My Favorite Books from 2019

A subtle work that is as much the author’s self-reflection as it is a commentary on the Trump era. A novel about a scientist who receives text messages from a dead friend. And a collection of erudite essays on everything from Cavafy’s poetry to Game of Thrones. These are among my favorite books of 2019, listed here alphabetically by title. Continue reading “My Favorite Books from 2019”

My Favorite Books from 2018

A novel about an openly gay British painter and the scandal that haunts his family; a collection of erudite essays on everything from Schopenhauer to Justin Bieber; and a luminous collection of poems about the American experience. These are among my choices for the ten best books of 2018. Books are listed alphabetically by title, and the links take you to my reviews. Continue reading “My Favorite Books from 2018”

My “Secrets of the Book Critics” Interview

In September 2017, Book Marks, the section of Literary Hub devoted to book criticism, launched the series “Secrets of the Book Critics.” Each week, a book editor or book critic answers questions about the world of book reviewing: the classic books they wish they could have reviewed, the trends they see in book criticism, and more. It’s a fascinating series. Continue reading “My “Secrets of the Book Critics” Interview”

My Favorite Books from 2017

Poetic stories of men struggling with family issues and questions of identity in Latin America; a raucous retelling of King Lear, with a media mogul under siege by his two evil daughters and their accomplices; and a chilling and masterful depiction of racial tensions in the modern-day American South. These are some of the subjects covered in the ten books I have chosen as the best of the year. If you haven’t kept up with 2017 fiction and are looking for suggestions, these recommendations, listed alphabetically by title, would be a good place to start. Links take you to my reviews. Continue reading “My Favorite Books from 2017”

“The Course of Love” by Alain de Botton

By the time 31-year-old Rabih Khan leaves London to work for an urban-design firm in Edinburgh, he has yet to find what proponents of Romanticism would call “a comprehensive answer to the unspoken questions of existence”: the so-called perfect mate. But Khan, an architect and atheist of Muslim descent, thinks he has found her when he meets Kirsten McClelland, an Inverness native who is the client contact on a construction project. Their relationship is the basis for The Course of Love, philosopher Alain de Botton’s first novel since 1993’s Essays in Love. Continue reading ““The Course of Love” by Alain de Botton”

“American War” by Omar El Akkad

In 2074, America is as divided as ever. Some details differ from our time: The Southwest has turned to embers, and rising waters have submerged the coasts. Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, begins in the early 22nd century, with narration by an old man who has devoted his life to studying “this country’s bloody war with itself,” but not the one readers might expect. His focus is the Second American Civil War, which began in 2074. Continue reading ““American War” by Omar El Akkad”

“What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah

The opening story of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, Lesley Nneka Arimah’s debut collection of short fiction, sets the tone for the revelatory experience that awaits readers. “The Future Looks Good,” a chilling tale about a pair of Nigerian sisters and the abusive husband the older one is married to, packs into eight short pages a father who hot-wired cars in his youth, the 1967-1970 Nigerian War, and childhood memories that torment the now-adult younger sister. Continue reading ““What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah”