a few months ago

The delightful Groucho Marx Mysteries

During the years 1998 to 2005, the popular cultural historian and author Ron Goulart (1933-) published a series of six Groucho Marx Mysteries featuring the legendary comedian in an unfamiliar role as a crime investigator. They’re set in the period immediately before the United States entered World War II—the heyday of the big Hollywood studios. […]

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7 months ago

Pandemic got you down? Read these books!

Stuck at home and running out of things to do? Getting depressed as the case counts rise? Why not pick up a good book and lose yourself for a few hours or a day in another reality? Here are fifteen books representing a wide range of subjects that are great to read during the pandemic. […]

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7 months ago

The 10 most consequential events of World War II

The virtue of history is that it affords us perspective—not just the distance that the passage of time occasions but the ability to grasp the importance of events that may have been only dimly understood at the time. What might seem of paramount importance to contemporaries may fade into obscurity as the years go by. […]

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8 months ago

The 40 best books of the decade

Let’s recognize something at the outset. Neither I, nor anyone, not even the New York Times Book Review, could possibly identify the “best” books of any decade, let alone the last one. During the period 2010 through 2019, an estimated total of some 30 million books were published. Now, I read a lot—a total of […]

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8 months ago

Joseph Kanon’s spy thrillers are superb

Joseph Kanon served as editor in chief of the publishing houses Houghton Mifflin and E. P. Dutton in New York. He began his writing career in 1995 at age 49. Kanon’s first novel, Los Alamos (1997), became a bestseller and received the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1998. He has written eight superb espionage thrillers to date. Los Alamos (1997) “It is the spring […]

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9 months ago

Literary critics say these are the best books of 2019

If you’re a bibliophile, you may visit the website of Lit Hub or read one of its newsletters. I do. I get my fix of literary comment and criticism on a daily basis from Lit Hub. And I rushed to click through to The Ultimate Best Books of 2019 List by Emily Temple (Lit Hub, December 11, […]

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10 months ago

20 engaging First Contact novels reviewed here

Since the earliest days of science fiction as an established genre, writers in the field have imagined what has come to be called First Contact with a capital F and a capital C. Most of the early speculation in the so-called Golden Era of Science Fiction (the 1930s and 40s) was laughable. But in more […]

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11 months ago

Six new science fiction authors worth reading now

Even today, anyone over the age of fifty or so is likely to think of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke when the subject of science fiction comes up. Yet all three have been dead for a long time (Heinlein in 1988, Asimov in 1992, Clarke in 2008), and the field has moved […]

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11 months ago

Your gateway to my reviews of my favorite novelists

A casual look at this blog might give you the impression that my reading runs all over the map. There’s considerable variety, of course. But in fact I’m aggressively selective in choosing books to read. For starters, you’ll find a slew of topics I never read about at What I read (and what I don’t). […]

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