To Kill a Mockingbird: Should it Be Required?

to kill a mockingbird

A series in which I read books on required reading lists and discuss their merits. Ask anyone in the US to name a book they had to read in school, and they will probably say: To Kill a Mockingbird. Ask them to tell you what it’s about, and they will probably mumble something about Scout … Read more

Best Books of 2018

I know this title is a bit misleading, but this is the same as I’ve done for the past ten years. These are my favorite books I read in 2018. Most of them were not published in 2018. Best Literary Fiction: Less by Andrew Sean Greer The novel opens with Less as a failed novelist, … Read more

Social Media’s Negative Effect on Prose Style

social media prose

I’ve noticed this strange trend in the prose style of novels, and I’ve wondered why it’s happening. I finally realized that the prevalence of social media is almost certainly the culprit. I won’t try to write a whole thesis on the history of this type of thing, but I think it’s pretty commonly accepted that … Read more

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

eco name of the rose

Today we’ll dive into my thoughts on Umberto Eco’s masterpiece novel The Name of the Rose. The Reputation of the Name of the Rose I’m honestly a bit shocked at how resistant I’ve been to this book the whole year. I knew it would be “hard,” so I kept putting it off. But I love … Read more

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu is Awesome

cixin liu three-body problem

This article is part review, part explanation of some of the cool concepts in Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem (and, more generally, the whole of the trilogy: Remembrance of Earth’s Past). If you’ve been around this blog this year, then you know I fell into a bit of a slump. I was reading things, but … Read more

Maybe Infinite Jest is About Addiction

infinite jest is about addiction

And so but I’ve been re-reading Infinite Jest in this strange, almost purely subconscious way, where I take on just a few pages (seriously, like 2-3 pages) every night right before sleeping. I’ve done the calculations, and so you don’t have to tell me it will literally take years to finish it this way. I’m … Read more

Kindle Unlimited

books in kindle unlimited

So, I hate to be “that guy,” but I thought readers of this blog might be interested in this. Here’s the shameless pitch: For Amazon Prime Day (in other words: this month), you can get three months of Kindle Unlimited for $0.99 (it would normally be $29.97). If you don’t know what this is, it’s … Read more

The Lord of the Rings: Why it Works

lord of the rings

A series in which I oversimplify one concept from a work of literature to make you a better writer. Corruption The ring corrupts everyone. Quite early on, we learn that Frodo, our hero, is not immune to the corrupting effects. This becomes one of the greatest sources of tension. Will Frodo be able to destroy the … Read more

8 Mystery Novels to Break Into the Genre

mystery novels

This post is a roundup of all the mystery novels I read for the year. If you’re looking for the best mystery books for adults, here’s what I came up with along with my thoughts on them.