Category Archives: B-

Worth taking along on a train.

Catching Fire

Suzanne Collins

The second book in the Hunger Games series starts off innocuously enough. Fresh from her status as the winner of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen travels through the other oppressed districts of the nation of Panem on a victory tour…

El Conde Lucanor

Don Juan Manuel

As a collection of stories, El Conde Lucanor was bound to have some highlights and some lowlights, but the low outnumber the high, and the high aren’t as high as a reader would hope…

The Double

Fyodor Dostoevsky

There are many things I’m tempted to say about Dostoevsky’s novel(la?) The Double: A Petersburg Poem, and all of them are false…

Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil is a philosophical text, and a unique one. It’s uniqueness can only be appreciated if you’ve read every philosophical text written prior to Beyond Good and Evil, as well as the rest of Nietzsche’s work. I can proudly claim that I…haven’t read any of that. At all. Like, ever…

The Swindler

Francisco de Quevedo

The Swindler details the life of a boy named Don Pablos (though he takes on various other names throughout the course of the novel) as he struggles to become a gentleman, despite his low birth (his father is a thief, and his mother a witch [and it’s intimated that they’re Jewish, which, at the time, was “bad” [history and its racism!])…

Lazarillo de Tormes


When I say Lazarillo de Tormes is worthwhile, I want you to understand that the book is sixty pages long. Sixty pages! You might be able to read it aloud to a child without them getting bored!

The Thirteenth Tribe

Arthur Koestler

The nice thing about The Thirteenth Tribe is that even though it’s an academic-style non-fiction book, it’s readable. That’s what happens when a writer writes a book as opposed to an academic (the definition of which is “a poor writer”)…

Prince Caspian

C. S. Lewis

In Prince Caspian, Peter et al. return to Narnia after a year’s absence to cause more mischief. They’ve been called by Prince Caspian, who’s fleeing for his life. His uncle, who, unbeknownst to him, killed his father to ascend the throne, has just had a son, so he no longer has a need for a nephew, and so he decides to kill him…

Notes from Underground

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Notes from Underground is an…interesting novella that was probably much more shocking back in 19th century Russia than it is now…


Bharati Mukherjee

If you happen to be Bharati Mukherjee, and you’re reading this (you may remember me—I took your short fiction class in the fall of 2002), I want to explain to you why what happened next happened…