John Pistelli

writer

Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed My rating: 4 of 5 stars Thomas Pynchon’s freewheeling narrator of Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) tells us, “Well, and keep in mind where those Masonic Mysteries came … Continue reading

7 May 2018 · 3 Comments

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hamlet by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars Why is this bizarre, disorderly, long, and poorly transmitted tragedy from the turn of the seventeenth century the central work … Continue reading

23 February 2018 · 4 Comments

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Paradise by Toni Morrison My rating: 5 of 5 stars Paradise was not well received upon its publication in 1997—influential critics like Michiko Kakutani, James Wood, and Zoë Heller disparaged … Continue reading

10 November 2017 · 7 Comments

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels

The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this 1979 classic of popular non-fiction, religious scholar Elaine Pagels explains to a broad audience the theological … Continue reading

8 November 2017 · 1 Comment

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson My rating: 3 of 5 stars I found Marilynne Robinson’s second novel, Gilead (2004), to be literally stunning. That is, every time I picked it up … Continue reading

28 July 2017 · 3 Comments

Albert Camus, The Rebel

The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt by Albert Camus My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Rebel is Albert Camus’s answer, written in 1951, to the painful question … Continue reading

25 June 2017 · 4 Comments

C. G. Jung, Answer to Job

Answer to Job by C.G. Jung My rating: 3 of 5 stars The back cover advertises Answer to Job as “one of Jung’s most controversial works.” He wrote it toward … Continue reading

4 June 2017 · 2 Comments

William Shakespeare, King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars What is King Lear about? “[T]he fierce dispute, / Betwixt damnation and impassion’d clay,” wrote Keats, but both terms … Continue reading

18 February 2017 · 1 Comment

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley My rating: 2 of 5 stars Don’t ask me why I didn’t read Brave New World when I was sixteen the way everybody else … Continue reading

7 October 2016 · Leave a comment

William Faulkner, Light in August

Light in August by William Faulkner My rating: 5 of 5 stars Light in August, published in 1932, is Faulkner’s seventh novel and generally considered one of the major works … Continue reading

14 August 2016 · 2 Comments