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Top Reviewer Ranking: 587
Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (1,311 of 1,488)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 587 - Total Helpful Votes: 1311 of 1488
The Annals of Imperial Rome (Classics) by Tacitus
4.0 out of 5 stars The anal Annals, 21 July 2014
Though I am no classicist, I have read quite a bit of original Greco-Roman history, from Thucydides to Cassius Dio, and I was looking forward to Tacitus, perhaps the most reputed Roman writer and Gibbon's favourite source. I fear however that part of Tacitus' reputation relies on his style, whose uniqueness gets lost in an English translation. Nor had I realised, firstly, that significant parts of the Annals are missing, and secondly that the book is in format a chronicle, not a history.

Covering the scandal-ridden years AD 14-66, the Annals takes the reader through the reign of Tiberius, the last years of Claudius, and most of Nero. The reign of Caligula, the early Claudius… Read more
The Believers by ZoŽ Heller
The Believers by ZoŽ Heller
Zoe Heller is an acute observer with a keen sense of the humorous, and The Believers fails neither to amuse nor to tell. The novel follows the fate of the Litvinoff family while its head Joel, an ageing New York lawyer and civil rights champion, lies in a coma after a stroke. His wife, the irredeemably bolshie Audrey, battles with two daughters that are losing the faith: one to Orthodox Judaism and the other to an extramarital affair, and with an addict of a son who threatens to rediscover simple, earthy American values as he makes a rural escape. All this makes for some pointed scenes and a few good laughs. Yet The Believers is undermined by the lack of a strong plot, as nothing else takes… Read more
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
4.0 out of 5 stars Reluctant home truths, 3 July 2014
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, telling the story of a brilliant young Pakistani's disillusionment with America, caused a stir when it came out. Its revelations, though, are probably not that new to anyone outside the US. There are people who dislike the great superpower, and it isn't just that they are fanatics, or that they hate liberty, but they are actually discontented at American policies and acts around the world. Surprise, surprise. Hamid is a skilled writer, and this novella has a proper plot, with proper characters; it is not a political tract. As is clear from the beginning, the main protagonist, Changez, is suspected of having joined a fundamentalist cell. But this is after he has… Read more