“His library was a fine dark place bricked with books, so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore.”
Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer
Long before television, before films, before radio, books were the gift of the storyteller’s art captured for as long as the papyrus could last. Somewhere around 1450 CE, Johannes Gutenberg created moveable type, and mass production of tracts, pamphlets, and books were created. Over the last five and a half centuries, a lot of great work and a lot of awful work has been preserved, and my goal here is to provide some thoughts about some of the more than 1100 books I’ve read over my six decades. Like all my reviews, they are presented on the main page as I post them; here, I list them in alphabetical order by title, so that you might see if you recognize any that you’ve read and wish to compare views.
★★★★★ Best of the Best; highest rating. Something to howl about.
★★★★☆ Really good; worth exploring and revisiting. Anthropomorphic wolf’s-thumb up.
★★★☆☆ Pretty good; likely to be worth your time and interest. Read through the review to help you make up your own mind.
★★☆☆☆ A good effort; flawed in various ways, but might have some redeeming qualities to it.
★☆☆☆☆ Seriously flawed, for reasons stated in the review. This is likely time that I, personally, regret not being able to get back.
☆☆☆☆☆ Irredeemably, horrifyingly, devastatingly horrible. Should be destroyed. Worth inventing time travel to make sure it was never created in the first place. Run from it like your life depended on it. (This is a rating rarely issued. Yeah — something that bad.)
- 50 American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know ★★★☆☆
- Beyond the Boardwalk (McKuen) ★★★☆☆
- Boy on the Bus, The (Schupack) ★☆☆☆☆
- Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer, The (Jones) ★★★☆☆
- Crêpes of Wrath, The (Fox) ★★☆☆☆
- Darkest Thread, The [Flint K-9 #1] (Blood) ☆☆☆☆☆
- Deadeye Dick (Vonnegut) ★★☆☆☆
- Death is a Lonely Business (Bradbury) ★★★★★
- Dyeing Wishes (MacRae) ★★★★★
- Four Agreements, The (Ruiz) ★★☆☆☆
- Geography Club (Hartinger) ★☆☆☆☆
- Gods Themselves, The (Asimov) ★★★☆☆
- Halloween Tree, The (Bradbury) ★★★★★
- Hypnotizing Maria (Bach) ★★★☆☆
- If God Wanted Us To Travel… (Brenner) ★★★★☆
- Leave Myself Behind (Yates) ★☆☆☆☆
- Lighthouse, The (Adam Dalgliesh 13) ★★★★☆
- Man Who Wanted to Be Guilty, The (Stangerup) ★★★★☆
- Manitou, The (Masterton) ★★☆☆☆
- Millennium (Varley) ★★★★☆
- Nightflyers (Martin) ★☆☆☆☆
- Out of Position (Gold) ★☆☆☆☆
- Secret Sharer, The (Conrad) ★★★☆☆
- Stand Up For Your Life (Richardson) ★★☆☆☆
- Taking, The (Koontz) ★★☆☆☆
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Jackson) ★★★☆☆
- Weight Loss for the Mind (Wilde) ★☆☆☆☆
- Winesburg, Ohio (Anderson) ★★★★★
- You Are A Badass (Sincero) ★☆☆☆☆
- Zen in the Art of Writing (Bradbury) ★★★★★