Short Reviews of Brilliant Books

the castle by Franz Kafka

These are all books I have read, and they are among my favorite reads. In these short books reviews I try to give you a sense of why they are worth reading.

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

A gripping first-person account of the Spanish Civil War. Orwell at his best.

The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht is entertaining, educational, and intelligent.

The Castle by Franz Kafka

One of Haruki Murakami’s, José Saramago’s, Roberto Bolaño’s, and Samuel Beckett’s favorite books

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

Isherwood’s insightful and poignant stories give us a peak into German attitudes as Hitler and the Nazi party come to power.

Henry and June by Henry Miller

Anais Nin’s erotic memoir captures her year of sexual exploits and relationships, particularly the passion she shared with Henry Miller.

Chinatown & The Last Detail by Robert Towne

Chinatown is the greatest film script I’ve ever read. It’s so beautifully structured

Where to buy: AlibrisAmazonAudibleBetterWorldBooksPowells

The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis

The Man Who Fell to Earth is original, creative, and moving.

The Man in High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Weird, confusing, brilliant, absorbing, creative = Philip K. Dick.

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

Great, but very dark.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Miss Jean Brodie is in her prime for most of the book.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles

Read the book then watch the movie. You’ll see why Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for her performance.

Oscar Wilde: Reminiscences by Andre Gide

I loved this short memoir. Andre Gide captured his experiences with Oscar Wilde and gave us a portrait of Wilde that is fascinating and intimate.

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art by James Hall

A wonderful reference to discover and learn.

Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas by Rebecca Solnit

Like the city of San Francisco this atlas is unique, stunningly-creative, and a beautiful world all its own.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

Fascinating overview of the deceptions, mistakes, and miscalculations by four administrations that gave us the Vietnam War disaster.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

Kind of depressing and inspiring at the same time.

The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham

A fascinating and well-researched nugget of literary history.

The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens

Well researched and damning.

Where to buy: AlibrisAmazonAudibleBetterWorldBooksPowells

NonZero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright

Nonzero and zero game theories are two crucial concepts that everyone, particularly those in government, should play. Loved this book for making those two concepts clear in my mind.

Short book reviews are a bit like speed dating, but sometimes it’s love at first sight.

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Joseph Raffetto

Joseph Raffetto earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from San Diego State University. He can be found online @noovella on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Goodreads. His books are available on all online booksellers.