The title of Tom Rachman’s newest novel seemed ambitious to me.  And also ironic: I wondered if perhaps it was something like a twenty-first century Bonfire of the Vanities? So I was thrown for a loop to find myself, in the opening pages of The Rise and Fall of Great Powers in the year 2011, in Caergenog, a village somewhere in Wales: and not just in this remote place, but in an improbable book shop in the company of Tooly Zylberberg and Fogg, her male shop assistant (and all around sweetheart, as far as I’m concerned). The bookstore is full … Continue reading THE RISE AND FALL OF GREAT POWERS


I finished reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch several weeks ago, but didn’t want to write to you about it right away. I wanted to step away from it for a while, and decide how to proceed next. At 771 pages, and having won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction, The Goldfinch will likely stand as Tartt’s magnum opus, and be the subject of dozens and dozens of incisive, insightful reviews. I don’t know the latter fact for sure, because I’ve avoided reading a single one. I’ve seen the name Dickens attached to the novel, and I’m not surprised, but I … Continue reading THE GOLDFINCH


For a week or so, I’ve been reading Donna Tartt’s novel, The Goldfinch, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It’s a great book and I’m enjoying it, but that isn’t what this blog is about. It’s a masterful novel. Definitely. And the edition I have is lovely. Thick creamy paper bound just loose enough that it lies open relaxed. But it’s a BIG book. At 771 pages hidden under a hard cover, it’s heavy to hold, and what’s worse, it’s impractical to lug around. And so I’m exasperated. It travels like a person in an airport with three … Continue reading HAVE BOOK―WILL TRAVEL