Paul’s Book Reviews: Essays, Nonfiction, Thrillers, Science Fiction

“The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past.”

— Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays

Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays by Joan Didion

I was at Sacramento State during the years Didion wrote the essays in “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” By 1970, when I started grad school, her book […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews: Mysteries, Thrillers, Young Adult Sci-Fi

“Out of the blue and into the black is what they called going into a tunnel. Each one was a black echo. Nothing but death in there. But, still, they went.”

—Michael Connelly, The Black Echo

The Black Echo (Harry Bosch #1) by Michael Connelly

In an earlier review, I commented on the differences […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews: My Top Ten for 2017

This is collection of reviews previously posted on Paul’s Thing: these are the books, old and new, that I most enjoyed reading this year. I’m about to embark on Philip Pullman’s “The Book of Dust,” a potential contender, but doubt I’ll finish it before the end of the year (also, I’m sometimes disappointed with long-delayed […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews: Fiction, Thrillers, Sci-Fi, & a Memoir

“It wasn’t for trash, my bookshelves would be mostly empty.” —Paul Woodford, unpublished memoir

The Great Passage by Shion Miura

Clearly, I’ve been reading too many mysteries and thrillers, where every new object or action introduced into the story comes back later in some significant way. In real life … and Japanese novels … […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews: Science Fiction, Hit & Miss Thrillers

“Am I a person or a weapon?” Borne asks Rachel, in extremis. “You are a person,” Rachel tells him.

“But like a person, you can be a weapon, too.”

— Jeff VanderMeer, Borne

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

The “Southern Reach” trilogy sold me on Jeff VanderMeer. I’ll probably read anything he writes and I’m […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews

“We are all part machine, Kaaro. Your phone is a polymer under the skin of your hand. You have a locator chip in your head.” —Tade Thompson, Rosewater

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

A Goodreads friend said this about “Rosewater”:

“This book is one of those discoveries that not only is enjoyable for itself; it’s […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews: Vietnam, Old School SF, Radio Days, Tough Guys, Ghost Stories

“Page took the record that was playing on the turntable off without asking anybody and put on Jimi Hendrix: long tense organic guitar line that made him shiver like frantic electric ecstasy was shooting up from the carpet through his spine straight to the old pleasure center in his cream-cheese brain, shaking his head so […]

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Paul’s Book Reviews

“like many families, everyone wandered around like children in a funhouse—they could hardly see one another around the corners, and what they could see was completely distorted.”

– James Hannaham, “Delicious Foods”   Delicious Foods James Hannaham

Seems like everyone wants to talk about the most interesting character in the book: Scotty, the personified […]

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