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Book descriptions that scare me

Anyone who’s read this blog knows I’m a fan of foreign fiction. As a result, I pay attention to book awards involving such books, including the BTBA. But when this year’s winner was announced it got me thinking about things that tend to cause me to prejudge a book.

The NPR review of the winner, […]

Anniversary of a banned American classic

This week marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Normally, what comes to mind is the book’s portrayal of the plight created by the Dust Bowl years of the Depression. Yet it stands for another object lesson about America. It was banned — and burned — in the […]

Abstaining from best books mania

For some reason this year’s onslaught of “best of the year” lists really wore on me. As a result, I’m not going to do one of those posts for 2013. Instead, I will note that, based on books listed in both of two different compilations of this year’s book lists, it’s again clear I am […]

Not required law school reading

In recent years the ABA Journal, the magazine of the America Bar Association, has been into various “best of” lists for law (e.g., best movies, best TV shows). The latest is the 25 Greatest Law Novels Ever (there’s actually 26 because there was a tie for 25th). Evidently, my cultural legal education is lacking as […]

Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

Normally, I would be writing about missteps and milestones today. But there weren’t really any missteps and there was a major milestone. As a result, I decided Matt Haig’s The Humans deserved more than a passing mention. It is the first book I’ve given a five star rating on Goodreads in two years. I also […]

A Kafkaesque anniversary

I’m guessing I was in high school when I first heard the word “existential” or “existentialism.” Likewise, I’m guessing that was when I first grasped even a glimmer of what it meant — and I am still far from claiming comprehension. One thing I’ve always found unique about existentialism is fiction’s role in it. Ask […]