Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Carolyn Kellogg on Jared Farmer’s Trees in Paradise: “Farmer can be a stronger historian than he is a storyteller. The workings of the orange industry are detailed, but apart from the dirty history of smudge pots, not enlivened. In other sections, there are paragraphs of description cobbled together in Zagat-like barrages of primary sources.” (LATimes)

Hector Tobar on Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?: “Crystal the comedian will do almost anything to get a laugh. Crystal the writer allows himself to flop at the box office, and he suffers the many indignities of old age. In the end, the reader concludes that Crystal isn’t just funny: He’s a mensch, too.” (

Ron Charles on Charles Palliser’s Rustication: “A literary Dr. Frankenstein, he has stitched together parts of Jane Austen and Edgar Allan Poe. The result is deliciously wicked, particularly as the violence grows creepier, the sexual tension more febrile.” (Washington Post)

Daniel Dyer on Jim Harrison’s on Brown Dog: Novellas: “After a six-novella journey with Brown Dog, readers will see him as sort of a genial Id (or a friendly brown dog), an impulsive man who loves women’s hindquarters, a skilled brawler who avoids violence, a man who selects the laws he will obey and ignore, a loving friend, father, mate.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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