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My 1000th post: revisiting my 10 most-read book reviews

June 1, 2017

Seven and a half years after I launched this blog, I’ve reached a milestone: this is my 1000th post. Nearly 900 of those posts are book reviews. I’m listing here the 10 most popular over the past three years. Four of those 10 books are mysteries and thrillers, two are trade novels, and four are works of nonfiction…. Read More ›

Just how many books are there, really?

In a guest post here on October 4, 2016 (“10 awful truths about book publishing”), publisher Steven Piersanti remarked on the huge numbers of books being published today. Here’s what he wrote: According to the latest Bowker Report (September 7, 2016), more than 700,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2015, which is an… Read More ›

A brief look at 15 important dystopian novels

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 the disastrous consequences that might ensue, The Handmaid’s Tale has been haunting the bestseller lists for months, and other dystopian novels have selling… Read More ›

24 compelling dystopian novels

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 ›

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 ›