Rutten Book Reviews: An Archive of Past Reviews

'Losing Mum and Pup' by Christopher Buckley

May 6, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'Losing Mum and Pup' by Christopher Buckley

Some years ago, when they still lived in Malibu, the late John Gregory Dunne and his wife, Joan Didion, entertained a prominent magazine journalist and author at dinner. It was December and, afterward, they invited their guest to accompany them to their daughter's grammar school Christmas pageant.

'Dust and Shadow' by Lyndsay Faye

April 29, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'Dust and Shadow' by Lyndsay Faye

Arthur Conan Doyle famously tired of Sherlock Holmes and repeatedly tried to end the series of stories featuring the detective he dismissively called "my most notorious character." On each occasion, though, an intense popular clamor -- and the opportunity it afforded to shore up the author's shaky finances -- coaxed Conan Doyle into an additional sequence of stories. Holmes' adventures total four novels and 56 short stories.

'Who Is Mark Twain?'

April 22, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'Who Is Mark Twain?'

When he died 99 years ago this week, Mark Twain was this country's most beloved writer, yet his status as both an author and protean example of the now-familiar pop cultural celebrity seems to grow with each passing decade.

April 8, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'Nomad's Hotel' by Cees Nooteboom

Cees Nooteboom, now 75, is one of the two Dutch writers -- along with his slightly older contemporary, Harry Mulisch -- whose name always turns up on those mysterious annual short lists of Nobel Prize contenders so beloved of European literary journalists.

March 25, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6' by Gordon Thomas

The experience of empire seems to leave a people with at least a taste, if not a particular talent, for conspiracy. Certainly, that's true of the Russians for whom the one place at which the history of czarism and Bolshevism most clearly conjoins is in a lasting predilection for plots and plotting. It's true as well for the British, who transmuted the gifted amateurism of Kipling's "great game" into the modern world's first recognizable professional intelligence agencies.

'The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940' edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck

March 18, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940' edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck

Death's shadow frequently sends literary reputation into critical eclipse.

February 18, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

Dissident or not, Ismail Kadare is one of the greats

Ismail Kadare is, in many ways, among the most problematic of major writers in contemporary Western letters.

'The Gamble' by Thomas E. Ricks

February 10, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'The Gamble' by Thomas E. Ricks

"In 2005 the United States came close to losing the war in Iraq."

'The Angel Maker: A Novel' by Stefan Brijs

February 4, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'The Angel Maker: A Novel' by Stefan Brijs

If you're one of those who has been mesmerized by the problematic complexities of the still-unfolding Whittier octuplets saga, then "The Angel Maker" might be just the novel for you.

'A World of Trouble' by Patrick Tyler

January 28, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'A World of Trouble' by Patrick Tyler

Patrick Tyler is a veteran foreign and Washington correspondent who more recently has applied his formidable reporting skills and narrative gifts to diplomatic history. His latest effort, "A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East -- From the Cold War to the War on Terror," couldn't be more timely.

'The Holy City: A Novel' by Patrick McCabe

January 14, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'The Holy City: A Novel' by Patrick McCabe

At some point, there's a large and interesting essay to be written on why so much of the most interesting new English-language fiction comes to us from Indian and Irish writers.

January 7, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

'Family of Secrets' by Russ Baker

The tendency Richard Hofstadter so aptly labeled "the paranoid style" in American politics operates independent of ideology.

December 20, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'Samuel Johnson: The Struggle' by Jeffrey Meyers

If you survey the geography of modern letters, three books stand out as signposts marking the beginning of paths that lead decisively away from all that went before. Augustine's "Confessions," the first memoir of an inner life, is one such work. So is Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote," which is the first inarguably modern novel. The third is James Boswell's "The Life of Samuel Johnson," the earliest recognizable modern biography.

November 12, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'P.S.: Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening' by Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel, who died last month at the age of 96, was America's most popular oral historian.

'Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism' by Bernard-Henri Levy

October 8, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism' by Bernard-Henri Levy

IT IS impossible to imagine any country but France that could produce Bernard-Henri Levy.

'The Forever War' by Dexter Filkins

October 1, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'The Forever War' by Dexter Filkins

THE LITERATURE of human conflict divides itself into two schools: One -- the more ancient -- is bardic and celebrates war and warriors; the other is the tradition of witness, which elucidates war and records the fates of those caught up in it.

September 16, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'Indignation' by Philip Roth

ONE OF THE ways to recognize truly great writers is that even their mistakes engage us.

September 10, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

"The War Within" by Bob Woodward

ONE OF modern warfare's founding fathers, the 19th century Prussian field marshal Helmuth von Moltke, was of the opinion that no military plan, however well and carefully conceived, could survive its first contact with the enemy.

August 20, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar' by Paul Theroux

IN 1973, an expatriate American novelist possessed of great ambitions, pretty good reviews and slender means set out from London's Victoria Station to circumnavigate the great Eurasian land mass, mostly by train. Two years later, he published an account of that epic journey, "The Great Railway Bazaar."

A doctor's tale

BOOK REVIEW

A doctor's tale

April 30, 2008

The fate of nations

BOOK REVIEW

The fate of nations

April 23, 2008

'Bad Money' by Kevin Phillips

BOOK REVIEW

'Bad Money' by Kevin Phillips

April 16, 2008

'Panama Fever'

BOOK REVIEW

'Panama Fever'

March 12, 2008

Deadly Dubliners

BOOK REVIEW

Deadly Dubliners

(Photo: Kieran Doherty/Reuters)

  • Email E-mail
  • add to Twitter Twitter
  • add to Facebook Facebook
CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on ctnow.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

PLAN AHEAD

Top Trending Videos