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Time for Reviews

Written on: February 22nd, 2010 by: in Blog Posts


Plenty to choose from among this week’s New York Times Book Review selections. Everything from conservative takes on Middle East politics to espionage thrillers set in the morally ambiguous world of post 9-11 foreign intelligence, by way of reimagined lives of great poets. As ever, the weekly book reviews highlight some of the most important and entertaining titles published in the United States, and as ever, your Delaware Library Catalog library makes many of them available to our readers.

  • The Strong Horse by Lee Smith, Middle East correspondent for the Weekly Standard, portrays radical Islam’s political jihad against the West as an outgrowth of the self-interest, corruption, repression and fear of overthrow of the most powerful regional regimes, through which “the ruler pushes the energies of the young militant warrior class away from his ­capital.”
  • Conspirata, a thriller by Robert Harris set in Classical Rome, is “a portrait of ancient politics as a treasonous blood sport in which more — much more — than health care reform is on the line”
  • The Poker Bride: the First Chinese in the Wild West is a “horrific tale of violence, exploitation, and sex slavery” which documents the experience of immigrant Chinese in the great California Gold Rush of 1849- news of which, the reviewer notes, reached Hong Kong before Washington D.C.
  • The Room and the Chair is a “Syriana-style” espionage novel, but weaknesses in characterization betray a compelling plot to create a read that the reviewer found to be ultimately unsatisfying.
  • Jerome Charyn’s Secret Life of Emily Dickinson is “part of the flourishing genre of literary body-snatching,” reinventing the famously reclusive poet with a vividly created inner voice and desire. The book is “smarter than most”, but still misses the mark in its attempt to bring Dickinson’s complex character to life.