-made kiln or flay and have turned into articulated skeletons.

May 14, 2006: Laurie, Hugh: The Gun Seller
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 067102082X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Thomas Lang may have the background for it--he's ex-military and peculiarly adept at hand-to-hand combat--but he's just too nice a guy to kill for money.

Feb 28, 2005: Lavin, Audrey: Eloquent Blood
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0974223344 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: As it turns out, a number of her colleagues would probably jump at the chance to kill their department chairman, but none of them has an obvious motive for wanting the victim dead.

Nov 14, 2005: Lee, Terence: Time Camera
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1412053900 | Categories: 2 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: A camera that can film the Spartans at Thermopylae I accept, but no one would agree to upend their life as readily as Lucy does here.

Dec 14, 2003: Lehane, Dennis: Shutter Island
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0688163173 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: How Rachel escaped is a mystery, though the fact that she managed to break out of a locked room and get past several manned checkpoints and a gaggle of poker-playing orderlies suggests that she had a lot of help.

Oct 2, 2003: Leighton, Ralph: Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0393320693 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The obsession started with a simple question, posed after dinner in 1977, when the subject of conversation had turned to geography.

Nov 10, 2005: Leith, William: The Hungry Years
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1592401554 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: He writes about French fry production and celebrity diets (Robbie Coltrane, "Hagrid" in the Harry Potter films, will not appreciate his mentions here), about pain killers and plastic surgery.

Feb 7, 2008: Lerner, Eric: Pinkerton's Secret
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0805082786 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Pinkerton and his agents policed the nation's railroads, for example, and they infiltrated the Confederate forces during the Civil War to smuggle information to the Union.


May 6, 2005: Leveen, Steve: The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1929154178 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Readers with less serious goals in mind probably won't find that particular idea--which is, after all, one of the main points of the book--pertinent to their own situation.

Apr 5, 2006: Levine, Judith: Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743269357 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Also annoying is that somewhere along the line the book turns into little more than an extended liberal rant, wherein the author sounds off on the evils of George Bush and Walmart and the consumer culture, and she laments not being able to enjoy the "soul-cleansing polemics of Michael Moore" in Fahrenheit 9/11.

Aug 1, 2006: Levine, Paul: Deep Blue Alibi
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0440242746 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: But the "locked boat" mystery in which Griffin is implicated--two men on a yacht in the middle of the ocean and one of them ends up dead--is only one of several puzzles to be solved in this book.

Feb 2, 2007: Levine, Paul: Kill All the Lawyers
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0440242754 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

This time around, alas, we are made to look on as she splays her legs for an intimate waxing.


Jan 6, 2006: Levine, Paul: Solomon vs. Lord
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0440242738 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The Barksdale murder trial is a high profile case of Klaus von Bulow proportions: Charles and his trophy wife were members of the local aristocracy.

Oct 9, 2007: Levine, Paul: Trial & Error
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0440242762 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: A plot by a bunch of animal rights activists to set free a pair of dolphins ends badly, specifically, in felony murder

Dec 8, 2005: Lewycka, Marina: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1594200440 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Nikolai is besotted with this bleached-blonde Ukrainian some fifty years his junior--not least because she favors him with access to her superb bosom--and he is intent on becoming her savior by marrying her.

Dec 23, 2005: Lileks, James: Mommy Knows Worst
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400082285 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Need to set up a home birthing center, but all you've got on hand are a stack of newspapers and a packet of sterile vulva pads?

Aug 15, 2004: Lindley, David: Degrees Kelvin
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0309090733 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Thomson was involved in the particulars of William's life and early career to a degree that must have been maddening to the young man.

Nov 3, 2005: Liparulo, Robert: Comes a Horseman
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0785261761 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In one scene that is a powerful argument for women not living alone in remote locations we watch the murderer, a bear of a man decked out in animal skins, slaughter his fifth victim.

Feb 13, 2006: Long, Jeff: The Wall
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743266161 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The two friends mean to follow the Ansazi to the summit once again, leaving their demons behind them -- or so they think -- but their climb is plagued by bad luck, bad weather, and worse portents.

Aug 24, 2004: Lynds, Gayle: Masquerade
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312986033 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Her hunt for her identity takes Liz away from Gordon's grasp, finally, and into the thick of a dangerous game of international intrigue in which identifying the bad guys is hard, and outrunning them even harder.

Jul 14, 2003: MacLeish, Roderick: The Man who Wasn't There
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0394493613 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There's nothing unusual about Rex's flight or his performance as Frederick, but the next morning Rex finds a picture of himself in the obituaries.

Jun 8, 2008: Madigan, Tim: I'm Proud of You
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 1592403301 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

I am of a cynical bent, and find it difficult to believe in the possibility of--or even the desirability of--unconditional love (with an exception granted for one's children).


Jun 28, 2004: Marcus, James: Amazonia
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1565848705 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Have you ever wondered, for example, what a professional Amazonian's take on the reviews of Harriet Klausner (Amazon's top-ranked reviewer) might be?

Jun 16, 2005: Marks, Marsha: Flying by the Seat of My Pants
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1578566991 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Beginning with the unusual circumstances in which she entered the profession, Marks writes about difficult passengers and ditsy fellow workers, her brushes with law enforcement and the secret service, cellulite and on-board fires--in short, the perks and problems of flying for a living.

Mar 7, 2006: Martínez, Guillermo: The Oxford Murders
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1596921501 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Seldom's chapter on serial murders, in particular, seems to have inspired the recent killings: with each murder the killer leaves behind a symbol--the first, a circle, appears in a note addressed to Seldom himself -- as if he is challenging the mathematician to work out the logic of his series before he kills again.

Apr 4, 2008: Martin, Steve: Born Standing Up
Comments: 5 | ISBN: 1416553649 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

In a passage that must have been difficult to write he describes the incident which led him to resolve, at roughly age nine, that thenceforth "only the most formal relationship would exist between my father and me...."


Mar 10, 2004: Martin, Steve: The Pleasure of My Company
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0786869216 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Some of Daniel's peculiarities merely make his life difficult, such as his need for the aggregate wattage of lit lightbulbs in his apartment to equal precisely 1125 at all times.

Feb 2, 2008: Marx, Groucho: Memoirs of a Mangy Lover
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0306811049 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

We're not given a sense of the man behind the moustache.


Jan 10, 2006: Mathews, Harry: My Life in CIA
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1564783928 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The picture that emerges is part Somerset Maugham, part Austin Powers, the expatriate shedding his "snug black velvet bell bottoms" for the odd sexual romp.

Sep 17, 2003: Maxwell, William: So Long, See You Tomorrow
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0679767207 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There is also canine unhappiness, the imagined wretchedness of an imagined dog, whose loyalty and service is repaid with beatings and abandonment.

Sep 16, 2007: May, Jane: Hooked
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 075821362X | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Presumably the author is going for light-hearted romp rather than yuck, get a room.


Oct 26, 2005: McCall Smith, Alexander: At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400095093 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Von Igelfeld's experiences abroad--with scheming dons and their lachrymose Master, with an inappropriate Porter, with the University's intolerable toilet situation--leave him more certain than ever of the German's superiority to the Anglo-Saxon.

Apr 15, 2007: McCall Smith, Alexander: Blue Shoes and Happiness
Comments: 6 | ISBN: 1400075718 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

But even with so much on her plate there is time for Mma Ramotswe to sit and think and to drink bush tea, to reflect on the traditional ways of her country and on the traditional troubles afflicting man, to enjoy a drive in her tiny white van and the enormous pleasures afforded by other small things.


Feb 19, 2007: McCall Smith, Alexander: Portuguese Irregular Verbs
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400077087 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

We are given accounts, too, of the very moment when the idea of writing about Portuguese irregular verbs came to Igelfeld, and of his ill-fated near courtship of a certain lady dentist.


Jul 17, 2006: McCall Smith, Alexander: The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400095085 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He is both oblivious to the perceptions of those around him and imperturbably convinced of his own self worth.

Jan 4, 2008: McCall Smith, Alexander: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Comments: 9 | ISBN: B000W0NO5Q | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

It's an unhappy chapter in Mma Ramotswe's life, but it packs meat onto her character: she is not all homespun goodness, that is, but was capable in her youth of great folly, and what wisdom she has was hard won.


Jan 14, 2004: McDermid, Val: The Distant Echo
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312301995 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He eventually staggers up to a police car, covered himself in Rosie's blood and soaked in sweat, looking, he is uncomfortably aware, more like a man guilty of murder than a respectable citizen reporting a crime.

Aug 25, 2005: McDermid, Val: The Torment of Others
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312339194 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: As Dr. Hill repeatedly insists, no two people committing sexually motivated homicides will derive satisfaction from the same complex of details--how their victims are bound, how they are tortured, how they are killed.

Jun 1, 2005: McMullan, Kate: Have a Hot Time, Hades!
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0786816643 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: Nor are the Olympians themselves without their own petty squabbles, mostly arising from Zeus' habits of stealing credit from his siblings and begetting offspring with mortals.

Jan 18, 2005: McNicholl, Damian: A Son Called Gabriel
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1593150180 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: It is so well written, and the author's portrayal of Gabriel is so vivid, that readers will be hard-pressed to remember they're holding a piece of fiction in their hands.

May 15, 2007: Meltzer, Brad: The Book of Fate
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 0446530999 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Years after Manning lost the White House, Wes is still fetching the former President his coffee.

Mar 14, 2006: Mewshaw, Michael: If You Could See Me Now
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1932961208 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: But he does provide a great many details about Adrienne that will send readers running to Google, most tantalizing among them that Amy's mother served as Undersecretary of State during the Reagan and Bush administrations.

May 20, 2006: Miller, Adrienne: The Coast of Akron
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0374125120 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There is a great secret lurking behind the facade of On ne peut pas vivre seul, the mansion in Akron, Ohio in which Fergus has served as midwife to the Lowell pieces, the childhood home of Merit, for whom Fergus acted as the only responsible "parent."

May 4, 2005: Millington, Mil: A Certain Chemistry
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0812966678 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There is also God, who is evidently shorter than one would suppose and who interrupts Tom's first-person narrative from time to time to expound upon His point that romance is illusory and love the stuff of chemical impulses.

Nov 20, 2004: Millington, Mil: Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 081296666X | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Yet Pel might yet keep things under control at work--the requisite meetings with Chinese mafiosi, the disappeared colleagues, the nerve gas and would-be poltergeists--were his home life not so chaotic.

Dec 24, 2007: Mills, Kyle: Darkness Falls
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1593154593 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The book's principal good guy is Erin Neal, a biologist who literally wrote the book on bacteria, whose sympathies with the ecological movement suggest to many in the government that he may be the proverbial hen-house-guarding fox

Mar 7, 2005: Mina, Denise: Deception
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0316735922 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: At the same time the diary records Lachlan's attempts to cope with normal life in the months following his wife's conviction -- the mothers at his daughter's day care center conspicuously friendly, an "elderly triumvirate" of relatives making a show of their support by coming to stay with him -- uninvited, unwelcome, and ultimately unhelpful.

Jul 20, 2003: Moore, Christopher: Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0380728133 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Tommy will do just about anything for Jody, short of eating bugs, and that includes tolerating--indeed bonding with--a dead guy in their freezer.

Sep 20, 2003: Moore, Christopher: Practical Demonkeeping
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0380816555 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Granted, the position has its perquisites--immortality and the potential for world domination and so on--but on the other hand there is the difficult issue of the anthropophagous beast's appetite.

Jul 29, 2005: Moran, Lindsay: Blowing My Cover
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0399152393 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Some of her job had a cloak-and-dagger excitement to it--clandestine meetings and coded signals--but much of it was dull, from the reams of paperwork she was required to fill out to the necessity of listening to some low-level agent's marital complaints during a meeting.

May 1, 2004: Mulroy, David: The War Against Grammar
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0867095512 | Categories: Book reviews , Non-Fiction , Not rated
Excerpt: While students can, that is--some of them, at least--express themselves adequately, they are not proficient at explicating the literal meanings of grammatically complex texts.

Jan 15, 2005: Murray, Paul: An Evening of Long Goodbyes
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400061164 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The book, too, loses charm as it moves from the farce of its early pages to the melodrama of Charles's post-Amaurot life.

Jan 16, 2006: Napier, Bill: Splintered Icon
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312936680 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In the middle chapters, however, the book slows, while Blake and Zola Khan, a historian Harry's persuaded to help him, discuss the secret purpose of Ogilvie's expedition and drop erudite references to intellectual and religious history.

Nov 22, 2003: Nelson, Sara: So Many Books, So Little Time
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0399150838 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The author set herself the task of reading a book a week in 2002 and recording her responses to what she read, "matching up the reading experience with the personal one and watching where they intersect--or don't."

Sep 4, 2006: Newhart, Bob: I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1401302467 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: You'll come away from the book thinking that Bob Newhart's a nice guy (but you thought that anyway, right?), with a nostalgic longing for his classic TV show and some curiosity about his early comedy albums.

Feb 4, 2006: Nichols, Judy: Caviar Dreams
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1897942345 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He insinuates himself into the life of Cincinnati's most eligible bachelor, Robert Helton, the CEO of Helton International and a closeted homosexual so afraid of being outed that he's a perfect candidate for blackmail.

Aug 16, 2007: Niesslein, Jennifer: Practically Perfect in Every Way
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0399153918 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Watch while the author reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, say, or spends a year cooking Julia Child recipes.


Dec 4, 2003: Niffenegger, Audrey: The Time Traveler's Wife
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 193156146x | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The result is that he sometimes disappears from the present, leaving nothing but a pile of clothes behind him, and materializes stark naked in some other time and place.

Sep 20, 2007: Nixon, Joan Lowery: A Deadly Game of Magic
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0152050302 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt:

For example, when it's pitch dark in a strange house that you think may be haunted and/or inhabited by a killer, and when there's a room down the hall in which you suspect there just might be a dead body, you don't react to finding an old scrapbook with a cheery cry of, "This is terrific! Look! Photographs!"


Aug 19, 2004: Nohain, Jean: Le Petomane
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0285630970 | Categories: 2 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: In his very brief (95 pages in my edition, with photographs) biography, author Jean Nohain tells the bizarre story of Le Petomane, an evidently kindly baker, and a father of ten, who was determined to use his talent for flatulence for good.

Jan 22, 2006: Notaro, Laurie: The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0375760911 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: She is not, that is, one of those perky-breasted blondes whose clothes always fit right and who's engaged to a doctor, but rather the funny gal pal type, who's more often than not unwashed and underdressed, and more often than she should be under the table.

Dec 4, 2005: O'Connor, Martha: The Bitch Posse
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0312333927 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: We are made to understand early on in the story that some terrible event occurred--or rather, that the girls were responsible for something terrible happening--at the end of their senior year in high school, in 1988.

Aug 19, 2007: O'Keefe, Dan: The Real Festivus
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0399532293 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Festivus was celebrated annually (but irregularly, with no set date) with depressing music and the recitation of poetry and the ingestion of meat.


Dec 20, 2005: O'Keefe, Kevin: The Average American
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 158648270X | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The average American falls asleep within seven minutes of going to bed and eats three pounds of peanut butter annually.

Jan 20, 2007: O'Malley, Christine; Creadon, Patrick: Wordplay
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312364032 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

The text of the book reads very quickly, but finishing the 50 puzzles that are included in Wordplay will be the work of weeks, if not months.


Nov 8, 2007: Olson, Karen E.: Dead of the Day
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0451222474 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Her stomach is forever growling or otherwise demanding restaurant fare, so we're given a tour of New Haven's eating establishments while reading--from Sally's Pizza in Wooster Square to Louis' Lunch (home of the hamburger Nazis) to Clark's Dairy (where I used to work!).


Sep 30, 2005: Olson, Karen E.: Sacred Cows
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0892960221 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The cows annoy Annie by their mere presence in town, particularly after she is ordered to report on their doings for the paper.

Apr 13, 2007: Olson, Karen E.: Secondhand Smoke
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0892960256 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: It's true that her relationship with her mother is strained, and her job as a reporter necessarily distances her from would-be newsmakers who don't want their peccadilloes showing up in the paper.

Jan 31, 2005: Orlean, Susan: My Kind of Place
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0679462937 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Orlean's modus operandi is to observe her subject for a length of time--spending a week or two, say, walking the aisles of an independently owned grocery store in Jackson Heights, New York, interviewing its managers and employees, watching the parade of hair-netted housewives and pierced teenagers and hand truck-pushing delivery men who flow in and out of the store ("All Mixed Up").

Sep 13, 2003: Pépin, Jacques: The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0618197370 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: When he encounters some thousands of snails slime-trailing their way around the wet terraces of his vacation bungalow, Pepin doesn't just register their appearance as a curiosity and move on, as we might.

Dec 9, 2004: Pall, Ellen: Corpse de Ballet
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312980108 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: When an old college friend, choreographer Ruth Renswick, asks for Juliet's advice on the staging of a ballet of Great Expectations, the former professor of English literature finds herself a regular observer of the Jansch Repertory Ballet Troupe's rehearsals--and an observer as well of the rivalries and romances that animate the dancers.

Jun 21, 2003: Parkhurst, Carolyn: The Dogs of Babel
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0316168688 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Iverson's interest in canine linguistics leads him to become involved--briefly, and somewhat against his will--with a group of extremists who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of canine speech.

Jul 6, 2003: Paul, Jim: Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0156005565 | Categories: 2 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The author's foolishness in this instance is one among a number of reasons that he--or the persona he adopts for the book--is an unappealing figure.

Mar 30, 2008: Pearson, Ridley: Killer Weekend
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0399154078 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

One admires, despite the nature of the task, his painstaking preparations for the kill.


Feb 10, 2005: Perrotta, Tom: Little Children
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312315732 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The hierarchy of playground mothers, the less powerful personalities under the sway of a spandex-clad, fascistic, supermom, does not ring true.

Oct 4, 2007: Phillips, Marie: Gods Behaving Badly
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0316067628 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The Olympians--a petty, vengeful, randy (some of them) lot--amused themselves by interfering with human affairs, despoiling mortal virgins, stirring up epic wars, championing their favorites....


Aug 19, 2003: Posadas, Carmen: Little Indiscretions
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0375508856 | Categories: 3 stars , 3 stars , Book reviews , Book reviews , Fiction , Fiction
Excerpt: At twenty degrees below zero, Nestor didn't manage to live until morning, when a Häagen Dazs-seeking employee finally opened the door, but he did have time to come to an imperfect understanding of the circumstances of his death.

Aug 18, 2006: Pouncey, Peter: Rules for Old Men Waiting
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400063701 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He establishes a set of ten rules for himself, "a simple skeleton of the well-ordered life for a feeble old man," by means of which he intends to live with some dignity until the end, and to approach death on something like his own terms.

Feb 24, 2008: Povey, Jeff: The Serial Killers Club
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0446616648 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The club's members, who adopt the names of old film stars, meet in a public restaurant and tell funny stories about their recent slayings over dinner.


Feb 11, 2007: Prerau, David: Seize the Daylight
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 1560256559 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: I'd had no idea, for example, that it was standard as late as the 19th century for communities to determine their time locally, so that the time from town to town would vary by minutes depending on how the communities were situated from one another longitudinally.

Jul 13, 2008: Price, Jill: The Woman Who Can't Forget
Comments: 6 | ISBN: 1416561765 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Price can also remember, with perfect clarity, the conversation she had with doctors about allowing them to harvest her husband's organs once he was taken off life support.


Dec 28, 2007: Priest, Jack: Gecko
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0974524646 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Sure, one has to suspend one's disbelief about the whole giant gecko thing.


Oct 19, 2006: Prose, Francine: Reading Like a Writer
Comments: 5 | ISBN: 0060777044 | Categories: Book reviews , Non-Fiction , Not rated
Excerpt: In fact it is a greater achievement to make a character engaging if he is not someone the average person can identify with: Patricia Highsmith's sociopath Tom Ripley is a great example of the type.

Aug 14, 2005: Rayner, Mark A.: The Amadeus Net
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0975254014 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: As a benevolent near-god Ipolis looks after its residents, and the rest of the world to the extent that it can, keeping an eye in particular on its favorite son, Mozart.

Nov 25, 2006: Rehak, Melanie: Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0151010412 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: She came, in fact, to claim to be Carolyn Keene herself--the pseudonymous author of the Nancy Drew books--giving no credit to Mildred Wirt, who wrote 23 of the first 30 books in the series (as well as many other books for the Syndicate).

May 19, 2004: Rhodes, P.J.: Ancient Democracy and Modern Ideology
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0715632205 | Categories: Book reviews , Non-Fiction , Not rated
Excerpt: In his essay Ancient Democracy and Modern Ideology P.J. Rhodes considers both modern and ancient attitudes toward democracy, particularly the radical Athenian democracy of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Rhodes discusses the various approaches classical scholars have adopted in their study of democracy.

Nov 3, 2006: Rimington, Stella: At Risk
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 1400079810 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The author worked for the Secret Service for almost thirty years prior to her retirement in 1996, and she was appointed director general of MI5 in 1992.

Aug 7, 2003: Roach, Mary: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0393050939 | Categories: 4.5 stars , 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Book reviews , Non-Fiction , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The book opens with the first of many colorful scenes, a roomful of plastic surgeons practicing their grotesque (at the best of times) trade on a bunch of severed heads.

Feb 1, 2006: Robinson, Barbara: The Best School Year Ever
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0064404927 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: It's amusing, for example, (when you get over the real-life scariness of the kidnapping) to imagine the Herdmans displaying a "tattooed" baby for profit (if you also forget that the kid would surely be unhappy and uncomfortable if this were really happening to him) -- but it's not the sort of thing that would happen outside of the Our Gang comedies or Ed, Edd n Eddy's cul-de-sac.

Apr 21, 2006: Robotham, Michael: Lost
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0385508662 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: At the same time, Ruiz is haunted by his own version of a locked-room mystery, the disappearance three years earlier of seven-year-old Mickey Carlyle from her apartment building.

Oct 6, 2004: Robotham, Michael: Suspect
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0307275477 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: With the police unwilling to credit his claim that a volatile patient of his is somehow behind the crime, Joe is forced to try to unravel the real killer's elaborate plot against him while on the run.

Sep 7, 2006: Robson, Nancy Taylor: Course of the Waterman
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1579660525 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Robson, indeed, has fleshed out her characters and explored their interlocking relationships--all of which are changed during the course of this story--more fully than most authors can in twice as many pages.

Nov 27, 2003: Rose, M.J.: Sheet Music
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0345451066 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The story is awash in musical and gastronomic details--Justine is the daughter of chefs--and it explores, often movingly, incapacitating grief and its aftermath and the sometimes ugly "other" that each of us hides from the outside world.

May 27, 2004: Rose, M.J.: The Halo Effect
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0778320804 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Morgan, who has worked with the police in past cases, becomes involved again when a serial killer begins murdering prostitutes and posing them, in death, in a series of religiously significant, grotesque tableaux.

Jun 27, 2007: Rose, M.J.: The Reincarnationist
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0778324206 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

While investigating a mystery connected with recent discoveries at an archaeological dig in Rome, Josh comes to understand that his life is inextricably bound with those of Julius and Percy, and that the past casts a long shadow over the present.


Aug 3, 2005: Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0439784549 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: After many thousands of pages, Rowling's prose continues very much the same--a kind of straightforward, unaffected writing that gets the story across without slowing things down, a style that has proved unusually accessible to a vast readership.

Sep 6, 2006: Rubenfeld, Jed: The Interpretation of Murder
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0805080988 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: This isn't a book that will grab you by the throat, but one you'll come to appreciate instead intellectually.

Sep 24, 2003: Ruddick, James: Death at the Priory
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0802139744 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: His death was a particularly horrific one as the poison that was used, a massive dose of tartar emetic (a derivative of antimony), is a highly corrosive substance.

Apr 5, 2004: Russo, Richard: Nobody's Fool
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0679753338 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Roebuck, a man with the sexual appetite of a satyr, enjoys an amusing love-hate relationship with Sully, the product of a lifetime of acquaintance in a small town.

May 28, 2003: Russo, Richard: Straight Man
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0375701907 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In the course of the book Hank is beset by the academic infighting that attends a university-wide budget crisis, by animal rights activists incensed by his on-air near strangling of a goose and his threat of further fowl play, and by his inability to produce satisfactory quantities of urine.

Oct 25, 2007: Sagal, Peter: The Book of Vice
Comments: 5 | ISBN: 0060843829 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

He describes the logistics of the operation--the uses to which the various rooms of the place were put--while trying to understand the nature of the Lifestyle: becoming emotionally attached to the people you have sex with is not the done thing, for example, yet people who are in it only for the sex are apparently frowned on as well.


Jul 22, 2006: Saginor, Jennifer: Playground: A Childhood Lost inside the Playboy Mansion
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0060761571 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: He left his girls to roam the Mansion grounds alone, at the ages of six and four, while he played with Hef and the bunnies poolside.

Oct 27, 2007: Sansom, Ian: The Case of the Missing Books
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060822503 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Once arrived, however, he finds the library shuttered and his job description much altered: rather than manning a civilized circulation desk, Israel is to run a mobile library, spreading literature around, quite literally, out of the back of a broken-down bus.


Sep 13, 2006: Savage, Sam: Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 1566891817 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Born the 13th of 13 children to a 12-teated, alcoholic mother, Firmin was frequently compelled by virtue of his relatively diminutive size and strength to assuage his hunger by gnawing on books--a pathetic situation which, however, resulted in the singular fact and blessing of his life, his "lexical hypertrophy," heightened mental acuity coupled with an uncanny ability to read at super-human, let alone super-rodent speeds.

Aug 24, 2006: Schaefer, Laura: Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1560256869 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Certainly they reflect their times, young widows and widowers apparently being thick on the ground in the 19th century, and the contracting of relationships hinging very often on the quantifiable resources one could muster--whether a yearly stipend or a tractor.

Jul 8, 2008: Sebold, Alice: The Almost Moon
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0316677469 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

This is the sort of mess that a real person might make of matricide.


Jun 8, 2007: Selwood, Jonathan: The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0061173878 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Unfortunately Dahlman's brand of management involves posting naked pictures of Isabel on the web and pushing her to advertise "vaginal rejuvenation" surgery.


Feb 25, 2007: Setterfield, Diane: The Thirteenth Tale
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 074329820 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Winter's story is filled with sadism and incest, haunted lives in a decaying mansion--Angelfield Hall--the truth about its inhabitants hidden from the world.

Nov 12, 2006: Shachtman, Tom: Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 086547687X | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: The Amish, that is--and this is something I would never have dreamt I could say prior to reading this book--are, some of them, too wild for this reviewer.

Oct 20, 2004: Shapiro, Rochelle Jewel: Miriam the Medium
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743244788 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Her previously overachieving daughter, who is too embarrassed by her mother's profession to mention it to her friends, has taken up with Great Neck's resident bad boy, a shaven-haired hoodlum who doesn't "do" parents.

Aug 28, 2004: Sharratt, Mary: The Real Minerva
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0618462325 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Teen-aged girls mooning over matinee idols turn quickly into hardened farm wives with work-ravaged hands and too many children.

Jul 20, 2006: Sharratt, Mary: The Vanishing Point
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0618462333 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: One is transported in the reading to the verdant Maryland wilderness, loud with animal noises and buzzing insects, the overgrowth pressing in on the Washbrooks' modest home as if to reclaim it for the surrounding woods.

Jan 20, 2008: Shawn, Allen: Wish I Could Be There
Comments: 0 | ISBN: B000VPP9KK | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Many subjects were taboo in the home--the relationship of the meat on one's plate to its animal source, for example, his mother's mental health, human sexuality.


Jun 7, 2008: Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The 731 Legacy
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0738713171 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

The North Koreans are being helped in their gruesome enterprise by Cotten Stone's nemesis, the Dark Lord himself, Lucifer: as regular readers of the series will be aware, Cotten isn't just a reporter; she's also the daughter of Furmiel, one of the Fallen Angels, who rebelled against God but later repented of it.


Mar 10, 2006: Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The Grail Conspiracy
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0738707872 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Cotten's brief encounter with the chief archaeologist of the dig, Dr. Gabriel Archer, sets in motion the dramatic series of events to follow--events foretold in the Book of Revelation that may culminate in nothing less than the Second Coming of Christ.

Aug 4, 2007: Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The Hades Project
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0738709301 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: By day a senior investigative correspondent for the Satellite News Network, Cotten also happens to be the mortal daughter of Furmiel, the only one of the Fallen Angels to have sought forgiveness for following Lucifer over to the dark side.

Oct 15, 2006: Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The Last Secret
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 073870931X | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The book starts with a deliciously suspenseful chapter: the pilot of a Virgin Atlantic Airbus announces his suicidal intentions mid-flight, prompting scrambling on the ground as a criminal psychologist tries to talk the pilot out of it, and scrambling in the air as two F-18 Hornets prepare to shoot the aircraft down.

May 22, 2005: Shors, John: Beneath a Marble Sky
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0451218469 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: When his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth in 1630, Shah Jahan, the emperor of Hindustan, ordered that a magnificent mausoleum be erected for her.

Jun 17, 2004: Silbert, Leslie: The Intelligencer
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743432924 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe, in the last month before his fatal stabbing (in May of 1593), uncovers a smuggling operation and ruffles some highly placed feathers.

Sep 5, 2005: Skolkin-Smith: Leora: Edges: O Israel, O Palestine
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1930180144 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: We can view with sympathy Liana's desire to free herself from her mother's stifling, sweaty, noisome affection, if not the dramatic means by which she eventually makes good her escape.

Apr 1, 2006: Smiley, Patricia: Cover Your Assets
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0892960191 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The problem is that Tucker's search for a killer may lead her to the door of old friend Cissy Brice, the victim's widow, who had ample reason to want to see the last of her unfaithful, drug-addicted spouse.

Jan 8, 2007: Smith, Mary-Ann Tirone: Girls of Tender Age
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743279778 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Eventually, the two threads of Smith's story meet, tragically, when the author is nine years old.


Sep 9, 2007: Smith, Scott: A Simple Plan
Comments: 15 | ISBN: 0307279952 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Scott Smith immerses his characters in this moral dilemma of a situation and lets us watch as the ostensibly reasonable plan they agree on leads inevitably, inexorably, to a string of tragic consequences.

Aug 10, 2006: Smith, Scott: The Ruins
Comments: 5 | ISBN: 1400043875 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: There are no chapters in Scott Smith's book, just section breaks, which is probably just as well: turning the page to start a new chapter would just slow down your reading.

Oct 21, 2006: Snicket, Lemony: The End
Comments: 12 | ISBN: 0064410161 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: Fiction isn't real life, after all; it's life polished into something finite and graspable, with, usually, the boring parts removed.

Oct 4, 2004: Snicket, Lemony: The Grim Grotto
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0064410145 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: The mysterious Mr. Snicket, as in previous volumes of his researches into the Baudelaires' misfortunes, amuses with his clever wordplay, educates with his tangential discussions of vocabulary, and, indeed, alarms us on his behalf with hints dropped into the narrative of his own harrowing life on the run.

Nov 25, 2005: Snicket, Lemony: The Penultimate Peril
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0064410153 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA
Excerpt: Regular readers of the series will not be surprised that hope of a happier future is wrested cruelly from the orphans' grasp in the course of the story, so that the book ends in woe.

Oct 12, 2003: Snicket, Lemony: The Slippery Slope
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0064410137 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt: I should confess that I am half in love with Mr. Snicket, and I would pledge myself to him eternally were it not for a previous commitment of my own and Lemony's apparent devotion to the deceased Beatrice, to whom he dedicates each of his books (for example, "To Beatrice--darling, dearest, dead").

Dec 31, 2004: Spark, Muriel: The Finishing School
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0385512821 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: With Rowland's marriage suffering as a result of his obsession with Chris and with Chris himself showing signs of instability, with several of the book's characters announcing that the situation is ripe for murder, the end of the school year holds the promise of high drama.

Jul 2, 2004: Spencer, Scott: Men in Black
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0679434526 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: His Visitors from Above is a hit among conspiracy theorists, all UFOs and alien abductions and the enigmatic disinformation specialists of Scott Spencer's title--those fellows who, "sallow of complexion" and inappropriately dressed, can convince alien spotters, Tommy Lee Jones-like, that they haven't seen anything whatever out of the ordinary.

Jul 20, 2008: Stark, Richard: Ask the Parrot
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 089296068X | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

That is, he's not squeamish about committing murder, he's just unwilling to attract more police attention than is strictly necessary.


Apr 4, 2007: Storr, Will: Will Storr vs. the Supernatural
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0061132195 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

And Storr's account in his last chapter of an alleged case of possession in Texas is horrifying--not because demons are on the loose but, alas, because humans are.


Feb 13, 2004: Straub, Peter: lost boy lost girl
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1400060923 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: But beneath the attitude, the boys are surprisingly thoughtful and nobly loyal to one another, and Mark, at least, is intelligent, capable of using "dyad" in a sentence.

Apr 29, 2004: Sullivan, Robert: Rats
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1933633107 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

The alley he selected is bounded by a Chinese restaurant on one side and an Irish pub on the other, so that its greasy-slick cobblestones are awash nightly in edible garbage of both ethnic varieties, palatable to aficionados of either type. The alley is, in short, the perfect place to raise children.


Sep 18, 2003: Tarloff, Erik: The Man who Wrote the Book
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0609604686 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: At thirty-five, Ezra Gordon's better days are behind him--or so his doctor informs him after having withdrawn from his rump.

Dec 30, 2004: Thomas, Chris: Journo's Diary
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0957952880 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: At the same time he details for readers the minutiae of his life: his argument with a fast food place over the availability of Diet Coke in bottles in the restaurant; evidence that his roommate George may be having sex with chickens on the sly; his vague efforts to determine the identity of the "phantom pant scrubber," someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in the men's bathroom at work apparently scrubbing his underwear with steel wool.

Jul 5, 2008: Travers, P.L.: Mary Poppins
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0152017178 | Categories: 2.5 stars , Book reviews , Children's/YA , Fiction
Excerpt:

The climactic scene of the movie, wherein Banks's transformation is effected, is a small one: his children apologetically surrender to him the tuppence that had caused such a stir at the bank, where he works, leading to his being fired.


Jan 18, 2008: Trillin, Calvin: About Alice
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 1400066158 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

The book is a sort of extended love letter to Alice, to be sure, but a further point of the exercise is to be found on the book's dedication page.


Oct 26, 2006: Troost, J. Maarten: Getting Stoned with Savages
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0767921992 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: But more alarming than the tremors and the lava and the frequent cyclones, more alarming even than the shark-infested waters that put a damper on life in paradise, are the foot-long, poisonous, carnivorous, child-killing centipedes that live in Vanuatu.

Jul 28, 2004: Troost, J. Maarten: The Sex Lives of Cannibals
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 0767915305 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Among the first things Troost found worthy of thus chronicling after his arrival in Kiribati was his first blissful swim in the Pacific--all palm trees and booming surf and brilliant sun--an idyllic atmosphere that was marred by what Troost found waiting for him in the shallows when he waded back to shore: there, directly between the author and dry land, was a large pair of defecating human buttocks, whose owner soon took to wiping himself with twigs and casting aloft these feces-laden utensils on the outgoing tide...outgoing, that is, in the direction of our in-wading author.

Apr 20, 2004: Truss, Lynne: Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1592400876 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Truss's plea for violent action in the face of mixed up itses may go unheeded, but her light-hearted, best-selling paean to punctuation, originally published in Great Britain (and retaining British punctuation practices), has clearly tapped into a vein of previously voiceless pedants who believe that the lives of punctuation marks are worth celebrating.

Nov 27, 2005: Truss, Lynne: Talk to the Hand
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 1592401716 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Which brings me to another pleasure to be had from the book, that of disagreeing with Truss when she gets it wrong.

Apr 6, 2006: Twain, Mark: A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0393324494 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The farmer's plot is complicated, however, by his estranged brother's will and by the appearance in town, under unusual circumstances, of a multilingual stranger.

Feb 1, 2004: Unsworth, Barry: The Songs of the Kings
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0385501145 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: The man with a plan, naturally enough, is wily Odysseus--star of Homer's Odyssey--here presented as a Machiavellian manipulator of words and men.

Jan 18, 2006: Urbina, Ian: Life's Little Annoyances
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0805080309 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Those oblivious, the-world-revolves-around-me types who leave their grocery carts in the middle of the aisle, chain mail forwarders, spammers and telemarketers and express line abusers -- they're not criminals, exactly, so you can't lock them away or kill them.

Jan 31, 2006: Verissimo, Luis Fernando: Borges and the Eternal Orangutans
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 081121592X | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Verissimo's supremely clever little mystery will be appreciated by Borges and Poe aficionados -- familiarity with both authors would be a plus -- and to readers who like their fiction thoughtful and their expectations upended.

Aug 19, 2005: Vowell, Sarah: Assassination Vacation
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0743260031 | Categories: 3.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Did you know, for example, that Edwin Booth, John Wilkes Booth's brother, once saved the life of Robert Todd Lincoln?

Sep 30, 2007: Walker, Gabrielle: An Ocean of Air
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0151011249 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

Two of Marconi's employees--Phillips and Bride--were aboard the Titanic, and Walker tells the story of the sinking from the perspective of these men, one of whom survived.


Jun 18, 2007: Ward, Giles: 100 Ways to Improve the World
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0954758668 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Ward goes on to juxtapose Peter's appreciation of his wife's beauty, even in death, with his concern about the state of the ash-effect laminate she's "carelessly bleeding all over."

Aug 3, 2003: Waugh, Evelyn: The Loved One
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0316926086 | Categories: 3 stars , 3 stars , Book reviews , Book reviews , Fiction , Fiction
Excerpt: Joyboy courts Aimee by manipulating into smiles the faces of the corpses he works on that are headed for her cubicle.

Jun 20, 2004: Weber, Katharine: Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312143834 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Harriet finds Anne, this "strange new mistress-person" she's become, wholly changed from the woman she knew in New York, smothering under the demands of an oppressive relationship with her Victor, a fastidious, subtly abusive, toeless Auschwitz survivor.

Sep 25, 2004: Weber, Katharine: The Little Women
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0374189595 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: But when the girls discover that their mother has had an affair, and when their father refuses to join them in condemning her, the sisters become as disgusted with their family's imperfection, with their parents' failure to live up to the family's moral standards, as they had been convinced of its superiority.

Jul 21, 2004: Weber, Katharine: The Music Lesson
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0312252854 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In the meantime she is enjoying the life rural Ireland has to offer in the off-season--solitude and an unprecedented closeness to and awareness of the elements, a barely electrified dwelling that's not "on the phone," stoic donkeys and an abundance of mostly nameless cats, the unspeakable beauty of her surroundings.

Feb 22, 2008: Weiner, Eric: The Geography of Bliss
Comments: 3 | ISBN: 0446580260 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews
Excerpt:

A humorless interlocutor in Switzerland identified clean public restrooms as a source of Swiss happiness, for example, while the Moldovans Weiner spoke with named as their sole source of joy their country's fresh fruits and vegetables.


Oct 6, 2005: Williams, Rose: The Labors of Aeneas
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0865165564 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: In Paris' case those disastrous results would include the siege and destruction of Troy, which he brought about single-handedly by stealing Helen from her jealous Greek husband--her face launching a thousand ships and all that.

Mar 19, 2007: Wilson, D.L.: Unholy Grail
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0425214788 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt:

Their investigation is a dangerous one: Hamar has been targeted already by a shadowy assassin, and Jesuit priests have a way of turning up dead after meeting with her.


Oct 11, 2003: Winchester, Simon: The Map that Changed the World
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0060193611 | Categories: 3 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: But Smith's stay in the King's Bench Prison is itself anticlimactic, because while Winchester alludes to its "horrors" earlier on, he finally describes debtors' prison as a sort of country club, where the indebted middle-class pass their time playing cards or bowling and drinking beer.

Dec 18, 2004: Winspear, Jacqueline: Maisie Dobbs
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0142004332 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Maisie was tutored by a friend of her employer's, a Yoda-like character who spouted Eastern wisdom and taught his protégée a sort of holistic approach to detection.

Nov 19, 2006: Winspear, Jacqueline: Pardonable Lies
Comments: 4 | ISBN: 0805078975 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: What happened to the men in fact proves to be more interesting than anything that was reported to their families by telegram.

Jan 3, 2004: Wolitzer, Meg: Surrender, Dorothy
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0671042548 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: On the way back, a tub of soft-serve vanilla successfully secured from the local Fro-Z-Cone, Sara is killed in a car accident.

Aug 29, 2003: Wolitzer, Meg: The Wife
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0684869403 | Categories: 4.5 stars , 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Book reviews , Fiction , Fiction
Excerpt: The braying Furies for the moment appeased, Joan Castleman and her husband are in mid-air, en route to Finland, where Joe is slated to receive the Helsinki Prize for literature.

Feb 23, 2005: Wolstencroft, David: Good News, Bad News
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0525947949 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: Charlie, at least, is convinced that one of their regular customers, a gorgeous woman whose photographs suggest she trots the globe at breakneck pace, is a spy.

Jun 17, 2003: Worrall, Simon: The Poet and the Murderer
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0452284023 | Categories: 4.5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: Many of Hofmann's forgeries were intended to undermine the religion he had grown up to despise, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, by inserting into the historical record documents that were embarrassing to the Church.

Nov 30, 2007: York, Dick: The Seesaw Girl and Me
Comments: 2 | ISBN: 0974544647 | Categories: 5 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt:

In August of 1985, with rent coming due and having no way to pay it, York settled on the implausible scheme of raising the money by writing his autobiography.


Sep 21, 2004: York, Lynn: The Piano Teacher
Comments: 1 | ISBN: 0452284775 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Fiction
Excerpt: During the course of the novel Wilma's ability to move through life seemingly unaffected is tested by a string of dramatic events: the unexpected attentions of a suitor, the murder of one of her Mayberry-sized town's policemen, and the unannounced appearance on her front porch of Wilma's troubled daughter and granddaughter.

Sep 4, 2003: [no author]: A Book Lover's Journal & Reader's Journal
Comments: 0 | ISBN: 0201103540 | Categories: 4 stars , Book reviews , Non-Fiction
Excerpt: It could be improved by being spiral bound, of course, and, perhaps, by including a section for simple lists of books and a ratings box on the pages of the first section.