MixedUSA TodayFor whatever reasons, Kidder shortchanges parts of English’s personal story, particularly his first marriage. But his robust reporting creates a powerful and insightful tale that makes the Internet era entertaining, and defines English as an endearing, generous and eccentric geek.
The Voyeur's MotelGay Talese
PanUSA TodayIn the end, this book is no contribution to 'social history,' as Foos and Talese suggest. It is, at best, a lewd and licentious footnote to Talese’s Thy Neighbor’s Wife. Foos is nothing more than an arrogant, delusional jerk who believes his years of illegal activity have value, and mistakes his attic as moral high ground. The sad upshot: Foos and Talese are lurking kindred spirits. And Talese’s journalistic rational for writing this book sounds pathetically like saying you buy Playboy for the articles.
Bucky F*ucking DentDavid Duchovny
RaveUSA TodayWhile the literary air is heavy with insight into death and dying, sins and forgiveness, family and fatherhood, love and sex, Duchovny’s compelling narrative and clever dialogue make it feel weightless, even uplifting ... Not a baseball book any more than Field of Dreams is a baseball book, this moving, beautiful novel resonates with laughter and tears throughout. It will make you want to see your father, have a catch, or a conversation — or wish you could.
The Road to Little DribblingBill Bryson
MixedUSA TodayAll of which is to say that reading Byson’s latest as a travelogue is misdirected. You do learn about the land, the people, the paces, the history, the journey. But what Bryson does best is simply to dress up travel literature in a weather-proof cloak of remarkable entertainment.
The Kingdom of SpeechTom Wolfe
PositiveUSA TodayHe presents that intriguing case in his inimitable, casual-chatty, captivating storytelling style. His trademark rich reporting is unmistakable throughout ... Sure, Wolfe-ish annoyances persist. Too-many repeated words and slam-bang semantics ... Still, he brings to this academic debate the same irreverence and entertaining quality that lit up Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Undoing ProjectMichael Lewis
RaveUSA TodayLewis is gifted at making scientific and financial jigsaw puzzles fit together easily. But, as Tversky and Kahneman are dismantling conventional economic theory later in the book, it’s slow going ... A lot of thinking goes on in this book, electrifying thinking that will raise doubts about how you personally perceive reality. Not one of the most effortless books you’ll read, this may be one of the best.
The Impossible FortressJason Rekulak
PositiveUSA TodayNeed a sanctuary book right about now? Maybe a retro escapist read about simpler times that lets you laugh out loud, not overthink, indulge in nostalgia? Well, here you go ... Throughout this charming adventure, Rekulak injects ‘80s references — everything from RC Cola, Hall and Oates and Spuds MacKenzie, to CompuServe, Bernhard Goetz, and Bugle Boy pants, not to mention plenty of ‘80s geek talk. But it all serves the setting without being overdone or gratuitous. In fact, the novel’s ‘80s allure, as well as its adolescent energy and strong characters, is reminiscent of Ernest Cline’s 2011 teenage sci-fi romp Ready Player One, as well as the current Netflix series Stranger Things (without the Stranger part). And the vibe of Billy’s narrative borrows from great voice-overs in classics such as The Wonder Years and A Christmas Story. Pretty good company for a pretty good novel.
The Hearts of MenNickolas Butler
RaveUSA TodayA multi-layered, multi-generational mini-epic ... Something of a Boy Scout soap opera, Butler’s novel reinforces the relevance of the Scout motto 'Be Prepared,' certainly for readers, as it evolves into next generations. In the end, the sad but inspirational chapters about Trevor’s widow, Rachel, and their son, Thomas, make all the agonies of Camp Chippewa and the Boy Scout motto meaningful. Butler delves into a dark, Midwestern, middle-class suburban mentality in the same neighborhood as John Cheever’s Shady Hill and Richard Yates's Revolutionary Hill Estates.
Ready Player OneErnest Cline
RaveUSA TodayFew novels set up an engaging plot as fast as this one. In the first three pages, Cline cleverly lures readers into the crux of the story … In its charmingly odd manner, this is Willy Wonka meets The Matrix. Wade Watts, a nerdy computer-wiz high-schooler living in Oklahoma City's ‘stacks’ (ghettos), is the story's narrator and unlikely hero determined to win Halliday's contest...As the contest's front-runner, he gains instant global respect, new friends and deadly enemies … OASIS brims with '80s references, icons, trivia and nostalgia — Pac-man, WarGames, Zork, Duran Duran, AC/DC, Rush, Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, Dungeons & Dragons, anime. So does the entire novel, which in its quirky way is fun.
The ForceDon Winslow
RaveUSA TodayDon Winslow’s intoxicating new crime thriller, The Force, is a riveting ride-along with the Manhattan North Special Task Force ... Malone’s not a murdering racist, he’s a murdering realist. In the end, squeezed by the Feds, this dirty hero cop is disturbing proof, Winslow makes clear, that graft and corruption leak down to the street from the highest levels of a broken justice system. As in The Cartel, a poignant non-fiction baseline threads through this novel, leaving readers to wonder how much of it is tragically true. That’s what Don Winslow does.
Killers of the Flower MoonDavid Grann
RaveUSA TodayGrann’s no-frills narrative allows the facts to do the talking and the peril and body count that escalate page-by-page to create the suspense ... A talented storyteller, Grann knows how to make distant times and crimes feel present and personal.
Dragon TeethMichael Crichton
RaveUSA TodayMichael Crichton has come roaring back with an engaging, bookmark-biting historical thriller about one of his favorite subjects — dinosaurs ... Crichton thrives on stirring up historical and fictional events and characters, and that’s what makes this novel so rich. Besides real-life Cope and Marsh, a wonderfully rendered Wyatt Earp and brother Morgan ride into town; Robert Louis Stevenson makes a cameo, and so do some of the West’s most notorious outlaws. Through all the peril and suspense, readers will especially savor the dramatic changes in Johnson’s character as he grows quickly from snotty, immature jerk to hardened, heroic man. Dragon Teeth isn’t 'literary' fiction. Plain and simple, it’s Crichton fiction — a fun, suspenseful, entertaining, well-told tale filled with plot twists, false leads and lurking danger in every cliffhanging chapter.