• Recent non-fiction recommendations

    At the beginning of this year I scoured the best of 2021 non-fiction lists and began working reading several books that seemed appealing. Not all of them are worth recommending (and are not mentioned here), but all of the following are worth your time.

  • How to read 100 books a year

    We’re still early in the New Year when people are actively pursuing resolutions. “Reading more” often shows up on lists and I thought I’d share a proven method for reading 100 books a year. There are just three steps, and if you follow them you’ll be well on your way:

  • Best nonfiction books of 2021

    I like to dive into nonfiction the way I dive into TV series. That is, I let others test the water first and look for recommendations from a number of sources. I went through several nonfiction best-of-the-year lists for 2021 and came up with the following books I plan to read at the beginning of this year. I have finished...

  • Review of The Hollow Places

    After recently divorced Kara moves into her uncle’s home she discovers through a hole in a wall a portal to an alternate and mysterious reality. This is the beginning to T. Kingfisher’s horror novel The Hollow Places, a story that moves at a quick pace but offers too few spine-tingling scares.

  • Review: The Deserter

    Nelson DeMille is back with another thriller, sharing writing duties with his son, Alex DeMille. In The Deserter, Army criminal investigators Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor are trying to track down elite Delta Force officer Captain Kyle Mercer, who walked way from his post in Afghanistan.

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of books I read in November. Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore and Stephen Markley’s Ohio were the two best books of the month. In fact, those are the only two books I would definitely recommend. Unless you’re an aspiring diarist, in which case you should read Writing Down the Bones.

  • Review: When the Pipirite Sings

    When the Pipirite Sings presents the collected poems of Haitian poet and doctor Jean Métellus, who wrote primarily in French. The collection most notably includes the first English translation of his signature work by the same title. 

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in October. Virgil Wander will probably make it to best books of 2018 list.

  • Very short review of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in September. There were a number of good books from the month and it was heavy on sci-fi. Cherry is among the best books I’ve read this year and one to get you thinking. Fans of funny science fiction should start reading the Murderbot Diaries immediately. 

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in August. Looking back it was a good month. Depending on where your tastes lie, I’d recommend everything but The Butcher’s Boy. But if I had to pick one, it would be The Line Becomes a River, which is a good look at what happens along our southern border and would be...

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of brief reviews of books I read in July. An American Marriage is worthy of the praise it’s received this year and A Terrible Country is an interesting take on live in Putin’s Russia.

  • Review: A Terrible Country

    Andrei Kaplan is coming off of a failed relationship, low on cash and struggling to find an academic job when his brother asks him to do a favor. Kaplan accepts and heads to Russia where he will take care of his ailing grandmother in her Stalin-era, Moscow apartment.

  • Very short reviews of books

    A round up of brief reviews of books I read in June. David Lynch’s biography Room to Dream and Stephen King’s The Outsider are new to bookstores and worth reading.

  • Review: Room to Dream

    The inscrutable auteur David Lynch has delivered a number of memorable films that enthrall and confuse viewers. In Room to Dream we get to peek behind the camera to see what drives the visionary director and artist.

  • Very short reviews of books

    David Itzkoff’s compassionate biography of Robin Williams stands out among the books I read in May. David Sedaris’ wickedly humorous collection of essays is also worth picking up.

  • Review: The Shepherd's Hut

    Jaxie Claxton lives a miserable life in rural Australia, stuck with a savage father he hates. Then one day a violent accident leaves him with no choice but to pack what he can carry and strike out on foot as a fugitive.

  • Review: Calypso

    David Sedaris has mastered the ability to be dark, charming and funny at the same time. His latest collection of essays, Calypso, revolves around gatherings at his North Carolina beach house, the Sea Section. Sedaris deftly handles a variety of topics including  middle age, shopping, gay marriage, language and family tragedy.

  • Review: Robin

    An intimate new biography of Robin Williams tells the story of the meteoric rise, frenetic life and the sad final days of the comedian. In Robin, New York Times writer David Itzkoff gives us a look at the creativity that fueled Williams’ seemingly spontaneous and endless comedic riffs. But he also tells of Williams’ substance abuse,...

  • Review: Warlight

    In the aftermath of WWII 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister are left in the care of a mysterious man they nickname The Moth and his possibly criminal cohorts. Warlight follows Nathaniel’s adventures with this eccentric lot and his efforts to discover why his mother seemingly abandoned him.

  • Very short reviews of books

    The original, and surreal, Spaceman of Bohemia is highly recommended. The Mars Room and I am, I am, I am area also among my favorites from April.

  • Review: The Mars Room

    Rachel Kushner’s new novel The Mars Room is a heartbreaking and unsparing look at a life gone sideways. From a young age Romy Hall became acclimatized to life on the street in San Francisco and seemed like someone who could navigate the fine line between survival and self-destruction. But a bad history with an obsessive strip club...

  • Review: Gateway to the Moon

    Mary Morris’ latest novel, Gateway to the Moon, combines a coming of age story with historical fiction to explore ideas of identity and how history echoes across time.  The remote New Mexico community of Entrada de la Luna is rooted in the history of the Spanish inquisition and converesos, or crypto-Jews, who fled from persecution. But the...

  • Review: The Sun Does Shine

    In 1985 Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with the death of two men in Birmingham, Alabama. Hinton was certain that because of his rock-solid alibi, everything would be cleared up and he would soon be released. But due to an ineffective and unmotivated defense attorney and a criminal justice system indifferent to the plight of a poor,...

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of very short reviews of books I read in March. The Sun Does Shine is one of the books you must read this year. Everything else I read in March was also solid and worth your attention.

  • Review: Feast Days

    Written in a brutally honest tone, Feast Days recounts the story of Emma, a young woman who moves with her husband from New York to Brazil, where he works as a financial analyst. While protests rattle the country, Emma tries to find where she fits in, immersing herself in the arts scene, lunching with other expat wives...

  • Review: Sometimes I Lie

    Amber Reynolds lies in a hospital bed, unresponsive and seemingly in a coma. But Amber can hear everything that is said around her.  She remembers an accident but has trouble unraveling the exact circumstances that put her in the hospital. As she listens to conversations and slowly begins to remember events, Amber becomes suspicious of her...

  • Very short reviews of books

    A roundup of very short reviews of books I recently read. Lincoln in the Bardo and Panorama are worth your attention.

  • Review: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

    Kim Fu’s novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, digital galley) alternates between the stories of five young women who experienced a traumatic event at camp while girls. Unfortunately it reads as a disparate collection of unrelated stories, with the camp experience being the only thing connecting the women.

  • Review: Panorama

    Television news pundit Richard MacMurray is in the middle of examining his life in Washington, D.C., when he finds out his estranged sister was aboard Panorama Airlines Flight 503, which crashed in Dallas with no survivors. Her death leaves MacMurray as the only living relative of her young son, Gabriel, and just another of the characters in...

  • Review: The Which Way Tree

    Rarely does a book so quickly grip me in its first pages, but The Which Way Tree has done it with a harrowing story of survivalon the Texas frontier during the Civil War. Bringing to mind the tight narratives of Charles Portis, the novel weaves a story of violence, survival and frontier justice.

  • Review: Eternal Life

    Dara Horn’s Eternal Life (W.W. Norton & Company, digital galley) is a touching story of faith, loss and family. The story’s heroine, Rachel, made a deal with God in Roman-occupied Jerusalem to trade her death for the life of her first-born son. Now, 2000 years later, Rachel struggles to find continued meaning in her never ending life.

  • Books for the drinking hour

    Below is a roundup of books that will get you in the mood for happy hour. The two best, Trappist Beer Travels and Rum Curious, offer a mixture of history and reviews that will leave you feeling smarter about your drink choices.

  • UNSUB review: A fast-paced thrill

    Meg Gardiner’s psychological thriller UNSUB moves at a fast pace as the heroine, Detective Caitlin Hendrix, becomes obsessed with the Prophet, a killer who reappears after a 20 year hiatus. Inspired by the Zodiac Killer, UNSUB (Dutton, digital galley) pits Hendrix against a serial killer who enjoys taunting police.

  • Manhattan Beach: A sweeping look at war time New York

    During the Great Depression, young Anna Kerrigan regularly accompanies her father on his work as a union courier. But one morning he walks out the door and disappears, leaving Anna and her mother to take care of Anna’s disabled sister.

  • DeMille introduces a new character in 'The Cuban Affair'

    Key West charter boat captain Daniel “Mac” MacCormick is made an offer he has every intention of refusing: Sail his boat to Cuba under the guise of a fishing tournament and recover cash and documents hidden during the revolution. But the lure of a $2 million payday is more than he can resist, and he takes the bait.

  • Steampunkalypse: A review of 'The Clockwork Dynasty'

    While doing field research and trying to unlock a mystery from her childhood, anthropologist June Stefanov makes a startling discovery: For millennia automatons have lived among us, hiding their presence while trying to understand the nature of their own existence. But their time is drawing to an end and Stefanov may be a key, if unlikely, ally in their survival.

  • Review: 'The Late Show' introduces a fierce detective

    the Late Show book reviewMichael Connelly introduces a new detective in The Late Show (Little, Brown and Company, digital galley), a fast moving police procedural that is hard to put down. Renée Ballard works the LAPD overnight shift, responding to everything from burglaries to homicides. Because she has to hand off all of her cases at...

  • The Princess Diarist only partly delivers on the title

    I was warned right in the title that Carrie Fisher would share her diary. On that she doesn’t disappoint. But the title kind of promises details about life on the set of the first Star Wars movie. On this The Princess Diarist falls short.

  • Carrie Fisher: I had to comport myself with something approaching dignity

    Had I known it was going to make that loud of a noise, I would’ve dressed better for those talk shows and definitely would have argued against that insane hair (although the hair was, in its own modest way, a big part of that noise). And I certainly wouldn’t have ever just blithely signed away any and all merchandising...

  • Books I read in 2016

    This is a complete list of the book I finished in 2016 and my Goodreads rating. I read exactly 100 books this year, which was my goal. All of the 4 and 5 star books are highly recommended.

  • Books I read in 2015

    This is a complete list of the book I finished in 2015 and my Goodreads rating. I read 102 books this year. My goal was 80, but once I was underway I picked up some steam and got to more than 100. All of the 4 and 5 star books are highly recommended.




  • Copywriting tips for your Shopify store

    I recently began the process of refreshing the copywriting on my Shopify-hosted business to boost traffic and improve conversions. The project includes updating product descriptions, product category pages and creating new landing pages for search engines.