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24 compelling dystopian novels(0)

April 25, 2017

Dystopian novels figure prominently in the work of some of the world’s best science fiction writers. With Donald Trump in the White House, and an increasingly fearful public contemplating the possibility of disastrous consequences from his erratic behavior, dystopian novels such as 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale have crept back onto the bestseller lists. Lately… Read More ›

My 10 favorite espionage novels

Over the past seven years, I’ve read and reviewed 60 espionage novels. My ten favorites are listed below. Though my preliminary list included multiple titles by three authors (Alex Berenson, Charles Cumming, and Ross Thomas), I’ve limited myself to a single title from every writer. I gave every one of these ten titles a score… Read More ›

Dystopian fiction: 14 standalone novels

Note: I posted this commentary in error on April 3, 2017. It’s incomplete. I’ll repost at a later date once I’ve completed it. Dystopian fiction figures prominently in the work of some of the world’s best science fiction writers. With Donald Trump in the White House, and an increasingly fearful public contemplating the possibility of… Read More ›

My 15 favorite detective novels

The 15 detective novels listed below may not be the 15 “best” detective novels, even by my uniquely idiosyncratic criteria. I’d read a lot of work in the genre even before I began writing these reviews in January 2010—and there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of detective novels I’ve never read. This list consists… Read More ›

48 excellent mystery and thriller series

Two years ago I posted a list of my 36 favorite mystery and thriller series. What follows is an updated version of that list. I’ve made several changes in my Top 10 list. I’ve also added 12 titles—and demoted a few to a new category of “Not-so-great series.” Unless you’re a devoted fan of the… Read More ›

The 10 best books of 2016

I can hardly turn around without finding somebody’s list of the best books of the year. So, why shouldn’t I write one up, too? I doubt that many literary critics have reviewed more books this year than I have. So, here goes . . . Following are the ten books, both fiction and nonfiction, that… Read More ›

What? Literary critics I agree with?

I never thought I’d say this, but here it comes. I have discovered that there is, indeed, some overlap between my choices in reading and those of some of the country’s top literary critics. On December 16, the New York Times published lists of the ten top books of the year as chosen by each… Read More ›

The 5 best books of 2016

I’d already written up my list of the 10 best books of the year when the editors of Berkeleyside asked me to supply them with a list of my five top picks. (I’ll post the longer list next week.) Picking just five is a tough assignment, to put it mildly. But here goes, gritting my… Read More ›

65 good new books I’ve read in 2016

I suppose sixty-five seems like a lot of books to most people, but it’s far from all the books I’ve read in 2016. Listed here are only those that I rated @@@@ or @@@@@ (4 or 5 out of 5). Keep in mind that I’m very selective in choosing books (emphasis on very), and I… Read More ›

17 books that illuminate the World War II era

If you’ve been reading my reviews for very long, you’re aware that the World War II era holds special fascination for me. This might have something to do with the fact that I was born then — in fact, about six months before the USA entered the war. Or maybe it’s just because it all… Read More ›