Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The February edition of the Internet Review of Books is live now. It looks like an amazing edition, packed with lots of great reviews. I am very pleased that my review of Eden Springs is in the Brief Review section.

My second announcement is not all that exciting, except for me because I have been meaning to get around to this task for a long time. I finally updated my post on the Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century list.

Completing all the books on that list was one of the things that inspired me to start this blog.  But that also meant that it was one of the very first posts I put up and, looking back at it, it was very difficult to read. The layout was bad. And it did not include links to my reviews, which I have now added.

Thanks goes to 100 Books/100 Journeys for getting me interested in the Modern Library list again. She has a great blog dedicated to reading the books on this list. (Although I worry that she may be disappointed when she comes to appreciate that there are 121 books on this list -- but "121 Books/121 Journeys" just does not have the same ring to it).

If anyone else is reading the books on the Modern Library list, please leave a comment on the main post with a link to your progress report (or your blog if is it dedicated to the list) and I will add it.

Review of the Day: Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is an incredible novel, but it is not a book for me. 

I had avoided reading this famous book because I thought it would be unbearably dreary. How could a book about the firebombing of Dresden during WWII not be dreary? But it is on the Modern Library's Top 100 list, so I finally read it.  Now I know the answer: If you write a book about the firebombing of Dresden and fill it with time travel, space ships, and extraterrestrials, it's not dreary, it's goofy.

But I don't like goofy books about extraterrestrials, especially when they are really serious books about the morality of firebombing your enemy during war. I realized that I would rather have a dreary, realistic book than a goofy book.


I read Slaughterhouse-Five a couple of years ago. I am only posting my review now because I am updating my Modern Library Top 100 post to include my comments about the books I read.

There are people who feel very strongly that this is the greatest book ever written. I know this because when I first posted my review on LibraryThing, several of them sent me comments expressing their disappointment that we didn't see eye to eye. (That is a watered-down description -- what I actually got were Unibomber-style manifestos on Vonnegut's genius.) 

(If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it -- unless your review is a Unibomber-style manifesto.)

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