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Top Reviewer Ranking: 582
Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (1,327 of 1,506)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 582 - Total Helpful Votes: 1327 of 1506
Music For Torching by A. M. Homes
Music For Torching by A. M. Homes
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow-burning, 21 Aug 2014
A.M. Homes is a writer with a fine eye. Her novels capture ordinary psychology with humour and a good sense of the apposite. Music for Torching, though, felt just a little unreal to me. The novel begins as Paul and Elaine attempt to burn down their house by tipping a barbeque. Paul has been unfaithful, and Elaine, the stay-at-home mother of two boys, is aimless and demoralised. Forced temporarily to leave their home, the couple, and the family, flail for a handle on their lives. But as they weave through neighbourhood dinner parties, comical work meetings at Paul's NY office, and fresh affairs, cracks soon appear through the veneer of respectability. Fine: yet set in the 1990s, this has a… Read more
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a first novel, 18 Aug 2014
Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists is half novel, half collection of short stories. Its overarching plot is that of an international, English-language newspaper based in Rome, running from its foundation in the 1950s to its modern fall to the barbarian forces of new media. Each chapter, though, zooms in on the life of one of its participants: reporter, copy editor, accountant, devoted reader, moneyed board member... Nor is the newspaper the only thread running through these portraits: all are people faced with imperfect life situations, forced to make do with a reality far different from the simpler epitomes of the printed word. Rachman is a gifted writer, and the chapters are full of… Read more
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