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The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 13: Whispering
With its lush jungle vistas and busy cityscapes, Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 13 is a feast for the eyes, especially for fans of lead illustrator John Buscema. Story-wise, it's a nice return to Conan's …
reviewed Herzog. November 18, 2010
Herzog
Moses Herzog's sour contemplation of his overthought, underlived life makes for a curiously frustrating reading experience. Frustrating by design, perhaps, but no more worthwhile for that.   …
reviewed Gorky Park. November 18, 2010
Gorky Park
A key problem with genre fiction is its demands for pacing, fast action, and formulaic convention often hamper an author's attempt at distinctive writing. Many successful genre writers solve this …
reviewed Henry IV Part 2. November 18, 2010
Henry IV Part 2
In the previous installment of Shakespeare's "Henriad", "Henry IV Part 1", we waited to see if Prince Hal would shake the corrupting influence of Falstaff and prove worthy of the …
B57F18D3ABD747714FF11568958DF1F
Before Tom Brokaw became one of America's most famous anchormen, he was a kid with white bucks and a ducktail trying to make his mark in the hardscrabble world of South Dakota, circa 1950. "A …
reviewed Lord of the Flies. November 17, 2010
Lord of the Flies
"The Lord Of The Flies" is an exciting adventure yarn that memorably delves into the problem of free will versus social order. Unlike most such literary explorations, we learn here that free …
reviewed The Powers That Be. November 17, 2010
The Powers That Be
Four mass-media giants - CBS, Time Magazine, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times - get the deep-dish David Halberstam treatment in this mammoth 1979 study.      For Halberstam …
reviewed The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 12: The.... November 17, 2010
The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 12: The Beast King
Was Conan more a loner or a misfit? You will get an argument from many over this, but Volume 12 of the Chronicles Of Conan puts him firmly in the latter camp.      For the past three-plus …
reviewed Henry IV, Part 1. November 17, 2010
Henry IV, Part 1
"Henry IV Pt. 1" was one of Shakespeare's greatest successes in his lifetime, and has remained pre-eminently popular to this day. But each century has had its own version of what it is about. …
reviewed How the Irish Saved Civilization (Hin.... November 17, 2010
How the Irish Saved Civilization (Hinges of History)
Since its publication in 1995, Thomas Cahill's "How The Irish Saved Civilization" has become the page-turning equivalent of a green tie or "I Brake For Leprechauns" bumper sticker: …
Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure,
If you're not sold on the concept of a "liquor critic" going in, Washington Post spirits columnist Jason Wilson isn't trying to convince you otherwise.      Wilson's …
reviewed The Portrait of a Lady. November 17, 2010
The Portrait of a Lady
When you pick up a book fully expecting the literary equivalent of beets or spinach, the result can be a self-fulfilling prophesy of mind-numbing boredom. Or you can be surprised by the interest and entertainment …
reviewed About a Boy. November 17, 2010
About a Boy
Marcus, the 12-year-old protagonist of "About A Boy", arrives at a realization late in the book that sums up Nick Hornby's message of enlightened humanism, a theme running through his books: …
reviewed The Fall. August 18, 2010
The Fall
At one point in "The Fall" we join our narrator and his companion as they float along Amsterdam's Zuider Zee. We are assured the boat is going at top speed, though with surroundings blotted …
With Rommel in the Desert
Victory and defeat were close companions in the ranks of Erwin Rommel's Afrikakorps. In June, 1942, Rommel finally captured the doughty port bastion of Tobruk and was pressing on to Egypt. By September, …
The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 11: The Dance of the
Conan ventures deeper into the most nasty part of his world to rescue his lover, making a powerful friend and an even more powerful enemy, in this superb collection of graphic stories that originally …
Ring Lardner;: A biography
Ring Lardner was not unique among great writers in abusing his talent with drink. What made Lardner's case especially tragic, according to biographer Donald Elder, was his unwillingness to embrace his …
All's Well That Ends Well (Signet Classic
It's one of Shakespeare's lesser-loved plays, so why did I have so much fun reading "All's Well That Ends Well"?    Helena is a young woman who loves Bertram, son of her protectress. …
Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live
The idea in 1975 was to give Johnny Carson a break from weekend reruns. Very soon "NBC's Saturday Night" became something more, something special, and yes, at times, something dangerous, both to cultural …
The Year They Called Off the World Series
For decades 1904 stuck out on Major League Baseball record books as the only year after 1903 there was no World Series. Three years after the publication of this book in 1991, they called off another. …
reviewed The Wild Palms. July 13, 2010
The Wild Palms:
William Faulkner was one of the great American literary experimentalists, and "The Wild Palms" offers one of his most interesting ideas: Two interwoven stories, different in plot and theme yet linked …
reviewed Stay. July 05, 2010
Stay
Savannah "Van" Leone wasn't never NOT a dog person, as she says, she was just never allowed one before. But in an alcohol-clouded funk after literally playing bridesmaid as the boy of her dreams hitches …
The Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane's best-known work remains singularly powerful more than a century after publication, a remarkably vivid acid-trip-like ride told in a grippingly naturalistic way. The product of a man in …
Overdrive: A Personal Documentary
For years William F. Buckley was a voice in the wilderness, a vigorous conservative at odds with the principles of the day. Then, in 1981, one of his followers became President. Life must have been good. …
Stilwell and the American Experience in China,
U.S. Gen. Joseph Stilwell had a boundless appetite for problem-solving, but in China he discovered a problem even he couldn't handle. Barbara Tuchman's 1970 history uses Stilwell as the foreground figure …
The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 10: When Giants Walk
Reading these Dark Horse collections of "Conan the Barbarian" comic books has some pluses over the original experience. Take this volume of nine issues originally published in 1977: No need to flip past …
reviewed On the Air. June 10, 2010
On the Air
Tom Shales made television criticism respectable. "On The Air!", a collection of his Washington Post pieces printed from 1974 to 1982, presents a case for how that happened.    It's …
Richard III (Folger Shakespeare Library)
You could put together a real rogue's gallery of memorable villains from Shakespeare's plays: Iago, Lady MacBeth, Claudius, Regan and Goneril. Yet can any compare to that master of mischief, Richard III?    …
reviewed Groucho And Me. June 01, 2010
Groucho And Me
In an age of the obligatory celebrity confessional, it's gratifying to read one famous person's autobiography that doesn't try telling you what a warm and sensitive person the spotlight missed all those …
The Prince and the Pauper (Penguin Classics)
It's a book everyone knows but hardly anyone seems to read, notes Jerry Griswold in his introduction to the Penguin edition of this book. Even well-read people who recognize the importance of Mark Twain …
reviewed October 1964. May 23, 2010
October 1964
David Halberstam's "October 1964" is either a book about race told through the prism of baseball, or a book about baseball told through the prism of race. I can't decide, but either way, it works.     …
reviewed The Tailor of Panama. May 18, 2010
The Tailor of Panama
John le CarrĂ© doesn't try to hide the fact he modeled this 1996 effort after one of spy fiction's most celebrated satires, Graham Greene's "Our Man In Havana". It's too bad he didn't try more than a hollow …
Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan
Such an admirably boiled-down history of the U.S. campaign in the Pacific during World War II requires a single-word review: Wow!    Of course, you can't just leave it there. For me, …
reviewed Don't Look Twice: A Novel. May 05, 2010
Don't Look Twice: A Novel
Andrew Gross presents himself here as one of the mystery genre's most sustainability-conscious authors: Whether it's a beautiful witness in danger, a boss telling him to go easy, a compromising roll in …
The Idiot (Penguin Classics)
What a struggle I had with this. It's a deep and probing work, and you sense in it how Dostoyevsky advanced the art of the novel with an almost psychologically-informed treatment of how people interact …
The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 9: Riders of the
The Marvel "Conan The Barbarian" comic books had a markedly different take on the title character than did creator Robert E. Howard. Howard's Conan was savage, contemptuous of society and its niceties, …
Laughing Matters:: On Writing M*A*S*H, Tootsie,
Since I devoted a good deal of my younger life watching "M*A*S*H" the television series like a shower at a sorority house, what were a few more hours in the company of the man who made it possible, Larry …
Cymbeline (Shakespeare, Pelican)
The feeling I got reading "Cymbeline" the first time was that this was factory-second Shakespeare, as worthy of the term "problem play" as any. A second reading modifies this somewhat. You get used to …
Seabiscuit: An American Legend [Bargain Price]
A story about a horse that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, "Seabiscuit" is almost too good to be true. Yet Laura Hillenbrand's 2001 book about an ungainly thoroughbred who would win 33 races …
The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Selection of
When F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940, his literary reputation was in tatters. He drank too much, was unduly captivated by the rich, and squandered his talents to feed his soap-opera lifestyle and middle-brow …
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