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Felix and the Sacred Thor by James Steele

At Random: The Reminiscences of Bennett Cerf by Bennett Cerf

Limiters by Christopher Stoddard

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Bucket of Face by Eric Hendrixson

Thomas Hart Benton: A Life by Justin Wolff

In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders

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Member: jasonpettus

CollectionsYour library (720)

Reviews714 reviews

Tags21stcentury (18), 21c (18), great (11), funny (9), topten (8), humor (7), dark (6), 20thcentury (6), 20c (6), fiction (5) — see all tags

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About meI'm the owner of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (, as well as a former novelist and travel writer. Yes, CCLaP is accepting submissions! Drop me a line to learn more.

About my libraryI am actively seeking recommendations on contemporary novels and authors, especially ones who tour and are seeking extra publicity for their projects.

GroupsBooks Compared

Favorite authorsKirsten Bakis, Douglas Coupland, e. e. cummings, Bret Easton Ellis, Michel Houellebecq, Jack Kerouac, Kristin McCloy, Henry Miller, Haruki Murakami, David Sedaris, Michelle Tea, David Foster Wallace, Chris Ware, D. B. Weiss, P. G. Wodehouse, Banana Yoshimoto (Shared favorites)


Favorite bookstoresChicago Comics, Myopic Books, Prairie Avenue Bookshop, Quimby's Bookstore, Shake, Rattle, & Read Book Box, The Book Cellar, Unabridged Bookstore

Favorite librariesChicago Public Library - Edgewater Branch, Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library - Lincoln Belmont Branch, Chicago Public Library - Merlo Branch, Chicago Public Library - Sulzer Regional Library, Chicago Public Library - Uptown Branch, Newberry Library

Other favoritesChicago Cultural Center, Printers Row Lit Fest


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Real nameJason Pettus


Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/jasonpettus (profile)
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Member sinceMay 3, 2007

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I've been struggling through the audio version of 1Q84 since February. It's an awful slog. I totally agree with your review!!
I just picked up 1Q82 from the library last week.
Thanks for saving me a month.
Awesome review. you just took satire to totally new heights!
Your awesome review of Dreadnought just moved Boneshaker a little closer to my "absolutely will read" list.
I really liked your review of Cows. It was dead on. Great job.
- Joseph.
Hiya. Pleased t'meetcha! Although I appreciate it, I hope you didn't send out that friends invitation simply out of obligatory politeness. And I'm sorry to admit, I actually didn't take a look at your library. I just liked your reviews and wanted bookmark you, so that I may use your reviews as a guide (mostly for Xmas; I've enough on my plate). I hope you don't mind.

Actually, I found Moody's extraneous horsesh-t in THE FOUR FINGERS OF DEATH eminently readable, but then again I own John Travolta in BATTLEFIELD EARTH and am an aficionado of dreck. I also revel in Herman Melville's incredible wordiness (go figure). Anyway, I enjoyed your review immensely and gave it a thumbs up (I don't have to agree with a review to think it's an excellent review - which it was - excellent that is.).
Just fininished your spanking of Rabbit, Run. May I sugest "Age of Sincerity."
Hi, Jason,

As always, I enjoyed your negative review of The Children's Book, though I disagree completely with your verdict :-)
I thought it one of the best new books I've read in the last few years, but I'm sure it's a matter of taste and habit. She certainly does have a tendency to treat readers as though they are slightly dim undergraduates in a tutorial: if you're not used to that, I can imagine that it grates on you.
It's a pity you couldn't face finishing it, though - I'd have been interested to see what you thought of Byatt's take on the First World War, since you recently read Remarque.

BTW: just a minor correction before you publish your Ivanhoe review - even in Scott's confused chronology, the Saxons were definitely not descended from the Vikings (who started raiding British coasts about 400 years after the Saxons arrived).

If I recall, you were a big fan of McDonald's River of Gods. You should definitely read The Windup Girl.
Loved the Point Omega review! Thumbs up!
Your outburst at the end of your review of Don Delilo's latest... effort.... was well appreciated here. I hope someone with influence in these matters sits up and takes notice. Well said.

Oh, you're right. I wasn't thinking of the "first started coalescing" date that you take from Bauer for ancient Greece, orienting instead to the later period of cultural achievements that most people consider distinctive of that civilization. So my chuckle was mistaken, but I liked your review anyway. I'm sure people will get better positive history from Bauer than from the Bible.
I just gave a vote to your new review of Bauer's History of the Ancient World. When I was reading it, though, I had to chuckle when you wrote "two thousand years of interchangeable Mesopotamian warrior societies we have largely forgotten by now, of which we know barely anything, making for not exactly the most scintillating reading," to gloss the principal epoch embraced by the historical elements of the Hebrew Bible. Despite its inadequacies, the latter is probably the most-read history book of the Western World since the invention of the printing press.
Very natty new profile pic! When I saw you read The Plague I was excited to see your review. I've read it three times now and it is always relevant to me. I can't decide if a metaphor that flexible is a good or bad thing. I love that book anyhow.
Hi Jason,

I enjoyed your review of Zuleika Dobson - I think I'd rate it a little higher than you do, but I'm probably prejudiced in favour of Beerbohm's sort of camp (and share something of his nostalgia for Oxford).

Just a minor point - I don't think you can really get away with putting Wodehouse, Beerbohm and Forster under one hat as "closeted homosexuals, if the rumours are to be believed". Forster was undoubtedly homosexual, and pretty much as open about it as anyone could be in his day, but Wodehouse and Beerbohm are much harder to pin down. No-one's ever seriously suggested that Wodehouse was gay, and most of the biographers take the line that he was left impotent by an illness in his teens. I think Beerbohm was usually assumed to be gay because of the circles he moved in, but no-one seems to be sure.
I enjoyed your review of Jude the Obscure, even though I did not agree with it. I think, perhaps, that a 'classic' designation might be a subjective thing. For instance I consider The Woman in White a tedious turkey, but it seems that there are a whole bunch of LTrs who think it is a classic. I am looking forward to reading more of your reviews.
Thanks for your unequivocal review of Grossman's Magicians, a book which I had seriously considered reading. My to-read list is long enough without it.
So, um, what are you reading under there?
Hi, sorry to butt in, but I thought you might be interested in a little argument we're having about your review of Jane Eyre here

To give you fair warning, everyone mostly disagrees with you... It's got us comparing Jane Eyre with Twilight and has turned into a very interesting discussion. Feel free to join in if you want, or to give it a miss if you want!

I just came across your review of River of Gods as I am in the midst of reading it and added it to my library. I wish I had seen it sooner, as your suggestion of taking on Cybarabad Days first would have made the first 200 pages a whole lot easier to digest. Nevertheless, I've become relatively comfortable with McDonald's world and am beginning to immensely enjoy what is, without question, one of the more "intelligent" science fiction novels I've encountered recently. I hope you've fully recovered from your injuries.
Hi Jason,

Thank you for explaining ARG in your "Personal Effects" book review. I have noticed various media popping out of television shows and into reality lately and didn't know it had a name. I just thought it was marketing. I remember a book being published a few years back that was supposedly written by a character on Lost. I also know that a website for a magazine on the soap The Young and the Restless, yes I watch a soap, appearing on the internet.

Thanks for the “Never Come Morning review;” I am looking forward to the continuation. Was one of the first books I ever read, and I sure wish it wasn’t, Bruno and Steffi made much too deep an impression. I still curse “lefty” when I feel like a looser, adding “never got to be 21” when things are real bad! Regards, Jahn.

Tight reviews! They are really helping me delve more into literature; that's was' up. Also, CCLaP is legit. Will you be reviewing any of Bret Easton Ellis's novels?
A recommendation: Just finished Chandler Burr's You or Someone Like You. First novel by NYT's perfume writer. An insider view of Hollywood elite, mixed marriages and an intelligent Hollywood book discussion group (oh, and homosexuality). I loved it. Don't know if he'll tour.
Uh, yes indeedy, I do believe I'll be dropping by the CCLaP for part two tomorrow. Wow!
Regarding Heart of Darkness (good review, by the way), if you haven't read "King Leopold's Ghost" by Hochschild, you might be interested in knowing just how much of the Conrad book was based on actual people and events. The true story is harrowing and fascinating.

Hi Jason,

Greatly enjoyed your HOD review. I happened to see Apocalypse Now long before I'd ever even heard of (much less read) HOD (watched it several times in fact); and when I finally got around to reading HOD I experienced a bout of deja vu (thinking, have I already read this before? it's so familiar!) and of course, later, happening upon some criticism on the subject, finally made the obvious connection. You are so right that Apocalypse Now - a great, great movie in its own right - is nonetheless a rip off. Why didn't Coppola just title it Heart of Darkness? - and then there goes the rip off criticism in a flash. It's a great movie no matter what he titled it. And Heart of Darkness, in my book, is a superior title too.

Great review (as usual)

I read your one of your book reviews when I was doing some work at the library for a patron. Your book project sounds interesting. I haven't had a chance to look at the website yet, but plan to soon.
Just read your review of Running with Scissors, which I am reading now only because I want to make a good-faith effort to read it before I give it away. Bravo! I'm 50 pages in and I think I hate this book. I wish I could give your review 100 thumbs-ups.

Hello Jason,

Do you have a list of the classics you will be reviewing? Can I find it on your website? I have enjoyed all of your reviews so far. I even enjoyed your review of "Just a Geek" and will be looking for a copy. Caroline
I've been enjoying reading through your reviews for the past couple of days. You gave a positive review to one of my favorites: The Solitudes by John Crowley, and I've just now posted a review of his newest work Four Freedoms, which I got through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. I strongly agree with your take on "academic genre" v. "literary" fiction, and although Crowley has a history as a genre author (World Fantasy Award winner even), he is now convincingly established as a "literary" author. The AEgypt cycle certainly exhibits some of the academic genre traits that you've inventoried, but Four Freedoms is surprisingly free of them, despite being even farther from his early SF and fantasy work. There's a wee bit of metafiction, but not in the quantity nor the cleverness you (but not I) found distasteful in The Solitudes. Having read AEgypt over the course of two decades as the books came out, I can vouch that a long breather between them doesn't damage the experience, and I'd encourage you to make Four Freedoms your next Crowley read.
Your review of Mme Bovary makes me want to go read it again. I read it at age 13 or so and hated it. Obviously I need to give it another chance now that I'm a grownup. I am wasting time at work here reading some of your other reviews, particularly the negative ones, so felt I had to tell you how much I am enjoying them.
Enjoyed your review of Gulliver's Travels and admire what you're doing.
That's what I figured. Still enjoying your reviews!
I randomly stumbled upon your Gargoyle review and had to respond. Genius! The chocolate/throat image was almost too much for me as I happened to be drinking coffee while reading your review. Choke! Your review rocked! Thanks! Holly
I enjoyed your review of Northanger Abbey so much I bought a copy. Caroline
Ha ha ha!
I loved the Gargoyle, but your review was fantastic.
Great review of Austen as always. I still have yet to read anything by her, perhaps this year. Interesting choice for a first novel, and not one of the better known ones.

> "Let's not forget, before the late 1700s, full-length fictional stories barely even existed"

I believe the first English novel to be self-admittedly pure fiction is `Tom Jones` (1749). Prior to that there are novels of fiction, but they are presented as true stories (or as actual non-fiction) like `Robinson Crusoe`. I'm currently working my way through `Tom Jones` and Fielding starts each chapter with a section apologizing for and justifying fiction, saying he is creating a new artform (although really imitating `Don Quixote`). It's pretty interesting. Maybe you know this, I am just learning about it. Good time of year for old classics. Happy holidays!
Ativan or Citalopram are helpful for post-Gargoyle-review reflux. LOL...sincerely! Wow. Won't be reading that book.
I read Portnoy's Complaint many years ago. Haven't eaten liver since.
Hi Jason,

You've only read one Phillip Roth novel?! Really!!?? Oh my, and you, literary critic, freely admit it? Well, far be it for me to be a hippo critter about it, truth be told I've read only one book of his too -- "American Pastoral" -- and my sense about it seems similar to your reaction in The Plot Against America: complex, profound, era-defining, disturbing, can't believe after reading it I haven't read more by this author before. When you do decide on another Roth read, hope you'll give AP some serious consideration; you won't be disappointed.
I recently finished A Farewell to Arms and was scanning some of the reviews when I ran across yours. I was blown away. Though our reading tastes don't exactly jive, I'm interested in your project of reading and critiquing "the classics". I am also trying to go back and read more classic literature and will certainly appreciate your take on some of the possibilities.
Hi Jason,

While reading your review of "The Faith Between Us" I thought of some our discussions on the Happy Heathens group in Talk part of LT. You might find it interesting.

I enjoyed this line in your latest review. Cheers, d

"Of course, as we've all learned over the course of this "CCLaP 100" essay series so far, although Victorian and Edwardian literature still continues to be legible and readable to modern eyes, that's a long way from being entertaining or simply not tedious; "
Hey there. I just finished reading Banana Yoshimoto's "Kitchen" and saw in your review how much you enjoy her writing. This is my first read of hers. Any suggestions where to go next? Carry on with the reviews. Cheers. -Theresa
Hey now, it's kind of too soon to be talking about this friend stuff, I mean I only made you an interesting library a few days ago. This all just too fast for me. ;)

Your review of "Tree of Smoke" caught my attention. I thought the review was wonderful and fun to read. I've enjoyed reading other of your reviews as well. I poked at CCLaP website... I really hope I can find more time to spend there.

Hi Jason,

I haven't talked for a while, but just letting you know that I have changed my user name from karenwardill to kiwidoc - in case you are womdering who that friend was on your list!

Hope all is well with you.


Liked your review of the Boy Detective book. I've even added the book to my wish list.
Hi Jason - Just wanted to let you know, in case you haven't seen, that LT now has a "green flag" system to flag unjustly given red or blue flags, so I quickly went through and green-flagged all your reviews that were red-flagged (flag, flag, flag....). I don't know what effect this will have, but I hope it goes towards removing the red ones. Always enjoy your reviews!
Fabulous review of Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen. I recently finished the book and agreed with many of your points, but you express them so much more eloquently than I do.
Hi Jason,

Thanks for the note. And many thanks for the post on CCLaP. It is Very Much appreciated.

Maybe we'll see you in April when we'll be discussing McCarthy's The Road!

Many thanks and stay well,

My name is Dawn and I am a librarian and the host of Toronto Public Library’s online book club: Book Buzz and a fellow LibraryThing member.

I stopped by your CCLaP site for the first time and got lost there for a while - thank-you! I particularly enjoyed the Paul Hockett picture - and his site's gallery. Again - thank-you.

This month at TPL we are reading Consolation, by Michael Redhill. I noticed that you include Consolation in your library and I enjoyed your thoughtful review of the book.

I’d just like to invite you to visit us and share your thoughts about Redhill’s book. It’s a friendly easy-going book club with over 500 members and we are always looking for new points of view.

We will also be hosting the author himself until the end February.
Post your questions for Michael Redhill and he will answer from his current home in France.

If you are interested, visit us at .

Thank-you for your time,
I missed your Zardoz review and the link at CCLaP doesn't seem to work. My take on The Maltese Falcon was a little different than yours (and a lot more stupid.)
Lovely screencaps in your 2001:aSPO review at CCLaP! Can't wait to read your take on Zardoz.
I've just read Houellebecq's work on H.P. Lovecraft and really agree with your review of it. Interesting to hear he's so unknown in the USA. If that ever changes I can't wait to hear how he goes down in middle America!

I'm based in London by the way and have read every misanthropic word he's written - that's been translated into English.

Thanks, Jason! I made the change in my bookcrossing entry for the book so it directs to the website. I appreciate you answering me back, and thanks for the info re the Lovecraft bio. I'm ordering it today!
Jason - thanks for asking to be friends - 'Shucks' that's nice.

Led me to your profile page and your reviews. Hilarous and controversial and hard hitting? Oh and great, too - even if I beg to differ wildly on some of them. We only share 13 books but then you have only 53 catalogued.

What have you written yourself?

Cheers, Karen
I saw you reviewed Me and Kev. Came over and I enjoyed reading your other reviews too. With your art world connections and Finley thing you would almost certainly like (maybe already have liked) Simon Black's Book of Frank. Another pretty unique book.

You might like Bruce Robinson's Peculiar Life of Thomas Penman. Also, Cold Dog Soup, by Stepehen Dobyns, is a unique book that doesn't get as much recognition as it deserves. James Gunn's Toy Collector is better, I think, than Lucky Wander Boy. Kung Fu High School by Ryan Gaddis and Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (especially Royale) are insane books.
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