Very short reviews of books

This is a roundup of books I recently finished, but which I did not give a full review.

Elmet: This novel by Fiona Mozley of a family living an unconventional and self-sufficient life in rural Britain takes an unexpectedly brutal turn. Bleak, beautiful and hard to put down.

Fever Dream: The English translation of Spanish author Samantha Schweblin’s unsettling and surreal story of ecological horror. Short, sometimes confusing, but ultimately satisfying.

For Whom the Bell Tolls: I finally got around to reading this Ernest Hemingway classic set during the Spanish civil war. Although the lengthy “thought dialogues” of Robert Jordan slowed the story, there are many beautiful passages and the story has earned its reputation.

Uncommon Type: I’m not a huge fan of short story collections, but this one by Tom Hanks is pretty good. It’s surprising how much talent lives in some people.

Paradise (Expeditionary Force book 3) and Blacks Ops (Expeditionary Force book 4):  Craig Alanson continues the quest of Colonel Joe Bishop to save Earth, along with the help of a smart-aleck artificial intelligence. Entertaining and funny, if long, audiobooks. After four books and 65 hours I’m wondering when Alanson will get around to telling the backstory of Skippy, the AI.

Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined: I have a weakness for comedian autobiographies, but this one by Drew Carey is best left to his biggest fans.

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store: I love stories and magazine articles about simplifying and living a minimalist lifestyle, but this not-very-inspiring story by blogger Cait Flanders is more of a cautionary tale about the dangers of binging on food, alcohol, Netflix and shopping. The best part of this “guide” to simple living is in the epilogue.