Book Review: The Facts, by Philip Roth

The Facts is the autobiography of novelist Philip Roth.  If you’ve never read Roth, you should.  He’s famous for writing semi-autobiographical novels that are outrageously candid and extremely funny.  He has an ease and confidence about writing that allows him to create people and places that are simply aliveso alive, in fact,  that readers are often left wondering where fiction ends and reality begins. In The Facts, Roth attempts to lay out the real facts of his life as he seems them. But, as the book’s last chapter underscores, autobiography can never reveal the truth as candidly or interestingly as fiction can. Continue reading


Bad Blogger’s Repost: The Pyramid, by Ismail Kadare

This week I am furiously analyzing data and revising study’s for peer-review and publication.  I don’t have time to tell you about the books I’ve read recently (although it’s been a string a good ones), so I’m reposting this review of a book I read last year and really enjoyed, The Pyramid by Ismail Kadare.  As I wrote last year, this is basically one of best novels you’ve never read, written by one of the best novelists you’ve never heard of.  And it’s short and sweet, too.  If you get a chance, comb through a book store for this novel or look for it on paperbackswap.  Claire will keep up the posting while I’m gone to MBL.  — Kelly
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A Good Book: Clea & Zeus Divorce, by Emily Prager

When I was a kid, I always felt sad after finishing a good book. I worried that I might have read the last good book on Earth and that I’d never find another one again. Fortunately, I’ve overcome that fear. One reason is that writers continue to produce amazing novels each year.  But another is that so many good books already exist, just waiting to be discovered.  Last week, I finished one of those good books, Emily Prager’s Clea & Zeus Divorce. Published in 1987, Clea & Zeus Divorce is the story of a one of a kind marriage — and the end of the world. Continue reading

TIME’s List of the Best Science Reads

Here at darwinbookcats I celebrate some of the best things in life: scienceliterature, and cats.  Now TIME celebrates the best of two of these worlds with its list of the All-TIME 100 Best Nonfiction Books, including the Best Science Books.  The list includes some terrific reads, including The Double Helix by biologist James Watson, and The Selfish Gene by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Book Review: The Pyramid, by Ismail Kadare

I am not usually a fan of historical  fiction, but I do like novels that use the past to illuminate events in the present — especially when those novels use ancient or biblical history.  Some of my favorites include Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (which I’ve written about before) and Stefan Heym’s The King David Report.  Now I have a third novel to add to that list: Ismail Kadare‘s The Pyramid. Kadare is an Albanian writer that uses stories from Albanian and ancient history to illustrate oppression under a communist dictatorship.  The Pyramid is short and has a biting sense of irony and humor.  This is basically one of best novels you’ve never read, written by one of the best novelists you’ve never heard of. Continue reading

Book Review: The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Last week I finished reading The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie.  The book is Rushdie’s fourth novel, and largely deals with the issues of isolation and integration among Indian-born immigrants in England.  However, the book also includes two sections that depict the prophet Muhammad.  Some considered Rushdie’s depiction of Muhammad blasphemous, and as a result,  in 1989 the Supreme Leader of Iran issued a death sentence against him.  If you pick up this book hoping to learn more about this controversy, you’re bound to be disappointed.   But you should pick it up anyway, because this is an amazing — albeit daunting — read. Continue reading

Book Review: Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

Greetings darwinbookcats!  I’m ctoquin, wife of koquin, author of this blog. When I’m not thinking about evolutionary genetics, blogging about national parks, or photographing cats, my nose is in a book. The hubby has been kind enough to invite me to write a book review today, so I’m happy keep you entertained

My first book review is for Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Miserables.  I became enamored with this story — now don’t laugh — after I watched the movie and theater musical. Now, if you have seen the movie or musical, you were probably captivated like I was with the story of constant struggle between Jean Valjean and the policeman  Javert. But there is so much more to this story!  I  read the complete and unabridged version, all 1,463 pages.  While it took me a while to get through it, I appreciate everything I read. Continue reading