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Review: Daniel Suarez’s “Freedom”

When I give a book a top rating, it is usually because I think that book is perfect, or close to it. I will not make that claim about Daniel Suarez’s Freedom. No, this book has some very significant and undeniable flaws. Even so, it is perhaps the best technothriller I’ve ever read, and beyond that, [...]

Review: Peter Wohlleben’s “The Hidden Life of Trees”

Naturalists who write for a popular audience have a tough needle to thread. An acceptable work of popular naturalism provides readers with enough detailed research to convey and legitimize the author’s expertise, while simultaneously eschewing esoteric tangents and academic quibbles. A great work will also contain responsible speculation about the borders of human knowledge––just enough [...]

Review: Daniel Suarez’s “Daemon”

The modern book market is oversaturated with technothrillers, so it’s always a risk to pick one from the pile and give it a whirl. Fortunately for me, one of my closest friends identified Daniel Suarez’s Daemon as one that would be worth my time. But even my high expectations couldn’t prepare me for how much I was [...]

Review: Arlie Russell Hochschild’s “Strangers in Their Own Land”

No matter what part of the political spectrum you hail from, few Americans would deny that this moment in our nation’s history is shot through with alienation. At every turn, Americans are forsaking the public square in favor of familiar and increasingly insular communities––digital and physical––occupied by similarly-minded friends and family. Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in [...]

Review: Alice Munro’s “Selected Stories”

Having now read more than 1,000 pages of Alice’s Munro’s prose, it is clear to me that she is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent. This woman appears to produce beautiful phrases with the readiness and ease with which average humans produce carbon dioxide. Her fictional examinations of the human condition are simultaneously plainspoken and impenetrable; [...]

Review: Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter’s “12: The Elements of Great Managing”

Less than a year and a half ago, I had absolutely no business experience. Today, I am part of the management team for a small but steadily growing business in the town where I grew up and hope to live for the rest of my life. This has been the most unexpected and dynamic development [...]

Review: Yuval Noah Harari’s “Homo Deus”

“Who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin Fighting for a system built to fail Spooning water from their broken vessels As far as I can see there is no land” So sings Ben Knox Miller in The Low Anthem’s “Charlie Darwin,” one of the best songs I discovered during my college years. The track [...]

Review: Lorrie Moore’s “Anagrams”

Lorrie Moore’s Anagrams is nothing short of a masterpiece––the perfect book to save me from of a recent string of novels that didn’t cut the mustard. A befitting analysis would require a high degree of literary scrutiny, something I am probably too many years removed from my college days to muster. But I will trot out what [...]

Review: Gabriel García Márquez’s “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”

It feels sad to admit that Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold had a repellent effect on me. In many ways, it seems like a book I should love: artful in structure, brooding in tone, and concerned with humanity’s singular knack for committing sins of stupidity. But alas, the experience was hijacked by a familiar [...]

Review: Tom Toner’s “The Promise of the Child”

Tom Toner contacted me in search of an honest review of this book, and when I agreed to give it a shot, his publisher sent me two hard copies (one for me and another for a friend). Given Toner’s enthusiasm and generosity, I truly wish I had enjoyed his book more than I did. Despite some [...]